Saturday, December 26, 2009

I'm going to have to get myself a nice little stepladder.


I've pretty much painted on all the walls in the house, some rooms more than others and some walls in greater detail, and some portions of some walls in layers of brushstrokes and colors.

For the most part I just transfer paint to the wall with the brush, using whatever sorts of strokes appeal to me in that moment, and usually without stopping much except to reload the brush. My brushes get ground down, because I work the paint into the texture of the wall, and fuss with it as it dries, and then scrub it off sometimes, either by painting over it and making a layer lift up or using the brush like a scraper.

And then things that look sort of like landscapes show up on the wall. I'm surprised, but not really, I mean I don't find it odd that my mind, left to its own devices would paint things that look like the world outside the house. I'm always staring off at the trees or the clouds or the birds strung on the lines waiting for someone to be brave enough to be the first one to swoop down for the breadcrumbs scattered on the still-frosted lawn.

One wall, though, I painted with more deliberate effort to create a scene. It's causing me the most trouble, because I keep wanting to abandon it, paint it all white and start over, and paint the way I usually do, like dreaming rather than telling a sensible story. But now that I've made the trees on that wall I feel responsible to them somehow, and so I keep fussing with them, and they're beginning to look more like trees, or at least more like the kind of trees you'd see as the backdrop in a puppet show, a retelling of some old fable.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pardon the swooping camerawork. It was my left hand's doing.

“These are days when no one should rely unduly on his competence. Strength lies in improvisation. All the decisive blows are struck left-handed.”

Walter Benjamin

video

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Well I didn't meet my first, second, or third deadlines.


But. I did manage to finish the things I was working on - or if not finish (what's ever finished?) at least get them to point where I could pack them up and ship them off. It didn't cost as much as I thought, and the box was bigger than I'd realized, and I have no idea what sort of reception it's going to get when it gets to where it's going. (A puzzled one, is my guess.) Next time will be easier.

It occurs to me that this is the first time I've sent work off to stand on its own without me there to fuss with it. I expect that was some of the difficulty.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I really have trouble shutting out distractions.


Not all the time, mind you. Sometimes I can be so focused on something that I can't quite bring myself to believe life itself doesn't stop for the moments that the paint stops being paint and just becomes color, and then beyond color, just thick slickness and the brush not making strokes but only pushing or pulling the color, and making waves in the wet yellow or red or whatever it is. Red and black lately, and then both, to make a deep, satisfying brown. And then I get lost doing that, and forget everything else, and then the world comes back and the connection to something other than everyday life gets thinner and is finally pulled apart altogether. Or not, I suppose, the connection goes on in the background. But love and laundry and sandwiches intrude sometimes, and yes, intrude sounds so harsh, and I don't mean it be harsh. It's just that sometimes I wish I could only please myself. But I come back to my senses after a while. It's the same connection, just expressed another way, and whether it's paint or lunch, if it's done with care and dedication I suppose it's all pretty much the same thing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So I have this deadline tomorrow.


And I suppose I should be running around in a panicked sort of way, but I'm not. I'm not sure if this is progress or self-delusion and denial, but I've considered and rejected several plans as far as this deadline goes, and then they all were swept aside by a new plan tonight, and so now I'm thinking, well I don't have to mail this until tomorrow by the time the post office closes. If I get up in the morning, put on my fancy new overalls, knock some of the dirt off my sensible shoes and wear those sort of fishscale blue-green dangly earrings, and go to town, I can busy some good-sized sheets of fat luscious white paper and some sharpies and draw the whole thing, fold it up in intricate and eccentric ways, and put it in a box, bind that box with wire and tighten the wire with little bamboo pegs and be satisfied. And satisfy the commitment. So there's no sense running around trying to do a million things and worrying none will be good enough.



In any case, it's almost midnight and I've still got things to clean up because some of my works of art are in the way of tomorrow's breakfast. I'm hoping it's pancakes and sausages. I just wish we hadn't eaten all the strawberries. If it's me cooking we'll probably just have oatmeal, or scrambled eggs. But my husband likes to fuss over breakfasts, and we all enjoy that.

I tend to fret too much about things, and that makes me cranky. I'm making progress, but it's slow going, I must say. And then add the whole artistic temperament and a family history of eccentricities and so on and honestly. I think I'm doing quite well, all things considered.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

At last. A day celebrating my most favorite clothing.




Because when I wear them (as opposed to my other favorite clothing item, a long skirt) I can carry everything I need in my pockets (purses are not my thing, really) and I can muck out the creek, paint a picture, sweep the floor, sit on the grass. I love standing out in the fresh air, hands in pockets, listening to the birds. I walk differently in my overalls. I don't feel only feminine, or masculine, but both, or neither. I feel like a whole, comfortable self. I feel capable, and strong.

I wear them to the hardware store, the grocery store, and have danced the night away in them at our favorite little blues bar. My husband calls me "Farmer Girl".

No, they're not a high-fashion item. No, they're not particularly kind to a figure with more than a little extra around the middle (except they do give that middle room!) but I've had smiles and compliments from both women and men, and more importantly, I like the way I feel when I wear them.

If I need to fancy them up, I put on a gauzy hippie shirt and some earrings, and I'm ready to go. I've had people (younger women, or stylish younger men) look askance at them, but it doesn't bother me at all. I wear them with white or black tank tops summer and winter (I like to have my arms bare, because I'm vain about them, and I get overheated with sleeves now, actually) and usually have a few pens in one bib pocket, and my ever-present camera in the other, with the camera strap around my neck for jewelry.

And every time I see someone else wearing them I feel a sort of kinship. So I smile, and say, "Nice overalls!" and invariably get a happy, relaxed smile in return.

Happy Overalls Day! Be sure to stop over here to meet someone who loves them even more than I do.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm getting quite fond of painting directly on the wall.


Especially with the texture these walls have on them. I like to paint and paint over, and scrub some of it off, and put on more and so on, in what you might not be at all surprised to find out is a very obsessive, unplanned and meandering process. My husband says well, it livens up the walls and it makes you happy, so I don't mind the painting all over the walls. He's not much for art, my husband, but he did buy me a very nice Van Gogh print of The Starry Night, and it hangs over the fireplace, and one night it started sort of drifting out onto the walls, and that part of the painting is definitely a love song to my mother, who also loved the picture. I gave her a print of it once. And my aunt gave me a nice big plate with the picture on it, and we use it to serve fancy bits and pieces when company comes by.

This isn't that part of the wall. This is in the kitchen. It's a cold room, with dull beige (well. mushroom soup) coloured tiles on the floor and countertops and for a backsplash, but it feels much warmer now, even with the chilly and unforgiving floor. The painting's not at all completed, but I just wander around with a colour and then put it wherever I feel like, with no particular plan in mind other than putting paint on the walls, and sometimes I go into what I suppose could be called dissociative states, but it's not as if I'm gone somewhere, it's just that I can't quite experience the world the same way when I'm part of the wall, if that makes any sense, and I suppose it may or may not.

And I'm not even fifty yet! This late blooming is highly under-rated, I think.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

As is not at all unusual, I don't have anything in particular of importance to relate.



But then again, what's of importance and what isn't? I don't really consider myself qualified to judge that, at least not at the moment.

Sometimes I have an idea that I've caught the tail of the point of things. Like it's something slinking off around an existential corner, either drawing me along or leaving me behind.

Of course it's hard to think at all with three girls in the house. So I won't bother, for the moment.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It rained and rained all day; it was lovely.


So soccer practice was canceled, and instead we had a nice evening at home.

Now the girls are in bed, finishing up quiet reading time, and once I post this little snippet I'm going to go do some painting. The dishwasher's going, the laundry's mostly caught up, the house is tidy enough and tomorrow I've promised myself (and informed others!) that I'll take the whole day to gather up stuff for the art event on Sunday. I'm very happy and excited about it. I'm even going to get my face painted and everything. And there'll be a parade, and tamales, and we get to dance - possibly in the rain again, like last year - through the gates of Chinatown with a band and banners and there'll be hot chocolate too.

Remind me how sweet life is when I go back into woe-is-me mode.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So much for posting more often.


But between soccer games and building altars in the shed, painting murals on the walls in the house and in a shed across town, thinking deep thoughts and listening to the birds, the days just go by, the way days will.

Yesterday my mother would have been 72 years old. She was the god of my childhood, and her moods were the weather, her face the sky. I regret she didn't live long enough to see me happy. I wish I'd seen her happy more often, and knew her better as a person and not just "mother", but wishing doesn't accomplish much, and so long after the fact it's even more of a misdirection of energy.

Does she look down on me from some great height, does she fly past me in the shape of a dragonfly, did I gather her into me in the hospital room when she died and "Don't Fence Me In" played in the background, just before six o'clock, with the oxygen gurgling and me trying to understand how my grandmother's face had eclipsed my mother's, like a mask had been slipped on. Will my mother's face be mine when I die? I know one thing. My children will know me better, and worse, and much more fully.

I wish you didn't have to die, said my eight year old daughter. I know, I said. I wish no one had to die, said my nine year old daughter. I know, I said. But think of it this way. Imagine the confusion and crowding if no one ever died. Imagine all the new ideas that would never come to be. Oh well, says one of them in reply, it's all just part of the cycle of life. And I promised not to die for many, many years. And I told them stories about how it would be when I was old and calling them to do things for me, and how they'd come home from college and tell me things, and they got up on a stool and we played at them being grownups and me being white-haired and sweet-tempered, or not.

I bet you miss your Mom, they said.

I do, I said.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A friend of mine has lovely hydrangeas.



I asked if I could cut some, to display as part of an art-thing I did a couple of weeks ago. She graciously agreed. These hydrangeas are not those ones (I left them there, I don't know where they went to when the booth was taken down) but some others, from the same bush, and a piece of the timber bamboo my husband dragged home one day from the side of the road.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My mind's blank.


But I haven't posted anything in a while, and I'd like to get back into the habit of it. I haven't been at the computer much lately. I've been painting a lot, on the walls in the house, a bit on the shed, and I made seven dollars painting the eyes and whiskers back on a tea-kettle-cat. (I didn't do a very good job on the whiskers.)

Today at soccer practice my daughter absconded with my sketchbook and four of my pens, to go draw and giggle with her friends while her sister ran around the field. I held some loose papers on my lap and drew on that, nothing in particular, just whatever came to mind. My daughter's friends came over and oohed over my picture and my daughter proudly told them I'd begun painting their room like a jungle. One of the girls complimented me and told me I should be an artist. I thanked her and said I just happened to be an artist, which impressed her to no end.

The days are cooler and shorter and the afternoon light when it comes is even more beautiful than it was in summer, when it became oppressive and I longed for rain. Yesterday the sun shone while the rain fell and the birds sang and I enjoyed it from the house looking out at the shed and the shed looking back at the house.

I came to epiphanies about control and illusion. It was a full day. I made meals, beds, apologies, progress.

Now if I could just grit my teeth and sit down at the computer and sort out my pictures. There are just so many.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In my dreams I have two weeks alone by the ocean to write, draw and paint.


Or just to walk aimlessly along the beach, or not walk at all but just sit and listen to the water. Drape kelp in odd patterns. Build bonfires from driftwood. Carve the damp, firm sand.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I haven't been taking many pictures lately.


I'm not certain why. It doesn't seem to pull at me, the camera, so I don't pick it up, and the days go by and of course now that I'm thinking about this I wonder: am I reminding myself to charge the battery and light some candles tonight in the shed and take some pictures after I maybe paint a bit more on the walls.

I'm making slow but steady progress, though of course the work would go along faster if I had a plan and didn't just paint ecstatically, without stopping, and without intention other than dipping the brush and seeing what happens when I push the brush this way or that way, or mix this with that, or scrub with the brush almost dry, or scrape with the edge of the metal part, and uncover something, and cover it again, and of course as I'm writing this there's the part of me that sits back and says oh yes, obsession, a classic case, but don't we all have our crosses to bear, I suppose we do, and apparently this sort of pre-occupation is mine, and some days what a delight that burden is to carry, or to set aside for a moment or two, and choose to pick up again, and see in an unfamiliar and clarifying light.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I sang for my sister by the fire.


No accompaniment, spontaneous, as natural as speaking. Hoarse, from too much speaking, and tears given into and tears held back, some of joy and some of a deep and unrelenting sorrow, for all the wasted days and misunderstandings.

But it was a true moment, and we both cried, and hugged each other, and promised to keep in better touch.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doing laundry today, packing bags, considering what to take.

My overalls, of course, the neatest pair, with the least amount of paint on them. And some long gypsy skirts and tank tops, to be comfortable in, and a nice dress for the ceremony - I hope to find one today that suits me, but if not, I've got one that will do. I don't expect my wardrobe will be the concern of anyone but me, really, and when I think of all the time I've spent in my life worrying about what to wear, honestly. It vexes me often, my fretting over inconsequentialities.

I've gotten the house ready, am going to try and leave it as clean and happy as possible. My nine year old is all full of preteen melancholy about our upcoming separation; my eight year old will miss me too, but more importantly, she's looking forward to a suitcase full of surprises when I come home. My husband says he and the girls will probably spend much of time relaxing and making messes, and then they'll be tidying up and preparing in a hurry the last day, to be ready for my return.



I don't expect there'll be much of any time for quiet reflection while I'm there. But then I've got my shed to come back to, and the fall still ahead, with cooler weather to fill up with all sorts of projects, as I've come to realize I need the structure and deadlines and challenges posed by projects in order to feel a sense of progress and purpose and accomplishment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What am I going to wear to my father's wedding?



I take it as quite a good sign that the most important question still to be answered about my upcoming trip has to do with my wardrobe. My father is getting married again, and I'm very happy for him. It'll be an adjustment, that's for certain, but I consider it another layer of love added onto his life, and not in any way a replacement of the love he had with my mother. I was immediately happy when he told me (happy for him) and then after I spoke to him I was hit with a wave of emotion, and cried, and it seemed as if it brought my mother's loss into a finer, closer focus. Or maybe made it new again, fresh hurt. But since then it's been much gentler than I thought it would be, and I'll be there for five days, seeing family I haven't seen in years, and I'll be on my own with my husband and the girls here waiting for me to come home, and I can't wear my overalls to the ceremony, so I suppose I'll have to find some kind of dress.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A rusty old truck, broken glass and a birdhouse. What more could I ask for?




I could have quite happily taken pictures of this old truck for - well. Hours is what I was going to say. Days is probably more accurate. Or years, even. If only I had a rusty old truck of my own to put stuff on, decorate with leaves and spiderwebs and moss, and take pictures of, year after year, in the rain, in the snow, in that almost perfect light in the late afternoon, just after it's rained and everything goes the colour of toffee, but only briefly. I love that light.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Only in America would anyone drive through a tree.

The girls loved it, of course, and my husband thought it was quite cool to be able to drive through a living redwood. I laughed at them (not unkindly) but no-one took offense. And the lady who took our money at the entrance booth was sweet and very welcoming, and you just know we must have been the millionth family to come through and ask the same questions.



This isn't a picture of that tree, of course. It's the side of the car, and the road. The oddest things catch my eye.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We're off to see the redwoods tomorrow, and watch the sun set over the ocean.




The road trip snacks (and some sensible food) have been purchased, the route planned out, the hotel chosen. The girls are excited, my husband's beside himself with excitement (he even bought himself a new wild road trip shirt, a tradition we established years ago) and I'm pleased but mostly consumed with making sure nothing's forgotten, the house is clean, and all batteries, literal and metaphorical, are charged.

So. Tea's made, dishwasher's going, camera and phone are charging, girls are happily reading and playing, and I'm off to the shed to go listen to birds, breathe in the smell of last night's rain, paint a bit, sing a bit, and then it's back inside to boss everyone around and make sure we leave the house smelling sweet and clean and ready to come home to.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

So this new camera is pretty slick, I must say.




And I was briefly setting my heart against loving it, because it's a Sony and not a Fuji like the last two. (The HP was first. 1.3 megapixels, and no video. I still have it, though I suppose I should recycle it or something.)

But. This one can shoot video in sepia or black and white. It doesn't (sadly) have a Kodachrome setting for photographs, though. I do miss that.


The new camera has a slideshow option for reviewing pictures. The sound for video playback isn't good at all, the Fuji was better for that. Overall, though, I'd have to say it was a good idea to buy it.

But the memory card, oh my goodness. Eight gigabytes of picture and video storage. What in the world was my husband thinking? Now how am I supposed to get anything done besides documenting the way the light falls differently on wet gravel than it does on dry, or, oh yes! burst picture taking mode. Like stop motion animation, I love it. So now I'm taking way too many pictures of the cross-eyed Siamese cat who deigns to live with us. I watch him stalking things, the way cats do, and I take pictures of him for long moments a time, in black and white, against the bamboo.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I can't imagine that I've got much of any consequence to say.



(This could preface many blog posts, couldn't it? Mine included, of course.)

It's not the

connection is the word that comes to mind when I try to hold the idea of what it is I think is best about the way I can sit here nattering on about everything/nothing and

dishwasher's going. sounds companionable. There was a helicopter (I think it was a helicopter. At least I think I remember thinking that at the time, I've forgotten now what it sounded like exactly but I do know it was a sound I haven't heard before. I pay attention to things like the difference in the sound of the mailtruck and the UPS truck and the way our neighbor's truck next door starts up is a distinct signature, or not, not a signature but a song, I suppose, as much as a bird's noise is its song.




Whatever. I don't know where the words come from, and often now I don't bother worrying about why I don't know that, or what it might mean or how it might be interpreted or misinterpreted or completely ignored, not even noticed, what was that over there, did you see it? No, it wasn't there, it was only the shadow of the thought of it that appeared there briefly.

We had dragonflies today in the just-watered garden, sunning themselves and thrilling their wings as they sat on the tops of sticks cut from the little ornamental cherry tree that's grown all crooked. It's been badly pruned, but it wasn't done out of anything other than a lack of something, foresight, patience, something like that.




Tired all of a sudden. Didn't do so much today but did get some things done, and was nice part of the time and kind of grumpy the other part but it was pretty much not such a bad day. Hot though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I had several very good ideas today.

But that was hours ago, and all sorts of things and events have transpired; conspired to cause me to forget those particular shed epiphanies.

But. The idea is energy, and energy cannot be lost, only momentarily transformed, transmitted, transubstantiated.

I'm tired. I unloaded a pickup truck full of gravel yesterday, and spread it out by the shed, swept and brushed and washed out the truck bed (next time, a clever blue tarp before the gravel goes in) and the day before that we had a garden party with a live and very cool band who are friends of ours, and before that it was getting ready for that, and now it's getting ready for the next thing, and the days go by and it's hot, blue skies, popsicles, and don't I wish I could travel back in time and give this whole happy relaxed loving joyful me to the child who suffered the despondent and confused mother. I didn't have any joy of my own then, and now I do. That feels like betrayal some days, and just the way it goes on other days; life teaches, and some of us learn faster than others and some of us

us, me, you. Pronouns are such tricky things.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Here's the latest picture of the shed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Today I started painting the concrete wall in front of our house.




This is, of course, after I started painting the living room, kitchen and bathroom walls, the back door, one of the shed doors (they're currently detached from the shed and awaiting an opportunity to go to town) and of course inside and outside the shed here and there, the shed floor, a length of PVC pipe and a few other things I'm sure. I like to paint.

I'm curious to see his reaction when he sees the living room wall. I'll let you know how it goes. I expect a sigh, a smile and a comment like "Honey, you're an artist. There's no denying it."

The shed's getting to more of a finished state, the garage is in the beginning stages, but oh the house and all those white textured walls, and the way the cheap craft paint goes on like cream and dries like chalk, but no, more like velveteen.

Friday, July 10, 2009

According to Wikipedia, this is what autodyne means.




The autodyne circuit was an improvement to radio signal amplification using the De Forest Audion light bulb type amplifier.

It goes on for a paragraph or so like that, but you can look it up yourself if you're interested. So how that definition affects the understanding of the phrase mentioned in the next post, in which autodyne plays a part (oscillating?) I just don't know.

I'm aware it's a glitch in the translation, the transmission, or intended transmission.

I just found it interesting enough to waste some time amusing myself, and I thought it might amuse you as well or at least just puzzle you for a moment, or cause you to smile and say well, autodyne. Now there's a word you don't see everyday. I wonder what the hell it means.

Please be aware this post contains suggestive language.




I posted that last post, with the blue jug in the shed window, and immediately, a comment. A whole block of text that looked to be Chinese (like I could tell, but it looked boxier, and isn't Japanese more flowing? I don't know. Anyway) so I copied the text (each phrase was a link, by the way) and Babelfish says the comment was this:


Love apartment, the sentiment color, the sentiment color pastes the chart, the pornographic website, love pair, the sentiment color a piece, the sensation novel, the sentiment color literature, the sentiment color novel, the pornography, the sentiment color video, expresses feelings builds the garden small game, aio makes friends love hall, the pornographic game, the sentiment color makes friends, toot toot the sweetheart color network, the love story, the sentiment color forum, the pornographic movie, love, the erotic literature, the sentiment color network, Li's sentiment color small game, the pornographic cartoon, a night of sentiment, the sentiment color game, the pornography pastes the chart, the pornographic picture, the breeze adult, the adult website, the adult disc, toot toot adult net, adult, the adult cinema city, 18 adults, the adult chatroom, the 85cct adult piece, the adult movie, the adult picture, the adult paste the chart, the adult picture area, the adult movie, the adult article, the adult novel, the breeze adult area, the adult make friends, the adult pastes the chart station, the adult cartoon, the adult plays, free adult movie, adult forum, a piece, AIO, Japanese a piece, a piece of downloading, av, av piece, av female superior, a inundates, the free A piece, the av beautiful woman, the appeal thing, the appeal, the appeal commodity, the native place autodyne, the autodyne, the sexual affection, the video makes the love, makes the love, the beautiful woman makes friends, beautiful woman, beautiful womanThe game, the beautiful woman portrait, the ut chatroom, the chatroom, the bean bean chatroom, the chatroom, seeks the dream garden chatroom, the video chatroom, the adult chatroom, 080 chatrooms, 080 Miaoli person chatroom, the video chats, the free video, the free video chats, the video makes friends the net, the video beautiful woman, is exposed, the great breast, photographs surreptitiously, the sexy movie, does not have the code, the movie.

So I disallowed comments on that post, in case anyone innocently clicked on any of the links. Thank goodness I'm somewhat cautious about those kinds of things. I've just glanced through the list and I think my favourite comment is either the native place autodyne (whatever that means) or toot toot the sweetheart color network.

I have a fancy new camera. An early birthday gift from my husband.



So now I can see again, what I'm taking a picture of. Mind you, by this point I know when the camera is pointed a certain way what I'll see when I take the picture, because I've taken I don't know how many thousands of pictures with it.

My old camera, that is. My new one I don't have to know that, it knows that for me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sometimes I wonder what the point of all this is.

The blogging, in particular, and just everything, in general.

Today's not one of those days though, thank goodness.

video

I don't imagine that's because I've discovered any sort of mysterious clue to the heart of the universe, if one exists, if the universe exists, and it's not all some figment of the collective imagination. I expect it's more along the lines of a kind of relaxation into the understanding that mystery not only defies understanding, but laughs at the effrontery of it. I like to imagine the laugh as a kindly one, firm but not malicious in any sort of way. Indifferent, perhaps, to the confusion of the ones debating point and pointlessness and the many variations of variations of possibility.

No I don't understand any of that. But I've been reading Deleuze and Guattari again. So I'm a little confused, and prone to using many words and comprehending none of them.

Well. I say reading. But really what I mean is that I open the book and stare at the letters and sometimes I catch a glimpse of the shadow of an idea. And then I look again, and no, it's all gibberish, like it's written in languages I can't even begin to hope to half-understand. I don't know why I torment myself this way; sometimes I read things that hurt, they're so intricate and beyond me. But it's soothing in an odd way. The words aren't much different than the bamboo that held me up that afternoon. Uncomfortable, as long as you resist the boldness of trusting something you know may very well bend and break and let you fall.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another old drawing. I was in the "Sad-Eyed Queens & Virgins" phase, apparently.


I blame it on the time spent reading the Lives of the Saints in grade five library period. When I went back to my old school many years later I found a book in the library with my name there, in my girl-handwriting, on the library card.


Then the Andrew Lang fairy tale books started, all the colours (even the secondary ones) and tales from faraway and exotic places, but all of them pretty much boiled down to one thing and that was love. The fear of never finding it, of finding it and losing it, and having to bear that loss through all the rest of the long days after, and all those mornings of waking up and picking up the grief again.

Monday, June 29, 2009



So Adam and Eve were sitting around the table one night playing dice and Adam says to Eve,

or Eve to Adam, or Adam to Steve; it depends who's telling the story on this particular night, and what brand of snake oil is being offered for sale, but in any case some someone says to some other someone else:

"What's that over there, sliding through the tall grass?"

And then the someone being asked looks away, and says, "Oh yes, that. I thought I told you about that, didn't I tell you about that?" and then he or she smiles and asks if the someone asking about the snake would like to try a piece of pie.

I don't know how the world was made. But I have theories about all sorts of things.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's one of those days when I think I should get something really productive done.


But I don't suppose it's necessary, really. It occurred to me the other day as I was raking the grass that it's the raking, and not the temporary pattern the rake leaves, that's important. And maybe the raking's not all that important either.

In any case, I'm kind of excited today because I'm going to submit an application to an upcoming art show. And even if I don't get to show anything, or I do and it isn't a wild success, or it is and I can buy all the gravel and drainage rock and bags of fast-setting concrete my heart desires, it's not any of that that's the happiness. The happiness is the purpose, and the sense of motion, wherever it might take me.

At the moment, the motion is taking me to the shed, and then the garden, and then the garage. Laundry's piling up, and I've got thinking to do. Laundry's great for that.

video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm sure the raccoons got most of the fish, but where did the little slice of wood go?



I can't imagine a raccoon tucking it under an arm and wandering off with it.

In any case, there are maybe four, maybe five fish left. I hope they enjoyed their freedom before they became a snack for someone. What else might have gotten them, I wonder? Do frogs eat little fish? I don't think so, but then again I don't know much about frogs.

Netting, maybe. We'll see.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fifteen or sixteen went in; most days we can see ten.


video
But they seem to be happy enough, the kids in the neighborhood love having fish in the creek (such lucky kids, to have a creek in their childhood) and although we might have provided a few treats for the raccoons (where are those other five or six fish?) it seems to have been a good idea, or at least an entertaining and relatively inexpensive one. I imagine it's got to be better than being in a brightly lit fishtank at Wal-mart, with kids tapping constantly on the glass with their smudgy little fingers.

If I didn't know better, I'd think I was two people trapped in one body.



But it's not that; just one complicated me, trying to grow into a coherent and functioning whole, happy creature.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's late. I've been using capitals lately. I feel smarter when I do.



I think that not using them is like sleeping in your clothes on the couch on a Friday night. Sort of comfortable, and there's all that pesky time spent changing into pajamas saved, not to mention the soft thrill of rebellion. Anyway. I let my nine year old sleep on the couch last night (at her request) and so now tonight it's my eight year old's turn. They figure I'm a (briefly, pre-teens are fickle that way) cool mom, and seeing as how I'm making the whiteboard into a chore list this weekend, I'll take the points. (Though I'd argue vociferously - and have, on occasion, for various reasons at various times, vociferocity suits me - that I am cooler indeed than even they are privileged to know and experience, and deserve to be treated pretty nicely even without the whole lazy Friday night party thing.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

managed to make it through some difficult days.



so now that I'm feeling cheerful and buoyed by a sense of purpose, I've been quite happily productive in the yard.

no, that's not my house. it's a seafood market beside the bar we go to for the blues jam on some sundays, when we can get babysitting. next to that is a chinese restaurant; we've eaten there and the food is good, with big portions, but my goodness, the bathroom was awful when I went in. I don't think we'll eat there again. it's too bad, too, because the carved fish and dragons by the front door are gorgeous.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

bits & pieces of shed/yard video.


video

I enjoy playing around with moviemaker, cutting and pasting the bits of video and then dragging them back and forth across each other, seeing what happens. I expect if I spent some time being precise and planning how images might interact with each other I might be able to make some interesting things with a little more polish. but I've got rocks to move and bamboo to cut and all that toxic muck to drag up out of the creek. so I'll just be contented with a more haphazard approach to video-editing, and get my husband's big rubber boots on and go play in the mud, like a contented and blissful child.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

all of the blossoms have fallen from the cherry trees.



and now that the leaves are full and green, the trees give gracefully moving pieces of shade. the branches have been released from all that pink heaviness, so the wind moves through them more easily.

there seem to be robins everywhere and even a little yellow canary yesterday in the bamboo, for a sunlit moment by the creek. it's coming along.

I'm fond of the phrase "coming along", I've decided. it sounds like progress, but an unhurried kind, in tune with natural processes and principles. I allow myself to imagine a partnership between me and the water, the muck I drag up out of it, the stones I throw into it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

it's not especially late, but I'm tired and think going to bed is the most sensible thing to do.



and, seeing as how I'm in a relatively sensible mood, I think I'll follow my own good advice for a change and get a good sleep. tomorrow's supposed to be even more beautiful than today. the yard is coming along. I've rearranged the living/dining room again (still hoping for the perfect solution to present itself) and shuffled furniture from room to room. if I could just go buy what I wanted it would be easy; I've paid enough attention to the possibilities and difficulties of the room and thought long and hard about the smartest and most comfortable way to make everything work together. but I'm working with furniture brought from a much larger house in texas, and then bits and pieces picked up here and there, and so it's slower going. but more exciting, I suppose, making what I have into what I want.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

there are wild white morning glories that grow like weeds (the way morning glories do) up the bamboo.



and I've decided to plant heavenly blue morning glories there, to twine in the tall stems with the white ones. and sweet peas, and maybe scarlet runner beans.

how beautiful that would be, to have the flowers dripping out of the bamboo like that, all that hot and cool colour and then the green on top like the roof of the world, and then the smell of the sweet peas in the afternoon when the sun hits hot there, that would be worth the digging and the few dollars for seeds, don't you think? I'm working hard making paths and flowerbeds, shallow ramp-like steps and all sorts of nice places to sit and look at things, or past them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

this is the mango jar upside down, lit up inside the shed.


and I took far too many pictures of it, by itself and in combination with lights in other jars. I put the camera on the fireworks setting and drew with the different coloured lights for many blissful moments during which nothing existed but the hush-click of the camera, and sometimes not even that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

this is the tulip moon.



as it rested on the window-ledge the other night. the jar makes the most beautiful wavery patterns, and I'm always happy to see a jar of mango slices in the fridge because I love the taste of mangoes and when the beautiful taste is all gone, I get the jar.

if you set the light on the bottom and the jar on the top of it, the pattern of light on the shed roof is so delicately lovely, so liquid and silvery-blue. sometimes it feels very cool and shimmering in the shed, and on those nights I dream about fishes and mermaids and things like that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

today I climbed into the middle of the bamboo and made myself a nest, and almost fell asleep there.




it was the most at peace and comforted I've felt since I don't know when. hidden, trusting the bamboo to hold me up, listening to the creek behind me. watching the birds and the sky from inside the bamboo, snugged down inside it like a mouse in the tall grass.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

the inquisitive cat vists the shed.



he had to come in through the window because the doors were shut, and so he just hopped up on the ledge and came in, as calm and self-possessed as you please.

he sniffed at the piled up stones and the candle (no singed whiskers) and then sat in my lap, his muddy paws all over, not caring that I was in the midst of a particularly deep thought. he was insistent that I pet him, and bumped his head forcefully against my chin over and over, demanding affection, claws dug in, purring as he nuzzled.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

this is the last of the tulips.



I enjoyed every single bloom. they graced the front and back yard, the house and the shed. this one is resting in a glass jar on the shed window. I set it right-side up before I came in for the evening, when it was still dusk outside, and put a solar powered LED to shine on top of it.

if I lean over and peek out the back door I can see the the light filling the jar, and the jar resting on the window-ledge, shining like a plump, satisfied moon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

half of the blossoms have fallen from our two ornamental cherry trees.


video

and the rain and wind the last few days (with beautiful, sparkling, sunny breaks now and then) has hastened the falling. my camera has two splotches on the lens now, and I have gotten quite adept at hiding those with light or colour on photographs, but video is trickier. at some point, a new camera. but there's no money in the budget now for necessary luxuries like that. and if at some point I print something, there's always photoshop to smooth the spots out, I suppose, if I was inclined to that sort of time spent at the computer fixing up pictures - and I'm not. but you can't always do only what you're inclined to do, even if you are a selfish sort, as I am.

"be happy" is the message I've set for myself on my cell phone. before that it was "be kind" and before that, "relax" and I must say, I've got the relaxing part down. being happy and kind takes much more effort, especially on days when I feel weighted down with responsibilities. but I think I'm a better person now than I have ever been, it's a slow and halting progress, but I'm happy with it, or at least I am on those days when I'm inclined to be happy about things. I intend to be inclined that way today, and the sun's out, which helps. (though I have to confess, I have come to quite love the rain.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

the cat's gotten two moles now, a fair number of mice and seems especially fond of catching garter snakes.



and I'm sorry about all of them, even as I'm impressed with his hunting ability. the moles are a nuisance, of course, but my husband was quite happy with the cat and gave him extra love after the moles turned up, with their funny little faces and strong, delicate feet.

the yard's coming along, I'm reclaiming land back along the sluggish creek and making the mud and bamboo leaves into a raised path through the bamboo, which needs attention quite desperately. it's got all sort of dead, dry bits that need cutting out but I haven't even done much of anything with the pieces that were cut last fall. I have fences in mind, and trellises, and things of that nature.