Friday, September 30, 2005

The Tempest and the Blue Socks

It was a Shakespearean tragi-comedy of sorts yesterday afternoon. Prospero (aka Dirk, Significant Other) was obsessed with roofing tarps. They were not in place. The wind (which he may or may not have conjured) had flipped and twisted them in a crazy, useless way preventing the house from staying dry during down pours. At that moment, along with the tempestuous Wind, came the Rain. And so, Prospero, hoisted himself into his Snorkel Lift (bought used a few years ago at a good price) and went to battle the Elements. I, Ariel (aka Me, Silly Person at the Bottom), had the task of helping to hoist Prospero up and down at his command ~ either a thumbs up or down ~ with a nail pressing into the appropriate thingy to make the lift go up or down, because the Up and Down controls in the bucket panel had gone on vacation ~ permanently. (At least they're smart. Side-to-Side has yet to join them in Aruba. Let's not discuss the over-worked boom extension controls.) Prospero, with hammer in hand, in the driving rain, about 30 feet or more off the ground, wrestled with the wind and the tarps, taming every shrewish square inch he could get his hands on. Ariel stood about getting soaked and squinting up through the rain drops awaiting the next command. All was going fairly well despite the weather until Prospero hit a nest of bees. At that point, there was much flailing and hat waving to drive off the swarm while new commands were being issued haphazardly for Ariel get away from the Up and Down controls because Prospero was eager to use the Side-to-Side controls in the bucket. Although Ariel knew better, knew that Prospero ought to come down and get some Benedryl as soon as possible, she watched on annoyed as he continued with much ado about nothing.

Final Act: After a final thumbs-down, Prospero descends by way of Snorkel Lift (with the assistance of Ariel, of course) looking like Popeye. Ariel drives Prospero home to Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, grilled cheese and two Benedryl. Prospero then drifts off to an antihistamine-induced slumber while Ariel gets back to her day. Much to her chagrin, the sun is shining.

The End.

At least, Prospero got enjoy his socks while recuperating from bee stings.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Going In-seine

Yesterday, Dirk and I joined Haldane's 4th Grade classes on a field trip to Little Stoney Point on the Hudson River for seining. "What the heck is seining?" you might very well ask ~ and you'd be in your right mind to. It's when a couple of people take a seine (net) and stand in uncomfortably cold water up to their waists (as much an issue for women as well as men, I can assure you) and catch fish. We were land lubbers. I tried to keep Ian in the same condition, but you know boys, water and dirt ~ they're all just made to go together. Scientific fact. Read it somewhere. We were lucky to have a glorious day with sunshine and balmy breezes. The kids spent time at different stations identifying critters or cleaning the beach or scavenging for the hunt. They were also supposed to write haiku, but time was short. (I love haiku!) Besides, when there is a wealth of dirt and water lying about, as a kid, you don't want to wax eloquent about it, you want to get in it. Up to your waist, if possible.

So here's a teacher and a parent seining . . .

A blue crab was unwittingly caught . . .

And Ian had a chance to catch his own little blue crab. He really wanted to take it home, but we have enough animals at home. And only two out of four species cook up well with a decent sauce. (Haven't found a recipe for Cat to save my life.) The only way I'd let this fellow in is if he was accompanied with drawn butter and lemon.

Leaving on a note of something completely unrelated, but very important: the blue socks are done. Time to play with the good stuff! I tried to get pictures of the finished product, but as soon as they left the needles they were on the recipient's feet. I'll try to catch them at a still moment during football.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Altars and Butt Paintings

I have finally gessoed over the Butt Painting featured from summer. As you can see, I have it drying in a perfectly inappropriate place ~ just right for one of the cats to add their little paw-print signatures. Someday my Studio will be done. For now, it's the kitchen. The Butterfly Madonna is minding the situation until I get the second coat on (we're still tacky). Now I'll just need to paint something up. An artist's work is never done ~ even if it's just meatloaf (which I made early today to manage the Jeet Kune Do rush). Amazing how a blank canvas encourages all Visions to quietly tip-toe out of the room, snickering. Makes being a Visionary Artist a very elusive task. I start by looking under the couch where a greater portion of my Dust Bunnies live. They're usually uncooperative as to the whereabouts of said Visions, so I move to the refrigerator to see what's happening there. Can you say "Comfort Food?" Better to peel potatoes, I suppose ~ adds to the Angst.

On my screen desktop, I have a picture of an alter I'd set up five years ago (ouch). It's something I enjoy seeing when I come to the computer to surf, write, crop photos or play Solitaire. It's been that long since I've set up a decent altar. Oh, I've got the one in the bedroom that I forget to sit at everyday. And then I have the Crate Box Altar that is in the living room ~ it's sort of my working altar. That space has moved with me two times since its inception. I've also just set up a Kitchen Altar where I light a candle to any house-y deity helping me cook that night (I think it's Isis tonight ~ need to check my calendar). On this altar I set an amulet from Amulets of the Goddess made by Nancy Blair to strike the tone, so to speak.

For this portion of the planet, we're turning in. If I had my druthers, I'd hibernate. But society forces us to bundle up and go out. The point is that in Turning In, it's time to make inside beautiful, to make the Sacred Space. Otherwise, one suffers Cabin Fever by November. It isn't like being outdoors where, unless there's a nasty land fill nearby, everything feels alive and Sacred. So, I'm aching to make really a big fat altar to the Art of Making a Big Fat Altar ~ it's just something I haven't done in so long. Yet another yen.

In the meantime, I shall slog on with the remainder of the Denim Wool-Ease socks. (Yes, I'm still at the toe. Pathetic, really.) I leave you with an eye toward Big Fat Altars and Malabrigo Merino. Oh, and one less Butt Painting.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

I've just returned from my very first Girl Scout/Brownie Leader/Co-Leader meeting (so many slashes, so little time). I signed on as Co-Leader to Bennie's local Brownie Troop. I took my time carefully considering the consequences, but decided it was something I could do with and for my daughter. My offerings to the meeting were a trip to the local Cat Sanctuary where the girls could sit and 'socialize' with the cats waiting to be adopted (no adoptions necessary ~ just handling and playing, maybe a cup of tea ~ good for the Manners Badge) and knitting at a March camp-out. The latter already seems more daunting than the former. I know I could hang out all day with cats. Hands down. Teaching 18 girls how to cast on and knit ~ well, that's another matter. It might require two Prozacs and a call to the doctor in the morning. At least a snifter of brandy . . . Well, as I like bridges so much, I'll just wait until I cross this one. (So many bridges, so little time.)

Meanwhile, back at the Plantation, there are two Large windows installed in our house. You'd think I'd never saw windows in my life. It's really weird looking through windows in 1/34 of window holes in a place that, up until that moment, resembled an oversized tree fort. I'm now painfully aware of how careful we need to be on site because the two windows that are installed come to so much money even God would blanche. A broken window now would easily cause an aneurysm, nevermind the Neverending Rant. Spilt milk, it ain't! I hope to post pics of these bits of happiness and progress in the next few days.

Fibery Notes: Blue Wool-Ease socks almost done. Soon, Malabrigo Madness. For now, back to the Plantation where I can finish them socks . . . Maybe.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Homeless Skeins Adopted

It all started with a trip to the store to get my daughter an analgesic ~ she's a bit feverish ~ when I decided to stop in at the local yarn shop, Knittingsmith. Sometimes, I like to stop in and check out the sale stuff, see what I can get for $4.00 a ball, and chat with the proprietor. She knows I like to spin and will gladly take dyed mohair roving off her hands, but she didn't have any. After showing me some pricey sock yarn, she took me to the wall where this lovely stuff was. A kettle-dyed merino, single-spun yarn. Just delicious! And the price wasn't too shabby either, about $10.00 a 215-yard skein. The company name is Malabrigo with a dot com of, by golly. (The site is in another language though. Spanish?) The colors I chose are Garnet and Red Pearl. Naturally, there are no immediate plans for these skeins so they can go play amongst the other yarns in the stash until some creative flash hits me.

Secret daydream: I sometimes wish I could work in a yarn shop. My other secret daydream is to sling hash in a Texas diner with big hair and chewing gum like Vera in that '70's show "Alice." I don't know where that one came from, don't ask.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Boys Get Belted

Tom and Ian got their stripe and belt in Jeet Kune Do today. Tom is now sporting a blue belt in classes and Ian has a stripe on his green. Getting through the Rainbow of Belts, Tom has two belts (with stripes in between) to get to black and then he may be eligible for the adult classes (with the adult prices). But that is a couple of years away.

Sifu Torres has been studying and teaching Bruce Lee's style of Jeet Kune Do for a heck of a long time. Tom has been in his classes since 2nd Grade. Ian had to wait until he was six before he could join. There are many days, he practices Jeet Kune Don't ~ he isn't as focused as Tom, but he passes the tests. Go figure. So here are the Boys looking all snappy and Jeet Kune Do trendy.

And what would an evening at Jeet Kune Do classes be without Rabbit Adoption? I have fun in weird ways. I was approached by another JKD parent the week before ~ "You got a rabbit. You want another?" I must have a tatoo on my forehead that says, "Will adopt wayward animals. Please inquire within." So we have another rabbit. He came to us named Sweetheart (they thought it might be a girl at the time), but we've renamed him Skittles in the hopes of regaining some dignity as a lop-earred buck. Smudge and Skittles are still testing each other out in separate domiciles. I'd like to take them out for a beer and let them get to know each other, but I suspect neither of them drink. What else could I do to get these fellows to get along and get over the disappointment that neither of them is a doe? Perhaps if I could set a common goal, like avoiding the stew pot. It would give them something to rally against . . . And so here is Sweetheart/Skittles in the furtive parking-lot hand off.

Happiness is a two-bunny home!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Artistic Pretension

Sometimes it's necessary to wake up in the morning and declare, if only internally, that you are an Artist and just behave like one. Having had it up to the gills with waiting for the Right Time to do my crazy art stuff, I pretended I was a Bohemian Artist setting out on her play date of creation. I fed All Creatures Great and Small in the abode and then took over the kitchen table to work on the Butterfly Madonna. I mentally cast Sacred Artistic Space to disperse distractions and interruptions. I made sure my coffee was the perfect temperature. I made believe that I couldn't work in shoddy conditions and changed the atmosphere necessary to create with music by Libana. I even avoided showering (okay, too much info ~ but my passions lie with working on the piece, not personal hygiene; I'll be passionate about scrubbing my butt later). The point is to make the time for Me because someone else would be more than happy to take my time and do something less than desirable with it. There are a million ways to replenish money/abundance ~ Time is precious and you don't get it back.

Enough existential angst, here's the Madonna as done so far. She has changed much since last posted. Yesterday, I strung beads on wire, then tapped those into place on the piece with brass linoleum brads. Mixed media, it's not just for breakfast anymore!

When I had to get out of the house to work on the other house (and to get the kids out of my hair), I trucked all my beads, wires and nippers with me. A table was set up in my future studio and I continued to play. I had to stop a couple of times to help Dirk with the lift, but it wasn't often enough to bother me. It was good to work in that space ~ I felt like I was setting Creative Precedence energetically.

That was yesterday. Today, I am Master Chef. The kitchen table is set like an altar with the ingredients necessary to make Apple-Squash Soup from Cait Johnson's scrumptious seasonal cookbook Cooking Like a Goddess (since reprinted/retitled as Witch in the Kitchen). Time to don the Sacred Apron and get started!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

We Are Now Seven

Today is Bennie's Seventh Birthday. Daddy's Princess is growing strong and fast (mostly legs). Mommy's Sweet Pea is intelligent and creative. Her brothers have their criticisms and different labels, but they'll be the first to let someone have it if she's being messed with. All of which warms the cockles of a mother's heart. Bennie was lavished with money and gifts ~ she went shopping with Nani for four (4) hours. We now have a Barbie Pet Center, another Build-A-Bear critter (with the appropriate clothing and accessories), and Polly Pockets out the ying. And I just cleaned out the kids' room! Oh well . . . I like the Barbie thing. I get to play with it while she's at school.

A couple of weeks earlier, we tossed the Big Bash Party at the Chuck E. Cheese's. I didn't want to burden parents with the first week of school AND a birthday present at the same time. It's enough to keep your head straight shopping for school supplies nevermind a gift for someone else's kid. Bennie and the Girls (they didn't qualify as Jets) partied for an hour and half, boogeying down with Chuck himself, and ate the most sugar-laden cake I've ever laid tongue on. It was games and tickets and the Ultimate Shopping for drek at the ticket counter. Hey, the pizza was okay. What is priceless was the big smile on Bennie's face playing and laughing with her friends in the Dairy Product Rodent wonderland.

And here she is, the Queen of the Ball a couple of weeks earlier. May she be blessed with many more of these days. She is certainly a blessing and a miracle to us.

Happy Birthday, Bennie!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bumping Against Potentiality

The craft store finally came through with the elusive Wool-Ease Worsted Weight Denim yarn necessary to knit this sock a mate. It's going to have to wait until I finish my pair of Heather Forest Green socks first ~ the second of that pair are underway. I am confident that I'll be done with these socks before the middle of September and we'll be enjoying them by the first frost. Now the kidlets need socks knitted by Mum. I'll let them choose their colors next trip to the store (and it adds to my stash).

In the meantime, back at Spirituality Ranch (there are many ranches in my mansion), I've been attempting to find more information on my ancesteral gods. I'm basically ecclectic in my spirituality, but I am trying to grok the Baltic pantheon, 'cause I'm mostly Lithuanian ~ two legs, an arm and a fair portion of my torso as well as the frontal lobe of my brain. The rest I can't account for; split between Canuck and Greek(so I put feta on my pancakes). (Remember that word, grok, from Stranger in a Strange Land? Auther eludes me at the moment.) I also lean toward the Kitchen-Cottage-Hedge Witch thing. The burning internal question is: Can I marry the two without offending anyone carnate or incarnate, divine or mundane? And do I really care if I do? On the whole, I'm not harming anyone and I believe I would be honoring my gods in my way. I don't know the Lithuanian language so I couldn't sing the dainos or sutartines with any great effect or confidence, but I can speak plainly enough from my heart. I can't re-inact the daily activities of my ancestors (in some cases, I really wouldn't want to ~ technology has spoiled me), but I can borrow from those activities that enhance a sense of connection with the Divine. After much reading and researching, I'm feeling that Saule (SOW-lay), the Baltic Sun Goddess is my Goddess. She manages Women's Work ~ household, spinning, weaving and meal planning (okay, I added that last one) as well as the turning of the day. Gabija (Ga-BEE-jah), technically rules the hearth fire. While the electric range isn't literally fire, the work is the same as standing in front of the hearth. Couldn't the similar prayers and offerings be made to Gabija fitting Her into my daily 21-century life? If I spill food on the burners, couldn't I ask Her to be sated and bless my meal? Could I leave a little bit of the evening's fish sticks on Her altar (and would She require more tartar sauce)?

Well, that's whats on my mind lately. I'll bet you wish you hadn't gone there now. Anyway, here is my patron Goddess, Saule. She is the Sun, She shines on my day, She makes my spinning wheel turn (and all this time I thought it was the treadles). We both like amber jewelry and long walks on the beach.