Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barely Fits

Now here it is hanging in the gallery:
All of that work is mine.

I just don't do things the easy way so it was a bit of a struggle getting this thing hung. We brought it up to the gallery last night.  It took both Pete and me, me to carry the thing by one edge of the canvas and Pete to carry in the stretchers and to open the doors for me - it's not like I could put it down.

Today when we went in to hang our work I found that one of the strawberries had a huge rip in it,  Fortunately I'd brought the red paint.  I spackled over the rip with gobs of paint and smoothed the paint over with a paintbrush I fashioned from rolled up paper towel.  The rip should be fine.  Now I just have to hope that nothing comes crashing down overnight.

Of course if some of the Fuck plates come crashing down that could be cooler.  Self-fulfilling sentiment.

Here's Pete's side:
Now we just need people to come see our work!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mixed Bag

I was furious for most of today. I was supposed to go have dinner with Michaela tonight but I woke up with a cold.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!  We haven't met in ages, in part because it's been mud season and she couldn't get off her mountain (the roads were too bad)  Also because I couldn't eat or drink anything but crackers and water.

This cold was a real disappointment because I feel like I've been taking care of myself.  I've been eating mostly normally again for about a week.  I haven't been drinking much alcohol.  I've been mostly at home, going to bed at a decent hour, meditating and doing yoga, working steadily but not trying to overdo it.

We had a party for Pete's birthday this past Saturday (if you weren't invited, check your junk mail folder - or else it was an oversight.  We went retro and invited people by e-mail)  That night I had two beers and went to bed at around 2:30 AM (I also had a really fun time) The next morning we got up at 9:30 and had brunch with some other friends.  That's it for any kind fun activity.  No craziness at all.

Short of not getting out of bed at all, I don't know how much easier I can take it.  I guess I haven't been that sick lately.  There was the hell flu in January then the food poisoning and now this.  That's a lot for me though.  It makes me wonder if Life is trying to tell me something. Couldn't it just send me an e-mail or post it on my wall or something?  Yes, I do need it spelled out for me!  Thank you!

I've been stressing a little about getting my painting done in time for Friday.  It's very almost there.  I got some stretchers for it so it has support now.  The only problem is that the painting doesn't fit in the car when it's on the stretchers.  I'm going to have to take it apart to get it to the show and reassemble it on site.  Wish me luck.

In floral news, I succumbed to the charms of yet another grocery store plant.  This time it's a gardenia.  Gardenia is one of my favorite smells.  I've been lucky enough to have gone to Trader Vic's more than once.  At Trader Vic's every lady gets a gardenia blossom in her drink.  Gardenia blossoms are few and far between in my experience.

Too bad this isn't smelevision.

The problem with gardenia bushes in New England is that they are very sensitive.  The first time I bought one it got too cold on the way from the market into my house.  I just drove from the market to my house (five minutes) and carried it in the house.  All the nice,  fat buds fell off the plant.

So you pretty much have to time your Gardenia acquisition to a day when it's well over freezing outside. This gardenia is also very thirsty.  It needs to be watered every other day or so.  Conventional wisdom for house plants (as far as I know) is that you water them once a week.  I left this plant for four days last week and when I got back it had collapsed.  I had watered it the day I left.  It has recovered with no ill effects, hallelujah.  Next time I go back to Cambridge this plant is going with me.  Like a pet.

So far both plants are doing well.  They're both showing new growth.  I have high hopes for them making it past the last frost date and out into planters on my patio.

Overall I feel that I've come to terms with today.  I didn't get to see my friend and I feel physically uncomfortable but so far so good with my painting and my flowers are pretty and smell nice.  I can be at peace with that.  March, the vilest month of the year, is almost over (I hope it doesn't kick my ass for saying that)  Maybe April will be more fun.  You never know.

Farewell to you all, from Puffs Plus Mountain!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erin go Bragh

In agricultural zone 6 (where Boston is) today's the day you can plant peas.

My area in Vermont is in zone 5 (at best)  Here's what my garden looks like today:

It will be a while before I put in any peas.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


This thing's coming along.
I just have to crochet the strawberry leaves and paint them the right color and figure out exactly what to do with the bottom.  This thing's also going to need some kind of support so I'll have to figure that out too and get the lumber for it.  I think I can have it done by the end of the month.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Naturey But Not Chronological

I succumbed to the charms of a grocery store rose. 
This rose is not from our local market.  It's from the one in Keene that is larger and nicer and has nice produce.  Their bread is only so-so too though.  It's just that it's March so it's dark and cold and wet.  That white in the background is about a foot of snow.  If I can keep the thing alive long enough I'll plant it in a pot on my patio.  Wish me luck.  This photo is from today.

The following photo is from last week.  When we got to VT last week there had been an ice storm.  The morning after we arrived the sun was shining brilliantly and the trees sparkled like my favorite iridescent glitter.  I tried to capture the effect with the camera but, of course, it didn't work.  Still, you can start to see the different colors in some of the sparkles in the photo below.

Here's a long shot for the bigger picture.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oh Once-Beloved Food

Okay, here's the situation: I'm afraid of food now.  Yup.

I'm back to my normal coffee drinking levels (a mug and a half in the morning) but food, uh uh.  I've tried yogurt and it hasn't gone so well digestively.  I get heartburn really easily.

I was looking at some food blogs and I found out that I don't want to see fried food.  No cheese burgers, no bacon (which is kind of a relief really) no spicy, nothing smothered with cheese or sauce.  Stews or sandwiches I could have a little bit.  Desserts, a little bit.  NO MAYO!!!!  NO SMOTHERING!!!!!  I'm even afraid of whipped cream and chocolate.  So sad!

Food is my main joy in life.  If I had something to celebrate I wouldn't know what to do!  Just say "Yay!" I guess.

I haven't had the nerve to try booze yet either.  That's probably for the best since I'm barely eating anything.  Whole wheat bread, brown rice, braised kale and eggs.  Last night I made some black beans with a little bit of sauteed onion and garlic and a teeny bit of olive oil.  It wasn't terrible but it wasn't one-hundred percent comfortable either.

It makes me wonder how much discomfort I had before that I didn't notice.  Maybe I'm just being over-sensitive and wimpy?

When Pete and I were finally able to eat foods other than bananas, saltines and broth I was glad with an ungrateful streak.  It's so much easier to eat those things.  No preparation and hardly any dishes (though you do use up all the bowls and spoons you own pretty quickly)  It leaves plenty of time for uninterrupted knitting and web surfing.

Before salmonella I was always hungry.  It's hard work feeding a hungry person healthfully.  You have to prepare a lot of vegetables.  You have to think ahead and be sure to have all the ingredients you need.  Healthy food doesn't have a massively long shelf life.  Generally you can't just open a package and stuff something in your face.  I wasn't looking forward to getting back into that rat race (the healthful eating rat race) frequent marketing and preparing.

Our nearest market (in VT - actually, NH) is kind of a bummer too.  It's about a twenty-five minute drive away which isn't too bad but it doesn't have the greatest food.  They have shrink wrapped lettuce.  They have other lettuce too, thank God, but the first ten feet of produce when you go in the door is shrink wrapped.  The first thing you see in the market - like it's a good thing.  I try not to buy bread there because even the "gourmet" bread they have there is mass produced - rubbery and weird-tasting.  Once we bought a bag of mass market bread from the bread aisle there (I don't know why) and it tasted like the cleaning supply aisle smells.  It was really strange.  It tasted like "spring fresh" scent.  That is so wrong.

I'm so spoiled I don't want to stop what I'm doing and go to the grocery store so I can have healthy food!  Or in this case, dig around for the meager remnants of healthy food that my nearest grocery store carries.  Needless to say they don't have anything local.  They do have some organic vegetables and dairy products.  Meats are all mass produced.

Fortunately the Saxtons River Market has local bread and local meats.  That makes for an extra stop but it is on the way.

None of this matters yet though because I can't bring myself to eat much of anything.  Fortunately I'm not as famished these days as I usually am.

I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

The question is, what can I do now for pleasure?  The answer is, make art.  So now Mel, get off the computer and go to the studio!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some Things I Learned From My Stomach

It's been informative to have my stomach out of commission this week. I found out a couple of things I didn't know about myself.

For one thing, I worry more than I thought I did.  I find I pay more attention to body parts when they aren't working as  well as they normally do.  This week I've noticed every time my stomach twinged because I'd thought of something that made me anxious.  Mostly the twinges were caused by thinking of someone I know who has a problem (which is pretty much everybody)  Just the slightest passing thought about someone would make my stomach tense up.

Anything that reminded me of someone could cause a twinge.  For example, a couple of nights ago I heard the distinctive rattle of an aluminum ladder bouncing on the metal rack of a contractor's pickup as he drove down our road at four in the morning.  I heard this sound in my sleep. My stomach twinged because the sound made me think of a contractor I know who is having major issues right now.  In other words, a very common background sound made my stomach twinge with anxiety.

Like everybody else, I hear background sounds and think of friends all day long.  Until I became aware of how my gut felt I didn't know that I was stressing about them.

It's not like I can do anything about other people's problems.  It doesn't help them for me to feel bad for them.  I'm not sure I can stop though.  I want everyone to be happy and for everything to be fine.  That's just not possible.  Accept it!!!!

The other thing I found out is that on a small scale I'm an emotional eater.  It used to be that if I got a little bored or a little sad - low level, in passing, while doing other things and not particularly noticing in the front of my mind - I'd have a couple of nuts or a piece of chocolate or something.  Just a quick little redirection of my thought patterns from fretting to my mouth to the next thing to think about.  Attitude adjusted, I'd move on and continue whatever it was I was doing.

That process is less rewarding when the most you can stomach in a day is a banana or some saltines.  Because I was unable to just casually grab a snack (unable or unwilling) I noticed how often I had the impulse do do so.

Not sure what I'm going to do about that either.

I need to either reduce the discomfort level in my life or learn to bear with it better.  I think the latter is more likely.  Or else I could just accept that I am what I am and I deal with it as best I can.

I think I need to come to terms with the fact that problems aren't merely problems and that fixing things for other people isn't always helpful.  Not that I can fix anything for anyone else, but also I should get out of the habit of wanting to.  We all learn from solving problems.  That's why there's math homework.  Mostly we don't like it but still, it's good for us.  Not to be too self-helpy but confronting problems gives everyone the opportunity to learn and grow.  It gives us character and experience and hopefully compassion for others.  I shouldn't wish to take those opportunities away from someone else just because I think I might be able to deal with them better or because it makes me uncomfortable to watch someone struggle.

I'm just trying to talk myself into thinking this way.  Bad things happen and we have no control.  Wishing it were otherwise doesn't help.  Worrying when there's nothing you can do doesn't help.  It's just so hard to be rational!  It's much easier to think sensibly than to feel sensibly.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have to say that we did have a really nice time in Florida.  Pete's parents were great hosts and so nice to invite us down out of the frigid Northeast.  The warmth and beauty of the place was so welcome.

I got to wear shorts and sandals and my hair frizzed up and actually looked good that way.  The orange groves were in bloom so everything smelled like orange flowers.  We even saw a Roseate Spoonbill in the pond behind my in-laws' house.

Everything was perfect until the stomach cramps kicked in.

This Week - Some People Would Just Stay Home

Pete and I went to Florida to visit his parents.

It was windy.  It was also warm enough that I didn't care that my flab was sticking out from under my shirt.
We found some hair on the beach.  Don't worry - it was just extensions or something.  The hair was all sewn together at one end in a long strip.

Pete's dad and I battled for dessert.

One night I tried Mofongo: plantains mashed together with pork and garlic.  It's something like mashed potatoes.  I gotta say it's better fresh than reheated the next day.  The kind I got had shrimp in garlic butter over it.  Hefty! I'd try it again with a different accompaniment.  

Another day Pete and I went to the beach club for lunch.  We got salads for lunch, then we went to the ice cream store.  I got rum raisin with these beautiful multi-color Sno-caps:

Pete got a sundae.

Later that night Pete and I got salmonella.  We think it was the salads.  It couldn't have been the ice cream - right?

We spent our last day doing salmonella stuff and an extra day at Pete's parents' house recovering.  Who wants to fly sitting next to someone with salmonella?  Not that we could have made it to the airport without passing out. Three days later and we still can't eat solid food.

Poor Jill who was watching Fay agreed to stay an extra day (HALLEFRIGGINGLUJAH - THANK YOU!!!!!)

So today we were making our way up to Vermont.  We had the car all loaded up and Pete was pulling out of the parking space in the garage.  He said "is there something wrong with your steering?"  I said, "I don't think so."  Then I got out of the car to find that we had a flat tire.


So I carry Fay back up to the apartment while Pete checks at the tire place across the street. (Nice to have one across the street)

You need a key to get from the garage into our apartment's hallway.  Mine got stuck in the lock.  I had to put Fay down (so she's running loose in the hallway which the Trustees don't like) and get my key ring off the key in the door so I could put Herself into the apartment.  Then I spent ten minutes jiggling the key around trying to get it out of the lock.

Pete came back and suggested I call the management company (no, I wouldn't have thought of that.  I'm a dim bulb) while he took the car to be sorted.

So now the key is out - took the handyman about five minutes to get here and one to get the key out - and the tire is fixed (YAY - we don't have to buy four new tires for our all-wheel-drive car!) and we can go to Vermont.  For two days then come back.  Fine!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wow, Who Knew?

I was looking at my blog stats today and I was AMAZED to see that people in China, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, India and Saudi Arabia have been looking at my blog.

Hi non-U.S. people!  I hope you like my blog!  Tell me where to find your blogs and I'll take a look too!

That may have come out wrong.  Hi everybody who looks at my blog anywhere in the world!  Tell me where to find your blogs and I'll take a look too!