Wednesday, February 29, 2012

leap day snow

Hmm. Just when you think there won't be any snow for winter, it comes in early spring. Oh well. The youths are home from school. Tom did his first snow driving to and fro college. We all survived. He didn't see what the big deal was. Ah, the ignorant bliss of Youth!

Anyway, I squirreled myself away in the studio. Well, between the dining room fireplace and the studio ~ in which case "squirreled" might not be quite the correct verb. Maybe "sparrowed" would be better ~ a little more migratory. However, in my to and fro, I've managed to complete the outside front cover of my upcoming new journal. I am very excited about making this personal tome. I believe it will allow me the flexibility and freedom to create pages without the bonds of binding. I've even created a couple of pages, conveniently printed with crop marks, in Publisher. The photo collages were assembled in Photoshop, of course.

So this is my Leap Day fun. And then a nap with Jingo by Terry Pratchett.

Acrylic with a tempera wash.

Mod Podge addition for texture.

A wash of silver tempera over the textured
Mod Podge.
Last coat of Mod Podge over the whole
piece. C'est finis!

One of my journal pages for just writing.
Yes, those are my feet.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

getting old

This is a subject I step delicately into. Admitting it here: it's a fear I have. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in this fear. This culture glosses aging over with beauty and youth and their superficial, impermanent promises. Those before me are aging and those after me are aging, as am I. The task is to reconcile ourselves to this simple, biological fact without losing the will to live.

I see aging in myself. The worry over an errant headache being Something Else. Being rounder in some places and sagging in others. Eye sight not being what it used to be. Changing my style of yoga in order to meet this changing body's needs. Keeping a wary eye on the healthcare issues. I never used to give any of these things one iota. It's hard enough adjusting to my own aging. Watching a loved one age is harder.

Dirk and I have been together 30+ years. We've done a lot together. Traveling, rock concerts, creating a family and a home. Will we be able to take care of each other when we get to Geezerville? I hope so. For as long as we can. Because, even in aging, if nothing else, we will have each other and our children and then some.

I've also witnessed and am witnessing now, how difficult it is for family to come together to deal with their aging parents. Aging isn't pretty. It's messy and inconvenient. It can't be nailed down and pigeon holed. It doesn't fit into anyone's time schedule. It isn't clearly defined ~ some folks age better than others and with no real discernible reasons (despite Dannon's 1970's ad campaign). Aging can't be fixed.

And what's worse, few people have any real answers as to how to deal with the inevitability of aging. I guess it's something one has to sort of relax (as much as humanly possible) into and just live Life. I know I don't always feel old so there's got to be something to practicing a little bit of that each day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

sun room & studio sunday

It's been a long time since I've spent Sunday morning in
the sun room. So I commandeered Bennie's laptop to
listen to WAMC, read through e-mails and enjoy a hot
cup of tea.

After breakfast, I meandered on over to the studio to wind
off the kid mohair w/ sparkly stuff.

It doesn't amount to much. I don't know if I'm going to ply
these bits or just knit something w/ them as singles.

After a lazy Sunday afternoon nap, I got my Artist mojo
going for the front cover of my new journal.

Small beginnings. I have a vague plan
using acrylic and gouache

And I added the grandfather of my
Creative heritage, Picasso himself, to
one of my latest SoulCollage® cards.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

a day at the Met

Yesterday, Our Little Family went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the day, albeit, a little late in the day. But then, you can't do just a day at the MMoA ~ no way! I had one small goal of getting to the Renaissance Portraits, Donatello to Bellini. Dirk's small goal was getting to the New American Wing. These goals were met. If you go to the MMoA, it had better be with some focus because getting lost in all the art is incredibly easy to do. Like an internet search that veers wildly off course from searching How to make Pancakes to viewing electrical engineering sites.

The portraits were phenomenal. Cameras weren't allowed in this portion of the exhibit, but thanks to a little Google image searching, I found my favorite piece of the show, Ideal Portrait of a Lady by Sandro Botticelli. Most of the portraits were tempera on wood, a few oils on wood or canvas. Busts were to be found as was one cameo piece.

The New American Wing was just as wonderful. We found a Dirk Van Erp lamp (gotta have one now). We meandered the Frank Lloyd Wright room. I sneaked a few photos in this exhibit (w/o flash, of course), but they're too blurry for sharing here. (I've got my standards.) We forget sometimes that while there were Impressionists in Europe, there were plenty here in America. It was a pleasure seeing some of these pieces. Bumped into a bit of Grandma Moses too.

All in all, it was a good day. Culture with a capital K and a lucky dinner at Carmine's. I say lucky because we almost had a 45 minute wait until we made to promise to be out by 8:00pm for the reservation yet to come. At the table in one minute, out the door by 8:15. Not too shabby.

Following, are random shots from the MMoA . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2012

collage of intuition

What's it all about, Alfie?

More collage with a page borrowed from here.
Thanks to Kathryn Antyr, True North Arts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

finding my feet on the labyrinth

Sometimes, on the road of Life, one may veer wildly into the bridge abutment of Chaos in the desperate attempt to find a little simplicity. It's these times when a labyrinth comes in handy. Luckily, we've one lying about at the Garrison Institute open to the public for the soul weary and emotionally wayward.

This is where I landed myself late in the afternoon after a day of running around. It was a little chilly, but not so much I couldn't shed my clogs to walk the circuit barefoot.

I offered myself as I was in that moment. Uncertain. Tense for no discernible reason. Frazzled. Free of any agenda other than walking as mindfully as possible. Barefootin' makes Mindful a little easier.

After a few turns in the labyrinth, uncertainty didn't particularly matter, the tenseness eased and the nerves were feeling a little less frayed. It was sweet to find someone had left their prayer, their wish, on a piece of paper folded under a rock with a penny on top. Fishing around in my coat, I found one grubby penny to add to their prayer. I have no idea what the prayer was for ~ not my business. My only business in that gesture was support, allowing me to act on someone else's behalf instead of wishing my own wishes or praying my own prayers. I've got plenty of time for that.
On the circuit.

How do we get so far from where we started?

Further along.

Someone's prayer. 
My penny addition.

An ivy leaf spotted on the way out.

A green-veined heart in the ivy.

Buddha in the garden.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

raucous night

The long weekend began at a frenzied pace and continued unceasingly up until now. And after now, the pace will pick up again, I'll warrant.

Friday was the Waterbury, CT run to meet Tom's girlfriend. That takes care of the evening. No falafel at Fattoush's though.

Saturday saw various parts of the house being worked on in efforts to maintain what we built. Then a bad movie hardly worth mentioning.

Sunday morning we arranged a tender burial for an old furry friend, Isabelle, who lived long and well with Andrea and Jonathan, our neighbors. Also attending, was a new neighbor, Laura, and, of course, Westley the Pomeranian, who also lived with Isabelle. Andrea and I were decked out in our animal hats, she in a cute kitty number and me in my aurochs horns. Because Andrea and Jonathan rent where they live, we offered space on our property (where we have a healthy pet cemetery going with one cat, two hamsters and several chickens) to lay Isabelle to rest. She has a fine view of the lake and a lucky plot relatively stone-free. May Bast welcome Isabelle with open paws.

That night, Bethe, Bennie and I, along with Andrea, went to our local SoulCollage® circle.

Monday was pick-up day back in Waterbury, where we received a more-than-nauseous offspring. We're hoping it was some disagreeable food. I'm not in the mood for stomach viruses all around. This time, we got falafel. Once home, the night got crazier. House full of people: Grace, Kim and Casey, Bill and his family, then Andrea and Jonathan for awhile. Chili and brie, chevre and pumpkin pie, crackers and pistachios ~ all fodder for a fun gathering.

Bethe brought her spinning wheel. Kim was working my Millie and Bethe's drum carder (Kim'll be borrowing that awhile longer). I managed food, some drop spinning and knitting while doing the fair-to-middling hostessing. Kim and I made batts until midnight when Cinderella's coach turned into a pumpkin and the mice all stopped in for a beer.
Kim, drum carding expert.

The fiber Kim and Bennie cleaned for me while on the
way back from Fattoush.

Some mighty fine alpaca, ready for carding and spinning.

Some unidentified fiber, ready for batts.

More drum carding expertise in action.

Kim giving me the drum carding pointers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

sun room

A new space with much removed.
A sunny day is the perfect day to show off a revamped sun room. With My People off to work, college and school, I spent a leisurely morning with a cup of tea and English muffins and some inspirational reading material. Then it was time for Yin Yoga, a fruitless search in the house for something I'm certain I still have but can't find and a walk (which turned into a ride as I went to the town vet with a neighbor understandably upset her cat might be dying). It was a necessary time out for my psyche in a relatively dust bunny-free room.

Tomorrow: the dining room.

My Amulets of the Goddess altar space.

This is a slab construction ceramic project I did in
High School. The theme at the time was one's own Dream
Room. It's funny how my Dream Room nearly matches my
Waking Reality. Cats, knitting, comfort . . . I put the crystal on
the book as an added touch just recently.

A night blooming cereus over an ivy.

A small collection of ivys and a Wandering Jew.

My Kitchen Altar with the Pick o' the Day: the Elder of Air.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the waking garden & a little green

Wee bit o' lemon balm peeking through.
Before leaving for the morning constitutional, I meandered over to the garden to see if anything was going on. I noticed there was, indeed, some plants putting up shoots and leaves of green. Since I have plants and chickens sharing this space for a little while (depends on Joel's recovery), I had to put tomato cages around my perennial herbs to save them from being dug up by the hens.

Dirk and I walked down the hill again. Not much discussion about vines killing trees. It's like living with the Lorax because of his passion for the health of the old-growth trees being what it is. He may as well carry a small chain saw on the next walk to cut some of those pernicious vines.

I went with an eye out for some green and was happy to find it amongst the brown and bramble. The air was just right, too. Cool enough to breathe deeply, warm enough to walk without a hat. Nature nurtures.

On a side note, I sent myself a note through this nifty app called Nudge Mail, where you can send yourself a note near or far into the future. It was a cute surprise to find this in my Inbox today:

On this day last year, I chose this card:

Son of Stones in the West, Chief Seattle with regard to this question: What will look different to me a year from now?

So, if I'm reckoning rightly, it would seem I have more responsibility in my environment. My actions carry consequences so I weigh them carefully. I have become more aware of my connection to Nature, the Earth, and act in accordance with Her laws. I am taking care of my body and those of the people around me. There is nothing quick here ~ it's slow and steady with consideration of others and the Earth.

We shall see.

I think I can agree with some of this . . . Nudge Mail. It's a beneficial object.
The herb bed picked clean by the chickens.

Some thyme showing a little green.

The rue stayed green all winter, but the chickens made
short order of many leaves.

Green moss on the walk. The roots look
like they're draped over the rock.

Squee! A blooming periwinkle!

And snowdrops making their debut on the mountain.