Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kim chee

Kim chee
Originally uploaded by Jaemes Sister
Photo note:

Kim chee

A neighborhood old folks recreation center has an annual project of making kim chee that is given to shut ins, orphanages, old folks rest homes, etc. Local companies send volunteers to help and it becomes a two day community project. Sadly I didn't have my camera on the first day but the real work is here on the second day.

Artist's Way Journal - Week Thirteen, New Year's Eve

So, it's been a few days.  Already I've slipped a little bit.  Okay, granted it *was* Christmas, and because of the snow we had to make up a couple of celebrations... and tonight's New Year's Eve.  The Best of the Cars is on the CD player, DH is in the kitchen making Figgy Pudding, DD, DS and DF are in the yard shooting things off, my pecan pie is cooling on the counter, the veggies are on the table, and friends are on the way.

Also in the offing is pickled herring, salted herring, kimchee, smoked almonds, Asian pears, mango, and whatever else our DF's are bringing.  I'm sure we'll all be slow and foggy tomorrow, but well-fed.  Did I mention wine and champagne?  (Hmm, spellcheck doesn't like my spelling of kimchee...)  (Well, according to Wikipedia, "kimchi" and "gimchi" are also correct.)

I did manage to send out two full mss. today.  That was good.  I got a new laser printer on sale a couple of days ago.  I think the copies look much better than the ones I do on the deskjet.  So, here's hoping for something published in 2009!  

Seeing as I'm expecting guests soon, I'm going to abandon this until later... hopefully adding food photos soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Five, again

I think I will be stuck in the Artist's Way week twelve groove for a while.  I should try to come to some sort of completion by New Year's Eve.  Then, who knows?  I may try to continue doing some sort of "Morning Pages" beyond this.  Something to keep the creativity level up.  Just the act to typing is good, freeing.  

Cheese muffins are in the oven, the stuff I ordered for Christmas is still "on the truck, scheduled for delivery."  DD is in a very bad mood.  It's amazing how her moods darken the day.  I'm amazed at how powerful that is for me, how hard it is to escape.  Even when she is in her room, with the door locked.  Yuck.

DS just got the movie "Batman Begins," and wants to watch it on the Mac, as opposed to the tv.  I said no, because I didn't want the Mac tied up right now.  ... 


Thursday, December 25, 2008

White Christmas

One more...

such a classic.

Merry Christmas

And, this is one of my favorites:

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Two, again

Quick note to say I haven't disappeared.  It's been a whirlwind, what with the snow lasting for days, and trying to get ready for Christmas.  I'm still working on my cards, and it's taking days!  I first started the letter on the 18th.  I will return, just need to go to bed.  DD is up, doing the crossword, asking me questions from the other room.  I think my brain has left the building.  Clean shut down. 

This is the photo I'm using for the front of the card~

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Six

“The weather outside is frightful…   It doesn’t show signs of stopping…”

Brings to mind older times.  I know this cold weather and/or “mixed winter precipitation” (Yahoo weather) is a fairly nationwide thing, but it’s certainly not the norm, not for us in the Northwest.  Sure, we have the Cascade and the Olympic mountain ranges, but for the lowlands on the coastal side of the Cascades, this is simply arctic.  Nice thing is we haven’t lost power.  Yet.  High winds are predicted, but right now, it’s pretty calm.  Granted, the curtains are drawn, the blinds are down, and it’s dark outside.  I’m listening to the Swing Years on KUOW.  Periodically I go outside to check the temp (currently, 25 degrees and holding) and see that it is snowing. 

“…pretty snowflakes, pretty snowflakes, coming down from the sky; pretty snowflakes, pretty snowflakes, hello and goodbye…” the radio chirps.  Patty Page, Christmas 1959?

It began while we were out on the field trip to the mall.  DD was suffering from severe cabin fever, so it was decided that we venture out before the coming storm, just to break up the monotony.  We started with a much needed haircut for DS, whose hair, despite a floor littered with what was cut off, is still long.  But it looks oh so much better, and he is actually happy with it.  We are thinking that getting it cut more often, say once every 2-3 months might be a good thing.  I can’t imagine him with short hair. 

I then dropped the kids off at the mall while I picked up a couple of Christmas items for DS.  Not the least of which was a cell phone.  I got the Voyager.  This adventure took me an hour.  Thirty minutes before I arrived at the Verizon store, it began to snow.  So, as it had already started coming down, and sticking (everything’s still quite cold out there), I was beginning to think about the drive home. 

“So, do you want to go for the two for one deal on a new phone?” said the sales clerk.  At the same time a text message was coming in from DD:  “How long are you going to be?  DS is hungry and he’s complaining about being cold.”  “Where are you?” I pecked back.  “Starbucks. Can I get him some popcorn chicken?”  “Yes, please do. Just come and get the car keys from me and get his insulin case.”  And to the clerk, “um, I didn’t think about that…do I have to get two of the same ones?” and so on. 

As it turns out, I went for the two-fer offer, and soon DH will realize that his current phone is no longer working.  That’s when I’ll need to tell him he got a new one.  Wonder if we can hold that off until Christmas Eve?  He hardly ever uses the damn thing.  The new one is an EnV, and I like the big keys on the pad.  Nice on the fingers and eyes.  Perfect for him.

The Swing Years were getting too goofy, so I’ve switched to some choral music.  Very nice.  The Kings College Choir.  This is what I remember from going to a Christmas Midnight Mass one year. There is something very comforting about being in a cathedral, listening to the resonant voice of the priest and other readers, the organ and voices of the choir.  Outside it is cold, but in this moment we are all together, warm, and expectant.  We listen, wait and watch, and when it is over we return to the cold and drive silently home. 

This is the first year I will have missed every week of Advent.  This is very unusual.  Advent is when I started going to Grace, nine years ago. There would have been a time when I’d have felt a great loss.  I feel some of that now, but I am more at peace with being home. 

That's it for now... 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Five

The Little Drummer Boy was my favorite animated Christmas show when I was a kid.  That, and that other one, with Burl Ives singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”  Wish I could remember the name of that one.  I’ll have to Google it.

*   *   *   *   *

Way later in the day, evening in fact…

We just watched one episode of Northern Exposure.  Holling is experiencing mid-life crisis and retreats to his still, while Joel begins to feel isolated as the sole Jew in Cicely.  Ed answers an ad in a magazine to find and film someone whose craft is part of a dying breed; he discovers and films Ira Wingfeather, last of the duck flute makers.

I love this show.  The characters and situations are quirky.  They say what’s on their minds, follow their whims, explore eccentric ideas and play out scenes of psychological oddness most would just keep to themselves. I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite—Chris, with his Jesus haircut and philosopher’s bent; Maggie, with her prickly personality and endearing bitchiness; Marilyn, quiet, a dry wit and powerful presence; Ed’s wide-eyed eagerness and native wisdom; and Adam and Eve, a psychopath and a hypochondriac; and narrow-minded doctor Joel. 

We’re getting ready to watch the Piano-flinging episode. … And it was as good as ever.

Now I’m pooped.  It’s cold out there—probably nearing the 16 degrees Yahoo said it would get to, and there is snow predicted for tomorrow evening.  At this point rain is called for by Christmas, but that could all change.  Or, not.  I’ve gotten accustomed wearing my down vest around the house. At this point, we are heating pretty much solely with wood heat.  We’re out of propane, and have been for months.  There is a little space heater in our bathroom upstairs and one in DD’s room.  When we finally do give in and buy oil, it’ll seem weird to once again have warm floors. 

Our cat, during the first episode tonight, brought in a sizeable rat.  It lay twitching and pulling itself along the carpet, finally lodging itself under the sofa.  Its tail was quite long.  After some minutes, and a moment when DS came bounding down the stairs, oblivious, having knocked a picture off the stairwell wall.  We just found the glass on the carpet.  It’s a wonder it didn’t break. DH dispatched the rat with some pliers.  I don’t know where it ended up. The cat is still looking for it.

I’m still working on the Christmas letter, having forgotten to include our trip to San Francisco.  I now have to squeeze that in, and pare down something else to get everything onto one piece of paper.  I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.  A good lesson in revision, which I have strangely come to enjoy. 


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Four

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!  

I am going out soon to take photos before it stop snowing.  If you've tuned in now, there *will* be more later.  No school today, and no morning classes at the gym.  Now I wait to see if there are going to be evening classes, which I'm sort of doubting right now.  

A thought just occurred to me--this is an actual legitimate Morning Page today.  Until I sign off in a moment to change and go out to take photos... although it *is* tempting to go out in my pajamas.

Got my snow day.  It is after noon, and still coming down as it has been the past three or four hours. 

Hours later:  I’m watching Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?  A Episcopal priest is going for the million dollars.  Now a commercial break, and DH is channel surfing.  Ch. 9, and Sherman Alexie is one, speaking with Enrique Cerna.  Back to the $500,000 question. Legendary Native American leader Geronimo was the chief of what tribe?  The priest said Apache.  The fifth grader said Chumash tribe.  Apache was right, and we didn’t have to wait for a zillion commercials to get to that point.  More Sherman, and then back to the million dollar final question.  Did the priest go for it, or did he quite while he was ahead?  He decided to take the money and run.  What was the final question?  Who wrote the 1812 Overture? Poor guy, and he of course knew that one too, having taught music for eight years.

Today was spent taking two walks, and at least 150 photos.  I got my Christmas letter composed, and ready to print tomorrow.  Now I have to put together the photo card to sent with the letter, and maybe select a poem for the year.  We made two batches of gingerbread cookies.  These are all creative things.  And that feels good to me.

Now I’m very tired, and looking forward to a good, uninterrupted sleep.  There is no school tomorrow, no school until after the New Year.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Three

Candles, Notre Dame, 2006

Evening Pages again. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get into a Morning Page habit.  Certainly don’t have a leisure that Bly must have had to do his Morning Poems book, although I think it had to do with being at Bennington for a month.  As I understand it, he wouldn’t get out of bed until he’d written a poem. 

Not so easy to write right now.  I’m feeling a little self conscious about the loud sound of these keys.  DH isn’t fond of the sound. But, with Loreena McKennitt playing in the background, perhaps it isn’t the problem I imagine it to be.  I wonder how quiet Mac laptop keys are…  Thinking about a laptop, which I’m working on, makes me think about both of my Soapstone residencies: the snow during my first time there, first week of Jan. 2004, and the spawning salmon the second time, Nov. 2005.  I miss it—the quiet, the relative freedom to write when I want to, sleep when I want, to write as long as I feel it is possible to write—and I hope someday to go back. 

I remember the cold mornings, trying to get the Duchess warmed up so that the cabin would be comfortable.  (I don’t miss cleaning the glass in the door to the woodstove; most times it would be near impossible to do!)  Sometimes I challenged myself to see if I could get it started by what hidden embers there were left in the ashes. I even enjoyed collecting and splitting wood.  All night I left the little window alongside my bed cracked to let in the cold air and to allow me to hear Soapstone Creek.  Mornings I learned not to sit up quickly, so as not to hit my head on the ceiling above me—the landing level with the deck, one level below the writing cube.

Everything was gotten to by ladder—my sleeping loft, the deck (which I didn’t use as it was cold each time I was there), and the Cube—a series of three ladders, the last of which required one to balance while holding open the trap door to the Cube.  Both times I was there I had to use the little space heater, feeling a little guilty because I was using power, but loving the comfort it brought.  Of course, I’d turn it off when I wasn’t up there, or start it a few minutes before I settled in to write. 

The writing desk was always at a perfect slant and height, the chair easy to work in.  At times I’d have my floor covered with a manuscript I was putting together.  The nice things was, I could leave it that way and come back to it later without annoying anyone.  A basket to carry the things I would need, a cup of tea and lunch.  It was here I did Morning Pages daily.  I managed 25 pages the second week I attended, and it *was* very freeing.  It was there I wrote for hours without guilt. 

Now it’s quiet again.  DS reading a book for English, DH doing the crossword.  I’ve got my “Jesus candle” burning, the one S gave me when she came over to tell me about my past lives and my guides.  I think it’s beeswax, and it’s nestled in a little palm-sized blue glass bowl.  Yellow and blue, the colors I’d once imagined when I imagined Jesus. (And by way of Synchronicity Loreena sings the word ‘Jesus’ as I type this.  So Holy Spirit, so Zen, at the same time.  All things connected, all things flowing.)

The snow came again, and so did a little rain, in between.  Temp is hovering right around 33, and according to the reports, it’ll get colder by tomorrow.  High 25, I think, tomorrow and Friday.  Secretly I’m hoping for no school.  Secretly I hope not to have to work.  I want to wake up to a foot of snow and a week of cold temperatures.  I want a white Christmas.  Except it would be good if for Christmas we could have safe roads to drive so that family can all get together as planned.  Then we can have more snow, and hunker down to read, write, do puzzles. 

I’ll need to get in gear and send in a few submissions before December gives way to 2009.  I’ve missed so many deadlines these past few months, and gotten careless with my record-keeping—a thing I was all but obsessive about for three or four years.  Now the mailbox doesn’t make me as anxious, but I do still wonder if there’ll be some long awaited acceptance that finally made its way back to me. 

For Christmas and New Year I want good news.  Maybe the knowledge that my book has been accepted for publication.  Maybe I shouldn’t say ‘maybe.’  Let’s try to be more definite, speak in a confident voice about what I want.  This coming year, 2009, will be the year I find a publisher for my book.  This will be the year my mss. wins a contest.  It has been a finalist a few times, and a semi-finalist; now it’s time for the final destination for this particular mss.  I’ve gotten so close—runner up to the winner in a contest of 650+ mss.  

I just blew my Jesus Candle out.  The soft warm flesh of it smells good, even through the lingering smoke trail.  I wish for good news.  I hope it snows.  I hope a lot of things.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day Two

It’s quiet right now.  I wonder how long it’ll last.  DS is doing his research paper (final draft, last minute, most of it done today, and changed from it’s original by a lot).  He calls me in to help frequently, but those visits amount to a brief suggestion from me, and the words “okay, you can go now,” from him.  Soon he’ll call me back in.  I’m sure of it.

This quiet is so wonderful.  A couple of lamps on in the living room; otherwise the light is low.  The cat jumped over my knitting magazine racks, into the space between the piano and the wall and, discovering nothing alive (or dead), she leapt out again and padded noiselessly upstairs to DD’s room, undoubtedly hoping the heater was turned on again.  DD (and the cat, I’m sure) complained that during the day someone (DH) must have come in and turned it off.  Now the room is “fifteen degrees colder in here.” 

And that might be true.  It has been cold here, and it’s not quite officially winter.  The snow is still on the ground, with more forecast for the middle night and on into tomorrow.  The kids, of course, are hoping for morning delays at the very least; better would be the total closure of school for the day (or the remaining three days leading up to Winter Break).  

In many ways, I’m all for it.  I like when they get to sleep in, and I do, too.  I like not having to stew about what to fix for lunches and who will eat what for breakfast.  There’s nothing worse on a hectic morning when I ask DD “what do you want for breakfast?” to hear “I don’t know!”  They are hungry (or not) and want you to figure out what it is they want, even though they turn down every available option as quickly as you can come up with something.  Or, they insist they are not hungry and “you want me to throw up?” if you make them eat.  It’s a no-win situation.

DS has called me in, and now I’m back.  It doesn’t take long – just long enough to discover he hasn’t read any of the Long Term Dependent Project “Bible” – the research paper guidelines that spell out in detail how the paper should be structured, according to MLA standards.  “You mean I have to read this whole thing? This is as big as Lord of the Rings!”  “Yes, you do, and no, it isn’t.”

Thirteen is extreme.  It’s big and dramatic and tiring and electrically charged.  Thirteen is full of absolutes, with no room for grey areas.  A thing either is, or it isn’t.  And it’s essential to know what will happen before it happens.  It’s crucial to know (yes or no) if a thing is going to happen, and exactly when.  If the answer to something the thirteen-year old wants is no, then it is important to be persistent in discovering when the answer will turn into a yes. 


*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


The report is finished.  I didn’t read it.  I think DS was just so intent on being done with it, that he didn’t encourage me to go over it with a fine-toothed comb.  In some cases, done is better than done well, or thoroughly done.  Since then he’s been bounding around the house, and finally consented to eat some dinner (at around 8:45 pm), having insisted earlier that he wasn’t hungry.  (See above.)  When the report was done (in its own way) I presented DS with a warmed up plate of fried rice I’d made and some peas.  After wolfing that down he announced he was starving and what else was there to eat?  A bowl of homemade applesauce and homemade yogurt, and a slice of just-out-of-the-oven Italian potato bread.  He’s now bouncing off the walls worse than usual. 

The potato bread turned out well enough.  I’ve made four loaves in the past 24 hours.  The first two didn’t make it past this afternoon, and of the two that just came out of the oven, two thirds of one of those loaves is devoured.  There’s nothing like fresh warm bread. Now there’s “probably a quarter of a loaf” left, according to DD, who just sliced off another hunk.  I’ve eaten my fair share of the bread throughout the day – I think I’ve had enough.

I also started another batch of yogurt, and strained it into it’s container to incubate overnight.  Overnight, while the snow begins to fall, and the school reports are revised, the phone calls come to announce either a late arrival time, or no time at all. A day with no real certainty to it yet, no definite answers.  Only the black of night, the white of what’s left on the ground, waiting.



Monday, December 15, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, Day One

My last week, first time around.  Nothing much to report today other than it was one of those tangled up weird days.  School started two hours late for DD and DS, and I started work a half hour before that.  I found out after work that there was some confusion about who was driving the kids in the morning, so I sent a couple of panicked msgs to two different phones.  Turns out it all worked out just fine--I just didn't get any clarifying msg back telling me this.  

DS didn't feel well this morning, which isn't surprising as he has a major paper due on Weds.  Today his neck and shoulder hurt.  This doesn't surprise me, either, the way he bows toward the computer, or rests on one elbow in bed to read.  Sigh...  I could go on about how we were all in better shape as kids, running around the neighborhood, etc., but it wouldn't do any good.  

DD didn't want to go to school, either.  One more week, or four days now, before Winter Break.  Yesterday's snow doesn't help matters; rather, it kindles a deep desire for more snow, and the wish to stay home.  Once home, both of them are bored and want to get out.  I have a feeling this is going to be the norm for a few years to come.  Lord help and preserve me.

A dear friend is a finalist in a prestigious poetry book contest.  I totally dropped the ball on many good contests this fall, so didn't enter very many.  I really hope she is one of the two chosen.  Her manuscript is great, well-honed, and reflects a lot of hard work and love.  I would love to see it published.  May the powers of the Universe work in her favor!

I need a poem.

 What I took in my hand
grew in weight. You must
understand it
was not obscene.

Night comes. We sleep.
Then if you know what
say it.
Don't pretend.

Guises are
what enemies wear. You
and I live
in a prayer.

Helpless. Helpless,
should I speak.
Would you.
What do you think of me.

No woman ever was,
was wiser
than you. None is
more true.

But fate, love, fate
scares me. What
I took in my hand
grows in weight. 

Robert Creeley

And now I need sleep.  

And some dreams I can remember, and do something with.  Last night's were distant, and I had them in the space of time after I fell asleep again after the three phone calls and one e-mail about the school start delays, and upon waking again to find it almost 8 am.  An hour to get ready for work, and make the lunches.  

I need to breathe.  Nothing but the deep breath in, and the full breath out.  Pilates.  Yoga. Meditation.  Necessary.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day Seven

I have been lax today.  Welll, sort of.  It was a time to go outside and take photos of the snow--we got three inches at least--and to retrieve the paper at the end of the road.  Our power went out about 10 am, and stayed out until almost 3 pm.  Piece of cake.  It came on again while I was reading on the sofa, right under the light that suddenly illuminated the pages.  What a nice surprise~

I haven't done the exercises at the end of the chapter (Eleven is where I am), and might try to cram this evening.  So, this will be short, with a few photos thrown in to document the early part of the day.  

The snow is crusting over now, but this morning it was very light and powdery.  On my way I found animal tracks along with the human ones.

(My neighbor's dog(s).)  I consider this snow and the walk in it to be my Artist Date this week, not to mention the photos I took while out.  Even icicles were forming.    

Right now the dishwasher is running, the washing machine has just stopped, and I'm considering climbing into bed.  I hope it's fairly warm in there.  We aren't running our boiler right now--we need to order oil.  So, it's just wood heat so far.  And, so far, so good.

So, on to answering some questions, working out some ideas...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day Six

Watching Victor Borge right now.  There aren’t many like him. His was a talent and humor rarely found anymore.  Truly funny without offence, with a deep love of language as well as music.  To watch him so easily play piano while clowning around is amazing.  I wonder what it is like to be so comfortable with your art that you can play around with it in front of an audience, and so flawlessly!  I hope there will be another like him some day.  Just like those actors who were so multi-talented—they could sing, dance and act—and are still a joy to watch. 

Being able to play the piano so comfortably, and so intuitively, would be a gift.  I’d love to be able to do that.  I took lessons for twelve years, but didn’t really get to be that great.  Perhaps if I’d practiced more, and not just on Monday after school, the hour before my lesson.  A few years ago, I tried to take a few lessons, but found my fingers just weren’t as nimble as I would have liked.  Or, maybe I just didn’t have the patience it would take to stick with it.  Or the true passion.  It’s been a couple of years since I played, and I might just try it again. In remodeling/rearranging our living room, we switched places with the piano and the T.V. 

Right now the news is making a big deal over the tiny bit of snow that is sticking to the ground.  Reporters are pointing out patches of snow accumulated on grassy areas around Seattle where roads are still shiny wet.  There is talk about blizzard conditions (a light snow), and how to deal with hypothermia and frostbite. Sigh. True, I did have to remove a small tree from a friend’s driveway when bringing her son home after school.  We did have a little wind yesterday.  It constantly amazes me how the news seems to have a need to sensationalize, to create a stew amongst the general public.  Makes one appreciate PBS and the BBC World news.  You just can’t get a local weather report, unless you are listening to local Public Radio. 

DD and I got out and drove today awhile.  Before the snow.  She’s doing pretty well, and getting practice often, at least every other day, if not more.  Admittedly, I wouldn’t mind waking up to a pile of snow.  We’ve got a roast, and I could easily make another couple of pizzas.  (We have home-made pizza this evening while watching the Three Priests on PBS.  I’d never heard them before, and they were good.)  The only down-side would be no drive practice if the roads remain icy. 

A glass of dessert wine and two small glasses of port have sent me into a sleepy state.  I’ve decided that Benjamin Port is pretty decent, while the Carlos Basso Vendimia Tardia (Vino Blanco Dulce Natural) 2006, is a little sweet for my taste.  Too bad there was only a small piece of Spanish chocolate left to go with it.  

So far, I've missed four weeks of church, the last two of which were the first and second Sundays of Advent.  And my first day at Grace was the first day of Advent, nine years ago.  And now I'm not sure if I'll make it there in the morning.  I live about 20 minutes away, and I really don't know what to expect with regards to road conditions.  It'll be cold, I know that.  

DS is bouncing off the walls, not going to bed.  He is late taking his Lantus, and has decided he needs a snack of two cups of milk.  That means just about two units of Novolog, too.  He took 15 units for the home-made pizza.  I figured out that each 1/8 of a pizza slice is about 43 carbs.  I want him to become carb savvy so that he can take more control of the situation.  I know in time that he will.  He's already doing well for only having been on insulin for a little over 2 months.

So, now it's time for bed!  

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brick Burger

Brick Burger
Originally uploaded by Robert a.k.a Bob
Just watched a couple of old episodes of Northern Exposure. First one Holling asks Chris to be a partner in the Brick (because Holling is behind around $9000 in back taxes. Second one Dr. Fleischman is adopted into a tribe because a cortisone shot he gave Mrs. Noanuk made her feel much better. I love the interplay of the characters, the little side stories that play out at the same time.

I remember going to the Brick when the kids were way younger.  I have a photo of them in their bright clothes, leaning against a wall.  Used the image as our Christmas card that year.  We had lunch in the basement of the Brick, and the kids ran around the room.  I imagine what the atmosphere would have been like had Adam been in the kitchen...

Here's a little view of Adam, but not in the kitchen...

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day Five

Nearing the end of the Penultimate week, and I feel miles behind.  Actually, even though I haven't been as deeply immersed as I would have liked, I still am getting something out of doing (in my half-assed way) this program.  

Right now it's fixing to storm out there.  Not the 3-5-inches we first expected--Cliff Mass (Prof. of Atmospheric Sciences) set us straight on that one--but a pile of rain and some wind thrown in to make things interesting.  Or something like that.  To me it feels colder than the low 40's, and I still wish I had a wood stove in here
, or a computer out by the wood stove.  

Cliff Mass info:

*   *   *   *   *

Question:  How did it come to be that we can "eat something up," you can "chow down," and I think Bob Marley says something about "eat(ing) down the hamburger" (which goes against the Rasta diet, of course)...

?   ?  ?

I wonder what Ireland is like right now.  We got sideways rain while checking out the Dingle Peninsula.  That was the worst day, and it was end of June at the time.  Ooh, there go the lights!  Flickering!!

Photo--driving on the Dingle Peninsula

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day Four

I admit, today I'm feeling both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I had a minor anxiety attack this morning, which dissipated after I taught Pilates.  (I was pleased with the results.)  Pilates is good for many things.  

I am feeling anxious about the kids.  DD isn't feeling well, and I am worried she might be experiencing a touch of depression.  Granted, she's a junior in a new High School, and her brother is now attending her old school, and is getting used to diabetes.  Stress can make one tired.  Now it seems a sore stomach is involved, so maybe this is why she's down.  She did tell me that Monday was an unusually good day.  I was happy to hear that.  Maybe it's partly to do with being sixteen?

DS is feeling the effects of being behind in his homework.  He would really rather make animations on the computer and look things up on YouTube, and create things with Transformers and Bionicles.  But I'm getting e-mails from his teachers.  Well, one teacher right now...  I'm hoping not to hear from the others.  

Later in the day I taught weight-lifting, and felt better after that, too.  Even though DD is feeling sick, I'm feeling much less anxious.  DS got some Spanish homework done, and is in a better mood.  Friday is near.  Did I also mention part of my nerves come from the realisation that Christmas is less than two weeks away, and I haven't shopped?  

Sleep is in order.  Then a visit to the chiropractor tomorrow morning.  I want to get in some writing time.  We'll see if that happens.  We'll need to make a trip to the local Rite Aid to get new diabetic supplies tomorrow, and haggle with them about contacting our insurance so that they might actually chip in for this stuff.  I guess its marginally better than having no insurance whatsoever...

To bed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day Three

Strange morning.  Nothing wrong with it except for the fact that it's not warm in this room.  The wood stove is out there, but the house hasn't warmed up enough yet to make a difference.  As I write, I think about multi-tasking I should be doing.  A little vacuuming up of the sheetrock
 dust DH made yesterday (he *
did* mop the floury stuff off of the tile floor), dusting of the fine white powder from my books and (way too many) object d'art, washing sheets, folding clothes, cooking, seeing to the
 sourdough bread dough which didn't do anything other than sag during the night.

To be fair, I must clarify.  DH, having gone into Seattle yesterday for a  dinner with DA, left me with the task of taking the starter sponge and turning it into dough.

Fair enough.  I've made lots of bread over the years, including sourdough.  I didn't get started right away, but the starter sponge was still quite bubbly.  As per the instructions I had in my head I added the honey, oil, salt, flour.  But, because I was "somewhere
 else" I added wheat flour.  No big deal, but our sourdough is usually always white.  Fine, I though, once I became aware.  After two cups whole wheat I finished off with the addition of white flour.  

I was multi-tasking at the time, and probably left the dough to knead in the mixer too long.  At any rate, the flour wasn't integrating well into the dough, so I took it out and kneaded it by hand until it felt even.  Dough seemed fine to me, so I dropped a little oil in the b
ig bowl we use to let dough rise, put in the tight round I formed, put the cover on, and went about doing whatever else I was doing at the time.  

This morning I expected to see a little action.  Not so.  If anything, the dough, as I said, relaxed.  No longer round, but a little flat.  Crap, I thought.  I was hoping this was going to be beautiful.  

So, after the kids got off to school, and I got Facebook, Stat Counter, and the mail done, I set about Phase Two of this bread-making lark.  

To the existing flat dough I added yeast.  (Shhh.)  I sprinkled some on the counter and kneaded it in for a few minutes.  Now, I've done this before to decent success.
  The dough felt good, responsive.  Not fabulously elastic, but passable.  I formed it into another tight round, and into the bowl it went.  This is it, about 30 minutes ago:

Bread's progress, phase 2

Okay, the fire I've stared hasn't gone out.  That's a plus.  Should help with the rising of the dough.  DH left enough wood in the rack to keep me going awhile.  He'll be back later in the afternoon, after helping DA clean out her basement.  That's a whole 'nuther story.  I have many memories of that basement, growing up.  

Fire's still going, and I am reluctant to move away from the front of it.  I have to admit, I'm feeling some renewed creativity.  Being alone in the house with the classical music station on, choral Christmas music playing, house is warming, bread is ... rising! ... I'm in a rare mode.  I hope it lasts.  I know I really should get some housework done...

*   *   *

So, I did get some housework done, and also some reading.  I'm halfway through Ch. 11 in Artist's Way.  Wish I had the book in front of me; there were some parts I wanted to quote for the sake of memory.  My Artist Date so far?  Reading this chapter in the tub.  Good for about an hour, minus the time on the phone talking to my mom.  DH took the call, and handed me the phone as I was stepping into the tub...

The bread is just now formed into loaves, and is rising (hopefully) in the clay pans.  The parts that absorbed the yeast best were puffy, but after 24 hours of waiting, I'm certain the gluten is just plain tuckered out.  Here's how they look now, just about 12 hours after the first photos:

Sourdough, phase 3

So, this is where I leave it for today...

Hopefully tomorrow morning will yield decently risen bread.  This is not anywhere near the way I did bread in the past, but...


By: Rabindranath Tagore


In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of
my room; I find her not.

My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be

But infinite is thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have to
come to thy door.

I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky and I lift
my eager eyes to thy face.

I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can
vanish--no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through

Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean, plunge it into the
deepest fullness. Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch in
the allness of the universe.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Twelve, (Eleven), Day One

Nuts.  I'm so off it isn't funny!  I've missed three days of writing!!  And why?

DH, who isn't working right now, needs a project.  And for years he's fantasized about remodeling the living space in our house.  So, over the past three days we've moved furniture around and around to see how it'll all (potentially) look before tearing into existing walls and moving the wood stove (which will be a job).  Long and short of it--it ain't so easy as it seemed at first.  

So, this is short.  I'll be checking back in tomorrow, hopefully with something a whole lot longer than this is!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eleven (Ten), Day Five

Checking in with a photo of my Thanksgiving pie:

     *     *     *     *     *

Just went to a great workshop evening.  It was good to be back at it.  I brought a poem I really didn't think I was ready to share, and even though it needs much work, I'm glad I brought it, so that I could get some other perspectives on it.  They helped greatly.

          *     *     *     *     *

Also, the cinnamon rolls DH made that morning:

My poem is in three parts, and what is now part three was in the middle of parts one and two.  It needs more work.  But, I'm going to sleep on it.  Maybe something will come to me.  I'm always hoping for things to come to me in dreams, but wonder if maybe I'm asking for too much.  Perhaps I just sleep too hard; perhaps, I don't recognise what I need when I get it.  

Maybe I just don't know yet what I want...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eleven (Ten), Day Four

It's been a long day.  I taught two classes at two different time, drove kids from here to there, and even now there is activity in my house.  It's after 10 pm, and DS is doing homework, DD is making cookies for a friend whose birthday was today.  Fortunately, (currently), they are both in agreeable moods.  Not so in the morning when they have to get up...  but being Friday, maybe better than most.

DH finished installing the new lights in the entry way and between the kitchen and dining nook.  Much nicer to be able to see, and it's been years in the planning.  Next is a new wall dividing the living room from the front entry way more completely.  I'm sure I'm repeating myself, but this is not unusual.

Pilates was pretty good today, but I think I lost some momentum with my weight training class. So it goes.  At least I feel better now than I did earlier.  

Crud.  DS just informed me casually that the needle in the needle tip he puts on his insulin pen dropped off.  No problem, he tells me.  It's on the floor, probably on its side.  It probably fell through the floor, he says.  

Note to self:  wear shoes until able to vacuum tomorrow.  

I need another poem.

So, this is a little heavier than I'd planned on, but I like it.  I've got it in a book on my shelf upstairs.  

The Portrait
 My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
that spring
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
When I came down from the attic
with the pastel portrait in my hand
of a long-lipped stranger
with a brave moustache
and deep brown level eyes,
she ripped it into shreds
without a single word
and slapped me hard.
In my sixty-fourth year
I can feel my cheek 
still burning. 

Stanley Kunitz

This isn't my experience, but I can feel it powerfully.  It's amazing the secrets a family can keep, and not let go.

Well, I'm not in top form today, so I'm heading off to bed.  I swear I shall officially call these my Evening Pages, or my Late Night Pages, or the Only Time I Have A Quiet Time to Myself Pages....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eleven (Ten), Day Three

Just a quickie before bed~

So, my Artist Date today was in the company of two wonderful women, both of whom are doing the Artist's Way at the same time.  It started out with the three of us meeting at the Kingston Art Gallery (gorgeous, BTW) so that I could photograph some artwork for the cover of Crab Creek Review.  I found a beautiful labyrinth plate in mesmerising shades of water and lavender. I'll photograph it and post it soon.  Just need to remember to do that.  The artist's name is Jim Gregory.  

This isn't my bowl, but a picture of work he does.  

This is a little blurb from his bio:

Jim has worked with glass for over 30 years. As a glass chemist, he makes glass from the raw materials using sand, soda, limestone, and metal oxides for colorants. As an artist, Jim cuts, stretches, blows, and fuses glass to make anything from traditional leaded windows to multi-colored fused glass room dividers.

Chai and a perfect apple fritter for afters at The Coffee Exchange, and great conversation.  I really needed that, and it was so nice just to sit and talk.  These two women are great people, and fabulous poets.  I feel blessed having good friends, both here, and in distant places.  May they be so blessed themselves.  I know they are.

In the background the Celtic Women are singing on PBS.  The fish tank is gurgling and the pumpkin bread is cooling.  It is just good to write.  But now I think I'll shift into hand-writing mode, just to feel the texture of print-making paper sewn into and bound in a simple leather journal.  Being in the gallery today was a spiritual lift.  Friends, art made by local artists, and light coming through the many windows--a morning couldn't have been much better than that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eleven (Ten), Day Two

So I need to start reading the chapter.  Chapter Ten, that is.  I will be doing this again sometime.  I'm thinking the spring might be good.  But am I really that naive to think that there would be any less stress then, than now?  Mm.  

Today I discovered, for the first time, that the annual Stair Climb for Cystic Fibrosis is being done in the name of a little girl who died in 1999.  She was probably just a little younger than DS is now.  She was the daughter of a massage therapist where I work, and I don't think I ever knew about this until today.  I just know him as a really nice single guy who does great massage.  This of course goes to prove that each of us has a story that is deeper than anything we might have guessed through our casual everyday interactions.  

And it also serves to prove that life isn't that bad for us right now.  We may get mired down with concern and confusion about diabetes, and how things will pan out, the expense of the insulin and supplies and how totally crappy our insurance is, etc.  Really what we need to focus on is just how truly lucky we are.  No, let's take luck out of it.  Let's just say we realise just how blessed we are.  Sure things are hard right now, but things are a damn sight harder for someone else at this moment somewhere.  

Am I ranting?  Maybe in a way.  But it's not a bad rant, IMO.  I need a poem, and intend to go searching for one.

Here we are:



When despair for the world grows in me 

and I wake in the night at the least sound  

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, 

I go and lie down where the wood drake  

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 

I come into the peace of wild things  

who do not tax their lives with forethought  

of grief.  I come into the presence of still water. 

And I feel above me the day-blind stars 

waiting with their light. For a time  

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.  



Wendell Berry

*   *   *


Info on the Stair Climb, and the site for Cystic Fibrosis:


(Also, be sure to click on In Memory of Jennifer Lynn Thanem...)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Artist's Way Journal - Week Eleven (Ten), Day One

Oh so short today.  I received the good news that one of my poems received a Pushcart nomination yesterday--I was very pleased about that.  

It feels as if I've been very inactive with regards to my poetry and the submission/publishing process.  And, though this sounds like a broken record at this point, it still remains true.  So, what am I waiting for?!

Also received, today, my copies of New Millennium Writings, with my two poems in it.  They look good, and again, it is a bit of a reality jumpstart to see the poems in print, knowing I have several others needing to get out into the world.  

So, off to bed for me...


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