Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Strange Co-incidence

One of the funniest blogs I read is Eat My Yard. Recently the author posted a picture of some old valentine balloons stuck in a tree near her house. I couldn't believe it when I saw this in a tree down in Florida last week. Naturally, I had to take a picture and post it with a link to the other one. What are the chances, huh?! File that under "Life is Stranger Than Fiction".

Books, Bags and Bling

You are not going to believe this but our bags came home last night. It was late, I was getting into bed when I got a call to say they had arrived at the airport and did I want them tonight. So I got up, paced for about an hour when I got another call from the driver who apparently was lost. I am a 10 minute drive from the airport, so that poor guy must have really gone out of his way. Everything seems to be there, except one of the bags had been left out in the rain so long that it was wet on the inside, mostly clothes but unfortunately my two journals as well. Now they have dried out they suffered the ripple effect. Ah well, just another souvenir of the trip.

I didn't have the energy to go through them then, or even now. But I did want to talk about the magazines I picked up. I bought my first copy of Cloth Paper Scissors which I first heard about from Brenda at the Crafty Chook. And recently I heard about Somerset Apprentice (got that too) and while I was flipping through that, Somerset Studio caught my eye (so I picked that up too) and I couldn't leave behind Artful Blogging. These don't seem to be available in my little corner of the world so it will be nice to really take my time and see if I would want to subscribe to any of them. This stack should keep me busy for quite a while.

While I was away I finished up Sue Miller's, "The Senator's Wife". At first I only took the book from the library because I was looking for some fluff for vacation. But it turned out to be better than fluff. The book has two main female characters, one older and one younger and I found myself much more capable of relating with the older one. But what surprised me was the incredible honesty the author has in talking about secrets. Big secrets, little secrets but I was struck by the portrayal of the kind of secret that one keeps only to oneself - the one or two (or maybe three) that you never, ever tell anyone. I know I can think of two of my own secrets that will die with me and maybe that was why I was so moved by the book. At the moment I am about half way through Jodi Picoult's, "Plain Truth".

The Bling part of this post is an upcoming give-away I will be doing. I just need to get tomorrow's work day under my belt before I can phrase it properly here, so check back often to see if you can win something. That's another secret, but one that will be broken shortly.

Thanks for all the expressed concern about my luggage. It was a humbling experience to realize how attached I am to my possessions, despite all my inner work to the contrary. It seems I still have a little ways to go on that.

And how about a picture of the beach, since I've gone on and on about that lately:

Monday, March 30, 2009


It's 8:00 p.m. and still no luggage. I spent a good part of the day on the phone with US Airways. Half of the people I spoke to denied that there was any "lost" baggage with my reference number (I can see the reference number online myself!), the other half swore up and down the flagpole that they had a trail that puts them in Philadelphia, waiting for room on a plane to get them to my final destination. Half the people on the other end of the phone seemed to go out of their way to help me, even if it meant putting me on hold until I got cauliflower ear. The other half wanted me to thank them for their very existence and for doing me the favor of talking to me at all. I'm getting kind of worried now about my "things". I know I shouldn't be so material, but you know. And there was all that great stuff I bought at Michael's - a bunch of magazines I can't find here and if I ordered them online they would cost an obscene amount in shipping. The Artful Blogger especially is making me pang. I tried to do some work in my studio but felt like I was all thumbs. Just couldn't find the spirit that usually moves me when I step inside. I wish I was ending the day on a happier note. My journals are also in that elusive luggage. I'll be working the next two days so I'll have little time to badger them. Gack.

Flight from Hell

I hate to complain, I really do. Especially since I just spent a week in warmer climes. But I'm going to. Briefly. One cancelled flight. A two hour wait in line to re-book, then a four hour wait. Lost: three pieces of luggage and one car booster seat. Two more hours waiting in lines to register the loss and get papers stamped.

En route yesterday, Riley ate two boxes of Tic Tacs. What can I say but they were a novelty and they passed the time. AND they were only $1.19 US a box. Versus the $15 slices of heartburn cheese pizza we ate. Since last night I have only brushed my teeth with his Kiss My Face Very Berry Toothpaste. I showered this morning and washed my hair, forgetting my only comb and hairbrush are in the lost luggage along with, alas, all my make up. I don't wear a lot but I do feel naked without the little bit I do use.

Now, the snow is almost gone. On the way to picking up my dogs I am going to stop at the pharmacy for a comb and some minty toothpaste, maybe a khol pencil and visualize all day the arrival of our bags on our doorstep. And since I don't have to unpack the luggage, maybe I'll do some art. Now THAT's looking on the bright side of things. I've also been tagged for a meme by Beth and I've been thinking about that too. Off I go!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Whoosh! I'm outta here! Gone, but not forgotten. Back in about a week. I'm looking forward to a computer break and then, of course, obsessively catching up with all I've missed when I'm back!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Haiku Friday

My father would get a chuckle out of this since I first heard it from his lips.

My Dad always said
After three days, visitors
And fish, start to smell

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I think they are called snowdrops. In my garden now, a handful of them. They make a tiny bell shaped, flower with a fragrance out of line with their size. It's coming...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Department of Immense

As part of my duties in the Department of Immense, I am asked to spread the word about Amy Krouse Rosenthal's upcoming 1) book tour for 3 new children's books she has coming out and 2) the Beckoning of Lovely project. I so enjoy her art. It is so human, for lack of a better word. I invite you to watch the latest YouTube video which, unfortunately only has US dates at the moment. I have a feeling this is going to be big - look out for the signature yellow umbrellas wherever you go. And remember, you heard it here first!

And just in case you didn't see the original Beckoning of Lovely YouTube I posted, oh way back, here it is again. I can watch it over and over.

All Things Canadian

We saw our first V of Canadian geese this morning, followed by running into another parent in the schoolyard who had seen a red-winged blackbird. Spring must really be here! All I need to seal the deal is a robin.

Last night I foolishly stayed up late to finish Joan Barfoot's, "Exit Lines". I have enjoyed much of her fiction, I think my favorites are, "Duet for Three", "Family News" and "Plain Jane". Originally I stumbled across her work in the library, while looking for another "B" author, exactly which one I don't remember now. And Exit Lines is one of the reasons I have been thinking so much about aging lately. It is about a new assisted care residence that opens up and the residents that move in. The subject at first put me off a bit, because honestly, I didn't want to read about a bunch of old fogies. But it is a book about hope and living and friendship. A couple of my favorite lines in the book were, "Life, it seems, never runs out of shoes to drop" and "It seems that sometimes she doesn't especially like her old friends anymore. Causing the diverting question to arise: can people still reasonably be called friends if a person no longer much likes them?" Yup, it was a goodie.

The rest of the day was kind of crappie. I am unfortunately associating my most crappy days with the ones that I work. Why is it so darned hard to go on vacation? Why must we do everything we would do during our time away BEFORE we leave, then scurry around like starving rats when we return to "make up" for our time away. I am hoping this next week will be rejuvenating and help me to adjust my attitude a bit. Because when I really stop and think, I have so much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


There was so much I wanted to talk about today. Cripes. So many thoughts, so little time. I've been thinking quite a bit about aging lately. And how different things are for Riley than they were for me. I think quite drastically more different than measuring the difference between my mother's time growing up and my own. Partly because she had me when she was around 24 or 25 and I had Riley when I was 42. At times I found today so darned hard. Mind you, I am running on about four hours of sleep today so that did contribute to those feelings. I couldn't help but think how demanding our lives are and how much we are expected to keep on top of, respond to. Most jobs, beyond the strictly physical ones, require email, cell phones, databases and multi-tasking to a ridiculous degree and keeping on top of it all and up to date, not to mention getting the actual work done. Today was one of those days I found it all so daunting. Wondering what kind of legacy we are leaving the younger generations. Needing to do more and faster. At some point the human being is just going to pop.

While I was out walking the dogs tonight, all of this was churning in my brain, especially the part about the younger generations. Riley is more adept with the remote control for the digital satellite tv than I am. When I was growing up we had two channels - once we got tv, that is. It was a small black and white set and when it first arrived, all the neighbors came in our apartment to admire it. Our two channels - CBC and CTV - did not play 24 hours a day. I can't remember what times of day they signed on and off but if there was no broadcast, all we would see is the CBC Indian, which looked like a line drawing of a profile of an native Indian in headdress. One of my grandmothers, who lived in an apartment down the hall and who often babysat me could sometimes pull in NBC if the weather was calm. And that too, did not broadcast all the time. When nothing was on, literally nothing was on that channel either except for the NBC peacock. Can you fondly remember Mr. Dressup, Johnny Jelly Bean, Gentle Giant, Chez Helene, Romper Room, Ed Sullivan, Smothers Brothers, Bonanza, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie?

I tell myself that I balance my son's life with plenty of physical activity. A good part of the year we are outside. He takes or has taken skating, swimming and music lessons. This summer I will sign him up for soccer. But I've always made sure we aren't so busy that we don't stop and just be, enjoy simple times like bug catching and going on picnics, nature walks etc. But it's a struggle and a battle because it's so easy to turn on the tv or let him play computer games.

Summer has always been my favorite time of year. I love the heat, sweating, wearing light clothes and sandals or going barefoot. I like the smells and the colors and the energy from the life outside. But for some reason this spring is really stirring me up. I find myself enjoying it for what it is, without the anticipation of the summer, without thinking about it as the stepping stone toward my favorite season. And I think it all ties into how much I have been thinking about the aging process. (More on that another time, soon.)

Here's my boy, telling us how he scored a goal in the soccer game in gym class today and won the game:

Monday, March 16, 2009


Look what came in the mail today.

I ordered this mini alphabet stamp set a couple of weeks ago from Addicted to Rubber Stamps partly because I wanted them and partly because they were part of a blow-out sale. Surprise, surprise, the mailing costs from the US to Canada were three times the cost of the stamp set. But it is the perfect size for my tags. And other things. They are quite cute and I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of them.

On another note, I think Riley is almost back to normal. He's started to eat again, mouse portions and tiny morsels. But now he's got a weird rash which was kind of patchy when I put him to bed, I'm just hoping when we wake up tomorrow it's not all over his body. It sure has been a strange ride, this virus - or whatever it is. With all that this coming week entails, I'm just going to file it under "what was I thinking?!".

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I am not a terrific housekeeper. That is what I plan on telling the in-laws when they land tomorrow. I started to do a house clean this morning when Riley started to get stomach pains. It seems he's OK, as long as he doesn't eat. Cool. After a lengthy telephone conversation with a nurse on the Info-Sante line, she assured me it wasn't cause for a trip to emergency (wait times are around 14 hours right now). She gave me a list of symptoms to go to the hospital for, so I'm armed. Each time he has eaten today, he gets these cramps but after about half an hour he's fine and back to playing. Even water gives him cramps. But that means my house didn't get cleaned. We've been lucky so far with the gastro. We've missed much of what was going around in his school, but until he's able to eat without pain he'll be staying home. This is the only angle I dared to take a picture of today:

It must be the time of year the spiders are waking up because I have cobwebs hanging from everything. Here's a shot of a little guy I caught in the back mudroom and a shot of a much bigger guy that I, gratefully, didn't find in my house (hint: the insectarium from last weekend):

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Owl Progression

I thought I had more photos of this in its metamorphosis. Sometimes I take pictures because it helps me see it from a different perspective while I'm working on it. I think in this case I was working on so many different things, and being sick and tending to a sick child, I kind of lost the thread. So in three stills, here's the thread of Owl Owl. Personally I think I need to lose a lot of the pink. So many of my bigger pieces go through an incredibly helpless, unsave-able, butt-ugly phase, so I haven't lost all hope for this one yet. I do like a lot of the humor that has crept up inside. Collage, acrylics, ink, masks, caran d'ache sticks on 9 3/4 x 14 acrylic paper.

Despite being a morning with no alarm, I woke at 5:12 and was unable to go back to sleep. I tried for about an hour, then gave up. I have been on my feet since then with the exception of a bit of time to eat my three meals. And going steadily. So I'm quite tired now. Hopefully tomorrow will be a morning when both Riley and I sleep in a bit. He was quite unlike himself today, rather annoying at times AND has a lymph node poking out of his collar bone area which is rather painful. I'm hoping he's just fighting a common virus and not something that is going to put a cramp in our upcoming vacation, or - worse.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Today I caught up with two of Emily's 52 Question tags.

The next two weeks of questions (as I am now two weeks behind) are difficult ones for me - the first is a question about bravery, the second about movies. I am one of the least brave people I know, but I'm going to ruminate on it for awhile. And at this point in my life I see very few films that aren't aimed at a much, much younger audience. But today while I was flipping through all the tags I've done so far, I've been surprised at the rawness that appears in them. I am so unconcerned with finished product and I have found the journaling on the backs to have been quite therapeutic for me. I keep them on a ring and I can see that I'm soon going to need a bigger ring.

I spent considerable time working and reworking my Owl Owl. I'm not so sure I like what's happened the last two days I've picked away at it. I might post a progression of it here soon, if I'm brave enough (!). I feel like I have to just sit with it and fix it until I'm happy. Would that I have a three day weekend to myself...And it's a busy time coming up. I have in-laws arriving on Monday, until Friday. Then my sister and her boyfriend on Friday, until Sunday. Then Riley and I jet off to the land of palm trees and sunscreen. I hope I can bring it to a happier place before my departure. But I'm happy with the tags. Really happy with the tags. They are by no means great art, but they are a part of me that makes me feel - I'm not sure how to explain it - like a real person with likes and dislikes, something to say, valid feelings. See - I said it was hard to explain.

A shot from the botanical gardens - my heart:

Haiku Friday

Politics scare me
Still, apathy scares me more
Such a dirty game

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Full of Surprises

It certainly was a day full of surprises, some of them even pleasant ones. With the exception of the still howling winds making the windchill in the -20's, it was a good day all in all. I managed to get about two hours in my studio this afternoon (surprise!), got to work on two tags, hopefully I can post photos tomorrow as they are in various stages of drying. My son just apologized to me for the tantrum he threw when he got off the school bus. I always am surprised when it happens because I think I can count on both hands the number of times he has thrown one. Yeah, he's almost perfect at six. What floors me even more is that between 3:20 and 7:20 he must have given it enough thought to realize he was out of line. He can be oh-so-mature sometimes. Here he is negotiating a papadum at supper:

I also caught Mr. Cardinal again on the feeder. This shot was taken just after 7:00 p.m. and on the one hand I'm delighted I'm taking outdoor (well, through the window anyway) photos at that time of day, but on the other hand the photos weren't as crisp as the ones I got of him earlier in the day last week. He did give me enough time to clip on my zoom lens tonight. He looks a little like groucho marx with the seed sticking out of the side of his mouth:

The woman I work with in the library on Thursday mornings told me her tulips were up about 2 inches now. So I had to go and inspect my own garden to see what the recent rain had uncovered. The most I found was a bit of stubbly mint branches and a little iris leaf. It's been a winter of extreme weather, lots of snow often followed by rain then a deep freeze which has left massive amounts of ice everywhere. Not a pretty site as it gets quite dirty over time. And although my backyard doesn't have any traffic per se, it has it's share of yellow snow/ice. All of you in warmer climes can shiver and be grateful you are eating local produce, scurvy would have set in here if we had to rely on what I can grow on my land. Here are my findings:

Kind of sad, isn't it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


It was my second (and last) day of the week at work today. I was working hard, cruising along and glanced at the clock at 3:00 p.m., thinking, "Oh nice, one hour to go". Then all hell broke loose. I ended up missing my train, dragging my butt in the house later than I wanted to. Now, having just come in from walking the dogs the winds are howling. With gusts of 90 kmh (about 45 mph) I have a sneaking suspicion we might lose our electricity tonight. Which would mean the alarm won't go off at the right time tomorrow. Now THAT would be a pity. It was +7 today, tomorrow with the windchill it is going to feel like -18. Holy spaghetti Batman, that is some fluctuation. But normal for March, n'est pas? I have battened down the hatchs and unless it's total devastation where we are out of power for days, it wouldn't be so bad to have a bit of a lie-in tomorrow. It's been a bear of a week so far. Not much studio time likely tomorrow. It's library duty in the morning, grocery shopping (hiding the last two slices of bread for Riley's sandwich tomorrow) and picking up my new passport. That all should just have me running for the school bus at the end of the day. BUT Friday is my day for creative endeavors. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


OK, time for some serious blogging here. Goodness gracious, I've been tagged by Oreneta and I'm not sure I'm ready to share such personal stuff. Oh what the heck. But first! On the bus tonight I finished, "Beijing Confidential" by Jan Wong. I bought it for iMan two Christmases ago, after hearing about it and of course, wanting to read it myself. So I finally got around to it and it was fabulous. The story behind the book was Jan Wong's return to Beijing around 2006 to look for a young woman who (whom?) she had denounced when she was there in the early 1970's studying, during their Cultural Revolution. She had been dogged for awhile, wondering what had happened to the woman, fearing the worse. It contained a lot of history, some of it interesting to me and just enough that I found when I was starting to lose interest, she would bring the story back front and center. Quite enlightening as far as the story line went but it left me furious to read about China's environmental practices. There ought to be international laws and I keep thinking some body should step in - the UN ?- and put a stop to the absolute planet-cide happening there. Yeah, yeah, I know that's not a real word.

Here's Riley proving he can now fit an extraordinarily large spoon in his mouth:

This tag thing comes with an award called, Premio Dardos, meaning "prize darts.” This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. Here's what it looks like:

And here's what you have to do:

Step 1: Respond and rework — answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.

Step 2: Tag other bloggers to do the same.

Here are the questions:

What are you wearing right now? My grey fleecy pants, a long sleeve LLBean organic cotton t-shirt (overrated), a hoodie and some black and grey wool socks. Oh yeah, I am wearing underwear too and I'll stop there.

What part of your house never gets cleaned? Behind the fridge. It's a big sucker levelled with little wedges of this and that, if I moved it I would never get it back in its spot.

Do you nap a lot? Rarely. I grew up being allowed to nap only if I was sick. Since I had Riley I've learned to nap a little. If I do, it will be right after lunch.

Who is the last person you hugged? Riley, less than a minute ago.

What websites do you visit when you go online? Blogs, emails, a handful of stores (mostly art stuff), my online classes, the weather site, public transport schedules, Oprah's soul series.

What was the last item you bought? Sliced mozzarella and soy yogurt.

What’s the last book you read? Beijing Confidential (see above).

What is your favorite comic strip or character? I read about six regularly in the newspaper, I completely skip the other ones. Zits, Rhymes With Orange, Between Friends, For Better or For Worse, Stone Soup.

Has a celebrity’s hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle? Meg Ryan, I always want what she has. *sigh*

What is one skill you wish you had, but don’t. I wish I could draw well. I get by, I have to work at it constantly but I wish it came easily to me.

What was the last movie you watched? Snow Buddies. I can't remember the last grown up film I watched, I think it was when I was laid up with my broken knee four years ago.

What is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you? Riley coming to me as a late-in-life surprise.

If you had a whole day to yourself; no work, commitments or interruptions what would you do? Wake up slowly, do some yoga, eat a leisurely breakfast and do the sudoku in the paper. Have some iced coffee and work in my studio. Stop after lunch and read for an hour, then finish the day in the studio. Eat something garlicky for supper. A shot of voddy, a hot bath with a good book.

Is there a major goal you have that you haven’t yet achieved? Yeah, baby. Maybe more than one although it/they don't interfere with me enjoying my current life.

Where did you meet your spouse/partner/bf/cat? I met my dog through an ad in the newspaper. I adopted her when she was 8 months old and two days ago we celebrated her 14th birthday.

What is something that those in blogland might not know about you? I like my tea and my coffee iced, never hot.

What Countries have you visited as an adult? Canada, the U.S.A., England, Japan, St. Martins, Barbados, Cuba. I think that's it.

What do you do to relieve stress? I drink, what else? Just kidding. Spend time with my boy, walk the dogs by the water, take an excruciatingly hot bath.

If you could change one physical trait about you what would it be? I'd change my skin, have a great complexion. Of course I'd also like to be an inch or two taller and have thicker hair.

What was the last publicly embarrassing thing that happened to you? I called someone up and blanked on their name - I didn't know him that well and just stuttered.

As this is supposed to be a cultural award, what is the most recent piece of painting or sculpture that really impressed you? Jeez, so much to choose from. I would have to say something I've seen online on a blog. I haven't been to a gallery or a museum for awhile so it would be something homegrown. So much that is inspirational out there.

That said and done, if you're reading this and you want to do it, consider yourself tagged. I will keep it going by specifically tagging The Crafty Chook and Tales from Twisty Lane (I know you guys have oodles of time on your hands!)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Have you seen this?

I originally saw this last summer, I don't think I've posted it since I haven't posted many videos, certainly not many YouTubes. I think it's brilliant and forgive me if you've seen it here already, I blame peri-menopausal syndrome. For all of us who have a love of the word and enjoy a clever turn of phrase. I can't seem to embed the code tonight - too tired, but here's the link. It has made me laugh many times.

Font Conference - CollegeHumor Video

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"The Look" and last OWOH

A short post because I got tired of scrolling with all those other photos. Here I'm getting what we call in this house, "The Look". He's hot and tired from all the walking around and a little grouchy because the snack bag is in the car, but it's a good view of the gap:

I do have some much better shots of him from today, but this one is just so Riley-esque that it makes me laugh.

And I can't believe it but I think I've finished my second OWOH piece. Locuasia, this one is for you:

There is some great detail that this photo doesn't do justice to and I'm quite surprised how the two OWOH pieces ended up with a similar color scheme. They both started off so differently and under went so many changes. Collage, acrylic, ink, caran d'ache sticks, watercolor pencils and graphite on 140 lb. 5 x 7 watercolor paper. The paper held up amazingly well considering what I did to it, although I think I prefer working on the acrylic paper I've used recently on my chickens and what I am using for my Owl Owl.

Tropics in Montreal

Today we went to the Botanical Gardens, specifically to the Butterfly room. It is an annual exhibit that starts in February and runs until April that is basically a huge netted room with plants (and a lot of sticky heat) and thousands and thousands of butterflies. They are on the ceiling, on the walls, on the plants, in glass cases (the cocoons, that is) and on people. You are free to walk amongst them as they go about their business. It was my first time and I dithered on which camera lens to take (now that I have a choice!). I'm glad I took my zoom because I got some dandy shots. We didn't have any butterflies land on us, I kept hoping a big blue morpho would land on Riley's head, but they kind of freaked him out a little when they flew close to him. There was one little boy with one stuck on his finger and he was about to get hysterical when one of the workers came and dislodged it. Up close you see what they really are, very large bugs! Here are a couple of shots, it was hard to choose because I took so many. The first is a blue morpho, the second a luna moth, a truly extraordinary "thing", for lack of a better word because it doesn't even really look like a moth or a butterfly or a bug. It looks purely alien.

The underside of a blue morpho, I have to admit it is much more beautiful when the wings are open:

I don't know what this one is called, or even if it's a moth or a butterfly:

I believe this one is a moth, I love the way he is clutching onto the leaf, although it doesn't look very comfortable:

Butterflies or moths?

We also wandered through the insectarium that was attached to the butterfly room and I got a shot of these flower beetles making, well...more flower beetles:

It did my heart and spirit good to see plants and flowers and bask in the warm, humid air of the indoor part of the botanical gardens (the outdoor part is still quite buried) and I couldn't resist popping up one or two shots. It's easy to forget that these colors exist when it's been winter for six months:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fun Stuff

I pinched this off of Snap's blog. It was fun putting her together, at first I wondered whether it was an actual representation of me or not but now I've sat with her for about 24 hours, I see a strange likeness. I know I would like to have that whip some days both in house and on public transport.

Mr. Cardinal

Hee hee, caught him in the act this morning. I didn't have my zoom lens on but with my new camera and Photoshop, I got a pretty good shot. Such a beauty.

Haiku Friday

Another day in
Eyes bleeding from videos
School on Monday, YAY!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Days of Forts and Roses

It has been a day of playing with things like rope, long tubes and building forts. Good old fashioned kind of wintry fun. I'd like to say I have some roses but the closest I came was buying a bunch of tulips. But it was a measly bunch and they were asking $15. And since I'm on an austerity program, I declined. I like the ones you get in earth, bulbs and all for around $8 or $9, then you can plant the bulbs for next year. It's spring break here, as I've mentioned, and with a lot of Riley's friends either away or sick, it was just the two of us, getting up to shenanigans today. Early morning bedhead and a shot of today's fort:

We scored well at the library this morning. I was hoping to find something in paperback to take on our upcoming vacation at the end of the month and lo and behold they had a Picoult softcover that I haven't read yet (Plain Truth) and it looks like splendid vacation reading. I also picked up Edeet Ravel's, "Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth", Sue Miller's, "The Senator's Wife" and Joan Barfoot's, "Exit Lines". Right now I'm well into Jan Wong's, "Beijing Confidential" and I also have in paperback, "Letters from the Dhamma Brothers". Lots of good stuff to read, I like having a fresh stack of books, I feel like I have a security blanket. Of course I also have the slightly stale stack of books, the ones that I know I should read or ones that have found their way to me via some route or other.

I managed to sneak in an hour and a half in my studio today, working away at Owl Owl (which is becoming less and less about the owls) and my second OWOH piece. Some minor disasters with the distress inks, but it was just nice to get my hands dirty. My earlier days this week at work left me so depleted of energy it was ridiculous. I had to fight to stay awake until 9:30 last night and only made it that late because I was languishing in a hot bath with my Jan Wong book and didn't want to put it down.

I'm hoping tomorrow will give me even more time in the studio, I'd love to start a tag or two, which I am now behind by three, and I have some high hopes for my OWOH piece. I might even be able to mail them out next week - yippee! I was reading a blog recently (I forget which one) where the artist was saying she was working on about 7 different pieces all at the same time. I also find myself working on a few concurrently. I've been experimenting with different techniques and papers sometimes I just need to let it dry before moving on. Or sometimes I hit a wall but am still churning with imagery that begs a new piece of paper or canvas. I find creating such a fascinating process.

I am also feeling quite grateful that a lot of awful weather to the south and the east of me seems to have just grazed my town. As hard as the middle of winter can be with short, dark and cold days, I find this time of year some of the hardest to bear up under during storms. You know it's not going to last with the warmth of the sun melting things even on days that don't go above the freezing mark, but it's just such a slap in the face to get dumped on NOW.

But something did rattle my cage this morning. I saw an article, and a photo, in the newspaper about someone I went to art school with, someone who I was very good friends with then and stayed friends with after we graduated, although we hadn't been in contact for a number of years. He had been arrested last fall (and is still in prison) for indecent exposure in a playground and possessing child pornography. His recent roommate had found the material and blew the whistle and she was quoted in the article about how important it is to not be passive in life, how we need to stand up and do the right thing. So true.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two Books

I finished Jennifer Haigh's, "The Condition" about a week ago. I found the first 35 pages or so awful. So awful I almost put it down more than once and gave up on it. But I didn't give up and immediately after the first segment/chapter it took at 180 degree spin. I found the characters odd but engaging. I was rooting for all of them. They were quirking and so imperfect that I could identify with some aspect of each of them. I have read her other books and found them to be OK so when I found this one at the library I had some reservations, it certainly wasn't the first one in the pile I took out to read. But once I got past the initial introduction, I couldn't put it down. A terrific read.

Then yesterday I finished Haruki Murakami's, "After Dark". It is the first of his that I've read, I chose it from the others at the library because it was relatively short (just under 200 pages). It is a strange book, I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm not sure what the whole gist of it is either. It was well written, lyrical in a way. And it has made me think about it at odd times of the day. I'm not entirely sure how all the characters tie in together, how cohesive the actual story line was. But that's just my opinion. I will look up another one of his books and give it a try.

Yesterday's Observations

Yesterday was kind of a pissy day but I did notice two things. 1) Fear can be paralyzing and 2) trying to make someone else happy is very, very draining.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Attitude, March and OWOH

Here's a little attitude today:

And the March page from the calendar I made in Karen's class:

And the first (finished, I think) piece for my OWOH give-aways:

The calendar page is so simple but I love the white on white oddly enough. This time of year I am anxiously awaiting a little color in the garden, the first bits of purple and yellow of the crocuses coming up through the snow but for some reason the white is just so darned clean looking (unlike the majority of the white outside right now). The quotes on the calendar page are, "You were born an original, don't die a copy", and "Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything is different". The second one is attributed to Bill Watterson, the first I saw very recently but forget who it belongs to. It was the first time I had formatted the photo vertically on the page and I was a bit thrown as to how I would place the quotes, but I think it worked out nicely in the end.

The OWOH piece was going to be on 4 x 6 watercolor paper, I was actually going to mail it (them) as a postcard but I found the size to be so rinky-dink that I started working on 5 x 7 and really quite like what has turned out. I am still working on the other OWOH piece. I started both at the same time and this one I really was stuck with for some time, then all of a sudden it took off on me. I got to experiment with my Tim Holtz stamps, masks and distress inks. Acrylic paint, collage, pencil and ink on 140 lb. watercolor paper. It is untitled as yet but I am open to suggestion.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Party Hearty

The party happened without a hitch. I didn't even get lost trying to find the place. Most parents stayed and I am so grateful because I never would have been able to keep track of eight five-and-six-year olds in that place. I think the best time was had by two of the dads, I heard them making plans to go back together next weekend. Thanks to Sherry over at Chaos Theory for tuning me into the place a number of months ago. Riley cashed in on some great gifts, he got a chance to have his best buddies (three of which are girls!) all together in one place and man oh man did those kids play. I am exhausted without having done all the climbing and running they did. Here are a couple of the best shots of my boy.

It's now officially spring break here. Now if only spring weather will come. It was insanely cold today, I got an ice cream headache walking the dogs tonight (like an ice pick through the forehead). My plans are up in the air, I am supposed to work my usual 2 to 3 days this week, I was counting on my regular sitter to take care of Riley but she was in a car accident a couple of nights ago and is still in the hospital. It seemed very serious at the outset - bleeding in the brain and a broken bone in her neck - but they are talking about discharging her within the next few days. I'm sending lots of healing vibrations her way, she's been a part of our family for the last five years.