Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where I'm at.

You Sagittarians may wander farther and wider than the other signs of the zodiac, and you may get itchier when required to stay in one place too long, but you still need a sense of belonging. Whether that comes from having a certain building where you feel comfortable or a wilderness that evokes your beloved adventurousness or a tribe that gives you a sense of community, you thrive when you're in regular touch with a homing signal that keeps you grounded. According to my analysis, 2010 will be prime time for you to find or create or renew your connection to a source that serves this purpose well.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


As much as I would like to write a tidy little recap of this year that we are about to exit I can't. No one sentiment sums it up but I suppose that is the nature of a year lived one day at a time, to it's fullest. We did live it fully. We are all in a slightly different place from where we were when we first entered this year, we have naturally moved along on our collective developmental paths. Our families are well and healthier than earlier in the year and we have achieved greater understanding of and compassion for our dearest ones. I find myself almost overwhelmed by the love that surrounds me and my little family. Looking ahead to 2010 I see so much promise and opportunity. Beyond the physical plans and desires we have that will eventually populate all the days of the coming year as they did in the past year I want to continue to enjoy every moment of this fine life we have. What else is there to do?

Goodbye 2009 and thank you. Hello 2010, come on in we've been looking forward to your arrival.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Going softly into that good night

I am rolling slowly down a hill into the deep trough of winter. It's not terrible, it's just dark and things are moving slowly, rolling the final steepest part of this descent before hope returns on the Solstice. One year on the Solstice I felt the earth's gravitational force change as the days gained more strength against the weakening night. That is what happens, the night gains strength up until December 20, lengthening her reach, ending later, starting earlier, casting the pall of winter. Then bang, night loses hold and day starts to win. A classic struggle between good and evil. I have always thought of the winter solstice as the first day of summer. I am an optimist to be sure. That first day where we know the sun will be returned to us and we will wear thin dresses and our cocktail glasses will sweat and we will go without socks for months and months. Today I put away 7 pairs of wool socks. I might have cried but I am numb, a form of mental hibernation has set in. 4 days to go. I'll double up on the vitamin D and give up trying not to fall asleep before 8 and in 4 short days this cycle will end and another one will begin and I will be well rested and ready. Cheers to the Solstice!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Normal Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is a pain in the ass. I think we all have it to some degree. In the worst cases people just give up putting themselves in situations where these nasty feelings are triggered. As part of my little recovery program I am working on dealing with these feelings and it seems to be working because last night I went to a party and actually danced. I have not danced in years which is a real tragedy because dancing is fun and considering my enormous size I think I am an okay dancer. When I was in college I danced all the time. My fellow art students and I would drink Long Island Ice Teas at the Coconut Teaser on Sunset Blvd and we drove the boys a little bit wild. It was great. Then I got married and somehow we stopped going out and we never danced and then I started to develop the evil pattern of social anxiety that has been strangling me ever since.

Here's my plan. I don't worry ahead about the outing even if I happen to dream about it the night before. When I am there I work on being a good conversationalist, I like listening to what other people have to say and I have plenty to say myself, so that part is easy. I turn off my monkey brain that shouts insults at me and I take into consideration that everyone else at the party feels a bit nervous about something so we're all basically even. Then, and this is key, on the way home, I don't berate myself about what I did or didn't do or say I just think about how much fun it was. And man it was fun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Problem

It was my birthday on Saturday. It was a sunny day and I listened to the Beatles, Good Day Sunshine, it was nice. A friend called to extend to me some birthday wishes and we talked for a bit and then she asked about my feelings around my birthday. I told her I felt okay, and I do. I have never been a person who needed a lot of recognition around my birthday. Certainly I like a little and I seem to get it. This year was no exception. There was some build up, some plans for fun and a meal, some anticipation around gifts. I had been working a bit feverishly up until my birthday and I had to take care of some details on my birthday and then I had just had to work like a demon the next day. That was okay. There was one strange little thing that happened though. A few days before my birthday I got thinking about my mother and started to feel pretty sad. I miss her a lot and somehow the whole birthday thing feels a bit lonely without a call from her. There is nothing to do about it. I had a little weep away from everyone who might hear me and went on with my day. Pearl baked me a cake and neighbors came over for drinks and I made a nice dinner for us.

Of course it is a strange business getting older. You gain things and lose things as time marches on pulling us along with it. I did what I could to stay young. I started school early so I was younger than my classmates, I dated older men so that I was always younger by contrast but these days things seem to be evening out. Mark is only a year older than me and for the first time in my life most of my friends are about my age. I have some younger people in my life too and I enjoy being able to offer words of advice based on longer experience. I don't hate my body, in fact I think I look pretty good for my age. I am comfortable with where I am in my life and who I am as a 46 year old woman. So to answer that question again, I have no trouble with my birthday, with the mechanics of it at any rate. I am looking forward to the future but I do miss the past a little as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

In the Flow

There is a natural ebb and flow to things. In work and in life things seems to flow easily if you let them. Worry does not seem to affect the flow except to distract you from recognizing it as it happens. Opportunities for work and advancement are everywhere but they seem hidden when you are looking for them directly. It seems that when you are genuinely in the flow that is when you become aware of the opportunities you need to act on. Because the universe is always watching, I choose to keep my head down and focus on what is in front me while listening with my ears and seeing peripherally what is shifting around me. I leave expectation alone and feed intent. I enjoy the feeling of flow from my head through my hands, pushing and pulling me along. The year is flowing down into the narrow passage of the transition to the new year, where the flow dissipates into a trickle only to burst forth on the other side. There is never any time to stop and fully restock your supplies to continue in the flow, you just keep moving, looking down while looking ahead, skimming along, merrily merrily.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Holiday Season Begins

Younger Pearl Relaxing at the Holidays

I don't know what the date is today, time is moving too quickly. I have too much work to do and I feel too full. The holidays are coming, they are in fact upon us. I miss Pearl. She is with her dad tonight. Mark and I built an outhouse this weekend which was great for our Yurt dwelling tenant, and good for us because we love to build things and it did not rain when we needed it not to. I am cranky, a little PMS I suppose but also, I miss Pearl and feel at 6's and 7's when she is not here. The holidays are upon us and I tonight I thought about an Easter years ago when Pearl was quite small and she commanded an entire room of people, gathered for an Easter egg hunt, to clasp hands and follow her in the following blessing:
Blessings on the blossoms,
Blessings on the fruits,
Blessings on the roots and stems
Blessings on our food,
and the ( insert name of what you are eating here).

I wandered in from outside and discovered her doing this, holding hands with 20 people, leading this bleasssing, and I thought this kid is amazing. Thursday we will celebrate with friends and then the whole holiday season will be kicked off. Everything is moving too fast. I have no gifts purchased, no cards made. My birthday comes the week after Thanksgiving and then 3 weeks later it's Christmas. Pearl will be with her dad, so our Christmas will be a little lackluster but we will muddle on. Did I mention, I am full, I have too much work to do in a short week and I miss my kid? Maybe I did. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year, I have so much to be thankful for, I am full and I have too much work to do and I have an amazing kid to miss.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Good Sign

I wish I had a picture of this.

As I was driving down the Sorenson Road today, observing the impressive amount of water in the newly dug-out ditch I saw a salmon. It was up out of the ditch crossing a driveway, bending and flipping as they do, fin up. Once it was safely across the driveway it dropped back into the ditch. As I passed by I thought aaah, this is going to be a good day. And it has been. I mean why swim in the ditch when you can jump up and take a good look around.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Religious Experience

I think it's good to practice your religion regardless of the weather. My religion it turns out is walking. I try to walk most days as you know if you have read this blog or know me a little bit. I come from a family of daily walkers. We never went to church, we went for walks. As far as I can tell it had a similar effect on us.

Obviously it's November and the rains have come. We are in the midst of a storm. Lots of unstable air, strong wind and heavy, heavy rain. I ventured out around 12:30 today for my constitutional. It was windy and raining slightly. My favorite saying is "there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate attire". Today I chose my attire poorly. Instead of putting on my raincoat and rain pants, I did the old, how bad could it be move and went out in hemp pants and my down jacket. I did have a hat and gloves and I did make Luna wear her coat. Luna hates her coat, she prefers to tremble. I paid for the coat and feel strongly that I know what is best for her, so on with the coat.

We went up to the... I don't know what to call it. Centennial Park I guess. The Agri-Fair grounds, what ever. There is a series of soccer, rugby fields and baseball diamonds set well below the road level. I wonder if they built it this way to prevent balls from being kicked into the road. Anyway there are steep hills surrounding the series of fields and play areas. There is even a BMX track who's sign is an oversized bike. There is a path like a miniature road that runs around the edge of the whole place complete with paving and a yellow dotted line down the middle. Once we are down at field level I let Luna loose to run. Today she was obsessed with rubbing off her smart coat. She shot up to the top of the embankment and literally threw herself down on her shoulder and onto her back, what she failed to take into consideration was the steepness of the hill and the slickness of her little coat. She slid down, head first, her long legs kicking the air. She was hysterical, trying to ditch the coat in between running at high speed driven by fast moving smells carried by the wind.

Eventually it began to pour, really pour, like there were buckets of water being thrown at us. A flag girl we had passed on our way to the park was laughing at the intensity of the rain as we passed her in the crosswalk going home. We were both laughing. At least she had rain gear on I said. I paused slightly as we passed and showed her my soaked pants peering out from under my wet wool hat and steamed up glasses. Luna hid behind me hoping to dodge the sideways rain.

By the time we got home the rain was so heavy that the eaves troughs were overflowing creating a curtain of water, our final gauntlet. I was soaked and invigorated, two components of a worthwhile religious experience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009



It was my eldest brothers birthday last week. I didn't call him. It wasn't a malicious gesture I just couldn't act on it. I have complicated feelings about my brother. I like him, I think he is a great guy but somewhere along the way our relationship was arrested. We were once very close but many years ago there was an incident in the family with he and his wife and this rift has held strong. I make attempts to reach out to him but these efforts are infrequently reciprocated. Unlike me, he is really good about birthdays and Christmas despite the obvious chasm in realtions, and he always gets me very thoughtful gifts which of course add to my guilt about my indifference toward him. We are friendly when we meet but there is something deeply amiss for me. We are estranged I suppose but no one really talks about it. I go for long periods without thinking about him and am startled sometimes by the notion of him. I have jokingly spoken of replacing him with a friend of mine who resembles our family and who I have a good relationship with, but it's not that funny. I wish I was closer to my brother but I am not sure what can be done to pull the two sides together, to cinch up the seams of the familial bond.

Sibling relationships are strange at best, there are many commonalities and as many deep differences. He's a union member, I am entrepreneurial. He is the oldest and I am the youngest, in some ways we were raised by different parents. His perceptions based on his birth order are so different to mine. He didn't get enough while I got everything. He saw reality as something that was thrust upon him, I saw it as something I shaped to suit me.

I keep coming around to what can be done and I just don't know what that is and I guess that is what bothers me. I want an easy clean solution. I would be happy with an admission from him that he has made a deal with his wife that he will have no contact with me as punishment for my earlier transgressions. There is a long and strange history here and when these dates of obligation come up I stumble because I can't simply acknowledge the small things without the larger fissures being acknowledged too. I guess I am an all or nothing person in this case and that is my flaw to deal with.

I hope he is happy in his life. He looked good the last time I saw him. Maybe that is all I need to say to him, there is no ill will here just confusion and leaden sadness for a deep tear in the fabric that is my family.

Friday, November 13, 2009

With this Stick

I have been suffering and those around me have been suffering too, primarily Mark. Some months ago the internal aircard in my laptop started to take a major crap. My laptop is not a mere device for me it is in fact my lifeline. It is how I make my living. Living where I live there is no alternative to the painfully slow dial-up. We have no cable, no DSL. So when I need to send some jumbo files or even just look at a website I have to venture out of the comfort and safety of my office to the public library or a local coffee shop. Of course on my weekly trips up to Mark's place I could avail myself of his wireless without effort, that was until something unseen happened to my trusty aircard. It just sort of stopped several months ago. Now I pride myself on being a fairly calm and reasonable person but step in the way of my revenue stream and I will kick your ass. Not being able to access the wonderful world wide interweb at a whim on my beautiful shiny laptop was distressing to say the least. And so it was that more often than not I found myself swearing and gnashing my teeth much to the horror of my relaxed and pleasure inclined partner.

I did what I could to try and solve the problem. I consulted people, read articles online, tried different little things. Nothing really worked and the problem got worse. This week I spent several hours in the library and the coffee shop unable to get a job off to the printer. I whined about it to Mark and then, like manna from heaven, Mark, in his matter of fact way suggested I get one of these USB "sticks" which would bypass the cancerous aircard and connect me without incident to that great banquet of treasures known as the world wide web. I had been this close (look at my fingers) to sending the laptop to Eugene of all places for a total aircardectomy. It would have cost around 200 bucks plus 2 fedex overnights, not to mention the stress of sending away this tool, this device, which makes it possible for me to walk this earth, to eat and breathe. What would I do without my computer for 3 days? What? I jumped on the stick idea. I found one online for 50 bucks, paid a little extra for 2 day air and there it was, delivered to my door today.

Of course nothing is ever as easy as you want it to be. When I sat down tonight to install the whole thing I suddenly could not remember the password required to update things on my laptop, the anticiaption had suddenly emptied my head and with my anger rising, so easily as it does and Mark getting short with me which he almost never does, I took a deep breath. I recalled my password finally and by some miracle the aircard worked just long enough to download the drivers I needed and I was able to get the miracle stick to work. So here I am once again, happy and relaxed with my adoring husband at my side surfing the web. Phew. Thanks Maxpower, you saved my marriage.

Monday, November 9, 2009


For awhile there I was keeping a list of topics to blog about but lately I have fallen a little short. I am writing everyday, surprisingly diligently just not here. So in lieu of some of my trademark quippyness I give you some recent work. The above sketch was the impotis for the stitched piece which will be featured on the front of the new Think Local First Coupon Book for Sustainable Connections in nearby Bellingham. I spied some sweet stitchery on the UCU site awhile back and was inspired to create a little sketch to use in my composition. I am not a stitcher myself but my fine friend and Sustainable Connections employee Michelle Grandy is. So upon approval of my cover concept Michelle got down to stitching the gem shown above. I love it. I want to wear it.

I heard an interview with Barbara Kingsolver today. She lives on her farm in Virginia now and writes full time. The interviewer described her as reclusive and protective of her privacy and the space where she works. I could relate. I could quite happily fold into myself here in my office on my secluded property. I could write all day or just putter around, pretty much what I do now I suppose just with different outcomes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


So obviously there are a shitload of blogs out there, but occasionally I come across one that really gets to the heart of things. I know my own attempt at blogging is muddled between my design work, my internal emotional life, my skewed observations and other rants that reveal my inability to think in a linear fashion. Here's an excellent blog that is about the process of being a creative human:

So there, if you find me taking too long to get to the point and swearing too much try Kara.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Update

I've been working on a piece for the blog about writing, only it seems like it's about smoking and I am not quite able to make the connection between paragraphs make any sense. I want to write more but am afraid what I might come out with. Like all those dreams where I am considering climbing into a deep dark place that I am not sure I will emerge from. Dabbling with words is mere folly but to really pull up what is inside one's self takes much greater time and focus. I guess I have the time, after all I am writing this. I could make the time. I make time for other things, walking, cooking, sewing, knitting. But the focus part feels like I might be stepping perilously off the edge of something. I am not sure why I assign a negative emotion to this, I could be stepping into soft wool or jello. Stepping off an edge does not have to imply there are rocks below. And maybe I will be changed, am I not already changed after 2 years of blogging. I think I am. It's just that my voice is still so small and I want to it to get louder, or deeper, or more succinct. The weird thing about the writing voice is that it's hard to hear for yourself, you just have to keep writing the words down and soon enough patterns and themes may develop. It's in the letting go of expectation when things really begin to develop. The trick is finding the space to let yourselff slip deeply into those dark soft places and hope you can emerge when you need to without much difficulty.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And the Winner Is

So this is the chosen logo from the 6 concepts I presented last week to my Grounded Knowledge clients in Brooklyn. Am quite pleased with it and the next step is to apply color. My friend Susan who is a principle in the group and was my first best friend growing up in Smithers, sent me a very sweet note about how happy it made her that I was involved in the project. This goes double for me.

Sunday today and we have no plans beyond taking Pearl to the movies later on. I get a little itchy on these days without a fixed agenda. It's silly to have work this hard to relax but there it is. I am what I am.

Had a nice night out with my family last night on the occasion of my stepmothers 80th birthday. We have a Brady Bunch style family, 4 of hers, 4 of his. Needless to say we are a large group when we all get together. I was not sure how Molly would take to 80, but she was gracious and charming at the party. Her sons organized it all and it was really well done. The boys even sang her a song which was funny and touching. I cried twice, once because my dad got choked up while talking about my brother who is currently in rehab, an event that has been a long time coming, and once listening to Molly's best friend Birgit toast her. These are great women, sexy and vital even in their 70's and 80's but not without their frailties and personal tragedies. Family is an interesting web when you stand back and look at all the lives that intersect one another. We have separate and diverse situations but also share so many memories and experiences, some painful but mostly positive.

For many years I felt at odds with my family but as I get older and more comfortable in my own skin I appreciate and cherish them more. So I guess I am feeling pretty happy and connected to the human race today despite my lack of direction or list to follow. Sometimes just being in the moment with the people you love most is good enough goal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Big To Do

I have a to-do list in my head. Sometimes I write parts of it down in the notebook I carry around with me. Sometimes in January I make a chart in Excell and print it out and leave it in my briefcase with my job files. The list breaks down this way into categories; paying work, crafts, home improvement, home repair, garden, writing and personal. Paying work trumps everything. Crafts are seasonal. I don't knit in the summer and I limit the number of projects I have on the go at one time. I find it is easy to begin things but much harder to finish them. I have a mental back log of craft projects I would like to attempt which includes a tile top table, several quilts and knitted blankets. At the moment I am trying to find a vest to knit, I am collecting fabric to make a quilt for Mark's bed, I am re-covering my bar chairs. I am methodical in my approach. The only quilt I have ever made took me ten years to complete. It was worth it though, I sleep under it every night and I don't tire of looking at it. I wear the sweaters, scarves and hats I knit. I have started to make clothes again, cautiously. I made a dress this summer and I loved the process of it, I have never loved sewing before. There is no end to the things I would like to make. I do however have limited time in my day. Work trumps folly, mothering trumps gardening, cooking trumps reading, sleeping trumps reading. It's hard to fit it all in so I have to choose wisely, spend carefully. There is no sense buying hundreds of dollars worth of wool just to have it sit while I quilt. I could use that money to pay to get my chainsaw out of the repair shop or buy plywood to finish the garage ends. The chickens need a little shelter added to their coop, I can use scrap lumber for that and scraps of time but the bathroom I want to add in my guest room will take cold hard cash and more time. Then there is the garden. I want plants for the garden, fruit trees, bare root berry plants. Grapevines, succulents, peonies, and mulch, I need mulch. I want to build a path to my office from my house through the garden. Stepping stones, concrete, flagstone is a fantasy. Work trumps everything else and the days are getting shorter and Pearl needs help with her math homework and new dance shoes. There is no end to this big to-do I have rolling around in my head and I try to only take on that which I can reasonably get done. Did I mention the books I am writing. There are 3 at least, graphic novels perhaps, one about death, one about chickens and one about my last marriage, that ought to be tasty. With all this to-do rolling around in my head I am thinking of the perfect knitted long vest and work trumps every thing but it doesn't stop me from waking in the night and thinking about the alder trees in the back of my property and how I would like to take some pictures of them with the two and a quarter camera and sometimes I want to put words on them and make them a poem and sometimes I want to to knit them little collars and let the weather do what it will to the fiber. Work for money, trumps everything and that is okay because I like what I do and I am glad I have it to-do.

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Week In Design

Here are a few logos I designed this week for a non-profit client in Brooklyn, NY. Am happy to do this work as the client is my first best friend from childhood in Smithers, B.C. . I think number 2 may be the fave and I plan to make a lino cut of the image for the final. We'll see. I enjoy the process of designing logos, I enjoy sinking into it. making lists at first and then translating words into imagery. This first part, the big brain dump of the sketches and rough ideas, presenting to the client and hopefully they like what they have been given, in this case they have. Then it's onto the next step of refining the idea down to their essence. I am grateful to have this particular type of work to focus on at this moment in time.

Pearl was home sick from school this week so my work schedule was a little light but I did get a few things done. My job as mom took precedence which was fine and in a way the simplest and most real thing to do. I am grateful that when she needs me most I can easily be there for her. There were some deeper family concerns as well during the week, which I won't discuss now. Am feeling pretty emotional about it all, lots of feelings about the past that I had neatly compartmentalized which are now bubbling up. It's all good I hope, time will tell. It always does.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wood Burning

The thermometer I bought for my woodstove, and then left on a table where I ate lunch and is now returned to me is not living up to my expectations. I want to be in the Burn Zone but I can't get out of Underburn. And I wonder if this is significant, if I don't have it in me to really cook or if it's just the weather and this house, which seems to be naturally warm to me because of all that goes on in it. Anyway, it is only fall and there are cooler days to come, the leaves have not yet fallen and the decaying has not yet started, and there is heat in decay too. The sun is still warming the kitchen without any trouble. It just bothers me that I put so much hope and fifteen dollars into this small device that can only tell me I am under performing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Putting My Foot in It

I try to watch my mouth. I listen to what the universe tells me and I strive to practice compassion and humility but occasionally a long uninterrupted stretch of extremely virtuous and mindful behavior is shattered by a thoughtless misstep. Such a misstep happened this morning during a conversation with my daughters stepmother. Pearl has been sick and while I know she has been well cared for at her dad's I also know that at a certain point she needs my attention. Nothing against them at all because I know they do a good job. I carelessly suggested that Pearl needed to come home when I should have said she needs to be with her mom. Sadly my poor choice of words puts Pearl one more day away from spending time with me and it's all my fault.

Today's image is a puddle of gray water with Pearl off in the distance.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Luxury of Saturday

All I can say is it's Saturday. It's a sunny Saturday in the suburbs. The furnace is on because it's a tad cool in the mornings. No one is up yet except me and I love that. The day is a completely wide open clean slate. I have some plans, some notions of what I might like to do today, what I might like to see along the way but nothing is concrete and I am happy to let all my ideas go in favor of something better if it should arise. I can hear the clock in the kitchen ticking away, the dog grunts, there is a faint alarm beeping from a clock in the living room that we can't turn off completely. It's really faint, no louder than your own breathing but it's there. The fridge kicks on and in concert with the fan of the furnace it gives the house a nice humming sound, alive but not too lively. The ducts contract making sounds of metal sighing, soon I will get up and have some juice and make a coffee, and maybe read but beyond that I will just let the day unfold. Aaah, the luxury of Saturday.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hours of Operation

I am not sure if it's a function of my (advanced) age or just that I am trying to be a happier more balanced individual but at 9pm I am done with being a mom.

This is not to say that if the Pearlster woke up vomiting in the night I would say "Sorry my dear, Mom is closed", I certainly would deal with whatever she needed. I am talking about a normal healthy day that begins for me at 6am. I wake up, turn on my CFB bedside lamp, I mention the CFB part because it takes a little while to warm up and emit full strength light. It's like a slow re-entry to consciousness. From 6am until 6:30 I write and organize my thoughts for the day ahead. At 6:33am Pearl's alarm goes off and she clambers down her ladder and stumbles into my room and climbs into bed with me. We snuggle for a few minutes and then I kick her out so she can get ready for school. There are light negotiations around food, bathing, appropriate attire and, speed and efficiency until 7:25am and then we leave for school.

At around 8am I am in my office, head down working. Hopefully. Fast forward to 3pm when Pearl arrives back home and Mom is back on duty with homework detail, more food negotiation, exercise ,and endless stories about what the other sixth grade kids are talking about. We watch some TV, drink some wine (me, not Pearl) and by 8:30 or 9 I am ready for the Mrs. Monkey-Pants to slip quietly and efficiently into her bed. Not my bed with me but her own bed. This comes up sometimes. Why can't she sleep with me in my bed. She just can't that's all. I need to sleep on my own.

At this point in the day I have nothing left. I almost always want to achieve something in the evening, I make plans to do things. I write these tasks in the margins of my morning pages but when 9pm gets here I often find myself catatonic in front of the TV, a shell of a person. I think a little, but mostly I stare, sometimes in the fetal position from under a quilt. I have nothing left to offer the world, my child or myself. Even the dog can't get my attention, scratching at the door in 3.5 minute intervals.

I am a morning person. I wake up early and I wake up chipper. I want to know what lays ahead the minute my eyes open and my feet have hit the floor, I have a plan about any given day. But at night it is another story. I am cranky and lazy, and god forbid I fall asleep and you try to wake me up, I could snap! I won't do the dishes I barely want to brush my teeth, I just want to collapse and be left entirely alone, like rotten fruit.

Pearl gets this after years of me politely articulating my limits. She knows I love her, I just need to take down my Mom shingle between 9pm and 6:33am. Maybe it's harsh, but it's honest. I can't be on all the time, but when I'm open for business, I am all hers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rise and Shine

Took some time yesterday and printed 40 of these cards. The Rooster image is one I cut myself, using a lino block, I printed it and scanned it and then had a smaller metal plate made. I still marvel at the fact I can make something by hand, transfer it to my computer, send it to a place in far away East Texas and print it again when it comes back. Magic. I also use polymer plates but find they don't hold up over time. The edges curl and they lose their sticky quality. This is the same rooster I have stuffed in my living room. I also have a print of him for sale on my website and at Etsy. Will post the cards for sale there too. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No time

No time for blogging. Trying to keep working in the face of my new schedule with Pearl. Vaguely mourning the loss of my time with Mark. This fall weather is amazing and I have been compelled to do some odds and ends out doors in preparation for winter. Thinking about letterpress printing some pieces, poured concrete today but felt frustrated by how poorly I plan things sometimes, most of the time. No negative thoughts, they are unhelpful. Thinking about a story of a woman with stage 4 ovarian cancer who is challenging people to not have a single negative thought for 21 days. Is it possible or even desirable? I don't know.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A week passes

Holy cow! How does an entire week go by without a single blog entry. Monday there was a dead hen, partially eaten by a raccoon. Tuesday I was nauseous. Pearl stayed home from school on Wednesday and it rained hard. I felt crappy and slept in the afternoon. Thursday was okay. Friday I went to town early and took care of many of the mundane details of my life and didn't get any billable hours in. Shameful. Saturday I went into Vancouver and saw my dad and stepmother and was cranky and tired when I got home. Today is Sunday again and it's been an entire week since I have had the thought to write something here.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Eddy asleep in the sun.

Mark started his course this weekend. It marks a new period for us. Gone are our carefree weekends for the next few months. It's okay because if I have learned anything it is that I am capable of adjusting to change. I looked after Eddy while Mark went to school and then DJ'd a wedding. The wedding was an additional complication but again, not insurmountable. We have also embarked on a new school schedule with Pearl which sees her in Everson during the week and with her dad most weekends. We are in a state of flux which can be disorienting. I could choose to be blue about the whole thing but I refuse to go there. Instead I invited my sister out for the weekend to keep me company while Mark was away. In the morning I cleaned our bedroom and took the dog for a good walk. I tended to Eddy and felt good about doing it. On Sunday Catriona and I walked for about two hours along the dyke at Mission, it was clear and warm and we had a good talk. Mark came home, beat from his weekend of schlepping equipment and doing equations. Catriona went home and we took the big red car out to do the shopping, I made dinner for the three of us while Mark slept. It felt different from the normal routine but not unpleasant. There is a stillness to this change as we all get used to the new order of things. I don't fear change anymore, I look forward to the new opportunities that arise from it.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Sept 11, 2001. My neighbor called and told me what had happened at the Twin Towers. I listened to the radio for a bit then told my husband what had happened. We were in the middle of our divorce then. I went down to the barn and brushed my horse for a really long time. It wasn't until a year later that I saw film footage of the whole event. I purposely did not want those images in my head. 2 yrs ago we visited Ground Zero almost by accident and I could not fight back the tears as I read the names posted on the observation deck. I am crying for the loss of innocent life and the lives disrupted by this senseless act. Where are we now on the continuum. We know what others in the world have experienced for years. We have lost our collective innocence, but what are we doing collectively to end the cycle of violence and destruction.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It was black at 6am when my alarm went off. Once again I was dreaming about traveling. It seems that is all I dream about lately, traveling with my dad, members of my family, Mark and friends. I layed in the dark for a bit fighting falling back to sleep. Holding the dream and trying to understand what it indicates, certainly not physical travel but more likely the journey that is my life. The trip I am on with my dad is an end of life trip, he is not dying but we are in that phase and it is hard not to think about death when I see him. He will not live forever. He said to me the other day "when I am gone", and I immediately asked him, where are you going? It felt a little cheeky but it just slipped out. You don't want to think about this part of the journey but it's there all the same. The journey I am on with Mark feels more spacious and wide open, filled with possibility. He starts his CMA course this week and eventually when his journey with his dad is complete he will re-enter the workforce and that will be another journey for us. My friends are coming and going, I am gaining new ones and old ones are stepping away, my journey of friendship has always evolved in a pleasing way. Even Pearl's journey as it relates to me is changing, in subtle ways. I no longer walk her into school, choosing instead to drop her at the curb, a quick peck and she is gone. Our paths are running side by side where they used to be firmly a single track, soon she will start turning away, we'll both be ready. No image for today except a bunch of lines running along crossing over each other, turning away, some ending, some starting. The thick and the thin, moving, undulating and pulsing like veins.

How are your journey's going?

Monday, September 7, 2009


Eddy is confused and emotional today. When I went into his room, he asked me if he had been sick or if he had something wrong with his memory. He is laying in his bed in what must seem like a strange room even though it has been his for 5 years. I tried to reassure him and fill in some of the blank spots but he could not remember my name immediately or who I was. It's upsetting to see him this way at odds with his normal complacent state, it's distressing and sad to hear him articulate what he is feeling rather than just always answering in the standard affirmative when you ask him how he is. It's just hard to see him curled up like a little child, on the verge of tears asking me questions about the most basic points of his life. It must be shocking to have someone tell you, that you're 81 and realize you have little recollection of what you have done in all those years without substantial prompting. At the edge consciousness, we think we know where we are going and where we have been, but there will come a time when it will all feel like a dream. Merrily, merrily life is but a dream, and off we go gently down the stream.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Was feeling pretty good. Took Pearl for her first hike up at Mt Baker with friends. It was the last major thing on my list of things to do this summer. I even finished sewing the dress I started and have been wearing it, in public. Like I said I was feeling good and then I learned of the death, from cancer, of woman in my circle of dear female friends from my time in Los Angeles. She was a woman who I used to show my portfolio to periodically. I can't even recall if I ever did any work for her but I do recall that she really encouraged me. She was warm and real, a rarity in LA in the music business. I was lucky somehow and most of the people I knew were authentic, generous folk.

So once again I was faced with that feeling of "there but for the grace of god go I". I couldn't sleep, feeling broken hearted for this life cut short and for all her dear friends feeling such deep loss. What can we do except keep going, keep our feet on the ground, hang on and stay here. After my mother died I took a job in Vancouver. I needed to go somewhere and have work handed to me, I could not seek it for myself, I had no energy. I was physically a wreck. The muscles down my back were so tight that when I walked I couldn't feel the ground and my feet ticked. I used to walk from the building where my office was to the train and I had to remind myself to breathe in such a way that I forced my feet onto the sidewalk. After weeks of doing this I started feeling more in touch with the ground. I was so sad that I felt I could have drifted away.

I heard two stories recently, one was about the deep salt mines in Michigan and the other was about the space shuttle. On this upside of my general depression I see how comforted I am to just be on the ground. I don't like flying, I see it as a necessary evil. When I hear stories about colonies on Mars I feel sick. I don't want to go into caves or mines either, I want to enjoy the earth from the ground. Walking toward the mountain on Tuesday I was so happy. Sharing the experience with dear friends and Pearl left me feeling deeply satisfied, so when I learned of Melanie Penny's passing late on Wednesday I could hold her memory in my heart, standing on terra-firma wishing her godspeed to wherever she is off to next. Afterall what do we have except this moment and the spot where we are standing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Awesome Dad

The crash site

Dad is 3rd from the left, floating the wing across the lake.

My dad is awesome. I got an email from him tonight letting me know he was sending me some money for Pearl's education fund. He will never know how much I appreciate this. He paid for my college education which was unbelievably generous of him. I worked hard and I use my education daily just to show him how much I appreciated it. He instilled in me the idea of loving what you do. And I do. He gave me some money for Pearl a few years ago and with Mark's help we started an investment fund for her. I was putting money away every month and when the economy slowed down I eased up a bit but never stopped putting the money away even though it presented a small hardship. I see it as an invaluable investment in her future.

My dad is 82 now and he still works a few days a week. I am including some pictures here of him with his glider after he crash landed it in a lake near Pemberton BC in May. He was unhurt and the glider is getting fixed. He was excited about the whole experience, not deterred or frightened. I strive to be like him, excited by all aspects of life, open to experiences, willing to work hard for what you want and believe in. Anything less is just a waste of time.

I am one lucky girl to have someone like this in my life.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Letterpress Job

250 of 2 names, 2c Business Cards, printed 3 up on 83 pieces of Newsboard

In between trips to the Fair, meetings in town, a little graphic design and being a mom I printed a letterpress job I have had in the works for a few months. Circumstances beyond my control delayed the whole thing. This economic slow down is hard on everyone especially my small paper supplier in Los Angeles. I have been buying paper from the same guy since 1985 when I first discovered letterpress printing at The Otis College of Art and Design, then the Otis/Parsons College of Design (A Division of the New School for Social Research. Try saying that after a few beers). The paper store is over on 7th, a block and half from the old location of Otis at Grand and Wilshire Blvd. It's a dusty one man shop specializing in printers papers. Business is slow and in order to keep it all going the owner has to gang up his orders to meet the delivery minimums. I guess I could buy paper elsewhere but nostalgia forces me to get it from this guy. When I call him up I can imagine the store, the quality of the air, the angle of the sun in the sky, the deserted street out front, the lake at MacArthur Park so nearby. So I put up with the 4 week delivery time and the half orders in lieu of full orders. The above/below pictured cards are the result of a few weeks of design, a couple hours of production and thanks to the spiffiness of the polymer plate 1 hour of printing. It was at least 80°F in the studio on Thursday afternoon when I was printing. It seems that if it's hot I am compelled to either bake or letterpress print. It was like this in LA too when I used to print in my friend Rebecca Chamlee's garage. It was eternally hot. I am quite pleased with the results on this job. I liked the design even though it was highly influenced by the client. Birds are not really in my visual vocabulary, chickens yes, birds no. I find them a bit over used by the young. I redrew the sample he sent and added the power lines because I knew they would look nice pressed into the news board under the logo. I actually took out a bit of the packing on the press because I was hitting the plate too hard and the fine knocked out type was filling in a bit. The newsboard is thick and can take a heavy hit but in some cases just a light kiss of pressure is more appropriate. Sadly my rollers are not what they could be and the impression is a bit uneven from top to bottom. My set screws are stripped I fear, the ones that hold the rubber rollers at the exact height. Anyway...blah blah blah. One day I will point Mark in the direction of the old girl and get him to detail her within an inch of her life. For now I am happy to print and live with the results which are probably finer than I let on. I love my press, I love the process of printing, I love dinking around with it, cranking the timpin back and forth, walking miles side to side. It reminds me of art school, of hot Los Angeles days when I was young and learning how to awaken what was asleep inside me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August Nights

Pearl on the Tornado, NW Fair 2009

Summer is winding down. Two weeks to go until school begins. A week ago I could feel the cool underneath the warm afternoon air, the leaves are starting to drop from the trees. We are having a mini heat wave, the last gasp of a perfect summer season. The air tonight, as I walked the dogs was thick and still. All the smells hung in defined spaces too heavy to move, even the dogs who usually charge out to meet us barking, came slowly as if walking in cement. The good smells of berries and skunk cabbage were stronger and the noxious smells of silage and fabric softener wafting from neighbors trailer homes made me hold my breath as I passed.

We went to the Fair last night an annual late summer ritual. It was just Pearl and I this year. I was worried we might not have as much fun on our own but we had the most fun we've had in years. I was surprisingly relaxed and in the moment and she was content with the agreements we had made ahead of time about, food and rides, and the budget. This was the first year we rode the big rides, and not just the Ferris Wheel which I explained to Pearl was just a baby ride on a grand scale. She is a dedicated fan of spinning around and really dug the Sizzler, Tornado and especially the Tilt A Whirl, she rode it twice. I laughed hysterically on all of them, letting my body relax into the centrifugal force, closing my eyes I felt like I was spinning upside down. We stayed until after dark, ambling back to our car eating Poffertjes off a toothpick with a fancy cellophane end, Pearl chattering away about all we'd experienced in the course of 5 hours and $60.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Week in Design

Here's a poster I designed last week after finishing the second pass of book for Rockport Publishers. It's always a mixed bag here at the DoubleM. My attitude has long been that I am happy to design anything for a buck. I have said it in different, more colorful ways over the years but it always rings true. A few weeks ago I even designed some labels in exchange for Raspberries. Food is as good as cash in my world, Pearl loves frozen Raspberries and I am wholy dedicated to providing for my little tribe of one. I'm lucky, I like what I do, I have autonomy and independence. Sometimes I go without things but I generally choose to focus on what I have a lot of and right now I have a nice amount of work and many happy clients. I had a meeting the other day with a client collaborator and at the end of the meeting she hugged me and I thought how great is this, I get to do what I want, I am adequately compensated and occasionally I get hugged. Life is really good when you stop and think about it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blog Check In

I have been meaning to blog but haven't. Have not had a lot compelling or even funny to say. I can usually fall back on funny. Life is good. The heat wave ended and it rained but that was okay. It was sunny again today and really humid. My car windows are all broken which was awful because the dog got into something nasty and had the worst farts. It's late and I want to lay down and watch the final episode of Mad Men Season 1 in preparation for the 3rd season which begins this Saturday, so in lieu of actually writing which demands actual thinking I am posting my horoscope, which I feel explains everything.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
You are currently getting more miles per gallon and more bang for the buck than you have in a long time. Your IQ is creeping higher. Your knack for scoring good parking places is at a peak. I'll even go so far as to say that it's been quite a while since you've been teased by such thoroughly useful temptations. And get this, Sagittarius: I suspect that you have an enhanced instinct for taking smart risks. The only downside of all this good news is that you may not know your own strength. That means you should test it fast; find out more about its potential. Otherwise, you might break someone's heart by accident, or prematurely shatter the illusions of a person who's not yet ready to stop living in fantasyland. Thanks Bob, Thanks Susan.

I just have to say I am really fucking happy and it feels good. I think it's been about 23 years since I felt this good, only I think I feel better now than I did then, because I know so much more now, about everything. So keep on rockin' is all I can say, fall will be here soon enough and there will be more writing to read, more pages to turn etc…

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Position in the Universe

This has been a summer of setting and realizing goals large and small, old and new. One of the old small goals was to sleep outdoors on the deck of my dad's cottage on Keats Island in Howe Sound. This seems like a simple enough goal but I have not been able to achieve it for several years. I blame Mark mostly because when we go to Keats together he's not super keen on sleeping outside and I never feel like sleeping out by myself if he is in close proximity to me. Sleeping together, because we don't live together, is one of the sweet pleasures of the time we do spend with each other. But this week found me up at Keats without Mark, so I grabbed the opportunity to sleep outside. With Pearl safely installed in dad's room with Luna sleeping at her feet and my very competent sister in the next room I went out and made my bed under the eaves on the daybed.

I'd like to say the experience was divine but it wasn't entirely. It was a hot still night, there were mosquitoes so I had to keep my sheet over my head which made stargazing a bit tricky. I was a little nervous about being attacked, or worse licked, by rogue Raccoons who only two nights earlier had kept my sister awake as they broke into the old time food safe to steal some dogfood that was stored there. I woke up around 2:30 because I was dying to pee which I did at the edge of the deck and then tossed and turned dodging dive bombing mosquitoes until the recently relentless sun woke me up at 5:30 or so.

Strangely though, when I woke up in the morning I felt exceptionally good. Not just because I had fallen asleep listening to the water lap along the beach or because the stars shone brightly in the summer night sky. I felt good because I had finally achieved this small thing that I had wanted to do since my dad, many years ago, slept on an older version of the this same deck with his star chart and flashlight, trying to figure out his position in the universe.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I think it is important to note that my mother believed in reincarnation. I think it is also fair to say that the loss of my mother has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. I have a hard time with the notion of her being completely gone because I feel her presence so strongly. She is somewhere watching over me. I wake in the night and smell her pancakes, I feel her above me, somewhere in the clouds. It's a corny cartoony image but it's true.

So this Peacock showed up a few months ago and he continues to be a part of the scene here at Rowanville. He has become a real fixture. He spends a lot of time with the chickens as I have stopped feeding him catfood by the front door of my house as was my habit. He now just eats what the hens eat and he is getting fattter. Tastier looking. The most interesting thing about him is that when I go to work in my office he leaves his place with the hens and take up his post on the back deck of my office. I have glass doors so he can see in and I can see him and he just stays there the whole time I am working. He preens, he looks in, he hops about.

I was listening to some New Age show on NPR recently and the topic of reincarnation came up. I don't know much about it except the obvious generalities of the concept. It has been weighing on me why this bird, the living embodiment of beautiful exoticism has arrived on my doorstep and seems strangely committed to keeping an eye on me. The fact that I am also in a state of deep transformation cannot be discounted. So, at the risk of sounding like a complete kook it has occurred to me that this bird may somehow be my mother, returned to earth to inspire me. There, I said it. I have had the honor of having other spirit guides in my life and while one doesn't generally rush into discussing these things in all circles it is worth taking note of them and then seeing where it all goes.

My mother was an artist and I think she accepted that I was one too. Up until very recently I had trouble owning this reality about myself. The Peacock, whoever he is, is a daily reminder of the possibility of what I could be or am.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Awash in Yellow Summer Routine

My day goes like this. Up early but never early enough because lying in bed listening to birds, feels worthwhile. I write which takes time and I check in with Facebook which also takes time and then I work. Pearl gets up and then I stop work. The day ends somehow after play dates, errands, outings. Our hearts are full of summer and we go for a walk in the long evening and don't turn the tv on when we get home. We go to bed early to read and relax and then the whole thing starts again. I am neglecting many things but feeding others to the point of glutony with sun and fresh berries and light breezes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Farm Tour Logo

This is a quick little logo for my client Sustainable Connections. Fast and fun and the client liked it which makes me happy. Perhaps not the height of esoteric design but it's friendly, inviting, and legible. Cartoony goodness I would say.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Here's a snippet of how the drawing/painting is developing. Funny that I don't have the long hair anymore, oh well, it's metaphoric hair.

Simple Pleasure

I will not wax poetic, there is no need. For the simple act of going out to the yard on a summer morning to pick a few fresh berries to drop into my granola is poetry enough.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


SL: We are here today to speak exclusively about your hair; it is a topic that seems to come up often in conversation for you.

Me: I suppose that is true, it is a force to be reckoned with and somehow as a woman I end up discussing it against my better judgment.

SL: When did you first identify with your hair?

Me: As a child one Halloween I fell asleep with a wad of gum in my mouth and in the night, not surprisingly, it became entangled in my hair. The next day my mother cut the gum out leaving me with a stylish bob, which made me look sophisticated beyond my years. My older sister was jealous of my sudden transformation. It was then that I first experienced the power of hair.

SL: Very interesting. Are you a natural redhead?

Me: Are you blind? Of course I am.

SL: What percentage of your vanity is tied up in your hair?

Me: I would say less than 10%. I try not to spend much time thinking about my hair even though I am aware many people are envious of it. I had no hand in making it, it just is. I have little influence over it. It does what it wants I just try and keep it clean.

SL: Do you spend a lot of time each day on your hair?

Me: Certainly not. I was happiest when I could pull the whole lot of it back and not think about it at all. I deplore the amount of time I am expected to spend on my appearance as a woman living in this century.

SL: But it’s all over the place what happened?

Me: Vanity is what happened. I’ve had the same haircut for my whole life and I recently had about 5lbs taken off in an effort to achieve a new look. I have moments of deep remorse about it.

SL: But why, it looks nice and naturally tussled.

Me: Is tussled even a word? The curls are fine but now when I get up in the morning I have to perform a little hair ritual in order to go out in public. It has forced me to consider my appearance, an activity I find holey distasteful.

SL: Don’t you desire to be attractive?

Me: I prefer not to think about it. I think I possess a certain physical reality, which exists, regardless of my input. I barely have time to bathe let alone style this mop. I am also a little wary of the time and expense it takes to aquire adequate hair products to keep the whole catastrophe organized and kinky, but not too frizzy. I feel like I am constantly being sold a promise that never delivers.

SL: Well it looks pretty good to me

Me: Hopefully this is due to the forty dollars I spent on mousse recently. That’s more than I spend on groceries some weeks.

SL: Do people admire your hair openly?

Me: Yes and it horrifies me. Often as a small talk before a meeting a woman who feels she has the right to behave in a familiar fashion toward me will comment on my hair and I find it annoying. If I were obese, no one would be commenting on that.

SL: But you said your self that you often bring it up casually in conversation. Isn’t that a double standard?

Me: Yes it’s true. I don’t know what comes over me. It must be some kind of primal need to bond with women over hair. The enemy we all share. I complain about it openly which must piss off those women who have actual problem hair, but you know your issues are your issues. My hell is my hell.

SL: What is your hairs greatest accomplishment?

Me: To date I would have to say attracting 2 husbands, not to mention countless drunks in bars and at baseball games. People just can’t get enough of a redhead, that is until they have actually lived with one.

SL: Well thank you for your time today.

Me: Here take a lock for your scrapbook. We’re a dieing breed you know, redheads are just a genetic mistake and we are on the decline.

SL: Thank you!

Me: NP, I'm covered in it.

Please Note: SL, Sloane Nibleigh is persona of my own creation

Monday, July 13, 2009

Persitent Itchiness

There are some conflicts you encounter in your life that you just can't fix, no matter what. You reason, you cajole, you seek help through reading and research, you ponder, you entertain solutions, you consider writing letters to state your case, you blog, write poems, shake your fists, stomp about, shake your head.

Just for fun last week I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. I learned I am an INTJ, Rational Mastermind. INTJ, stands for introverted, innovative, thinking, judging. This is not a big surprise to me but it was interesting and explains a whole lot about my rational approach to things and my interest in finding solutions rather than asking why or laying blame. This persistent conflict that I have is emotionally draining and without a rational solution beyond a strict course of avoidance and disengagement. Patience and the passage of time will perhaps remedy it but it is so hard for my mind not to wander to that fantasy place where the problem is delineated clearly and unemotionally, possible solutions are rationally discussed, and a course of action is agreed upon and taken. In my perfect world we are all INTJ's and no one stomps their feet or gnashes their teeth and everyone is aware of how their behavior affects those around them and no one suffers from the crippling feelings of injustice.

It should be noted here that I also wish Hamas would recognize Israel as having the right to exist and that Iran should treat its citizens with dignity and respect. We'll see about that. As an eternal optimist I am always hopeful that a solution will be found to even the most destructive situations. It was pointed out to me many years ago by someone I knew quite well this is just another of my many character flaws.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dating Again

As part of my little program of recovery and reclamation via the Artists Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity I am encouraged to make Art Dates with myself. Now granted I have been quite slack about following the book to the letter beyond doing my morning pages. I am quite diligent about those because I am experiencing a daily benefit from them and what am I if not driven by pleasure, results and warm feelings of virtue. I get the morning pages. The Art Dates are another thing. I took one a few months back and went to Seattle to see the Hatch Show Print Exhibit which was inspiring. I have been taking time to read which feels artful and I even did a little painting last week which also felt good. But I am really not sticking to this commitment of the weekly Art Date very rigorously. Today will be different.

Because I make my living being creative it is hard to make the jump from art for commerce to art for spiritual enlightenment. It seems a bit trite, a tad goofy. But, as the book points out, this is my censor's voice talking. The voice that has convinced me that nurturing this part of me is unimportant. So today I am having an Art Date to show that inner voice who's boss. When I started the morning pages I drew this picture, and it was cathartic. I hadn't drawn a picture in a really long time. Then I thought I wanted to make it really big and paint it. Several months ago I bought a big roll of paper, 10 yrds of the stuff and it has been sitting in my office unused. Sometime a few weeks ago I took the first step and I cut off a big piece and a week later I had Mark help me move a sheet of plywood over to my office, I had the idea I would put the paper on the wood like an easel. It's a big sheet. Do you see how simple logistics can derail someone from their path to creativity?

I have decided that today is the day I will make marks on the paper. I am astounded by how long it has taken me to get to this point. Logostics handled, there is the issue of the drawing itself. It's not quite a heart with wings but it's along those lines of art made by girls searching for something, and I will avoid barfing up all the negative adjectives about it before I move on to doing it. A little back story here. I was once married to an artist who was written up (favorably) in several national magazines, he successfully exhibited his work in LA and NYC. I have travelled in what was recognized as the real circles of contemporary art in America. I have met many famous artists and many very wealthy collectors, I know what real art is and yet here I am dabbling with pencil, paper and paint as a way of saving my soul. But! I am undeterred because the book tells me to do it and I will, I must.

I see the drawing as a diagram of myself, not really a portrait but a map of who I am, where I have been and most importantly where I want to go. My spiritual path to higher creativity complete with huge hair and bare breasts. Go figure.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Again

Sunday again and it's the bittersweet reality of my life kicking in. Had a great week last week, nice times with Pearl before she went back to her dad's. We walked and rode our bikes, taking advantage of the long summer evenings. My sister came to visit on Wednesday and we took a major walk from Fairhaven to Larrabee, a 12 mile return excursion. It's so amazing spending time with her. We have pretty much always been close with a few exceptions and I just can't come close to summing up how important this relationship is to me. We ran a bit on the way back from Larrabee to shorten our time on the trail (and yes it was in hopes of making it to the liquor store and trader joes before they closed) and it was surprising how evenly paced we were. Being both of competitive spirits it felt good to run side by side united in our goal. We knocked 30 minutes off our time there. We hung out at my place and I worked on my book project while Catriona weeded my garden, she's a saint for doing this. We took naps in the afternoon heat and on Friday we came up to Mark's place and she went back home on Saturday. So it's Sunday and the book is still not done and I have to face the week and I really just want to stay in my bubble of ambient music with Mark and the espresso machine, but my heart is pulling me south to Pearl and my home in the country. I was telling my sister how much I loved my place that it reminded me of summers we spent on Salt Spring Island growing up. I find I am immersed in the memory of summers past and fiercely dedicated to creating new ones.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This One's For Syd

This entry is for my friend Syd in her recent post she mentioned making a list of traits she was looking for in a partner but wasn't sure she was ready to do it. Above is just such a list, made by me in 2001. I don't know how or why love works but somehow writing these words on those bits of paper so long ago helped me to get clear about what I had been lacking and what I wanted in a partner. Mark is all these things and more, he's a perfect fit for me and I think I am a pretty good match for him. I used to think I had conjured Mark up, created him from wishes. I see now that getting what we need is possible in all aspects of our lives. We can choose what we want and we can make it happen but the first step is being able to visualize it in concrete terms. Make the list Syd, take the first step. A good relationship of your own creation is just down the road.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Walk of Life

It's hard for me not to sing the Dire Straits song "Walk of Life", I am not even sure what that song is about, baseball maybe but I like the refrain, "Do the walk of life". It's up beat and it describes well how I felt when I set out last Saturday. It was a perfect morning, the air was cool when I left at 5:30am, walking up out of my place to the road, the first of many roads I would encounter over the next five and a half hours. The sky was blue and clear and there was a single jet trail heading south above me, the vapor trail fanning out, dispersing into the atmosphere. I consciously slowed my speed from my normal get it done pace. I wanted to savor every step of this walk.

After an hour I arrived in my little town of Everson. It takes me about 7 minutes to drive this distance and it was hard not to see the obvious absurdity of this rather slow mode of transportation but after a short break I soldiered on. My route took me over the Nooksack River and along a sadly short section of the Bay to Baker Trail next to the Mission Rd between Everson and Strandell. I encountered an abandoned mountain bike which got me thinking about the events leading up to it's being left on it's side. I thouhgt maybe someone was in the bushes, perhaps living or merely relieving themselves, but there was no one to be seen and I put it down to mischief. I saw several shoelaces in the road posing as snakes, I saw no snakes. Another hour passed and I really had to pee. This is the worst part of walking the roads, there are no shops to go into and not enough woods either. I noted an abandoned house with overgrown shrubs and positioned myself for a quick whiz. I laughed about it for the next half an hour. I stopped in at a friends house and had a proper clean up, added to my water supply, took a tylenol and carried on. I had been walking for 2 and half hours at this point and it felt strange to be suddenly inside talking to people, my eyes had a hard time adjusting to the small space. On I went along the Central Road up a big hill, I passed a woman running, many cows and a grounded electric fence that snapped at me as I walked along it. I spotted a port-a-potty and made a mental note of it for the future. I bet it was grim inside, port-a-potties always are. I went west for awhile and then turned south again on the Noon Road. I passed the farm where my horse was born. The sun was shining on my left side, I turned my cap a little to shade my cheek. I passed a flat piece of leather with paws, once a possum. Small creatures scampered in the tall grass and I thought about being careful not to stumble into the deep ditches that line the roads. At the corner of Hemmi and Noon I emailed Mark. My left hip was starting to hurt. I kept going, it was about 9, but felt like noon. MT Baker and the Sisters followed me along, shining spectacularly in the sun.

I dropped down into a great curve on the Noon Rd, past a golf course and sat down in a little driveway to doctor my right index toe that seemed to have grown an inch in my runner. I drank more water and thought about taking notes but didn't. I pulled out one of my hard boiled eggs and got back to walking, peeling it as I went. A few cars passed by, but not many. I worried a little about being vulnerable but thought I could easily dissapear into the woods at the edge of the road if I heard one of these cars slow and then come back to trouble me. I had my rape whistle and my pepper spray. By the time I got to the Smith Road I realized my hip was really hurting too much and I felt unsure of the route I could take to get to Pearl's dads house. I emailed Mark again and suggested he look for me on the MT Baker HWY. I was 2 miles away and 4 hours into the walk.

I made it to the Highway and a little beyond before Mark caught up to me in the big red car. I hadn't anticipated how hard it would be to walk the last few miles on the edge of the highway. The shoulder is narrow and I tried to make my self small, keeping my elbows in and my head down. It was nerve wracking as I felt pretty wobbly after 5 hours of moving I focused on not stumbling.

I didn't make it to the Boundary Bay Brewery for a beer as originally envisioned. But, as Mark pointed out it was only 11am. We picked up Pearl and went and sat downtown, had a coffee and watched the world pass by. It felt good to sit still and collect my thoughts about what I had just accomplished.

There was a point during the walk where I just felt I could go on forever, step after step. Take one and then take one more and who knows where you might end up. We figured I had walked almost 18 miles which I felt quite pleased by.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not Quite the Wandering Jew

Tomorrow is the big day. I am making my epic trek to Bellingham from my place in Everson. It's 20 miles so I am not quite the wandering Jew, my trek will end, hopefully at my desired destination and not a moment sooner. Why I am doing it? Good question. Because I can I suppose. Because I want to feel what it feels like to walk 20 miles. How long will it take? 7 hours maybe. I am leaving early. What do I hope to gain from it? I am not sure, we'll see I guess. I think the answer will be revealed to me as I walk, and I will report it back to you when I get home. What am I taking with me? Tylenol, water, Gatorade, nuts, raisins, salmon sandwiches and moleskin. People walk long distances for many reasons, survival, redemption, punishment. Earlier this year I was not in a good place and when I had begun to feel better this notion of walking the 20 miles to town struck me as a goal that might keep me on track for awhile, and it has. So off I will go to join the legions of long distance walkers, moving slowly across the landscape, feeling time and distance brush past me. Maybe it's the last symbolic act of shedding my past and walking into my future. See you on the flipside.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Heart the Interweb

So I am sitting here this morning in my office in Podunk Washington, the dog asleep on the couch. It's rainy, it's grey. I am designing some 4th O'July ads for the Bellingham Farmers Market that are due today. I like to leave things until the last moment. It heightens the excitement level in my life. In between designing the ads I am reading an interview by my friend Maria McLeod with Poet Lucia Parillo and I am struck by it. I stop and draft a quick poem to be refined later for a little series I am working on which I hope will mark the final chapter in a rather confounding period in my development. I go back to the ads and notice that an email has come in from Etsy. It is from a writer inquiring about one of my wrapping paper images. He is writing a Design reference book for Rockport publishers who I am coincidentally designing a book for at the moment. I call him up, we have a nice chat about letterpress, not being a designer he has just discovered it and all it's wonders. I hang up the phone and send off the ads and just feel really good about the world and how connected we all are.

The image for today is of a map of the US, maybe a nice embroidered one on a souvenir scarf and there are red ex's on Everson, Phoenix, Olympia, Sedro Woolley and Boston with red embroidered lines connecting them all. (Happy sigh).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Work Flow

Things are not moving as fast as they might here in the office now that school is out. I refuse to dump Pearl into daycamp, instead choosing to keep her home and share these nice slow summer days with her. My productivity slumps and I have to work like hell at the end of the week to catch up, but so be it. I did design this little poster in a hurry on Monday, the book I am working on is half done and will get sent off today, and I will finish the book cover comps I started on Monday with the help of my lovely neighbor Emily. She has graciously lent me all her blue ribbons to photograph for the background. Now if I could just get my website redesigned.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Access Memory

I am experiencing a wave of memory lately. I have been taking some longish walks in preparation for my big 20 mile walk to town. I walked for over 2 hours the other day and my mind really wanders in the process. I may have been approaching a hypoglycemic state but being a dedicated seeker of excitement I went with it. I had been walking for about an hour and forty five minutes, I was getting sweaty. I ran my hand into my t-shirt along my breast bone and I could feel the sweat. Suddenly, it was the early to mid-late-80s and I was back in LA in the basement of the Park Plaza Hotel at the MacArthur Park YMCA. I swam there with the old men from the neighborhood who never really seemed to get used to seeing a young, pale co-ed like myself in the pool. I also worked out there with a friend and looking back, I don't entirely remember the details of how this all transpired, but my friend Rebecca and I hooked up with a big black guy named Buddy who, offered to work us out. He was big enough that he could lift me up, his hands on my waist, to the chin-up bar where I would hang on, squirm a bit, pull myself up once and drop to the floor. My arms were always my weakest body part, pathetic for my size. Now in hindsight, who knows what weird fantasy we were fulfilling for this probable ex-con, 2 luscious redheads, but at the time it seemed innocent enough. He had a little routine he would run us through and when we would begin to sweat he would push us harder and proclaim " I see the holy water coming, there it is, the holy water". We began to refer to these work out sessions as "Buddy's Body Church". Time and memory are compressed and I have no idea how many of these sessions we actually had, but as this is my blog specifics need not enter into it. It was summer and we were under employed. My father was supporting me, I am not sure how Rebecca paid the rent on her small bungalow. When Buddy was nowhere to be found we would wander down 6th street in the relentless LA sun to Al's Diner at Rampart and eat a big breakfast, the obvious alternative to exercise. I think Buddy just dissappeared from the brethren of the Y and we got on with our studies when fall came.

I haven't thought about the past much for various reasons, too many other things on my mind, but walking around on these long pre-soltice evenings seems to open all these old pathways. I can see 6th street early in the morning as I walk past the tiny Guatamalan woman with her fleet of tiny children in tow, collecting cardboard, packing it on her back. Past Lim's Chinese Restaurant with it's grimy decor, I wonder where his small boys are now, 20 plus years later. Past the dank liquor store where I discovered the true difference between Sprite and 7-Up. Past long-armed Frankie, the ex-jockey who ran the parking lot behind the Park Plaza and gave us free Lucky Stikes to smoke and oaid for our specials at Lim's. This was my life. Car alarms going constantly and the whole scene sunbleached and barren, wide open as my future was in those days.

Walking these long north west county roads under the bright high overcast of June, my blood sugar lagging, I have been feeling that same open expanse of possibilty.

Charm and Good Looks

We wake Eddy up early on Fridays. He goes out on a bus to an adult daycare place where he mixes with other old codgers, he gets a bath while he is there too. Often when we wake him up he is a bit confused and often thinks he is dreaming. Today he said he was just lying there and while he was willing to accept where he was he had no recollection of what he had done to get here. I told him he had done it based on charm and good looks. He said he was willing to accept that too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This Week In Design

Meant to post this poster last week but I was preoccupied with designing the matching newspaper insert and various other things. (Basically I am really grateful to have lots of work at the moment.) This piece was inspired by the Hatch Show Print exhibit and Sustainable Connections' Michelle Grandy. I saw the show a little bit ago in Seattle, all that "Live in Person" stuff really got to me. I had the big lino cut sun in my arsenal of images and added to it a bit. For some reason the original cut did not have a perfect circle at the center, what was I thinking. I was happy to get out my ancient compass, draw the circle and re-cut the little dahling. I like cutting lino blocks, it enables me to be super obsessive which I kind of dig. I go at it so hard sometimes it makes my hands ache. The concept for the poster was Michelle's idea, the Ring the Bell game one might find on a Fair midway. I have been a long time fan of anything remotely circus inspired. I always love Michelle's ideas, she has good eye and we work well together. I devised the copy to fit the concept. Devised the copy, I hesitate to say wrote. I often write a little headline for these pieces based on the direction I get, it all comes together seemingly out of the ether. I proofed the elements on the press and then scanned them. Am pretty pleased with the results.
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