Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thank you. And a few notes.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

I did a write-up for Dad like his for Mom, sort of. I think the one he wrote for her was more eloquent... in any case, mine is here:

In addition, I have been posting some memories of him and inviting others to do so. That's here: - I'll be adding more. My main personal journal is - this was more a creativity space. Repeating everything twice is painful, so I am mostly going to update there, not here, about this now - details, day-to-day, etc.

And for now it is bed-time. Okay, it's past bed-time.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good night, Father.

I didn't think I'd have cause to write a post like this so soon after my last one. Dad lost control of his truck on an icy road this morning, and was killed in the accident.

I will try to write something for him like he wrote for Mother - he deserves it, he was an incredible man (still is, somewhere nice but not here, if the Universe has any sense of kindness or right...). But I do not have the words now. I only found out six hours ago (it took them some time to find me as next of kin) and I am shaky.

For now: Oh, Daddy. I miss you so much already. And I love you. And I hope there's a happy after where you and Mom are even now together.

And to those of you reading this who are still where you can type on the keyboard...I could use some hugs, even virtual ones.

And perhaps some prayers, or good thoughts, or candles lit - whatever you prefer among those.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good night, Mother.

My mother passed away last night. Part of me is glad and mostly I am very sad - the glad is that she did not last long after she could no longer communicate, and the pain began to be too much. (Of course, it was being treated, but still....)

My Dad's description of her, when he wrote of her death, says it beautifully, I think.

Julie, my wife of 40 years, died today. She had been ill for a couple of years, but it wasn't until last month that she was diagnosed with untreatable lung cancer. Thanks to hospice support, she died comfortably in our home. She was 61.

Julie was joyously cynical, mildly paranoid, a superb cook, stubborn as a mule, a good mother, a supportive and loving wife and a hell of a bridge player. She loved games of all sorts, and was a voracious reader, a sharp debater, a WordPerfect fanatic.

On LiveJournal, she was pheontoo, though she rarely posted, using the account to read friends-only posts. Julie is survived by me pheon, our daughter kyrielle, our son-in-law terram, her cousin Beth, a number of sisters, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, all back in Ohio.

I'll miss you, Mommy. And remember you. And I love you, always.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Photos up at Flickr.

It's hard, right now. I don't know what to hope for, these days.

More words another time.

Friday, December 08, 2006


I'm not sure this isn't a silly idea, but...if so it at least was interesting to me.

Get Your Own Voice PlayerManage

Thursday, December 07, 2006


These are mostly memories of me, not my mother - or my mother in the context of me. I am trying to write up some others, but of course our views of those in our lives so often center around their interactions with us. In this case I was actually writing up memories of myself, but they also touch on her. I link to where I wrote them up in my LiveJournal, years back:

When I was little and other stories.

I'll add a couple more that are not there, more Mother-centric or at least parents-centric:

1) When I was young, we had a dog named Meyer. Meyer was a Doberman-Great Dane cross. As you might imagine, he was a huge and very leggy dog.

Meyer slept on my parents' bed. My parents, very logically, had a king-size bed at the time, as otherwise it would not have been possible to fit two adults and a dog on that thing! Meyer tended to crawl up into the middle. And then streeeeeeetch. A dog that size can, in fact, occupy most of a king-size bed if he wants to. My mother, with the same slender light build I have, never budged. My father, probably half again her weight and sturdy, sometimes got shoved out of the bed, however. (Mother has generally been a light sleeper - I suspect she was half-waking and bracing without remembering it, but no idea if this is actually the case.)

2) Sweety. The first cat that was 'mine' growing up was a tomcat (fixed) that I named Sweety. (Mom thought I was crazy when I gave him that name as a kitten - he was a tomcat, and she tried to explain to me he wasn't likely to live up to it. I insisted. He lived up to it. In later years, among other things, I found him baby-sitting two litters of kittens that their mothers had left with him while they went to hunt. And letting the kittens try to suckle on him, without protest. Not that it was doing them any good, of course!)

Mom, when I was younger, curled her hair. (Not sure if it was sometimes or always.) I don't remember Mom with her hair curled. I remember the curlers, the old kind with the spiky points, rolled in wet hair and left in overnight. The sort to make you want to sleep on your face so they wouldn't press in so much. And I remember that Sweety caused my parents' bedroom door to be closed when the curlers were in (and ultimately, I think, led to Mom switching how she did her hair - not 100% sure as my childhood memories are weakish)...because he liked to sleep on her pillow. Above her head, which he slid down into. All 14 or 16 pounds of him (he was a heavy cat).

...that hurts just to think about, actually.

3) I don't remember this one at all, but Mother has told me this. I forgot the dog's name but I believe they said today that it was Twitch. Mom remembers this dog "chasing" a naked baby me around a coffee a slow walking pace...and whenever I would lag, he would stick his cold wet nose on my backside, spurring me on! Apparently we were quite amusing.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Things I am grateful for today.

Cool weather.
A full moon above evergreen trees at the top of a hill.
Remembering the route to drive after almost a decade.
The fact that the landscape was so little changed.
Silly goats that dash away from the fence as I approach, then run back to it making noises of eager, hopeful 'feed-me'-ness as I walk away. Sillies!
Cats, affectionate and sweetly selfish.
My mother is still herself, still mostly not in pain, still well enough to take part in conversations even if she speaks less. Still able to feed herself.
Music. Oh, music.
The fact that there was no ice on the roads, even if there was left-over snow on the side of the road, on Bald Peak.
Sales on miniature Christmas trees, even if the trees are gone when I get there, that lead me to the crafts store.
Sepia-ink pens. With which I haven't, of course, played. But I have them.
Junk food. Fast food. Every so often, these are happy things. (I'm sure they would not be happy if I ate them often.)
Mom's fudge recipe (which I also shouldn't eat often, assuming I can manage to follow it and produce the fudge - I definitely shouldn't eat the recipe itself, of course! :).
Narbonic. Because it is funny and cool and a wonderful story. (Warning: webcomic about mad science with huge archives. Can eat large portions of day....)
Friends. Kind words. Notes of support.
My wonderful husband. And my in-laws, who were so kind and patient about seeing so little of me when they visited this weekend.
Modern medicine. My allergies are soooo much better now!
Warm blankets fresh from the dryer. I think it's bedtime for me when I am being grateful for those.... :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Photography. Non-update.

Still very focussed on mother; I won't be posting much about that. Still not doing much art - I keep getting impulses, but the energy to follow through is going to other things right now. I'm making notes, so perhaps something will come of it.

I have been taking photographs, though mostly very snapshot-ish. A hawk close up, in silhouette, perched. Horses. Cats (one of them looking very silly). A Christmas tree. Little things. Daily things. They're at Flickr if you want to check them out. More will likely join them later.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy anniversary to us.

You know, my wedding was a day or two after a coworker died. Now my first anniversary is the day after the doctors tell us my mother has lung cancer. So far, my anniversary luck stinks - except, of course, for the guy I married and the wonderful well-wishes. I wish I could say my anniversary was a day of pure happiness, but I think we all know I'd be lying. It was remarkably happy for the circumstances, though, and I'm so blessed to be married to this man.

My parents had ordered a cake - a replica of our wedding cake, with different decorations - for us, and Dad dropped it off. It was so pretty I had to photograph it before I could bear to cut it! (Scott and I have both had a piece from 'happy' now. It seemed appropriate.)

Anniversary cake Anniversary cake

Friday, November 17, 2006

My mother....

I don't know any good way to say news like this. My mother, whose health has been failing for some time, was diagnosed with lung cancer today, after tests started on Wednesday. It has already spread; and she is not a candidate for any aggressive treatment (she can't afford to lose the healthy cells that are left, and she is not strong and her weight is low; and chemo doesn't work well with this cancer). Weeks, months, maybe a year.

They will be working on setting up hospice care, and my father has been taking care of her and will continue. I will probably be very scarce. If I make time for art, I will post it, but my attempts to stay semi-committed to AEM are at an end here. I know myself: if I don't formally say I quit, I will guilt trip myself if I miss too much. And I have a feeling I will be doing relatively little that I view as art to be posted, if I do any art at all.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Here, alive, just not arting.

Is that a verb? Probably not - it is now. I did go to the Gardens today and took a couple photos, but not many - I was cold and my heart wasn't in it, and they aren't awful but they aren't great. I came home and I got new curtains up in the bedroom - I am so much happier with the look in there now. I made clam chowder from a recipe and I can only conclude the person writing it was insane, it came out awful and too onion-y in spite of my using half the onion suggested. Go figure....

I'm in Oregon. It's raining again tonight and the wind is fierce - we're under a severe weather alert for the wind, which is supposed to reach 40 mph with gusts to 60 tonight. I am not too worried for us here - even if the trees come down, I don't think any can hit the house. Our neighbor's place maybe - I hope they don't. But we are basically safe here. Power outages are another matter - already had one and lights have flickered. The UPSs kept everything safe, though (one overloaded, so I'll sort that out in the coming week - for now the desktop using it is off).

Tomorrow is trash pickup day. A decent percentage of my neighbors have put their trash out tonight. I really don't want to think about that and the wind too hard at once....

I've been stressed and down, for reasons I don't want to go into on a public blog, and that really got to me this weekend, making little frustrations like the soup into big things, at least briefly. On the other hand, my trash can is in the garage, and will go out tomorrow (in theory the wind should subside by morning--). So at least I don't have to find my trash strewn all down the street in the morning. And I have an alarm clock with battery backup, so I'll actually get up tomorrow.

I caved this weekend and bought cell phones for myself and my husband. Waiting now to see how much we use them; I hope the plan doesn't need adjusting but it might. But it's already come in handy since tonight he let me know he'd be late - in the storm, I'd have worried, but he's just staying late at our friend's house.

I don't feel like making art, but I have been thinking about ideas. Gathering a few materials. Finding the time and energy to apply them has been harder. I need to work on that.

For now, I'm trying Blogger Beta. If this whole space suddenly vanishes into a black hole, I probably hit a wrong button somewhere. ;) But not tonight. I'll play with the appearance of the site and updating it a little some other time. Right now, I think if I shut everything down and get some sleep, that would be the sanest plan.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I think this is actually bits of two or three poems, crammed into one and missing other pieces, but this is approximately how it occurred to me and I can always work on it from there. (Approximately because it showed up in rush hour traffic on the freeway, and I thus had to remember it for a while before writing it down. I'm sure that mutated it further.)

Two days after the election, I step out
into an afternoon of sunlight on pale clouds,
brilliant, bewitching. As if change were
a god smiling down on all of us, and
the 'we' who won and 'them' who lost
were not equally nebulous, indistinct
as droplets in a storm cloud. As if
I wasn't still blind to the future,
the far-off possible indistinct. Thinking
we know which clouds bring too little rain,
which too much, until the ground is
buried under a torrent. And then do we ask
who brought this bucket-full and added it,
who brought that bucket-full? Or do we simply
wait out the worst of the water, and begin
shoveling mud from the porch, the living room,
again? Trying to make everything exactly
the way it was. The distance between that
and what can be done is as wide as an hour
of the past, and as uncrossable.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Photography and tweaks

Two photographs, altered slightly in PS Elements to bring out the look, then altered more heavily for fun. First, fall leaves at an office building, as a photo and as a "pastel sketch" (no actual pastels or even paper involved, I fear). And then a photo of a stormy, cloudy sky...turned into a pool of water. Kind of. It was fun, anyway, if fairly simple.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunset photos.

Well, kind of after-sunset photos, really, in the period between sunset and full dark. I snapped these tonight on my way out of the office. (Also some sunset pics while in the office but the only one that came out really well, has too much reflection in it that I'd have to edit at least to obscure, so I can't post that. Oh well - win some, lose some.)

Of course, a lot of the artistry here is Mother Nature's, but I did get the photos. :)

After sunset After sunset

At least this time I had a reason....

I felt pretty lousy yesterday, and went to bed almost three hours earlier than usual. Feeling much better today, at least. I'll try to have something besides excuses up tonight....

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Got distracted and blah, and played games and read books (reread the entirety of David Eddings' The Mallorean, a 5-book series...). Then I also needed to vote (Oregon does vote-by-mail, although this late, I'll need to take it to the drop box instead). When I realized I had a choice between voting, art, and sufficient sleep, with only two being reasonably do-able...well. Oops for getting into that spot, but the art does lose in that case.

Honestly feeling blah about my ideas for art, which is probably why the procrastination; and I had no quick and artful words to gloss over with. I will be trying to do something again Monday, however!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Short one--

What is the hidden name we are given at birth?
In the hills above the clouds, the syllables sound
the same as anything forgotten. No echoes.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Poem: Photographic Memory

(Yes, the art I'm doing is mostly word-art so far. There may be photography or other stuff later - I don't know. I went for a broad definition, as it increases the odds I'll keep doing this.... :)

(I hope this is decent. I make no promises: I just rattled it off tonight as, due to various unrelated complications, most of my evening got eaten up.)

Photographic memory

There's a blackberry where the flower bed used to be.
It is mounded, a weed, a menace, its thorns
waiting for the unwary to pass it. Somewhere beneath
there were the brilliant, sturdy pink blooms
of my childhood. Beside them the delicate necks
of columbines, trumpets waiting for the sky
to sip them. The old stump of the tree we never saw,
already cut down when my parents bought the place.
The stump was destroyed and hauled away.
The columbines died. Eventaully even the pinks died,
choked out by the blackberries. My parents still live
in that house, by that blackberry, the rosebush sprawling
and huge, the silver lace vine climbing in a wild tangle
up and along its trellis - as if in their later years
they have given into the impulse of teenagers,
to run wild, to let the world run wild again.
Somewhere, somewhere I remember a neatness
and an order, straight lines and log fences. Clean.
Deceptive: there was always something wild there,
the feral cats, the thorns, the fields gone to seed.
How easily the memory makes such things turn to
ordered rows, pretty flowers. How easily the parts
that didn't fit are cut from the photographs.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Musing: Autumn evening

It seems oddly appropriate to start my attempt at following along on Art Everyday Month with a musing, what I originally intended to use this space for before I discovered that it didn't sustain well by itself. I didn't set out with this planned as a start, it simply happened out of the moment, and that is the best thing of all, I think.

Stepping out the door at work this evening, I found it just barely beginning to rain: the sidewalk was still gray, dappled with the darker patches left by fat, slow drops of rain. The steady grace of water tapping the top of my head, cool and comforting. The leaves on the lawn were crisp and brown and still dry, sounding out a drumming rustle (or perhaps a rustling beat) under the rainfall. And all around, just rising, that inimitable and almost unnameable smell of city rain: asphalt first touched by water after a dry spell, the rising bitter-not-bitter scent, indescribable in any words I know, unmistakable. The water sliding down my face as I lifted it to the sky, breathing in that scent, the raindrops like tears of joy - proxy, someone else's, reminding me along with the scent that life is to be lived and not merely coasted through....

And I think, without meaning to, of a song I've been listening to a lot lately: Unwritten, by Natsha Bedingfield.

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

*tap tap tink* This thing on?

Apparently so. At least, if you can read this; if the imps eat it and it vanishes before appearing, no one but I will necessarily know, right? :)

I've been away for quite a while, I know. I was using this blog for The Artist's Way, and suddenly all that structuredness went away, and all my plans to put something in its place went foof, and unstructured stuff goes in my other blog (much of it filtered so only specific groups of people can see it, even), and....

...and darnit, after you have not-posted for that long, it's embarrassing. I mean, here I am, I just vanished off the face of the earth. For the most part I haven't kept up with everyone else's blogs the way I meant to either. Ack!

Anyway. I'm here. I'm still not reading most of the blogs I wasn't reading but I have them all in my list for some day. I obviously first need to let go of the idea of catching up on every missed post since many of you have made over 100 posts while I was away.... Reading them all would be lovely, but realistically, I won't manage it.

For now, I'm just going to start trying to be active here again. By jumping into the deep end and trying a run at Art Everyday Month. Because overkill is your friend. Or something.

I will try for art every day. If I miss a day, I will come back and try again the next day. Maybe that will at least keep me from creeping off at the first 'failure to be here' and vanishing for a long while again....

Meanwhile, I have uploaded a bunch of photos over on Flickr since the last time I updated, at least....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Still alive, too hot.

This is not the most inspired post ever - I wish it were - I feel like I am in a dead (or is that dead tired?) time. But I am still alive and around and reading (I even occasionally leave comments).

It is very hot here lately - I am in Oregon and we're breaking records - though as far as I can tell it is very hot everywhere lately. I have seen people scoffing that these temperatures happen and it doesn't mean anything, but they are unusual for this time of year and of course I think of global warming.

I wonder when we will wake up to the damage we do - but I am as bad as any, me with my computers and my air conditioner and my car which I use all too often. (Of course, I can argue that I have no choice - the public transportation options from where I live to my job are lousy - but if I moved, there are several places that would offer good transportation options. Of course, then my husband would have lousy options, so....)

I worry. I am very good at worrying. This is not the most useful skill I can think of, to put it mildly. If only I were as good at solutions - or at giving up my luxuries - as I am at worrying....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This isn't the best poem....

...but every attempt I've made to redraft it hasn't worked, and I want to get the sense of it out there even if I'm not happy in the least with the phrasing and order. So, I'll be scattered. That's part of life too!

Funny Thing, This Summer

I've remembered the heat's not an enemy,
I've remembered lazy summer days
at the park, sprawled on the grass.
I've begun to wear perfume again.
To write. To remember how many things
I have loved, until in fear
I pretended to forget I
ever wanted. To live again,
fear and hope. To bend my head
to my wrist and smell sweet spice,
to speak even if no one is listening.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Scarce, but still here--

I'm busy for a couple weeks and will post sparsely if at all, but I am intending to actually be present and I am still trying to keep up on reading. This is not me falling off the face of the earth indefinitely again, it's just that other aspects of my life are veryvery busy. (Actually some of them creative, but creative at work so I'm not likely to say much about those here.)

Meanwhile, I uploaded two more photos to Flickr. One is a photo of a road near my parents' house - no wonder I'm allergic to the area, right? The other is a photo of Scott at my parents' house with their cat Babe. Babe looks psychotic; Scott's being cute. If it's a cute photo with a cat in it, does it count as a cute cat photo? :D

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I do still exist....

...though you wouldn't know it from my presence here lately. Sorry about that. And thanks to Kara for her comment, which sort of "woke me up" again. I have been reading comments, hence the May changeover to deal with the brief bout of spam. (Don't people have anything better to do?)

Not sure yet, where I go from here, but somewhere, perhaps. Hopefully.

Why did I vanish? Er...well, I got busy and then I got uninspired and then I didn't do things so I was busy and uninspired. And I got way, way behind on reading other people's blogs so that I felt guilty, then depressed at the "workload" awaiting me. Yes, I can be silly. Sorry 'bout that. I hope I am back now but the proof will be in whether I keep posting and reading, I suppose....

Since I haven't posted for over a month, and even that post wasn't meaningful, how 'bout some updates? (If you don't want updates but you do want vacation pictures, scroll down 'til you see 'em start. :)

  • Morning Pages and all other vestiges of the Artist's Way...yeah right. Vanished. Perhaps I should work on picking up the Artist's Dates again, and some variation of daily journalling. Something. One step at a time, though: for now I am picking up this blog again. If I do too many things at once, I will simply overwhelm myself right back away. That's not even amusing, let alone useful....
  • Allergies. My shots have been in maintenance since the round that sent me to the ER in January. The intent is to keep them there at least through the end of summer, then evaluate. However, I've had two dosages drop (one because that happens whenever you hit a new bottle, one due to a reaction), so I'm presently trying to go in frequently enough to step up. It's amazing how reactions that would have just caused me to shrug before make me worry now. Not very surprising, I suppose, but I am anxious each time I go for shots. The next is Monday. I'd like to get back up to maintenance on those two, but....
  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. This follows naturally from allergies since the oils include some things I am allergic to. I don't use them for a week before I go in for shots, but they seem to be just fine in general. They might even be fine with the shots but I simply do not want to chance it. I have an order in with the lab for a lot of other samples of scents to try, and for bottles for two of my favorites - Wicked, which is very nice, and Dragon's Eye which is melt-me-down lovely, a piercing lilac scent that means joy to me. The lab very nicely responded to my question about which one have tree-nut oils in, which are the only ones I'm avoiding altogether.
  • The mask. Um. I've added one thing to it. I can't find anything else in my supplies that belongs, and yet, it doesn't feel finished either. Apparently I have no idea what to do with it, other than ignore it.
  • Poetry. I submitted to one place. They form-rejected it. I haven't submitted again. This is partly discouragement and partly fear and partly lack of time and partly I need to find more places to submit. I have one, but they publish only once a year and that won't be for over 6 months. And it'd be nice to have some credit first because they get a lot of submissions, publish few. But the other options I have identified so far...I don't want to be published in. Needless to say I am not gonna submit to them.
  • Other art/creativity. In a nutshell: yeah, right. I haven't made time for much but scrambling place to place with the exception of a bit of photography on our vacation.

This is not to say there haven't been good things also during the downtime, even if I am feeling busy and scattered and distracted. I got my copy of a friend's live CD (from her concert at the OVFF filk convention), Pretty Little Dead Girl, and I really really enjoy the music (check it out if you are curious, it can be ordered online at the moment but I'm not sure how long she plans to keep that up - I think just 'til the filk dealers have it in stock - there are samples and even a full-length song available from the site).

And Scott and I went to the beach for several days and had a lovely time. My photos for that are up on Flickr, and I've included the thumbnails below.

Sunset Sunset Sunset / lifeguard station Sunset Sunset Sunset Ocean Ocean and rocks Sunset Starfish Sea Lion Sea Lion Anemones Jellyfish North Head Lighthouse Astoria Column Library decoration Fish decoration Hotel in Astoria Scott, at Seaside Misty hillside Wildlife refuge Hauling rocks

Monday, May 08, 2006


Not that I've posted recently enough for it to make a difference (sorry!), but I've turned on the little word-verification images for comments, since apparently the spammers have finally found this blog. Hopefully that will help.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mostly about perfume oils.

I didn't get much done this week. Including, as of yet, the mask. Oops.

I got my order from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs, though. And have been playing with scents. Since I mentioned it before, I figured I would follow up with my impressions and some notes. A lot of people rave about these scents. They neglect to mention the downsides. I understand why: the oils are great (though not all work with everyone's skin chemistry - Morocco and I, for example, do not get along - if I wanted to smell like a department store perfume counter, I could do that a lot more easily...). The two big drawbacks I see are shipping (which is fairly clear on the site - they give times in business days on one of the pages - it took 3-4 weeks for me to get my oils) and opening the imp's ears (which almost no one talks about).

Opening a new-from-the-lab imp ear is an experience. It's hard if you're just guessing how to do it, and it's likely to get you coated in perfume oil (waaaay more than you need, trust me) if you lose patience or if you are just unlucky. It can be done and, in fact, once you find a method that works for you it isn't even that hard. I was advised to rotate the cap or to rock it back and forth. The latter worked for me; the former didn't; but for others the reverse is true. What I found works really well: use a thin cloth (or a bit of kleenex, in a pinch) to wrap the bottle and cap - no more than one layer on the cap. Use your dominant hand to rock the cap back and forth while your other hand holds the bottle gently. Eventually the cap will start to actually life a little with the rocking. Do NOT pull, even when it does this. Rock it some more until, when one side rises, you can leave it there if you take your hand off. At this point, lift very slightly as you rock it back the other way and it should open.

It will almost invariably spatter at least a few drops, sometimes more. That's what the light cloth is for: so that you don't wind up wearing too much oil if it spatters. If it spatters at all, some will soak through the cloth and get on your fingers, though.

Seriously, seriously impressed by these blends, however. Very glad I did order. Just...don't want to enthuse at people without warning about opening the samples as it is a bit too exciting when one explodes all over you....

Also, the unofficial but affiliated forums have a lot of good commentary, reviews of scents, etc. (They're not maintained by the lab, but the reviews are linked from the names of the oils on the search page, so....) You can't see everything that's in there by a long shot unless you sign up, but you can see the reviews.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A current project....

I got out the remaining full-face mask form I had and started working on it this past week. Which is to say, I got it to stage one and then couldn't figure out what to do with it next. At Contagious Creativity, one of the optional tasks for this week is: "Make a piece of art in the moment. Make art with no plans, without an idea or sketch. Sit down surrounded by art supplies and create. See what colors, shapes, images are calling for you, use them. When you stop, check in with yourself, what do you want to do now? Play and see what comes forth."

So I plan to, sometime this week (probably not tomorrow because it is going to be busy) do just that, with this as the base, and see what it becomes.

Still alive, honest! General update / weekly memes

Sorry, I fell off the face of the 'net this week, didn't I? It's been a pretty stressful week. Being on call for work has not been awful as far as call volume, but the calls I have been getting have been coming in at hours when I'm asleep, more often than not. Shooting my sleep schedule is a very very fast way to make the rest of my day go on the fritz, but, such is life. We went to our aunt and uncle's for Easter dinner and they have pets - who are often not in the house during such moments but were this time, because this one was just their family and us. I like their pets. But, I think they contributed to my allergies being in high flare most of the week. On Friday they got better, but I wasn't feeling well for stress/sleep reasons. Besides being uncomfortable, the allergy flare and then Friday meant that I did not get my allergy shots and I should have done that this week. I'm planning to do it Monday if I feel good then.... So far, the weekend is promising. I'm almost human again. I think.

Books I've read in the past two weeks, mostly in the past week: Jennifer Fallon's Medalon (high fantasy, has a dash of humor but is a basically serious story, first in trilogy and the rest are out, I like it a loooot), Trudy Canavan's Priestess of the White (high fantasy, first in trilogy and the next one comes out in May, I liked this one at least as much as Medalon, maybe a bit more), Anchee Min's Empress Orchid (historical fiction based on fact, and really, I found it to be more uneasy than pleasant reading and often skipped sections), and David Kline and Dan Burstein's blog! (which I am still reading and is interesting).

Yes, I've been burying myself in books. Self-care, right? Goodness knows I've needed that this week! Now, to catch up because I have not been reading stuff online as much...yargh. First, a spattering of memes, then I'm off to catch up with all of you! Oh, that and I'm going to try adding tags, though they'll link to technorati since Blogger doesn't support them natively. So I'll try to make them look as little like links as possible.... Not in this post, though. In a day or two.

List Friday: List the reasons you love to live where you live.
  1. The Japanese Garden! It's not in my backyard (alas - that would be a lovely back yard - hehe), but it's close enough that I can go after work in the summer (in the winter it closes too early) or on a weekend - on a whim. (If I'm not on call, at least....) And it's gorgeous. And soothing when not full of chattery people. (And I'm learning to stay calm and soothed even if it is full of chattery people - sometimes.)
  2. Our lovely library system. Every book I mentioned above except Priestess of the White came from that library system. As have a number of other, less-worthy-of-mention books. The other two main metro counties also have wonderful library systems.
  3. Powell's! Gotta list the book addict's dream place, after all. (I link to the info for the Burnside store because it's the biggest, neatest one. I actually usually go to Beaverton - sometimes I go to Burnside, sometimes I call and have the books I want transferred to wait for me at Beaverton....)
  4. So much green and nature and beauty and joy. The Columbia River Gorge, for example. Where I mostly love the waterfalls and the water.
  5. Two hours to the ocean.
  6. My family is here - not just my husband, but my parents, my husband's aunt and uncle...not all our family certainly, but enough that we are blessed with being able to see our relatives regularly.
  7. The social climate in the Portland area is very liberal in general - which matches well to my sensibilities on those issues. (The whole state isn't, but...can't have everything.)
  8. The weather. Probably 80-90% of the time, the weather here is something I like. (I like rain, yes.) I don't care for lots of weather-type heat because I can't go out as freely (I get ill from heat easily), but we don't have weather that hot that often.
  9. The ocean. It's two hours away, but that's still close enough for a day trip if you don't mind a lot of driving. We don't take advantage of that often, but it is nice that we can if we want to.
  10. The variety of places to shop that are available to me - I don't think I'd enjoy living in a small town with few shops any more (I kind of did, in college).
Sunday Scribblings: Week 4, Chocolate

Ah, chocolate. Sweet, sweet chocolate. The candy bars so common on American shelves are nice - but so full of fat, and I need to avoid that. But certain cookies, certain chocolates, are much lower in fat and so very yummy. I'm not a chocolate addict, but I do love a good chocolate - the rich taste - as a child I was much fonder of chocolate candy than I am now but I still like it. Now, give me a good maple sugar candy, that's a whole other matter...that I can't resist....

I've ordered some imps ears (samples) from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I haven't ordered Bliss or Vice (both chocolate scents) yet, but I think I probably will be trying them out. The perfumes at that site sound just wonderful - I only hope that I can actually use even a fraction of the ones I'm interested in without setting my allergies off, and that the fraction I can use overlaps with what smells good on me.... (I can always move to a scent locket if it just upsets my skin, but not if it triggers my allergies just to smell it, obviously.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

CC: Self-care

This week for Contagious Creativity, we are asked to focus on self-care. What an interesting focus considering I am on call this week (which is always one of the more strsesful parts of my job for me).

So, some questions/ideas of my own to add to those Kat posted; feel free to reply, not reply, think about these, or ignore 'em. I'll post the questions first, then my answers.

  1. Name some of your favorite ways to pamper yourself.
  2. What have you wanted to do to pamper yourself, but haven't?
  3. If you won a free, weeklong vacation and it really made your eyes light up - where would it be? What would you be doing? Why did it make your eyes light up?
  4. What can you do for yourself to echo part of that?

And, my answers:

  1. Reading a good book. (Which I spent this weekend doing.) Napping. Long hot showers. Finding "treat" foods that are within my diet, but still tasty.
  2. I've wanted more perfumey things. But my allergies make that hard. I've ordered some samples, though, and when they get here - well, hopefully I will eventually find a few more that I like and can use....
  3. A whole week sprawling on the beach beside brightly sparkling ocean, soaking up the sun. Water. Peace. Nothing to do that I don't want to do at that moment - total laziness - no responsibilities. The sun is a negative, in many ways, but the heat is a positive if I can go cool off when I want to. Soft surfaces. And, I think, it's a "traditional" vacation.
  4. Continue my search for a place I can go to swim. And lie in bed (almost as good as the beach, maybe better some ways) with the heater on when I want the temperature higher.

The funny thing about #3 is that I almost never do enjoy beaches. I've too many skin issues to just sprawl in the sun and I'm too restless to lay about lazily in new/strange environs - there's too much to do! But we will be going to the beach (just for a few days) in early June so perhaps I'll enjoy that more than I give it credit for. :)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Photos and Poetry

I went to the Japanese Gardens this weekend, and today I uploaded photos, which can be seen here.

I also took a photo of the painted ivy jar sitting on the windowsill in the sun. I've never taken it to work; I find I don't want to; but I do like it here.

And poetry. Taking inspiration from this week's Contagious Creativity post, I offer these (both are first-draft, as written, without intense editing - please forgive any typos or sillinesses that crept in that I have not noticed):


You have given me your whispered
careful words spaced breath by breath
beneath a blue sky, no mist
and no questions, this impression
that the world believes, this escape
into the silences between words,
into breath, a leaf floating down
between us. And I, wordless, trust.


It is night. A single leaf scrapes
along the sidewalk; a cat yowls
some proposition unthinkable
in the distance, to fight or to

something more. The mist
comes slowly up from the creek,
careful as it pulls itself over dirt
and onto pavement, this gift

in the silence and the dark,
this offering, this moment
of plausible escape, as I
bite the cold air. Alive.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Real Life

This week's topic at Sunday Scribblings is Real Life.

Is real life the real world, driving to work traffic jams working fingers numb from typing too much nose cold from the wind sneezing the sun setting watching the bills?

Or is it real life to see what is around you? To listen to songs that lift and teach? To watch how the trees slowly bud into spring, to feel the breeze along the cheek, to listen to the pattern of the rain on the roof, to smell the heady scent of the first sweet blossoms? (Even if it does mean a sneeze....) The press of the ground beneath your feet. The heady scent of warm pavement struck by rain. The crunch of gravel. The calls of the birds, greeting this land after the winter. The brilliance of sunlight on glass and flower alike. The tall, drawn-up dignity of trees just beginning to pull on their lightest green coats. The wistful drifting of the clouds. The words that flow between us and within us....

Sunday Scribblings: What would you attempt....

Yes, I am very late on this - considering it is for last Sunday - but I am doing it! This is last week's question at Sunday Scribblings. Maybe I will do this week's before next Saturday.... :)

What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

I would try to live a healthy, complete life without a formal full-time job. I would want to spend more time writing, more time playing, more time keeping the house, more time volunteering with the hours I got back that way. And I would probably still work (even at my current job!) but not full-time. And my life would be complete, and I would be healthy, and I would have everything I need. I could, of course, cut my hours back at work, but these niggling little things like money and health insurance and so on (not to mention the fact that I'm not sure my company needs someone part-time in my role) make that very not-comfortable for me at this stage of my life. Maybe some day, but not now.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I am grateful for....

  • The wonderful creative community that began with The Artist's Way and continues with Contagious Creativity
  • The abundance in my daily life
  • My wonderful husband
  • Spring - even if my allergies are on the rise, so too is the temperature (and not yet to uncomfortable levels) and the sweet sound of birdsong
  • Libraries: a wealth of books for no additional fee when you want to look for them. We are able to have so much more collectively than we could individually.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

AW: Week 12 Check-In

End of the road....

1. Morning pages?

Every day. I'm going to keep them - they seem to help - but modified. Three pages neatly written is too much sometimes. Three pages sloppily written bugs me. So I will keep them as 1-3 or 2-6 pages (depending on the size of the journal), where how much I write depends on the morning and whether I think I need to keep going. I did that for the first time this morning and it felt so good - and I wrote smaller and wrote more and raced less.

2. Artist date?

Hmm. Unless you count hauling the shelves around, not so much so. I'd just come out of a whole long vacation week where I enjoyed myself at whatever. I did the shelves on Sunday - then I was back at work, and on call, which restricts what I can do a fair bit. I did spend part of each evening for several days reading in bed, though, if that counts. I don't think it really does....

I do intend to continue to do AD's, maybe weekly, maybe only every other week or once a month, but not less than 0once a month. What I really want to do more than formal ADs is I want to learn to live with more care for myself, so that there is that underlying element of taking care of myself always.

3. Synchronicity?

Yes. I had something happen that made me think "I have to write about that in my check-in, how perfect!" I've forgotten what it was.... Sigh.

4. Other issues?

The shellllves are up!

And, honestly, I'm gleeful the AW is over. It was probably good to finish it out but the process had become quite stifling. I'm very glad I did it - the early parts were very useful and the later parts weren't a loss - but I'm glad to be clear of so much Process too. And I'm deeply, profoundly grateful to have found all the wonderful bloggers that I have - I sincerely hope we find some way, such as Kat's proposed creativity work or some other approach, to have some common/connected ground. I also hope we stay in touch, whether or not there's a specific link. :)

Now to take notes on the exercises I didn't do throughout the process, but might want to do at some point....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The desk is out, the shelves are in.

The DH and I removed the desk (he did most of the work) and then I put up the bookshelves (all by myself). Well, they're not quite totally up - I need another shelf kit to finish what I want to do - but I can get that after work tomorrow and it will be about five minutes' work to finish the deed then.

VERY pleased with how it looks. And now I can measure the space and work out what kind of table/shelves will fit between the bookcase and the desk, too. If I'm very lucky I might get that on the way home tomorrow also. But I'm not counting on it. Just the shelf set, as I know where to get it and so on.

And boy can I feel the desk and bookcase in my shoulders and arms. Still, just looking at it pleases me.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

AW: Week 11 Check-In

1. Morning Pages?

4 out of 7. After Tuesday I just...stopped doing them. No idea why; I had time. I think I was avoiding facing the fact that I was not getting as much done as I'd have liked, avoiding the "shoulds" which ambush me in the MPs every time if I'm not meeting them. It turns into to-do-list-ville. I'm not sure, though. Picked them up this morning just fine - and I had started back in on both the big shoulds. Huh. :P

No, I don't recommend them to anyone else. People around me (hi, all!) are doing them and frankly, I'm still not convinced they are in fact beneficial overall. Some days, they are, but I'm not sure if they daily writing of 3 pages is beneficial for anything other than doctors who specialize in repetetive stress injury. (Joking - I'm sure, if nothing else, the RSI specialists will see me sooner due to my use of computers than to writing anything out longhand!)

2. Artist's Date?

I had a whole week off this week! I did some things for my poetry, I read stuff online, I vegged around, I played World of Warcraft...I had a blast. And I got up to the Japanese Gardens for the first time this spring. That wasn't so stellar because there was a big ol' school tour there which kind of damages the calm a bit, but I was able to mostly dodge it.

3. Synchronicity?

...not that I can really think of, no.

4. Other stuff?

I have submitted three poems to a magazine. Now the waiting begins - no idea how long it takes at this magazine but let's just say this could be a slow process. :) I have sent a letter to another asking for their submission guidelines; they don't have a website but based on the sample issue, I would very much like to submit. I have some poems picked out but I want to read the guidelines first, obviously! (I don't know if they will have a lot more info than what is in Poet's Market or not...but they do say in there you can write to get them, so....)

Now, to not lose momentum working on producing new poetry! That should not be too hard, these are basically in limbo post-production, after all. (And to not lose momentum in finding a few more places I'd like to be published, also. So that I'll have other places to submit poems that don't make it into the first market I send them to.)

Later today, I'll do some more with the fake water. I'm not buying any more of it, but, I still have some left over so I might as well do what I can. It's neat, but it's not really fun any more, especially since so often it doesn't turn out that great. It's primarly useful for its original purpose - straightforward arrangements in vases - and frankly those get old. (For me, anyway.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Some of my favorites, from Flickr....

(Thumbnails are links to larger photos on the Flickr website.)

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