Tuesday, September 30, 2008

does anyone know anything around here?

a million dollar photograph for sure

downside of doggie daycare, if there is one:  driving in to find my little darling chocolate Labrador tied to the fence in the corner.  means one thing:  she was in another fight.  hasn't someone somewhere said that Labradors are friendly, if not friendliest?  her nemesis today is a little darling chocolate Labrador that looks just like her.  well, that wasn't the whole story, as if that wasn't enough:  she was tied in the corner because after she was bad as the chocolate industry, she escaped.

over the past 36 years I have picked up my many children from daycare, preschool, kindergarten, primary school, junior high and high school (yes, to their chagrin).  I picked them up from after-school sports, from the library, from the downtown Plaza.  in other words, I have been schlepping for quite some time.  mind you, I don't mind.  I always kind of liked seeing them from a distance in their world, and I liked letting that first glimpse be a recognition, like, "Hey, I know him/her!"  and letting that recognition turn into a swell of pride, because you know, I have the most beautiful children, brilliant, capable, etc etc etc.

of course there were days when my vehicle filled with tired, crabby and very vocal grumps.  did I feel any less proud of them?  no.  yet there were days when we arrived home and all of us were tired, crabby, hungry and vocally horrible.  still, I maintain, it was always fun in a way, to pick them up.

one day I drove to the elementary school with apprehension rising through my bones.  I had received a phone call that my 5th grade son had been in a serious fight.  have you ever read Tillie Olson's short story, "I Stand Here Ironing"?  in a nutshell, I drove the 15 minute drive going over every possible angle starting with a pointed, 'where were the yard-duty people'?  I even skipped into my daughter's unjust fight 7 years earlier.  seriously, I probably argued for the whole drive with the administration, teachers and staff.  regardless, I still had to go inside the building to retrieve my son, who was being suspended for 3 days.  he was quiet, and I saw in him a barely discernible relaxing when I walked into the room.  after the formalities and paper signing, and picking up his brother, and getting into the car and maneuvering through the crazy parking lot, I said to him gently, "are you all right?"

"I'm not the one crying, am I?"

well, that chocolate Labrador is his,  Meat Pie is her name.  she has a tendency to hold grudges and to take things into her own teeth.  my job is to pick her up.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sat. late afternoon

There is always more than meets the eyeLooking at these clouds, I did not notice the power lines, nor the fork and knife. 
Little puffy clouds in a row as the sun goes down, yesterday.
Again, the dirty oven doesn't show up when I am checking on these... when will technology catch up so you can smell them?

That does it, I said, after watching the Presidential Debate last night, and being forewarned that this coming Thursday is the Vice-Presidential Debate.  It is time that I get my essay finished.  I may do some practicing here.  Maybe not.  Maybe this is my haven, for musing and laughing and showing off my pies.

This time of year makes me happy.  I want to make soup, and stew, and pies.  We are having a "Garden Party" next door, making Pot Luck out of our produce.  Of course, I did not grow the wheat for the pastry, nor did I churn the butter, or process the sugar.  Other than that, I did pick the apples and the blackberries.  At the grocery store, a man in line behind me said, "Are you a meat-eater?"  I did a minor double-take: what kind of question is that???  Not to worry, he just was excited about a current issue of a cooking magazine with a tantalizing picture of a pot of fabulous looking homemade chili on the cover. "I'm taking this home," he said, "and my wife will say, "Are you cooking tonight?""

My garden is still producing piles of cherry tomatoes.  The sunflowers are curving closer and closer to the ground.  Many birds are enjoying the seeds, and barely fly away when I wander out looking for a fig or two.

Things aren't always as they seem.  Paradise exists in the backyard, next door, down at the river, in the sky beyond the power lines.  Paradise exists beyond what can be seen, or heard, or even smelled.  Now there is a topic... the world to which our senses lead.

Dinner!  Chilled wine!  Good company!  The garden.... and the senses are leading here!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I Love

I am enrolled in a poetry class which meets on Friday morning.  I put off reading my assignment until this morning, so I am drinking coffee (see above!) and reading like a maniac, which I love to do.  Why do I put stuff off?  So I can go real fast!

I might add to this post, if I ever get back home today.

Otherwise, have a French Press on me!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Dog yoga.  
This afternoon light makes one delerious.

Dinner is started.  Dogs are bored.  The trees outside are glowing with yellow light, almost as if they invented it.  I can hear the mechanical grape harvester chewing and blowing its way through the vineyard.  There is no water pressure, the baby grapes in the new vineyard to the south of us must be getting their gallons.

I am newly interested in a poet, Russell Edson.  Here is the poem responsible for this recent inquiry...

Oh My God, I'll Never Get Home

A piece of a man had broken off in a road.  He picked it up and put it in his pocket.  As he stooped to pick up another piece he came apart at the waist.  His bottom half was still standing.  He walked over on his elbows and grabbed the seat of his pants and said, legs go home.  But as they were going along his head fell off.  His head yelled, legs stop.  And then one of his knees came apart.  But meanwhile his heart had dropped out of his trunk.  As his head screamed, legs turn around, his tongue fell out.  Oh my God, he thought, I'll never get home.

Sorry, I guess that is a little macabre.  For some reason, I really like it, probably because I have felt like that now and then.  As a young child I used to watch my arm grow really really long, and then it would swell beyond the size of an adult arm, like a jackinthebeanstalk appendage.  When that didn't scare me anymore, I used to look forward to the sensation, especially if it arrived in my legs which would grow beyond the end of my bed.

Hmmm.  That might sound weird to some.

Random.  Who invented reality, anyways?


Monday, September 22, 2008

artist statement for today...

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird--equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

from Messenger, by Mary Oliver.

Artist Statement for today, September 22, 2008

My earliest recollection of “art work” is of intense concentration, my fat little fingers gripping an even fatter, thick-leaded pencil.  My drawings included family members, animals, trees, grass, sky, water, and horses.  At a very early age, writing letters and words fascinated me, as they seemed to carry “the message.”  To this day, I swoon at the smell of a newly opened box of Crayons.

Today I paint and write.  My paintings have evolved into what appears to be large expanses of pure color.  On closer inspection one finds layers of color, brushstrokes, line, form, many depths of visual and perceptual suggestion, which create a spiritual relationship between viewer and the painting.  I arrive at color choice after meditation and prayer.  My process includes vast areas of quiet-time,  during which the next layer of applied color is seen in my mind.

Poetry, prose, memoir and essay are included in my writing.  Often, like my paintings, the writing is a combination of form, as prose poetry, or memoir poetry, or essay poetry.

Today my painting and writing bring practicality to this mind of mine, which loves to hang out in the esoteric.  

On days that seem too busy, too full of un-artist, or even anti-artist tasks, it is important for me to remember to claim my place, my work.  "My work is loving the world."  Even when I cannot see or hear the sunflowers or hummingbirds, loving this full and crazy life is healing and transformational.

In gratitude...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Letting Go


Happiness is a choice.  I choose this; happiness.  This choice is simple, and may on the surface, appear simple.  As in simpleton.  And I say, Try It!

Lord, hear this prayer of mine; that with this prayer of mine,
day by day,
Oh Lord I pray.

Lord make me an Instrument of they Peace.
Where there is hatred let me so Love
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy,
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to Love
For it's in giving, that we receive
It's in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it's in dying, that we are born into Eternal Life.

Lord, hear this prayer of mine; that with this prayer of mine,
day by day,
Oh, Lord I pray.   St. Frances of Assisi

Meditation Notes:   Luna whining because Tobithecat has such a delicious breakfast that she cannot reach even though she stole some of it when LC was taking the other cats theirs.  That's how she knew it was delicious, not to mention that it smells really really really Delicious.
I settle in, finally.  Monkey Mind in full broadcast.  I put Goddess music on, softly.  Soon tears are flowing, I give in to the music.  You and I are One...
As we move into the selling of Mom's place, I am so sad.  

And I love you.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Catching up, is that possible?

Huckleberries!  A screen for cleaning them.  Aren't they something?
Oh!  Can you feel it?  Our planet taking a dip into new seasons, some bird looks up today and says, "Today is the day, we are heading South...or, North!"And I looked up and thought to myself, those are Thunderclouds.  I sure hope there is some rain with them this time.  Sure enough, there were 14 big drops, and some crashing and booming.
So, I went out and gathered up some tomatoes for my Pear Tomato Chutney, and some peppers.  My recipe calls for 3 cups of cut up pears, and that used up a grand total of 2 pears. Isn't it pretty?  Too bad you can't smell it!   Divine!
Then there is this adoring face.  I am holding a cookie, yes, a chocolate chip cookie, which has the potential to make her sick since it has chocolate chips in it.  Yes, as you can see, she cares.
The cookie is on top of the camera.  She is staring it down closer to the black nose.
This is Centerville Beach.  It might be my favorite beach, even if it is one of the most dangerous beaches on the California Coast.
So, I have the assignment of listing 6 things which make me happy.  Or was it 6 things I love? Or was it 6 things I like?  To my way of thinking by now, I have merged them together which I hope, does not disqualify me or anything.
And Thank you, Peter, for sending me this direction!  We went North again over the weekend, to go kayaking and huckleberry picking and I kept thinking, "This!  This is one of my favorite things!"  I love breathing the fresh ocean air, seeing the lagoon grow its own fog, listening to the Pacific Ocean beyond the sand dunes.  I love taking a short road trip with Wayne, talking 'til I'm tired and he is comatose, eating Mexican food and going to the fabric store... all in one day!

6.  Chartres Cathedral:  The Black Madonna.  The Rose Windows. The light that slants into the Cathedral.  The wind that howls through the steeples and crashes and bangs.  The spiritual pilgrims of many nationalities who fill the Cathedral often.  The cathedral below the cathedral, the Druid well, the vibration that emanates from Mother Earth at this spot, and most of all... that I can feel that vibration!

5.  The Land.  The Ocean.  The Planet.  My garden dirt.  Walking to the river, laying in the grass, smelling the rain coming, watching clouds be the negative-space in front of last night's just-past-full-moon, planting seeds, digging potatoes....   

4.  I love my dogs!  Most all dogs, and lots of dog people.  I love a dogs' sense of humor, and how they just simply expect, no ANTICIPATE, the absolute best in any given moment, and surely in the next moment all will just get better.  I want that.

3.  My Art.  Your Art.  Our Art.  Working in my studio, painting or sewing or thinking or looking out the window is/are my favorite things to do.  Writing poetry.  Reading poetry. Listening to poetry.  I love being with my grandkids in my studio.  I love listening to what they have written, or  what they are about to make.  

2.  Life Itself.  Life expressing.  Love.  

1.  My Family.  Being a Grand Mother is the most amazing experience.  Being a Mother is, too. Being a granddaughter, a daughter, a sister, an auntie and a Grand Auntie!  Being a wife and a friend, being a cousin, a niece, a second-cousin, being a sister-in-law... it's all pretty vast!  And a continual opportunity to Love and Be Loved, to grow, to accept and to celebrate.  My family has taught me more than I could ever write down, probably more than I could ever know.  I do know that whenever I talk to one of them on the phone, or see one of them after a long time of not seeing them, it is as though time has stood still.  The connection continues.  My dad used to call me on Sunday evenings, and to this day when the phone rings on Sunday night, I half expect him to be there, "Hi!  How are ya?"  and we could start in where we left off...

Once again, thank you for this opportunity.  It has been good to think about these things.  Life is good.  All Is Well!

And I nominate... la diabla (might have to check the spelling there!)!  She is a bloggess close to my heart (always!), as she is the first person I ever knew who had a blog... AND she let me read it!!!  Guess now I have to go tell her what to do (mmmm, I love that!).


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tender moments

Take a moment to entwingle with your favorite...color!I found this tendril yesterday, this morning it has taken a couple more loops.
There is a bird here...click on the image and he/she shows up!
The Sweetmeat Squash climbed in with the Neighbor Beans.  Mmmmmmmm.
O! Pomegranates!

This morning I find myself looking for some comfort and burnt the gentle quinoa to barbecued crispness.  And I say, "Look up, Sweet One, see the ocean fog receding back to the coast breathe in this cool, cool air, hear the squawking Blue Jay, and remember those little grey birds that descended upon the towering Mammoth Sunflower yesterday to feast upon aphid and ants while you were feasting upon the exploding Sunburst cherry tomatoes."

At times it is very important to have a kind talk with one's self:  Gratitude in remembering that it is possible for me to whip up a tomato and onion omelet after having absent-mindedly obliterated the quinoa.  

My garden, collapsing into Autumn, continues to bring Peace and Joy into my consciousness.  Having a diet of 90% tomato is fun.  Filling freezer and belly with tomatoes raw, cooked, sauced and souped is even entertaining.  

My garden is the perfect antidote to the political mess:  I can read the Constitution in the peace of Neighbor Beans.  I can contemplate the meaning of democracy.  I  can give away piles of produce.  I can write and read poetry.  I can wait in the rampant foliage of tomatoes for those little grey birds to show up for a photo shoot.  I can bring figs to the dogs.  I can ride my bike into town.  I can fill my mind with possibility, with good, with opportunity.  I can take this full mind into my work, my art, my love, my life.

O yes.


Monday, September 8, 2008

perfection evolves

This photo was kind of an accident, and look at the perfection!
"If you're like most artists we know, you're probably accustomed to watching your work unfold smoothly enough for long stretches of time, until one day---for no immediately apparent reason---it doesn't.  ...artists commonly treat each recurring instance as somber evidence of their own personal failure."   D. Bayles & T. Orland from "Art & Fear."

When I begin a quilt, do I begin with cutting out 3 million tiny little triangles?  No.  Often the beginning is in staring at a small red bump on the backside of an oak leaf.  That particular hue will follow me, dog me, until one day I am messing up my tall stack of fabric, and a red one will pop out at me.  "Oh," I muse, "maybe I will use that..."  

The sunflower, which can grow to 16' tall, and produce many hundreds of seeds, lined up in concentric circles, fringed with perfect yellow petals, begins as one seed.  Does it wonder if it will ever attain such heights?

My panels await globs of color.  Eventually I will be there, painting.

Meanwhile, come see my artwork at this website... and while you are there, submit a short story about a dog you know!    Dogs: Wet & Dry - Home


Friday, September 5, 2008

liquid red

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

from "Happiness," by Raymond Carver

I wish politics bored me, rather than scare me to pieces.  I wish since fighting for democracy is such a call to arms, that there was some, democracy that is.  I wish I didn't feel so bad.  "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride," an old adage from MCP, about which by the way, I used to argue with her.  "WHY shouldn't beggars ride????"  

Red is my favorite color, when yellow or blue isn't.  Today I fell for what looks like flames in the red on the window sill, from the sunlight funneled through the small vase.  Often something red cheers me, or inspires me.  Today I say yes to cheerful and to inspiration.

Thank you.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Home, being there

I feel at home here, where the air is familiar in my lungs, the light knows my skin, and a peace settles deep within me.Where the shadows hold mystery and brighten the phenomenon of a sunfilled meadow edged with wild apple trees,
And where the bear leaves us one apple, to share.

"There's a land in the West where nature is blessed
With a beauty so vast and austere,
And though you have flown off to cities unknown,
Your memories bring you back here.

'Home on the Range,'     Anonymous 

Last night a group of us shared what "Home" means to each one.  Of course the thought of home stretches to encompass each woman's experience, knowledge and wisdom.  It includes memories, senses, place.  It includes the full spectrum of emotion, feelings, beginnings and departures.  It includes Human, and Being.  

As we went around our circle, often the speaker would come home to the center of her being and tears would flow.  We ate a sumptuous potluck with three desserts.  For all of us home includes delicious, nutritious, colorful food, family, friends and for most... a dog or two.

Home is to share.  Home is sacred.  Home is a white room, with an open window softened by breezy sheer curtains.  

Home is a backpack or suitcase, home is a shopping cart.  Home can be lost or destroyed, blown up or blown away.   

Poem in Thanks
by Thomas Lux

Lord Whoever, thank you for this air
I'm about to in- and exhale, this hutch
in the woods, the wood for fire,
the light---both lamp and the natural stuff
of leaf-back, fern, and wing.
For the piano, the shovel
for ashes, the moth-gnawed
blankets, the stone-cold water
stone-cold:  thank you.
Thank you, Lord, coming for
to carry me here---where I'll gnash
it out, Lord, where I'll calm
and work, Lord, thank you
for the goddamn birds singing!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Late afternoon, Confusion Hill Bridge, Hwy 101
Click on the image for a better feel of how high this is.  Argh.  There is a sign, of which I should've taken a photo, along side the highway right about here, that says "Keep your eyes on the road!"  Gawkers can end up in a very big pickle if they follow their instincts to look at the bridge construction.

One day after having been up in Ferndale I was returning home in between rainstorms, and as I made my way past the slide I noticed (recognized?) the toes of some boots sticking out into the road.  Startled, I looked up the legs, past the cute little belly and all the way up to.... Unc Bob!!!!!!  He was standing there discussing heaven knows what, maybe where to dump the next load of debris and rock that the mountain continually sends down in huge landslides. 

So, after a trip up to Larabee and points north, well, way-north, I am starting with these two images.  Later I may regale you with more...

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