Friday, October 30, 2009

Emerson, and lots more.

Emerson: One Who Grows Like A Weed!I am definitely liking this:  See that face?  He likes me, too!  I am supposing that one can never 'get enough' liking packed into one day, but that does not discourage one from trying, right?
And this, right here and now, is the "meat" of things: the first layer.  Often I rave on about how much I love to gesso the panels.  It is the beginning, the starting point, the launching pad.  It is where the movement begins, from opening the can and stirring the white, gooey stuff, to the dipping of the brush into it, from there to the sweeping movement across the surface.  Working on a large panel can be extra exciting, using big brushes, and gobs of gesso, and large, swinging motions.

Having several "irons in the fire," it feels as though, once again, I am emerging.  I believe I am starting to know how the perked coffee must feel... you know, when the pot is just starting to send up little bubbles from the bottom, the bigger ones have yet to move along the bottom and up the stem, and there is the roar which starts out familiar, faint, which builds in volume and strength.  Funny how that roar changes, softens, when the movement begins.  The heated water pulsates up the stem and burbles over the freshly ground coffee (oh heavenly!  need coffee now!), and the sound is "perky!"  Lighthearted, rhythmic, dancing, it makes the music to which it moves.

"You work best to a deadline," my friend N2 says.  It's true.  Painting into a void is difficult, frustrating.  Writing is similar; writing for no apparent reason can put the kibosh on the whole effort.  Then, a deadline appears on the horizon... movement!  I soften into the work at hand, allow myself the love of it, accept the joy of it.  Hanya has renamed the deadline, "I call it my life-line."

Much of this speaks to how much I, as artist, need the completion of more eyes than mine seeing the work.  There was a time that I thought that this need, as all other needs, was indicative of my narcissistic ego driving my boat, perking my coffee, so to speak.  Obviously volumes have been written about (and for!) the ego, an aside for this moment.  Art needs audience.  Art needs eyes sweeping across it, perceiving it, loving it, judging it, to reach its purpose.  Art even needs the ensuing discussion, "What IS this?"  "I liked it when you painted flowers,"  "Do you ever do horses?"  "HOW do you do that?"  "I feel something deep inside when I look at this..."

So, here we go!  Painting.  Participating in NaNoWriMo.  Working.  Fun fun fun!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mid-week; all about changes!

Yes, I know.  But what is it about these enormous things that is so fascinating?Right off, I can see the painting-within-a-painting.  I see the grid.  I see the colors.  I see the letters.  Ooooh, look at the blade:  I see fish!  Migrating up the river to spawn.

This Cat is responsible for tearing out the summer bridge.  It most likely was responsible for pushing the road through the river bar gravel, building the ramps out of the gravel.  Not being a big equipment person, I have no idea how they get the pieces of bridge up onto the cement structures for the summer traffic.  I do know that in a couple of weeks it will all be taken down, and the gravel smoothed out, and the river left to itself until early summer of next year.

And then, through the wet months, the river banks are habituated by fisherpeople, herons, deer, bobcats, coyotes, ducks, hawks, grebes and geese.  People and their dogs migrate to the river in these coming months as well, and well, we are the ones who disturb all the other visitors.  I have fantasized that the Bald Eagle waits for me and my dogs.  Ha ha ha.  I am sure!

Yes, while the Eagle watches from above, the mountain lion, coyote and bobcats all move up or down stream, giving the human and her sissy dogs a wide berth through which to meander.  To the human it looks as though this land is not populated at all, or, if it is, all that lives here are insects, lizards, squirrels and occasionally a foot-long rattlesnake(this year's hatching...deadly). She knows better, of course, but it is nice to let the imagination loose with the flocks of Cedar Waxwings dipping and flashing little slices of red and yellow.

Growing up in Larabee, I learned early of the summer bridge.  There it was put in seasonally, though it seems that the "high water" is what moved the bridge off the abutments.  The men tied one end to a large tree, so the other end swung downstream.  I will have to ask my brother about that detail!  When the water was "up" we were bundled into the motorboat, and ferried across with my dad at the motor.  I can still feel that excitement; the rocking boat, the whine of the motor, the smell of the exhaust, the rushing roar of the churning brown water.  Lordy!  No wonder we didn't go anywhere very often during the winter months!  I cannot imagine putting my brood into a boat, though they'd most likely enjoyed it as much as I did.  Yes, it was panic-city every time, but such a rush.   And I firmly believed that my dad could do anything.  Period.

The river will be gifted back to herself for the winter.  I will take the dogs down for occasional romps in the sand and water.  I love how rivers renew, refresh and re-enliven... me.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Weekend of Healing

Everyone knows that the face of their dog is a sight to behold...
I do not hold "The World's Biggest Authority" title, or even the world's most beautiful dogs.. I just talk and write a lot about them!    Who knew a Dalmation Pit Cowdog could be so noble?

Wayne and I and Luna went to a cabin in the woods above Mendocino this weekend past.  We went with no agenda, except to find and pick huckleberries before the rains came.  Wayne had the beginnings of a sore throat, so he had the opportunity to relax with the biggest job being to open the front door in the dusky dark.  We went down into the village for supper at the Pub after building a fire to cozy-up the place.  Luna had to bark manically at the neighbor dog who was just doing his big-guy job of guarding his flock of white turkeys (a chaotic moment, that one).  As we entered the pub we were met with a noisy crowd, one empty table (ours!), warm golden light, and music from the late '60's, early '70's.  The waitress looked like one of our girls, and most of the patrons & patronesses looked like they were high schoolers...  such a weird deja-vu.  It smelled and looked like a bar, circa 1971 in Arcata, Ca.  Our conversation was a little limited because of the din, but we had a delicious meal replete with garlic fries and gooood cole slaw, oh, and excellent NY style pickles!  

The next morning we had coffee from heaven, and a slow breakfast.  Our conversation explored and lingered in the little dark places of our hearts where grief has taken refuge.  We played with Luna, and made forays out to the brush to check for berries, and to the woodshed for tiny pieces of wood for the fairy stove.  I spent time in the Morning Pages.

Eventually Wayne and Luna went out with a bucket (a cooking pot, really) on the Holy Huckleberry Quest.  I continued to write, as I was on a tear.  When Luna returned to the cabin and commenced thundering around throwing noisy things, I got up, got dressed, got my own pan and went outside, into the grey drizzling coastal morning.  Well, it was noon by now!

We discovered that Luna could be off-leash and stay with us.  She crawled through the underbrush like it was her first-calling.  She begged for berries, and I showed her how to pick her own, which she did.  She leaped over logs and crashed around nearby, playing catch with limbs and chunks of bark.  We picked a couple of gallons of berries... yes, this is the perfect task for Wayne, because, as we all know, the best berries grow far above my head.

Before we left for the coast, Wayne and I had gone up to look at and be with, the Labrador pups.  They gathered around Wayne's size 15 shoes and each of the pups grabbed a shoelace; it looked as though it was going to be a most interesting Maypole!  They flopped over for belly-rubs and bit his fingers, and that is was what got to him!  "Meat Pie drew blood every day! Luna never did..."  Seriously, that isn't all that got to him, but it made us laugh.  We did it. Decided. Said yes to Baby Boy Purple.

At the cabin we talk.  We affirm our Life and Love.  We laugh.  We eat.  We sleep.  And then we clean up our tracks and slip back out the lane and back to Highway 1 which brings us back to our little house.  We will pick up the pup on Monday, live and trust each moment from this spot of Now, of Love.
These are the Huckleberries.  Full of all the vital nutrients of the forest and coastal air.  Full of long, meditative moments in the brush.  Full of childhood memories, and soon to fill up a pie crust with the darkest purple nirvana!

And the new little guy... his name is Emerson.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Ahm soooooooooo tyyyrrrrdddd.

Asleep under the chair.  In a week he will not fit here, so we are enjoying the view while it lasts.
Look at the little black toenails.  We are in love again!

Hopefully we will be sleeping soon, he's got the hiccups right now.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Household Politics & Philosophy

He is old now, though that may not be true.This is Toby.  He is getting up there in years.  While not the last cat left over from my kids's moving into adulthood, he has been with us the longest.  Let's see:  When did Sarah graduate from high school?  She has been married for 7 years, had been in NY for 3, did this and that for some time, Annie is 6 and Thomas is 4.  Yeah, she found Toby, I mean he found her, one day when she was walking to the office from high school with a cake pan with left-over chocolate cake in it, maybe she was a freshman, and she had to put the pan down to adjust her books and backpack, and this tattered kitten flew out of the bushes and lit square in the cake pan and started gobbling cake.  Cats don't even eat cake, do they?  So that makes him about 17, don't you think?  I said, "No." when our receptionist, Barbara called me for Sarah, saying, "...he's cute, real pretty, and Laura, Sarah is crying and didn't want to call you because you would say no."  "Tell her to walk down to the shelter, they are real nice there.  No.  The answer is no... I wanted a Siamese."  I am not even exaggerating when I say that that very morning I had a thought that went something like, I could find a Siamese kitten for me, just me...  Barbara was patient, had been around me enough.  "He is a Siamese, Laura, and he is hurt."  Aaarrrggggghh! I'll be there in 15 minutes.  And so, a billion years later, Toby and I are still good friends.  He is an avid gardener, though he is a little grumpy and possessive if I get too close to his stand of cat nip.  He used to leap upon my back and lay down when I was bent over the flower bed pulling weeds.  He plays tag with Luna, can still jump to the top of the 5 foot fence, and make his way over to the peace and quiet of our neighbor's shed roof, where he curls up for many warm, sunlit naps a day.  He is 100% outside cat, because he insists on peeing on corners, on the broom, on the birdcage stand, you name it, he pees on it. So every year at this time I start worrying:  where am I going to put him for the winter?  Last winter was mild, and we have wood heat, so I kept the back door open a crack for him to come and go, which worked pretty well.  He slept on the washing machine, and I kept his rug fresh and dry, and he loves the warmth of the dryer.  This year I am not going to worry.  I am a new woman, I refuse to worry about anything.  Toby and I have it made.  Period.  He always comes in when he is wet.

All three cats gang up on Luna.  Tigger leads the Nasty Gang.  They corner her, and then Tigger swats her, hard.  She slinks, and tries to get away.  Tigger swats her again.  Pixie snarls and hisses.  Toby appears to just watch.  Luna cries.  Of course, I know nothing until I hear this pathetic howling/yelping, and I run to the rescue.  Tigger swaggers off, and Pixie shape-shifts into the shadows.  Toby watches, big blue eyes watching.

There must be a deeper message here.  At any given moment I can be melancholy about my brood growing up and being adults with spouses, work and children, soccer, school, commutes and all of it.  I am also aware of this exalted place of freedom.  I can choose to "not worry" a little easier than when the girls were teens, or the boys were teens.  My creative life can have my full attention.  

Part of the message is this:  the animals choose us.  Perhaps we never know the whole story, the why of it.  The message is in the choice, the choosing.  Who am I in this moment?  

Oh, that may be the whole message!  Ahh!  Thank you!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harvest Pizza

That shadow is the avocado pit growing on the window sill...
I could tell that this was going to be gooood!   
That tomato, by the way, is called "Pink Accordion," and it is quite musical.
Seriously, this smelled so good the house nearly melted.

Harvest: pick, chop, stir!

The tomatoes are done, really done, and it seems too early.  Last year I harvested up to and through Thanksgiving.  This year they seemed to be in a rush, the Mortgage Lifters all came on at once with a beautiful crop of 1-pounders... the week before my trip to Whidbey Island.  I roasted  pans-full and they are bagged and in the freezer.  They will bring summer back to quite a few winter meals.
This is the newest toy on the Lane, and it makes garden clean up a breeze, for which I am so grateful!  One of my favorite colors, too!  And these guys are a team, as you can see...
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