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