Saturday, January 29, 2011

What to Wear

I had a whole rant planned on the failings of clothes for tween girls using these shorts as evidence for my point. But the whole thing just left me empty so this is my message. You can wear these shorts with a tiny tank top all you want as long as you don't leave the yard. Off the property demands that you wear longer shorts and a proper t-shirt. The message here is that while you have a beautiful body you don't need to share it with everyone. Clothes provide helpful boundaries for decorum. Years ago a friends 15 yr old daughter was riding the train to Eugene from Bellingham. She was scantily clad in short shorts, halter top and flip flops. Her mother asked "are you planning on having sex on the train"? Of course the answer was no and so the daughter was sent back to her room to rethink her travel clothes. Sexuality is so out there these days being sold in the form of bikinis and tramp stamps for 5 yr olds. It's confusing for everyone, age appropriate dress is under fire as we are force fed the overt sexuality of youth culture. I am still amazed by grown women in business settings who sport plunging necklines. Breasts are beautiful things but do you really want everyone checking them out while you're delivering a presentation on water safety? You have to ask yourself this.

There, I have officially branded myself as old and conservative, oh well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Have made a dent in the paper associated with filing my state taxes and am prepared to do the big federal push. It wasn't so bad this year. My accountant is a champ and I enjoy going into his office and reporting on my financial progress over the past year. He's handsome too, so that helps. So superficial I know. The weather is warm, 50°F today and I keep finding myself out in the yard poking around, cutting blackberries, raking dead grass. It's amazing to think we are only a month past the solstice and already I am thinking about how I could improve the garden. In buying chicken feed the other day I chatted with the guy who owns the feed place and he suggested I offer the hens even more light than I have been giving them. I have the light on at night now too except it's confusing them and last night they were out until past dusk because the light was on inside the coop. Tonight I will set the timer so that it only comes on after dark, once the hens are indoors. I mentioned this concern to the feed store man, he cocked his head to one side, he saw the predicament but had no answer. He's been a farmer his whole life and probably has a better routine with his chickens, something he can do in his sleep without any thought. I am not willing to say yet that spring is coming, rather it is winter that is moving along. The perpetual changing of the seasons takes time, all year in fact. You can lose yourself in the progress of it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"R" in the background

I spontaneously brushed the dog in a show of love today. I was bored I'll admit and it seemed like a nice thing to do. She enjoyed it but she did look a little nervous, she knows this is not my normal M.O.. Today was long and I kept wanting to call my tenant and invite her over for tea or something just so I could talk to someone. I pressed on and made this painting instead and completely missed the time when I usually go up the driveway to meet Pearl. She suddenly appeared at the door and I was surprised by the time having become completely absorbed in activity. I need to make a massive to do list because I have quite a lot to get done but it's all floating around loose in my head making me feel unfocused. I needed to make the painting though and now I feel a little calmer and more willing to focus on what's at hand, whatever that is. I wish I had one of those crazy glass walls they have in CSI where there are all these different levels of information floating in space and the actors can point at things and they expand and contract and link up with connecting information. That's what's in my brain right now only it's like I am viewing it from the wrong side so it's all backwards. Better make that list before I just crumple onto the couch under a book.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Dragged myself out today to buy a set of double pointed needles. I have other things to do but this hat that I have been obsessively knitting for the past couple of weeks had to be finished. I wandered out around 2pm, right as all the over scented high school students were beginning their end of the day migration and made my way with them up to the drugstore to mail a condolence card. A store bought card which had traces of guilt on it. I can't make everything. The words printed inside seemed good enough but still it felt cheesy. I could have just written a note, but what to say. Your life will never be the same, you have lost your only father. Your heart is broken. You won't get over it, why would you want to? Instead I sent a card with a lovely painting of a single purple tulip on it. The members of this club of grief stricken people will understand. Grief is overwhelming and familiar, we all understand so we nod at each other with these crisply designed cards whose words are appropriate and safe presented in tasteful fonts.

I walked from the drugstore to the knitting store quickly as it had started to rain while I was mulling over over-priced eye brow brushes, luckily I was dressed for the rain. Still I felt cold but also sort of hot from the briskness of my movement past the nondescript buildings that make up our suburban landscape. I wished I was wearing a sweater.

In the knitting store I unwrapped myself from my shoulder bag and loosened my scarf, removed my gloves and began my usual contortions about what I needed, what I was making, how it was making me feel, why I was doing it. My usual public dance, speaking quickly my hands flying around. The owner wasn't in but her helper was able to sort me out. There was a young woman there winding yarn into balls on their machine. She was exactly the type of person I have been hoping to run into in this shop. I considered coming back later with my pattern and project but really I just wanted to work it out in silence on my own and not feel like I was performing for anyone as I tend to.

On my way past the vegetable store next door I noticed a man loading his car, resting a gallon of white milk on the roof before placing his bags in the back seat. His skin, white as his milk, had a dense but short black beard at a right angle to his neck, a thin bright column standing up out of his black colored coat. His black jaw length hair falling in his face. I wished he had on a fine orange knit hat such as the one I was rushing home to complete and perhaps a scarf of bright colored wool to warm up his overall chiaroscuro demeanor. As I passed him another young man decked out in excellent punk rock style passed in between us and I had to catch his eye and smile because I approved of how he looked and off I went feeling pleased to be out on a gray Monday afternoon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Particularly Delicious

This is what I am reading currently. My friend and renowned feminist poet Maria McLeod lent it to me for my birthday. It's incredible. I have read other books of Aimee's and this one is all that and more. So keep it down out there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I think I might need someone to come over and yell at me a bit to get working. I am in some kind of strange placid mode where I am dreamily going from one pleasant task to another. Knitting, cooking, tidying, fire stoking, long pensive walks. It's all quite surreal but I really need to get back on the billable hours horse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

It's my moms birthday today, she'd be 80 if she were alive. It was a snow day and Pearl stayed home from school and we took a walk up Bill Sorensons hill and looked out at the Nooksack Valley all covered in snow. I miss my mother deeply but what can you do, you soldier on. The day was lazy. We went to town and got dog food and ice cream and ran into a few people we know at the grocery store. It felt good to be a part of this little town. There were several kids from Pearls class in the grocery store and she met them with hugs and genuine hellos. We rented a movie and came back home and sat on the couch under a brand new quilt sent to us by Pearls great grandmother, Noni, from her birth family, a lovely woman who was there when Pearl became our child. She was so gracious in a really difficult moment, this quilt is a beautiful metaphor for all the unique members of the family and how we all fit together. My mom died the year before Pearl was born, that loss was partly what motivated me to initiate the adoption. I was suddenly aware how short time was. I needed to move forward. I was lucky, I had a really good mother and even though she's gone I am fortunate to have many amazing women in my life who instruct and inspire me. So Happy Birthday Mom, I miss you and I'm okay. xox

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another one.

Self Portrait, January 9/2011

It snowed today and yesterday someone shot a democratic congresswoman in Arizona. I don't think the world is ending but I do think American society is rapidly deteriorating. I think I am going to switch to gouache this week. Fasten your seat belts.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More nakedness

Self Portrait, January 8/2011

Despite my lovable husband laughing at them I am persevering . This one is a bit masculine but then it could easily argued that I am a tad masculine also. Oh well I take solace in the knowledge that I do sit down to pee.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Everything means nothing

Another good day today. It's so strange to feel good for so many days and weeks in a row. Of course there is always something to worry about just when you feel like things are making sense someone brings up the 2012 end of the world according to the Aztec calendar thing. And then you really start to think is this why people are assessing things and making meaningful resolutions because the end of days is just up around the bend. I don't know. John Boehner is speaker of the house in league with my pal El Diablo, the republicans have that nasty majority and seem poised to ruin everything that is good and fair including funding for NPR and food inspections. Oh spam, can I trust thou? But then that homeless guy Ted Williams with the incredible voice is discovered and some nice folks from right here in Mossville win Megamillions, and the sun came out unexpectedly today. On the way here tonight I couldn't stop looking at the clouds as I drove along, they were so beautiful. At a red light I noticed an opening to the west and the clouds were all yellow and glowing delightfully and then I noticed this Maxfield Parrish knock off was above a Shell gas station and further along the road I saw the same thing again above another Shell station and everything made sense in a demented way. We are but specks and what the hell did the Aztecs even know about time and dates and numbers, we're a blip here, sucking oil from the ground breeding incredible animals with deep voices who can tell our stories on radio and TV so that we can sit in meeting rooms and have things to discuss while the weather just does its thing around us and means nothing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And another thing...

I deleted 1300 emails from my inbox yesterday and today I am unsubscribing from all the weird random email newsletters I get. So there.


So god-damned black out this morning and wet, like the inside of a dead cow complete with matted fur laying upside down in a deep ditch, half submerged. I turned my light on at 6am in an effort to pull myself up out of the dream I was having which I have no memory of now. I wrote about the darkness, what else is there to write about? Thankfully Pearl was cheerful at 6:30 when her alarm drew her out of her little cave across the semi hall. She poked her head around the corner of my closet and mumbled hello. I said, I am having trouble getting up when she returned with a tada around the corner 10 minutes later, naked with her head wrapped in a towel. I was grateful I would only have to motivate myself into action. I made the bed, an act which seems to help sort me out in the morning and she instructed me to start the eggs. Roger. I got dressed in basically the same clothes I have been wearing since Monday night when I last showered. They get so nice and soft I reasoned and I lack the mental capacity to choose a whole new outfit most mornings. By the time we left for school the sky was barely beginning to lighten and I commented on how it felt like the middle of the night. We are sleepwalkers, dreamily feeling our way around in the dark. I know the light will return and so its all okay.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Self Made

Self Portrait January 2011

I watched "The Royal Tenenbaums" the other night and was inspired by the poor quality paintings by one of the characters. Richie Tenenbaum. They were all of his sister Margot and it was clearly stated that while the family had a lot of hope for his ability he had really not measured up as a painter. I have allowed myself to be stymied by my lack of expertise in many areas and I have spent more time than I would like to admit dreamily sitting on my couch thinking of making things only to fall asleep and accomplish nothing. I admire small paintings and so I made one of myself yesterday while I waited for the pot-roast leftovers to reheat. One of the things the Artists Way drums into your head is the idea that the process is what is important and that while a pleasing final product is just that it should not be the only goal. Making a small painting and putting it on your blog is sort of like taking your clothes off in a room with 6 people in it. The gossip might spread, she took her clothes off right there in front of us! Hopefully one of those people will think, I want to expose myself too and she did it and was not struck dead. Nothing is perfect but making things makes me feel happy and alive, so expect more of these misshapen, poorly shaded studies.

It's a great movie by the way if you haven't seen it. Any film that shows cross sections of brownstones with people busy in each window and miniature stage sets gets all my thumbs up.
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