Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the to do NOT list

List of things NOT done today:

  1. yoga, Yin or otherwise
  2. go slow
  3. paint in the studio
  4. walk early in the morning
  5. take pictures to make the blog less lame
  6. take the dogs out
  7. bury another dead rooster
  8. get the spare off the van and fix the radiator
  9. the dishes . . . again
  10. be mindful
With all that has been left unaccomplished all that's left to do, if anything, is knit this scarf and watch Work of Art with the family. Well, just Dirk and Bennie. Tom and Ian are holed up in their respective caves ignoring the world. Oh yeah, there's the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Tree.

Brings to mind another thing not done today: retrieving the Yule decorations from that dusty precipice on the third floor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

lake lachrymose

Where it's at.
Eye streaming tears.
The eye of the Silent Witness?
Lake Lachrymose. These two words ran through my mind repeatedly as I painted the blue lake and streaming eyes. Lake Lachrymose is a place in one of Lemony Snicket's books from A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Wide Window, specifically. Lake Lachrymose is a water filled with its own lake-specific leeches which take lives and fill survivors with irrational fears. I won't chart the course of this painting based on leeches and fears, but, for today, I seem to have tapped into a sadness. Or perhaps they are tears of Joy? The black peacock is a creature I'm enjoying right now. There's more to him, I'm sure, but it'll come in good time.

This morning, I finally went on over to the Yin Yoga YouTube channel. Well. I didn't know what I was missing. I've had the book for about 6 months. I've read through the Yin Yoga site several times and receive the newsletters. I've practiced the Beginner's sequences as often as I could. Yin Yoga teachers aren't all that near to me, so I do a lot of self-learning. What a treat to hear Bernie explain and demonstrate the principles and poses of Yin Yoga. I felt inspired to practice, but the day got away from me, like it does. Tomorrow must include time on the mat. And then more time in Lake Lachrymose avoiding the terrible Lachrymose Leeches.

Monday, November 28, 2011

our advent garden

It is often that Bennie not only stops to smell the roses in life; she takes a moment and photographs them. Though she was immersed in her early morning Netflix viewing before school, Bennie noticed this morning's sunrise (rising later and later this time of year of course) and felt it was photo worthy. So I bring you ~ Breaking Dawn. Pun intended.

Meanwhile, in the front hall is the beginning of our Advent Garden. This is an idea borrowed from Waverly Fitzgerald's Living in Season site created by Erin Fossett. Technically, the garden altar needed to be set up yesterday being the first Sunday of Advent, but Bennie and I caught it up this evening. This first Sunday relates to stones, bones, crystals and shells and the Light that lives in them according to a Waldorf verse. I created the crystal spiral and Bennie added the shells we found at Sherwood Island this summer. A couple of the shells really were treasures to find ~ like gifts especially for us. It's wonderful to include them in this altar though summer is long gone.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

scenes from a Thanksgiving weekend

A flamboyant scarf I'm knitting now.
 Random photos from a weekend well spent . . .
A Thanksgiving sunset.

Kim working feverishly on my Millie.

Brownie in for a crumb visit.

Brownie leaving the building.

Youths beating each other up in Super Smash Brothers.

Mohair/wool blend with the addition of sparkles.

Friday, November 25, 2011

spinning and journal entries

Soothing blue/green/purple mohair.
One would think today ought to be an easier one. For me it would have been a break between Thanksgiving gatherings. However, the Gods had other things in mind as our water pump crapped out during the first Thanksgiving football game, just before getting water to make the mashed potatoes. So today we are pulling up the well pump which is no easy task at a 500ft depth and having a look-see. That's just the look-see. We won't know a thing until it's up. We're hoping for an easy fix.

Then I can do the dishes from yesterday.

In the meantime, I spin. It doesn't require water.

From Samhain.
Meandering thoughts about meditation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

spaces for giving thanks

A kitchen altar. I'll be here all day anyway.

An unset table awaiting the central activity of the day.

The rising sun. Be thankful it does this everyday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the house elf

Bread for tonight. More for tomorrow.
It is such a pleasure to have youths old enough to play with the flaming stove top! All of which frees me up to inflict more damage on the Dust Bunnies. While Bennie caramelized the apples for Sweet Potatoes w/ Caramelized Apples ala Martha Stewart, I vacuumed. This dish will go into the oven about an hour before it's served ~ give or take.

The bird and I will be up fairly early in the morning wrestling  after I have some oatmeal. Perhaps I should feed the bird some oatmeal and save on the stuffing . . .

Yams  looking disturbingly like a crime scene photo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

new picks

I have a cat on my lap, so I'm not able to scan the rune card of the day which is Ing from The Rune Mysteries. Ing is a glyph that seems to indicate some sort of completeness, wholeness, harmony which feels like today as I'm getting quite a bit done in time for the upcoming holiday.

On my SoulCollage® altar sits my image of Self Fire in the element of Air. So. Thoughts are sparking away today I guess.

However, for now; time to review a few recipes . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

my picks of the day

My SoulCollage® image for Starhawk.
Of magical fiery stuff . . .
art by Nigel Jackson

Sunday, November 20, 2011

getting to the Falcon

Ignacio Berroa (not sure of the photo credit)
Last night, we went out to Falcon Arts. They describe themselves best as follows:

The Falcon welcomes everybody. This is a place to celebrate music, to pay homage to the music and the great musicians that make it. We receive the musician's gift by listening to the music they create. Our policy is that you donate what you can to support these musicians. It is their livelihood. Rather than charging a cover fee, the doors are open to everyone. We have a donation box, and everything goes directly to the musicians. Please come and enjoy the music, and remember to put what you can in the box. Support the Arts!

It's a place where my mother used to hang out with her friends and was involved with helping put the project together. So I go because it's a cool place to hear music I wouldn't otherwise listen to and experience something she enjoyed. The food is good (although Dirk didn't get the meal he expected last night ~ so he was a little disappointed) and priced well enough. To date, I've seen Alexis P. Suter Band, headed by a woman with a deep explosive voice. She really raises the roof. Another time Dirk and I went and saw Spottiswoode and His Enemies ~ we bought a CD while at the show. Last night, the very mellow Ignacio Berroa graced the stage. One can see how Berroa loves the drums ~ he was relaxed and smiling nearly the entire show. He was also making witty remarks between tunes. Berroa played both sets, no warm-up band. Which was fine ~ he needed no warming up.

Today, I'll get through the day with some of last night's mellow tunes roaming 'round my head. It's a beneficial occurrence.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

yes, it's Saturday

I do love Saturdays. Sleeping late (7:00am ~ woo-hoo!), hot tea finished while still hot and the morning radio shows on WAMC ~ life is good.

It's also a good day to get some painting done early. To the right is today's development. I don't know where the black peacock is headed and it doesn't matter. All that matters is being at the easel.

And in answer to a recent query: I do read all my comments. They get sent to my e-mail. I've just no way to really to respond except here. When I get here, I forget. Well, except for now.

Now. Time to give Crystal a bath.

Friday, November 18, 2011

the genius and me

Of small beginnings . . .
It is here that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, talks about one's genius. I haven't watched the TED talk in awhile, but what I do remember is how important it is to show up, whether it means being in the studio or at the keyboard. One's genius is rarely interested in cleaning out the fridge or managing dust bunnies. The genius thrives on creativity. Otherwise, it packs its bags and moves on to the next person not peeling potatoes.

With this in mind, I went to show up in my studio. Still in pajamas, only just fresh off a decent cup of tea, everyone out the door (well, except for Dirk watching the Today Show) ~ just me with a dripping brush in hand and a palette full of paints.

It's a little like meditation practice. Most times I can't, nor do I want, to sit for an hour, but, by golly, 15 minutes sure does wonders! 15 minutes is enough to start something and is less threatening and monumental than holding myself to the promise of a large block of time. I may go back to the studio later today, but I feel like I can attend to other less genius-related activities because I've shown up in the studio, first thing. My genius will now be content to hang out with a Brandy Alexander until I get back.

Kitteh in a Carhart. Someone isn't going to work today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

let there be lamp!

Awaiting en-lightenment
My favorite part.
The smell of burning rubber and dead bugs emitting from a family heirloom is rarely a beneficial occurrence. So. This lamp now stands sans-electric and awaits new innards, like the Tin Man awaiting a heart. At least the Tin Man wouldn't have to run to Home Depot. Oz would be a far more interesting destination. I know the personnel too well at the Home Depot (thanks to previous visitations) and there are no poppy fields along the way within which to take a nap.

Down below are skeins soon to be set. Two of the pink/brown skeins are from my S-twist/Z-plied experiment. It should knit up something nice in either direction.   I do like how the blue pops out 'twixt the browns.

The self-portrait is drying, but the day is passing too quickly. By the way, Sucklord was kicked off Work of Art last night. I'll miss him. He was the Anti-Artist.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what we're waiting for

 The Medusa self-portrait is waiting on the easel for a coat of my favorite stuff: Mod Podge. But now it is late and so that coat will go on tomorrow. Once it is dry she will go back on the wall upstairs leaving the easel empty for the next vision(s) to manifest.
This luscious roving-ball of mohair and the Millie are waiting for Work of Art to come on. Bennie and I like to watch the artistic challenges. We aren't too hypercritical of any of the artists on the show. I may be speaking out of turn, but I think Bennie and I share an idea that everyone is creative and critics are just insecure bastards. Just saying.

So. Off to some unreal reality TV . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday is for cutting

Monday is for watering. Moon Day = water. And as I was watering the plants, I noticed quite a few of them ranging and gangly which means it's time for cuttings.

It was the extent of my creativity for today. After cuttings and culling, vacuuming had to be done ~ mainly due to the pot of soil spilled. We all know how that goes: you can't just clean one spot. So. The whole house was vacuumed as a result.

At least I can spend creative time in the journal.

Monday, November 14, 2011

good lookin' wool

 But first: A beauty shot from last night's sunset. Another moment captured by Bennie.

On the desk, finished Shetland (brown) and Border Leicester (blues) spun and plied. That's one fleece down from last year and a souvenir from a my brother's trip to Canada. I have about 5 or 6 skeins of this Shetland ~ some with the blue Leicester and some with the crazy hot pink ~ and they all need setting. That process will probably make the yarn feel softer. I think it will do well for hats or maybe slipper-socks. The journal is open to a page showing a 1920 census from Gardner, MA where my grandmother lived. So bizarre to think of her as a 2-year-old. And to view hand-written records! It's kind of a treat. Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith is waiting in the wings as I finish I Shall Wear Midnight. Bennie is also enjoying Pratchett's Discworld series.

In this corner of the studio, the Millie is waiting to spin up this lovely roving-ball of mohair/wool. Looks like I've got a lot of this color and I might spin this with an eye toward making a lacy sweater or shawl. Looks can be deceiving though. I might end up with enough yarn for wristlets. So I'll keep project planning open-ended. At least I can spin while watching Harry Potter ad nauseum.

Again, Brighid joins me on Vigil. Simple blessings, simple pleasures.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

oh, it's just the ancestors again

One can not photographically chronicle lost time. It wasn't wasted time ~ not in my opinion, at least. I've started rooting around in the world of I've gone in with very little information to start, but have gotten a few different leads and connections. Really, it makes me wish I'd paid a little more attention to things my grandmother said. I'm not talking about the fantastic stories of rescuing an uncle in Germany during WWII or being in the OSS. The simple things like having lived in Gardner, MA ~ a chair manufacturing town. That her father would weave the reed in the manufactured chairs. And who precisely was Tate (pronounced ta-teh and meaning aunt in Lithuanian)? Her mother's sister or her father's? What would her name have been? She raised my grandmother and her brother after her parents died. All that I remember about Tate is going to Gardner to stay the night along with my grandmother. I wrecked her rhubarb plants, but she made a pie with the stalks so it was all good. Never saw her again after that.

Meandering through the ancestors was my Sunday project. In the meantime, I finished spinning up some wool fleece from last year's Sheep & Wool acquisitions. Photos and accurate info on that tomorrow. The goody was finishing up the spinning during the last Harry Potter movie.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

c'est finis!

Oatstraw and nettles.
After walkies with the dogs yesterday, herbal infusions were prepared. It's the usual oatstraw with a bit of raw honey and nettle leaf. Herbal goodness in a jar.

A walk was just the thing I needed. Brisk weather, leaves blowing, the fetid scents of a waning year. The dogs were catching every scent on the breeze and on the ground along the way. I forget, too often, they need the walks too. Nothing spectacular occurred. No epiphanies. Merely the sublimity of a walk in late fall in all its simplicity. One foot in front of the other.
Ah. A finished painting. One that had been occupying my easel for too long. The title of this piece is likely to be How Should We Search, the first line of the Rumi poem included in the painting.

Once dry, I'll have to find a bit of wall to hang it on. Or figure out how to sell it. I'm not good at selling my paintings, but I'll learn.

How should we search
for the fruit of Spirit?
By not always greedily
stretching out our hands.
~ Rumi

Friday, November 11, 2011

when a Martha Stewart project grows dreadfully wrong

Well. We didn't expect this turn of moldy, hairy events so soon. I guess this pumpkin will not be the Thanksgiving centerpiece after all. A fine roasted turkey looks better anyway and it's edible.

Bennie suggested we put it at the corner to rot with the Barfing pumpkin.

Now. I have two personal promises to keep: a walk and then painting.

Must be done before taking Dirk's dad to lunch for Veterans Day. I'm sensing it's a Panera Bread sort of day. Love that soup in a bread bowl! All dishes should be edible. Saves on clean-up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Oh frabjous day, caloo calay! I practiced yoga today! It is a wonderful thing to keep a small promise to one's Self. It's been read in a variety of places at different times how follow-through on a promise, personal or otherwise, creates integrity. I said what I wanted to do and did it. Then next time I'll be better able to believe myself. Well. Of course, it doesn't always work that way, but when it does it's nice bask in the glow.

Once up from Savasana, I felt like the rest of the day was a breeze. I felt centered and embodied. Conversations went smoothly enough. Again. It doesn't always work that way.

What is tomorrow's promise to myself: to spend time painting. And that's it. How hard can it be? It's easy to get sidetracked. I see the pile of dishes/laundry/paperwork and find myself putting off my personal promise. Why isn't my promise important? It doesn't feed the masses here. It doesn't pay the bills. Heck, it doesn't even do windows! However, keeping this ONE promise to my Self means I've gained some self respect and personal integrity. I believe myself when I follow through. Breaking vows to our Selves is really the first sin. (And I don't have much truck with the belief of sins.) How can I trust myself if I don't do what I said I'd do?

Just like wrapping one's legs in Padmasana, the perfect execution of a pose doesn't happen on the first try. It takes practice. A foundational practice that occurs often. One the mind recognizes as a necessity that can't be put off. I might be short changing myself by only spending 15 minutes at the easel tomorrow, but at the very least, I've kept to my plan. Practicing allows for falling short. Practicing allows for mistakes ~ which are often the best teachers. Practicing means I've done something instead of making excuses.

So. In another hour or so, I'll practice meditation of the shamatha sort ~ sitting and abiding. Even if only for 10 minutes. I won't expect perfection. That's one of those other sins.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

'round the studio

First, let me apologize to my family for the evening fare. Usually, the homemade macaroni and cheese ala Emeril is pretty darn good. I've no idea what happened tonight. Maybe it's because I had only one cheese going in a three-cheese recipe. Nonetheless, I appreciate each and every one of you for choking it down and lying to me about its culinary failings. This is what Family Love is all about. Pecan bars for all soon enough. Now. Down to business . . .

Yesterday, I pulled out all the wool I purchased at the Sheep & Wool for Kim to see. Thought some here might like a gander as well. There's the angora dyed by Jamie Harmon, mohair/wool rovings, llama rovings, some sparkly stuff to include in spinning, some Wensleydale locks and a cone of linen warp to weave linsey-woolsy. All waiting for fibery dreams to come true.
Also, I got A LOT of spinning done while Kim was around. So the Leicesters of different nations and colors are coming together very nicely. I have maybe another 4 ounces of the stuff altogether yet to spin and then I'm done. What next?

As usual, the desk is filled with Things Important and Things Not So Important waiting for my attention at one point or another today.

For some drop spinning joy, kid mohair and a bag of the $3.00 sparkly stuff is waiting for idle hands. This activity is usually reserved for those moments when I'm waiting just a few more minutes for Dirk to get off the phone or finish an e-mail before leaving somewhere or getting down to some paperwork.

And here's but the little bit I've managed to get done on this painting. Friday is looking pretty good for perhaps wrapping this one up and moving on to another image rattling about in my mind. Even if I'm not clear on what it is just yet, I sense something needs to be expressed. I only have one easel and a very organized process that involves finishing what's on it before moving on to the next piece. I know other artists present and past might do otherwise, but I'm not amongst them. I like to finish what's in front of me. Although . . . sometimes, I have broken that rule.