Friday, May 28, 2010

A little Work

Inspired by a 1950's cookbook cover, this is the second in a series of two posters adapted for a newspaper insert for the Bellingham Farmers Market. For the background I painted a board with green gouache, scanned it and then darkened the edge in Photoshop. The type was a little too clean for me so I printed it out and sanded off some of the surface of the letters and then rescanned it. I bet there is a way to do this in Photoshop but somehow I prefer the old school simpler technique.


The weather forecast is not good. Campers heading off for the Memorial Day weekend will be stuck inside those campers, tenters will be discouraged. I opened the bedroom window last night just a crack to let the sound of the rain drift in. It helps me sleep this heavy spring rain. I have no holiday plans beyond avoiding my office because we have become too intimate, too dependant on each other the last several weeks. I need a break. I plan to stay in my bedroom near my sewing machine and watch the rain which looks to be plentiful. June will be gray and summer will arrive sometime in the second week of July. Pearl will turn 12 and for a time we will forget about the rain, but not today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They're Back

It started again Friday night. I woke screaming and flailing, scaring the hell out of my sweet husband. It's not even a dream that does it, it's more like a sudden awareness that I am about to be attacked. What is this energy that plays in my brain at night? I used to love going to sleep but these days I am becoming more reluctant about falling into bed. I laid down for a nap on Saturday and was visited by that uneasy feeling of death brushing past me on the couch where I lay. I have been so calm lately, feeling good and yet when I lay down and go to sleep all the anxiety seems to seep out. Will think more about this and get back to you. Right now I have 4 decades of a timeline to finish in the book I am designing on the NW Washington Fair. We had a great pre-production meeting yesterday and I feel like we are in good hands with the printer but it wasn't enough to buy me a good nights sleep. My bed was a mess when I woke up today, twisted sheets and blankets, pillows strewn, ample physical evidence of my elusive terrors at play.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weak in review

All the details are too ridiculous to type. It was a hell of a week, the highlight being the partially decomposed mole I found in my bedroom on Tuesday at bedtime. Should I clean more often, is that the message there? My thoughts are plentiful but also random and shallow, thank god for my schedule which leaves little opportunity for diversion. I designed a 288 page cookbook in 4 days, at half the normal rate, it made sense to do it in half the time. The economy still sucks so I am double booked, it keeps me eating and too busy to be depressed. I am reading a good book and my badminton skills have improved 2 fold thanks to Pearl. I posted a prayer that my dad sent me and that kept it all in perspective. I was happy most of the time even when the dog woke me up barfing at 2am. On the bright side someone ate the barf before I had a chance to clean it up. Even steven baby.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Putting out Fires

I have a lot of work at the moment and feel like I am in a full scale juggling competition, the goal being to keep everything aloft and fluid. The items being juggled include my work load, daily exercise, domestic chores, and my responsibilities as a mom. Yesterday this included playing badminton for half an hour and taking a walk with Pearl and a friend. Not so bad.

In my dream life my letterpress caught fire. I saw the smoke and immediately turned it off the press, I stuck my head in underneath the feeder board and could see the source of the flame was the little open oil reservoir. The flame licked up against the timpin and I thought about all the flammable things within it's reach. I raced out of the studio running full speed across the yard to the house where I keep my fire extinguisher, I tried to call ahead to Mark but I could not speak. I grabbed the extinguisher and turned back to the studio imagining how I would spray the white fire smothering chemical onto the press so as not to harm it. I woke up, chest heaving from the dream running.

The message of the dream; I can put out the fire. So bring it on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No News

As I lay on the portable gurney staring at the ceiling the attendant asks me in a routine way, what's new. I search my now blank mind. It's 4 in the afternoon, I am hungrier than I should be. What is new? Nothing. My days seem indistinguishable and I can't say if this is good or bad. Nicky, who is prepping me to donate recognizes this too, how little things change in the two month span between blood drives. Life goes on fairly unchanged. Pearl is with me, waiting on the other side of the room, away from the needles and bags of blood. I tell Nicky when you have a child, predictability is the goal and change is not really sought except quietly to yourself.

I lose track of time as the pint drains out of me. It doesn't feel like anything, I won't miss it, I focus on breathing deeply in order not to feel anxious. I am not afraid of the needles or the bags of blood but I always feel vaguely ill at ease in the process, the scrutiny of my stats, will I be allowed to donate. I was turned away the first time I went, unbeknown to me I had a low fever. I had stepped into a wasps nest the day before and my ankles were badly stung, I was undeterred and went back the next time and have been going every two months ever since. When it's over I am instructed to take a moment and get up slowly and go to the table where another volunteer has a little display of cans of juice and cookies. She is saving the pull tabs from the cans for a friend who needs dialysis. Each pull tab is worth one minute on the machine. I choose Cranberry juice and a chocolate chip cookie, Pearl has Apple juice and a Molasses cookie. We sit there while I try to gauge how I am feeling.

As we leave the volunteers thank me, genuinely for coming. I am blood type O-negative which means everyone can use my blood. This makes me a useful commodity to them and they are grateful which makes me feel good because it's no sweat off my back to do this good deed. When I had given a gallon they gave me a little metal stick pin. Last time I went the blood supply was very low and they gave me a little gold key stick pin to acknowledge my part in donating my universally useful blood on that day. I was on the fence about going yesterday as I am up to my eyeballs in work but I find the whole thing so satisfying that I hate to miss it. I feel like I would be letting down the cheerful volunteers, Sarah and Beth now that I have made this commitment to be a regular blood donor. Maybe in July I will have something new to share with Nicky.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pulling Weeds

Friday finds me reeling from a conversation I just had and shared with the weeds in the garden who just don't care about how I pull them up and that is comforting because a body can get very tired of scrutiny of every small choice. Are these choices mine to make or are they just choices that open up further discussion and I should be okay with that. Sometimes I am, sometimes my anger and frustration at the process well up in me and I would like to calmly set down the phone and walk out the door into the garden where my actions will go unnoticed. Don't tell me you respect me as the authority on this topic and then proceed to dismantle everything I present. It's demoralizing and it could drive me to drink or worse walk away into oblivion somewhere and yearn for a life where I don't have to interact with anyone. That would be fine with me, I do not fear alone, I relish it. But no, I am a peace maker and I want to get the job done and I want there to be an underlying sense that everyone was heard and I will compromise. I am capable of compromise but on some points I will not bend and when I think I am being inflexible I think back to times when I was encouraged to do certain things and I did them and the results were positive. I will fall back on those choices, I will resurrect those scenarios and follow those rules that were laid out by people who's opinions I respected and I will look back and say I did that and I like and I can do it again. I still like pulling weeds though, because no one judges you for pulling them, they just say, good for you, you showed those weeds who was the boss.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today I give you my ode to Spring and Ed Ruscha.

It's light in the morning when I wake up and there are birds singing and bees buzzing. The cycle is continuing as I knew it would despite the news filled with voices of strife and dissent. The grass is growing like crazy, you couldn't begin to stop it, so why try. Get out and go for a walk and breathe in the air, filled with pollen and hope.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Writers Life

I listen to a feature on the radio called Writers Almanac, in this short piece Garrison Keillor reports literary history for the day. It's interesting. He always starts with a poem and then finishes with an excerpt from a letter from some notable writer. I am always struck by how ordinary the letters are, filled with observations of the natural world and thoughts of things that must be done. Nothing is earth shattering, the language is plain and to the point, and I find this comforting. I have been reluctant to name myself, to call what I do a thing. Artist, designer, writer. And yet the most interesting thing to me is to listen to those words, the internal voices of these great writers and artists and hear my own inner voice and think I am not so different from them.

The Speaker

by Louis Jenkins

The speaker points out that we don't really have
much of a grasp of things, not only the big things,
the important questions, but the small everyday
things. "How many steps up to your back yard? What
is the name of your district representative? What
did you have for breakfast? What is your wife's
shoe size? Can you tell me the color of your
sweetheart's eyes? Do you remember where you
parked the car?" The evidence is overwhelming.
Most of us never truly experience life. "We drift
through life in daydream, missing the true
richness and joy that life has to offer." When the
speaker has finished we gather around to sing
a few inspirational songs. You and I stand at the
back of the group and hum along since we have
forgotten most of the words.

"The Speaker" by Louis Jenkins, from Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970-2005. © Will O' The Wisp Books. Reprinted with permission.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Three Thumbs Up

Well wowee! Went to our first 3-D movie this afternoon and holy cow, was it ever cool. First of all Tim Burton is a strange genius, we knew that. Lewis Carroll was also a twisted genius and the two of them together were fantastic. The art direction was sublime, the costumes rich, the characters were over the top and delicious. The 3-D effect is so compelling, in the action scenes I routinely threw my head back to avoid being hit by branches, flying chickens and teacups. Pearl and Mark loved it too of course and I think we'll be going to more of these movies in the future. Look out for Tron, Legacy in December. I was feeling a bit flat this rainy Sunday, a little cabin feverish but this movie has completely readjusted my attitude. Via 3-D!
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