Saturday, February 26, 2011

Because Kids Need Books

It is well documented that children need to read. They need to be encouraged and coddled and reminded to read once they know how. When my daughter was little I worried about how I was going to teach her to read. It's a challenging prospect, 26 letters with varying sounds are put into groups that make their own sounds and have myriad meanings. It's complex but somehow it happens. I read a lot of cookbooks when Pearl was a baby, it was all I could handle in my sleep deprived state. She watched me and would pick up my books and run her fingers along the lines of type mimicking reading. It was a miracle. I read to her everyday, everyday. If I didn't read to her I felt like I had neglected her in a very profound way. Eventually she went to school and she read with ease and I felt like a champion. Kids books are great but they are often pretty safe, all inclusive and soft, everything is rainbows and sunshine. This is where Edward Gorey comes in to play. I was introduced to the works of Edward Gorey-perhaps incorrectly-as a child. They were picture books ostensibly, accompanied by short descriptions of said pictures. I didn't get that they were dark as I was a pensive child but I got that they were funny and rhymed and the people were odd looking and they spoke to me. Kids need books but they need variety too and so I recommend the above book. It's ominous but so is life and kids need real information, it also contains useful life lessons for those lucky enough to postpone inevitable death.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weather report

While wearing colorful tights and my knee high boots cheer me up, long johns have another effect all together. It's cold today, the wind is howling and sucking the heat out of the house and my office and me. I have 4 layers on and still I feel chilled to the bone. The dog has the right idea, she is laying in a patch of sun on my office floor. If only. I am stuck in my chair, albeit comfy chair freezing my ass off. As much as I hate to complain, I hate these weather conditions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mail Experiment No. 2

Dear Mr. Bothman,
As it seems that my earlier postcard to you has not arrived I decided today to make you another one. I went to your Facebook page and stole a picture of you. Please don't be creeped out by this, it's not as if I snuck into your house and cut a lock of your hair. As far as I know you wear your hair quite short making this type of thing difficult. Lucky for me, you seem to favor pictures of yourself that feature your outfit more than your face. I am just learning to paint so this makes it easier on me. A plaid tie is so much easier to create than a nose. I have decided I will include your zip code and 4 digit helper number on this postcard in hopes that the hapless postal carrier can more easily direct the card to you. I honestly think my hand painted Frankfurter is magnet-ed to some civil servants fridge as I type this instead of yours, it makes me mad and sad too. With all this geo-locating and the like I had hoped the poorly addressed card would present a personal challenge to the faceless carrier who's route it ended up on. Apparently not. So here goes, I will post this portrait of you tomorrow and hopefully soon enough it will arrive at your domicile and you and your small dog can enjoy it together.

Yours sincerely,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wood work

I burned one tank of gas on the first day, after the boys helped me get the saw started. It sputtered and smoked and we decided, the three of us, that the cause was old gas. I haven't used the saw for a year since I knocked the chain off new years day 2010. I never even tried to put it back on even though it's a simple task. I just threw up my trembling arms. I can't remember the last time I filled the gas can. So on Saturday I ran through one tank of gas which took about twenty minutes and that made enough wood to fill 3 wheelbarrows of split pieces which I stacked perpendicular to the other piles in the carport siting increased pile stability. I stacked carefully and thoughtfully thinking about how it will feel next fall to use this perfectly seasoned dry firewood. On Sunday I went through two tanks of gas and my arms felt less shakey but I did notice that I really screw my face up while I use the saw, concentrating takes brow furrowing and a little shoulder tension. I should wear chaps but I don't own any. I wear ear protection and glasses. I try to be careful, knowing the saw could rip through my jeans and into my flesh. I cut a lot of small limbs from the giant maples upper branches that are now accessible on the ground and started a new pile of boughs so I could move around more easily as I bucked up the logs. Stepping carefully, avoiding tripping on branches. The tops of the cedars are worst, they have tons of springy branches and they are tougher to spit, the maul bounces off them sometimes, wasting my efforts. My biceps and upper back are stiff but amazingly after splitting, loading and stacking about 5 wheelbarrow loads I feel a bit stronger today and so this is my plan. Today I will try to saw through 3 tanks of gas and load maybe 8 wheelbarrow loads. The work felt endless but I think as my strength increases it will feel less overwhelming. In between I made a few paintings.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Satisfied Soul

Self Portrait, Feb 16, 2011

Mark took the photo I used to make this painting. I was looking at my computer screen, sitting at the dining room table, slumped and concentrating, the full weight of my head in my hand. It's been a few weeks since I last made a painting and I was feeling anxious to get back to it. I can feel the wheels of my productivity begin to seize up as if my deeper self is saying "let's make something just for you and then we'll get back to work". I am not sure who's voice this is, my soul perhaps. My soul will go along with all the things I do but then it wants me to deviate a little, to make something small, something inconsequential, throw myself into something and the soul is fed and pleased and I get to experience the feeling of being swallowed whole by the process of creation free of attachment or responsibility to a paying client. It seems the more I make time for these little sideshow dalliances the better I feel about my work in general. Go figure. I met with a new client today who I like. I dressed in proper clothes and have not taken my coat off since I got home, I unbutton it and button it back up. Like the painting, the coat satisfies my restless soul.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peerless Comfort

Back in my office after being away for a few days and looking ahead to several days of long hours at my desk, I find I could not be happier. I have few high-end consumer products but there is one that I would not trade for anything and that is my Herman Miller Aeron Chair. I am struck, while easing into it this morning-after working from my couch last night and Mark's dining room chairs over the weekend-you really can't beat the comfort of this chair. As usual I am still fighting the residual weekend funk, battling myself but sitting in this chair and feeling it's tremendous support I am encouraged to sit up and snap out of it. Maybe you can buy happiness after all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mail Experiment No. 1 Update

Nothing to report so far. >: (

Had a headache this morning that made me cry which was a bad idea because the pain was in my frontal lobe so when my sinuses became swollen from the crying my head hurt even more. I laid down to avoid throwing up and slept for awhile while the pain sorted itself out. Eventually it started to rain and I took a shower. When I got to Mark's he made some soup and I got some work done which I am happy with so it wasn't a terrible day but still, it would be nice if that frankfurter postcard would arrive because then that would be one less thing to worry about. The soup Mark made was was alphabet which amused me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Together again

Here's a funny thing. It's Thursday which means it's only been 48hours since I last saw my husband, and in less than 24 more I will see him again and tonight I find I am overwhelmed with that good feeling of seeing him, of being with him. It's no big romantic freakshow when we're together it's more like you found your favorite sock (a really good high quality sock) and after reuniting the pair on your feet you go for a very long walk and maybe the day is fine and you see something new in a place you've looked a million times before. That's how I feel tonight, anticipating those together feelings that make everything seem new again and filled with possibility, like fresh pages in a new book or laying down on clean sheets you've slept in for 8 years.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mail Experiment No. 1

Dear Mr. Bothman,
I have accepted your challenge. Yesterday at 10pm I put a postcard addressed to you into a group mailbox in the Barkley District. As requested the address only includes a description of your home and it's relative location to a creek. I have documented the postcard here in the event that it doesn't make it to you but I hope that it will. I used a sixty cent stamp instead of the usual first class postage. I hoped this would send a clear message to the postal carrier that I recognized there would be extra effort needed to get this particular piece of mail to it's destination. I did not include a personal message on the card, instead I chose to make a painting, the subject of which I thought would please you. It pleased me in it's simplicity and multiple meaning. Who doesn't love a frankfurter, or painting of the same.

Please watch your mail and let me know what happens.

Yours Sincerely, RMS
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