Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All That And A Little Champagne

I'll admit it: I'm down in the dumps today. To my mind (and sense of superstition) that's not a good way to kick off a new year.

I tend to dress with symbolism. Here are the symbols I've chosen to help me out today:
The new "bralette" I found myself yesterday. It's day-glo green, not that you can tell from the photo.
My Charlie button, to honor my friend who I love, and my whammo earrings to give me strength and remind me of my goddess of a sister-in-law who gave them to me. It's nice to know someone like that has your back.

I've also got a selection of deep pink lipsticks and these:
(Photo taken on a moving train) for extra oomph.

All that and a little champagne and I'll probably make it through.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Girl Talk

A meaningless post of limited interest to anyone who isn't me. Just something I want to "get off my chest." HA HA HA! 'Cause it's about BRAS!

Okay, I guess I did lose A LOT of weight, particularly in the boob region because I don't have any anymore. No boobs. Now all my bras are huge and empty and crinkle like raisins under my clothes. I want to get rid of them all. Do people want secondhand bras? Maybe newer ones. I'll probably just toss 'em.

Anyway, I don't have (or don't want to spend) the time it takes to figure out what size I am now. Still, I'm old and saggy and vain enough to not want to go without. Gotta do something. 

I suppose I could get by with bikini tops until I feel like going through the rigamarole of solving my saggy mosquito bite problem. Maybe I could find myself some piƱa colada scented perfume and pretend I'm on vacation! So long, midwinter blahs!

It's hard for me to imagine getting midwinter blahs when I'm so excited to have my regular, not-Christmas, life back. I have projects I'm working on. I have experiments to do. My big goal over the next three months is to see if I can keep myself reasonably sane. 

My theory is that everything runs more smoothly if I'm sane. That sounds obvious. Think of all the undermining behaviors one gets up to when one is stressed out and feels constantly harried. Stress eating, impulse buying, watching too much T.V., otherwise self-medicating. It boils down to precious resource wasting: money, time, energy. If I can stay sane just look at all the everything I'll save.

But it can be hard to prioritize sanity. It's amazing how easy it is to put aside the simple things that keep me sane (like having enough time to myself or getting enough sleep) for accommodating other people.

It's going to be a big project. I will have to concentrate. I'll have to stick to my guns. I'm interested to see how it works out. So how could I develop midwinter blahs? I'm sure I'll manage. Everyone does.

Bikini tops under sweaters and fleece and down. Why not? It doesn't hurt to try. I love experiments.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


There are some good things about having too much crap to do. For one thing, you're too busy trying to get stuff done to become overwhelmed by the stuff you're failing to keep up with. For another thing, you don't have time to think about whether you "feel like" doing something. You have to do it right then or else it doesn't get done.

I am moving slow today because I'm under the impression that I can get away with that. CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!! (Actually, it ran me over and I've got sleigh-marks in my back and bits of glass ornaments and candy cane shards embedded in my face. It's over but I still owe presents and cards. I am behind.) I'm spending today doing my Yayit'snolongerChristmas manicure (which I'd love to show you but I'm utterly failing at taking a reasonable photo of it. Maybe if I had Google Glass I could take a nice, hands-free photo of both of my hands. Hell, I'll just post a crappy photo:
See - not Christmasy at all.)

I'm also doing laundry, looking at way too much Facebook (boring) and generally poking around the apartment to no purpose. I cannot be bothered to care. It is conceivable that later this evening I'll get around to thinking about how the past year has gone (off the rails) and what kind of changes I want to make in the coming months. Will that be before or after I watch "The X-Files" and knit? Before or after I check to see if the kale I left in the fridge a week ago has rotted? Before or after I mix myself up a nice Manhattan? Only time will tell.

Here are the completed bourbon balls. Pete's dad and I are in his car waiting in the hotel parking lot for Pete's aunt to come down so we can all go to Pete's parents' house for Christmas Day festivities. As you can see, the balls are decorating the dashboard. 

Random photos from the past week:
Tripped on my run. Later, I banged my knee on the glass coffee table at my in-laws' house. My knees are still ridiculously bruised and black.

Random sheep figurine

Christmas manicure, left hand

Christmas manicure, right hand

The water was very nice. The skirt covers the enormous bandage on my knee.

Speaks for itself
I am under the impression that I have time for a lull so lulling I am. I didn't run today. I didn't buy any late Christmas gifts for Pete or my mom or my brother or anyone else I owe. I didn't go out and get New Years cards to send to people I'd wanted to send Christmas cards to. I didn't call anyone on the phone for post-Christmas debriefing. 

Maybe tomorrow I'll let my mind wander over to where the list of things I'm behind on is and start taking a poke at it. I imagine I'll go running. I'll balance the checkbook and pay the bills. I'll try to find a soju of the month club for my brother. I'll box up the gifts I got for people but didn't send. I'll light a fire under myself and try to spark the world again. Today is lost and it's mine to lose.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Make Do Christmas

My in-laws live in Florida. It's a blustery Christmas Eve here today. Pete and Marc have spent a pretty good amount of time outside today. They even went swimming in this ocean:

Me? I'm attempting to make bourbon balls.

I, crazy nut that I am, went to the first market I could find today (I don't really know where anything is in this town) It was bonkers in there with people doing their last-minute holiday emergency shopping. People were very nice though. I was able to park sooner than I thought I'd be and the folks milling around in the market were full of holiday cheer. Everyone was wishing everyone else a merry Christmas. None of this hippy-dippy "happy holidays"crap in Florida. Hey, I was raised in the Christian tradition so I'm not offended. I wished 'em all merry Christmas right back. Why not?

Then I went back to my in-law's rental condo where we're staying.

It can be funny to try to make things in other peoples' rental condos. Often times you can't find the equipment you need. I wouldn't dare to try to make cupcakes here. Marc couldn't find a frying pan here yesterday. No way there are muffin pans.

Bourbon balls do not require baking or any sort of pan. They aren't chemistry like real baking. You just grind up cookies and pecans and mix them with powdered sugar, bourbon and Karo syrup, wad 'em into balls and roll them in more powdered sugar. So I've been told. This is the first time I've tried to make any.

I used the blender that was really intended for mixing daiquiris to chop up my cookies (took forever) and my pecans (no trouble.) I found a large, plastic bowl to mix everything in. Miraculously I even found dry measuring cups (I'm completely shocked!) and measuring spoons. I got everything successfully processed and mixed. Then I ran out of time. The dough will have to sit for a while (which isn't bad - the flavors will meld better that way) until after Christmas Eve fancy dinner. Bourbon balls for breakfast? Could be. Midnight snack? Also possible. With picklebacks? I wouldn't put it past us, sadly.

So I'm getting a quick post in before I get fancypantsed-up. That could be interesting (to me) too - I packed the morning before we left after three hours of sleep. I don't know if my fancy duds will pass muster. Well, I brought what I brought and that's all there is to it.

Come to think of it, I should start getting ready now. We're expected at Pete and Marc's parents' in 35 minutes. Pete and Marc are still outside getting blown around in this weather. Perhaps we'll be late?

This is not your storybook Christmas. It's great though. We're all half-assed. It's nice that we agree about it. Hitting all the high spots and letting everything else slide. Ha!

Since I live in the politically correct U.S. northeast I will wish you all very happy holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Not 100% Late

I was not late to work and when I got there someone had left me a present.

Pretty sweet.

Bet I'll Be Late

Man, does this blog need a facelift! Not today though.

It's too cold to do anything. It's too early to eat breakfast. I'm a big crank and I don't want to do anything involved with getting ready to go to work.

You know what I want to do today? I want to have some damned fun! Make chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and decorate them with multicolor confetti sprinkles - the kind you eat, duh, not paper ones - and maybe some clear sparkly sugar to evoke actual frost. Wintery! Festive!

Then I want to go get some fancy papers (shiny, glittery stuff, nice tissue paper) and box up the Christmas gifts I got for people and mail them off so they get there in time for Christmas. Wouldn't it be good if I had done that last week? Well I was busy last week so I didn't. I'm busy today too so I won't be doing it today either. Sigh.

You know what else would be nice? Another week to spend just paying attention to Christmas preparations. I'm ready to do that now. All my other stuff I had to do is done. I can shop now. I can make little gifties and send Christmas cards. Well, I'm almost ready. I'll be really ready next week. Oops.

Oh, and I'll need another two weeks to go to parties so I can make sure and see everyone I want to see for the holidays. And let's not forget the holiday baking and cooking that it's so fun to do. I could probably wedge that into the two weeks I set aside for parties, during the days.

So I think I could be ready for Christmas if I spent the next three weeks exclusively on Christmas stuff. Of course we all know that Christmas is in one week and we all have TONS of other stuff we have to do.

Oh well. Gotta muddle through. It won't be perfect. I'll hit the high spots. Some people - a lot of people - will get their gifts in January. I ain't going to see everyone. Life's a process. Live and learn do everything the same wrong way over and over again. I'll probably be late to work today too. I bet I'm not the only one!

The tree looks a lot like it did last year but, hey, I have a tree!

I'm not really that cranky. I've had some fun in the last couple of weeks. I've been lucky to do some things I don't normally do. I hope I find time to post some photos in upcoming days.

Good winter holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


You know what sucks? There's a cost to being sad. You end up paying twice. 

First you go through the pain of, say, losing something. You feel sad about it. Then I find I have to get over the expense of energy it cost me to mourn. Maybe that's just me. Maybe some people are just sad and then they get over it. I seem to need a double recovery. I feel like I used to just recover in one stage. Maybe I'm just paying more attention now.

It could also be that there's just been so much suffering and loss in our general area lately. You start to feel better then whammo - something else hard comes along. So many of life's largest truths have been rearing up over and over again in the last few years.

I'm so obtuse that I still don't know what the takeaway's supposed to be. Life is short - love and enjoy while you can? Go for the gusto? Carpe diem? Don't wait for the perfect conditions to be happy or to do what you want to do?

My head's still spinning. I have no idea exactly what in the day I'm supposed to seize. 

You could argue that life doesn't make sense and there is no takeaway. I don't have to learn anything from this random spate of losses. It's just bad timing or hard luck and that's the way it goes. 

I, for one, am not built to think that way. Something inside me will choose a lesson and retain it. I'd like to choose consciously and make sure the lesson that sticks is something that will be helpful later.

I think if I can be patient I'll figure something useful out. I hope.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Am That Guy

I am one of those people. A kind of person I NEVER thought I'd be. The kind of person I thought was an ascetic maniac.

I read about people who wake up at 5 AM and write every day because "that's when I can have time to myself." I thought that was nuts. I read about people who's ideal birthday involves getting out to go running first thing in the morning. Whacko! Only now that's me! I DO THOSE THINGS. How did this happen?

All of those things sounded like punishment for people who didn't like themselves very much. It's not a punishment at all. In fact it's a necessity for me to do those things so I can understand and process the things that happen to me. It is much more punishing to not do them. I seem to require them in order to stay reasonably sane and happy.

I've found over the years that I do tend to incorporate things I feared or didn't understand. For example, when I was a kid we used to go visit my dad's cousin's creepy farm in rural Virginia where they had wild snakes (not pets) in the basement (and occasionally in the kitchen) I absolutely didn't understand choosing to live like that. Now I have my own creepy farm and I LOVE snakes. I've never seen one in my kitchen but I wouldn't mind - it would help keep the mouse population down.

When I was around three years old I was at preschool. For Halloween they had a lady dressed as a witch come and hand out lollipops to all the kids (I feel like I've written about this before...) I was terrified and hid, crying, in my cubby. Now I think I am a witch, at least temperamentally. I totally understand why the Bad Fairy cursed Sleeping Beauty.

As for my other big childhood fears, I have not yet become Santa Claus or a monster under the bed (or a severed head in the toilet bowl) but I do feel like a clown sometimes.

There is SO MUCH in this life I fear or don't understand. I can never tell which of these things I'm going to embody. I only figure it out later. It makes me wonder what else I'm going to manifest.

I fear destroying things. I understand intellectually that you have to get rid of the old to make way for the new. For the most part I find that I don't have the internal fortitude to trash something that's still technically viable. I have too many old toothbrushes hanging around. Old sneakers that are flat on the inside - no support anymore - but without holes and not that dirty. They still look useful but they aren't really. Can I throw them away?

I know intellectually that sometimes it is more merciful and compassionate to cut something off and get rid of it and yet I'm too wimpy to follow through on that (Like I'll leave it to the snakes to take care of the mice) I wonder if someday I'll learn? Under what circumstances do you learn something like that?

I find that an exciting idea: to become the terrifying goddess you fear. I'm way too chicken to set out to do that on purpose though.

But, as I said, there a re a lot of things I fear or don't understand. Who is to say which of them will pop up in me next?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Andouille Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

Today looks like this:
So I'm glad I have this for lunch:
Andouille sausage, kale and bean soup that I made yesterday before breakfast. I had already soaked and cooked the dried beans a couple of days ago. I'd saved a good amount of the bean cooking liquid too so all of that was ready to go in the morning.

I just cut up the sausage and cooked it with olive oil in the pot (andouille isn't very greasy so I added extra oil) while that got started I chopped up some carrots, celery, onion and some boiled potatoes I had lying around and put them in the pot too.

When they were soft I added the beans and their liquid, some extra water and a few teaspoons of chicken "Better Than Bouillion." I let it all cook for a bit - 20 or 30 minutes. I wasn't paying attention. I decided it was cooked enough, turned the heat off and stirred in the prepped kale. Easy peasy.

When you make sausage soup the sausage does all the work. Get good sausage. Some barley, rice or other grain would probably be good in there too.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another Rare Event

I can see the moon from my apartment! Another thing that hardly ever happens. I LOVE that! Notice that it's 6-something AM.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fresh Wind? Hell Yeah!

I got takeout! I never get takeout! Okay, almost never. I got Indian takeout! I'm SO excited! Can you tell? 

I'm also enjoying the hell out of the new, working light switches that a couple of electricians installed today. Happiness is a functional light switch. Bet you didn't know that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An Eddy of a Day

Yesterday was a normal day, except that I had no commitments after work so I took my time going home. I poked around Harvard Square. I finally found myself a pair of new winter pants. Ate dinner at home, made a stick and watched an "X-Files" and a "Poirot." It was a good day and I was pretty pleased with myself.

This morning I woke up with some kind of stomach bug. It really nailed me. Or something nailed me. Bug plus grief plus just moving to fast and too much lately? I can't explain it. I slept all day. I'm still feeling tired.

There are a bunch of things I need to do around the apartment but I didn't do anything. I just slept and thought. Don't think I settled or resolved anything. It was nice to have time to think.

I managed to eat part of a piece of toast, part of an apple and some buttered noodles and drink some water. Not much fuel for tomorrow, I'm afraid. I'm expecting tomorrow to be normal again and I'll need to function.

I hope I wake up tomorrow with fresh wind in my sails. That happens sometimes. I could use it tomorrow. 

I'd like to be able to think of something good to do with myself after this stick show is over. Maybe I'll just draw a lot.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Lady Walking Behind Me Is Singing Really Loud

Yesterday I spent quality time in four different social worlds. I was at work, then I went to our firend's wake, then I met my gallery-mate to strategize for our show, then I went to see our friends' country band play.

When I was in college some of my favorite nights were spent on my own, moving from social circle to social circle. It made me feel free. I do well on my own.

Last night it was very helpful to be aware of the different situations in which I can be happy, the different frames of mind I can feel at home in. It was also a little lonely for some reason. Maybe I don't feel integral to any of them. 

Maybe everything is whimsical and nobody's integral to anything or everyone's integral to everything. Maybe none of it matters because it's all a passing fancy.

Of course I'll feel differently about everything ten minutes from now.

People have no sense of continuity. We just think we do.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Socks Can Sometimes Say It All

Or at least what's worth saying.

Here's the pair I'm wearing today:
Yesterday I wore these:

If you want a pair, or thirty, you can get them at Blue Q. I plan to buy more pairs. Because they're all I want to wear.

Monday, November 4, 2013

In Honor

In honor of our friend who passed today, I post (again?) the recipe I use for for Cincinnati Chili, to which he introduced us (my comments in parenthesis) I'll likely be cooking up a big batch tomorrow.

Cincinnati Empress Chili

For the chili:
2 lbs. ground beef 
1 qt.  water  (4 cups)
1  & 1/2 t. allspice
1 garlic clove (I used more of course)
2 bay leaves
2 diced onions
dash worcestershire
1  can (6oz) tomato paste
1 T. salt
1/2 t. cayenne
1 & 1/2 t.  black pepper
3 T. chili powder (though I used less than 1T because I ran out and it still came out well)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cumin
1 T. vinegar

spaghetti - make a pretty fair amount 

orange cheddar cheese grated
kidney beans
chopped onions
oyster crackers
Tabasco sauce

Put the water in a large pot or hotpot.  Crumble meat into the water (yes, raw)  and add all the other chili ingredients.  Bring to a boil then simmer at least one hour and for as long as three hours.  Remove garlic and bay leaves.  (or leave in the garlic and mash it if you’re me)  Serve over spaghetti with your choice of toppings.

Serves six or so

Godspeed, dear friend! We'll never forget you!

Not The Worst Thing In The World

People keep telling me I've lost SOOO MUCH weight. I hadn't realized that I was quite SOOO LARGE to begin with. Which just goes to show you that I have NOOO IDEA what I look like. Ever. Guess I don't care that much. I'm good with that.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


My big plans for today were to go downtown and get myself a new fleece from the Patagonia store and to get new pants to wear to work. I've been running enough that my old pants are all too big. Or else their seats are worn out and you can see light through them when you try to put them on. Classy.

HOWEVER, the Red Sox won the World Series (Go Sox!) and today is the big parade. All over town.

I'm keeping track of public transportation via Twitter and things are a mess. It actually sounds worse than the usual marathon crowd. They're closing T stations (and re-opening them) to control crowds. I'm feeling a bit thwarted. I wanted to get an early start and I was foiled. Oh well.

With uncanny luck, I'm supposed to meet Lisa downtown, just like we tend to do on Patriots Day. We're meeting at 1:00 so hopefully things will have wound down by then. Come to think of it, maybe I should leave now so I'm sure to be there on time.

The weather is fantastic for this kind of thing though. Sixty-ish degrees and sunny, not too windy. A lot of people I know are down by the parade route soaking in the jubilation. I'm not feeling jubilant I'm afraid.

Actually, this morning I checked in with my friend - I don't know what to call it! Our friend whose husband (who is also our friend) is dying. What do you call that? Dying Friend Family? Pool of Pain and Misery? Ouchland? @#$%$&*-ville? (And of course it's not all bad - there are levels of beauty and grace and love to it too but it still HURTS LIKE @$^#%*& and is really, really hard - I mean I don't want to oversimplify) She asked me what I was doing today and everything I could think of to say felt so stupid and trivial and like I should just go over there and take her kid out to play.

So I don't know. I guess I'll just go outside and see where the day takes me. I can get a fleece tomorrow if I need to. I could just order one online if it comes to that. Sigh.

Good luck to you today, however your day goes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'm Gonna Be Late For Work. Sorry Bob.

What's going to happen today?

It's supposed to be very windy out today. I LOVE wind.

It's also November first, the first day of NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo, neither of which I have signed up for. Words! Glorious, luxurious words! I want to cocoon myself in words, sweep them around me like a cape on this blustery day! I want to dive in and swim in a warm sea of words! Everything sounds like a stinkin' overwrought cliche though. Oh well.

So I'll move on to pictures.

All that's left of Mr. Loaf: the scalp. I'll have that for lunch at work today. With a salad, of course.

Halloween party pictures of people you don't know:

Steffi and Yukari being photobombed by Selena and Nate

Vampire Melvis

Random Yukari, Quinner and George

Jill, Jim and Jamie with a sneak Quinner in the background

Standard Halloween party photo
Hijinks with Steffi and Angela

Insufferable Preppy Bastard and crew

Jeff and Melvis being photobombed by vampire Nate

John, Linda and Alma

The party went pretty well. The Red Sox won the World Series. The meatloaf was tasty, as were the pickled beets. No one had a martini but me though.

Party tip: Cheetos really brighten up a dreary bread plate.

I think I'll wear a dress today (with tights) so it can blow around in the wind.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm At It Again

I can blog from the subway with this thing (phone)! While I'm commuting to work! So exciting - because I've got bees in my bonnet.

Do you ever feel like you're living in a ghost world? Everything around you has already changed irrevocably but it's still there. Nothing looks outwardly different but everything you live with, everything you're walking around is hollow or just a shadow. It's only a matter of time before all of it disappears.

If I had time to meditate today it would probably be one of those sessions where I'd just cry for half an hour. It's not that everything is so terrible - some things are great (like my meatloaf) Life is just so damned confusing.

Hearts kind of suck. They make you love stuff. People, creatures, situations, even objects. You have no control. You want things that are bad for you - AND good for you AT THE SAME TIME. How can you tell which? It doesn't matter which  because you can't have them anyway. Or you can and then it's a big mess. You love, then you lose! Then your stupid heart stops working altogether and you die! Who invented this crazy system? Absurd!

So many things going on all the time. Love, loss, joy, heartbreak, beauty, horror, ALL AT ONCE!

It's enough to make a gal just want to sit on the sofa, knit, and watch alternating episodes of "Miss Marple" and "The X-Files" while eating bon-bons and drinking single malt scotch for a month. 

Thank heaven I have this chocolate bar at my desk. 

That might calm me down. It's a known fact that chocolate causes a chemical reaction in the human brain that creates a direct connection to the stable "Astral Chocolate Plane" of The Universe. Known. Fact. 

Gotta go do stuff now. Chase papers around, find numbers 'n' stuff.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fun! I Had Fun!

Halloween party preparations! I forgot how fun it is to make weird stuff!

Like these heart-shaped pickled beets I made to garnish spooky Bleeding Heart Martinis:
So fun to carve them into heart shapes. I don't remember ever making cooked pickles before so that was fun too. I hope they taste good! They're supposed to leach creepy red tendrils through the martini.

The BEST thing is the horrific mummy meatloaf I made. I can't even believe how well it came out. I have to show you the before and after shots so you can see that it really is a meatloaf and not a war atrocity.
See - bacon wraps. Onion eyes and teeth and tomato sauce glaze for an extra charred flesh effect.

The results:
True Terror! What a horrible nightmare! Complete, resounding success! Will anyone dare to eat this wretched thing? It's almost insensitive.

I put a ton of work into making these ridiculous, meaningless things. It was so much fun! Clearly I need to do even more stupid, meaningless things!

A Favorite Thing

One of my favorite things that anyone's ever said about me is, "Daddy! That lady's a witch!" Perceptive kid.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making Sticks

A Stick

I don't think I've mentioned the collaborative installation project I'm doing with my gallery-mate, Denise. It's looming. We show December 6th. The only parameter we set was that we were going to make vertical elements. I'm at the point now where I just call them sticks.

Denise is really cranking on the sticks. We've met at her studio to touch base once each of the last two months. I've brought either nothing but photos (the sticks were drying and not transportable) or just a handful of stuff. She's got dozens. Dozens of really good sticks along with handfuls of truly amazing sticks.

I'm lagging in the numbers. My contribution has been more in the area of going off into left field. I was the first to make a stick with offshoots. Not like the one above, but one that has stars shooting off of it on long, bendy wires. I also started stringing things on wire to hang from the ceiling. I had beads I wanted to use.

Hell, I have a lot going on right now! Plus, my studio's a two-and-a-half hour drive away. There's no room to make a mess or dry anything in our apartment where I have to be five days a week so I had to think of ways to make sticks that didn't need to dry. These beaded things (which I'm still calling sticks even though they're more like giant necklaces or bracelets) just pile into a bag which I could stash under the sofa if I felt like it.

I also have some industrial twine in a bunch of different colors that I want to crochet sticks out of. How much time do I have? NOT ENOUGH. Between the travel, the death, the dumb things I thoughtlessly said I'd do, the party I want to have because I love my friends and I want to see them, and - let's just call it - the LIFE, I feel like I'm falling behind. I don't want to let Denise down.

Well crap. I just have to do the best I can, right? So that's what I'm doing. I really don't want to get into some anxiety-based, all-nighter pulling, no bathing, monastic existence of cranking out sticks like an underage Chinese factory worker. Now is not the time. Things are hard enough. I want to keep my eye on the big picture of where my life is going. I want to remain mentally healthy. I am so grateful that I naturally wake up at 4:30 - 5:00 AM these days. I get so much more done that way.

This project has been really good for me. While I do feel I'm not holding up my end as far as numbers go, I'm really enjoying making these things. I'm working happily away in my studio (or my living room) for hours. Working in my studio has often been torturous in the past so it's nice to be getting hours of practice of just honest work under my belt. You know, wearing down a passage in my brain where I enjoy working for hours in my studio. Hopefully erasing the passage in my brain where I force myself to go to my studio and relentlessly prod myself to just do something, anything, just do it and it hurts and it's horrible.

Eh, art. It is what it is. Like everything else, some days you got it, some days you don't.

Alrighty, I'd better go make some more sticks now. Later!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can't find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.
I guess this is what I'm trying to do. I did "favorite" this tweet after I re-tweeted it. Guess I'll go Facebook it now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Life Is Short And I Don't Know How To Do It

If the post below seems a bit lackluster it's because my heart wasn't really in it. It was the post I'd planned to write on Sunday but I ran out of time. I don't really have time to write this post now. I just got off of work, I'm still at my desk and I'm expected somewhere else in forty-five minutes. That said, I gotta do what I gotta do.

We have a dear friend who is unlikely to be with us for much longer. This is what's really on my mind today.

Did I write yet that I've realized that you don't like your friends, you love them? Probably. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. It's very difficult knowing that this vibrant person with such a unique mind, so much talent, so much love and appreciation for life will be leaving us. We won't have him around to inspire us, to chew the fat with, to enjoy a great meal with. We won't have the distinct pleasure of his company.

There have been times in my life where I've felt as if everything I love was going away. Of course for me it wasn't true. My friend is really being taken away from EVERYTHING he loves. He doesn't want to go. It's so hard to see him fight with this. I can't make him feel better. Pete can't make him feel better. His beloved wife can't make him feel better.

God, it hurts so much.

And it makes me want to LIVE. It makes me want to throw caution to the wind and just GO. Buy shoes I can't afford, throw a HELL of a Halloween party, tell all my friends how much I love them, smooch people I shouldn't (decorum be damned!) plan a trip to Hawaii, quit my job and drive across country, eat A LOT of chocolate, run outside in the wind, swim in the ocean. It makes me want to be extravagant.

I'm usually prudent by nature and very careful of the needs and wishes of others. These tendencies calm me down, cool me off. I would like to be extravagant but I'm not sure I'd dare in the long run. People can appreciate lavishness from time to time but full-on extravagance is overwhelming, bunch of Yankees that most of us are around here. The truth is, too, that as an introvert I'm not sure I could muster the energy for constant extravagance.

I wonder if there's a way to be extravagant in spurts? Then run away to my secret cave when the repercussions hit? Then, energy restored by solitude, jump out and scare the pants off of everyone with more effusiveness. Sounds psycho. Sounds counter-productive. 

All of those things seem pretty stupid and trivial too. (I don't think Pete would be on board with the smooching part either) What is trivial though? I don't know. What's important? Maybe those stupid little things, the things that are fun and that we enjoy are necessary components of a great life and not trivial in the least?

I want to live without reins. I bet I won't though. I want to celebrate life. I might buy the shoes and I'll certainly try to throw a HELL of a Halloween party.

Another thing I've been thinking about, and I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned it here (possibly around this time last year) is that you get to keep the love. When our friend is gone we'll still have his love for us and our love for him. That is comforting to me. I hope it's the same for him, wherever he ends up. Dear friend.

October Weekend In Vermont

Morning view from the patio

I had big plans this weekend. I always seem to have big plans. This time it went pretty well. As you may be aware, I can't shut up about my garlic. Garlic is so easy to grow that I kind of became hell-bent on getting some in this year. Below is yet another shot of the extremely neglected vegetable garden where I intended to plant the stuff.

Vegetable Garden, Before

I got a nice, early start by previewing the site and getting intimidated. Since it was a beautiful morning I thought I'd warm up by taking a look around. Some bright blue caught my eye and I was delighted to see that the equally neglected (possibly even more neglected) aconitum was still alive.

Heroic Aconitum (blue)

We still have honeysuckle. This variety smells like a trip to paradise. I have no idea what it is because I didn't plant it.

The hydrangea petiolaris looks very stately this year. I didn't get a good photo of its overall shape. Instead I tried to give you an idea of what it feels like to be standing inside it. A beautiful, golden, peaceful spot.

Hydrangea Petiolaris

We still have quite a number of raspberries. Still no frost by October 21! Unusual. I'm so glad for the fruit.

I spent the rest of the day working in my studio on a project which I will no doubt share with you later (unless I get hit by a bus or something) 

After a number of hours in the studio I was relaxed enough to attempt the vegetable garden.

Part I
In about an hour I managed to make a pretty good first pass. It went far better than I'd imagined it would. The chipmunks made it easier by tunneling under all the weeds and keeping their roots loose. Thanks, little dudes! I rewarded them by eradicating their cover. Maybe they'll forgive me when I get the mulch down, hopefully next week. 

After a surprisingly perfect day of accomplishing my goals, Pete and I had cocktails (well, Pete had beers) on the patio. The vegetables, except for the celery, are from Marc's garden. Pretty sweet.

The next day was, of course, Sunday. You don't get to stay in Vermont all of Sunday so you have to get a move on! I put a little bit more time in in my studio then headed back to the garden. The results:

About 100 peacefully tucked-in garlic cloves settling in for the winter. My ambition was to get them mulched on Sunday too but... No. Hey, you can't have everything. Most of the time. Sometimes you can. I think.