Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Treat

The dogs loved their Christmas present from Uncle Thom, who was actually the only one to give them a gift.  They each got a package of homemade treats, special treats with caviar.  This picture is before they had tasted them and I took it quickly before they could jump up after them.  I still have my coat on after walking home after a wonderful Christmas dinner.  David's daughter Martha is here for the holiday and we happily drank champagne, opened gifts (or I should say I opened gifts since everyone else had already opened theirs), and watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," a tradition we have had for many years.  It never loses its appeal or fails to delight us as if we were seeing it for the first time.

The rest of my day was basically spent on the phone.........long visits.  I had awakened with a feeling of general sadness that hung over me long enough to write several pages of woeful musings in my journal. I was just finishing up when Carrie called.  Immediately I recovered my good humor and have remained in splendid spirits since.  I think I was unsettled by my decision not to go to a Christmas Eve party I had been invited to.  Whenever I look at my own self imposed lack of social contact I begin to think there must be something wrong with me.  I feel conflicted, and a little weird.  I consider why I am the way I am (I don't know) and wonder if I should force myself to be more social.  It takes a little time for me to get comfortable with myself again.  It takes some time to remember that the friendships I have are just the ones I want......

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Masterpiece

Although it isn't quite perfect, it's pretty close.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

You have to admit..........

....I'm getting the hang of it.  This is a pretty complicated design.  It's messy in places, but basically I am achieving what I wanted to achieve.  This is the point at which I will likely lose interest, although I'd like to be more sure of myself so the paper wouldn't be manhandled as much.  The progression from the upper right corner around the design shows the progress of my understanding the folds.  By the time I reached 9 o'clock I was hitting my stride.

Yesterday I had the idea of doing origami using fabric, which is not original with me by any means.  I got a piece of cloth that I imagined would hold a pressed pleat well.  As soon as I began, I realized making a grid by pressing folds presents some significant problems.  As you might imagine, once the horizontal pleats are pressed, ironing the vertical ones destroys them.  I abandoned the project with uncharacteristic resignation.
Since it was a relatively mild day (probably in the mid thirties) I spent some time changing the bedding in the chicken house.  After I put the girls out this morning I wrestled the new bag of shavings out of the car and back behind the house.  After removing the old stuff with rake, hoe, and shovel I dumped the pristine stuff.  The chickens showed their usual irritation at my redecorating and refused to go back inside.  Later, when it started to rain-snow, I went back to close them up, only to find them hovering under a small platform in the yard. I tried to threaten them with the handle of the hoe, but they know from experience that I wouldn't  really touch them.  They've never experienced a hunger pang in their little lives, so bribery with food is useless.  Finally my exuberant and cheerful "come on girls, come on, come on" finally enticed them out, but they were still having nothing to do with their clean house.  Eventually I went inside the coup and called them repeatedly until Bonnie, my boldest girl, tiptoed through the door.  Once she was in, the others followed.

How I love my dogs and my chickens.  I think I could have been happy spending my life taking care of farm animals.  In a way it's a selfish kind of happiness, because it comes from knowing that I provide everything for them, that I give them the happiest little lives they can have.....the other side of that being that they have no knowledge of any other way of life and therefore have no responsibility to feel gratitude. To them life is just what is.  They take food and shelter and comfort for granted. 

I wonder if this pleases me so much because I have never lived up to expectations, never achieved the goals set for me, never accomplished what I was supposed to.  I am smart and talented, yet a failure at everything our society expects of such a person.  I never really wanted to be that person except for my insatiable desire to please.  Wanting to please is a terrible, crippling, degrading thing. 

These are two boys who seem to have no interest in pleasing me, and I love them for it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Self Portrait

In anticipation of my show in May I decided to paint a new self portrait.  I haven't done one for awhile, and I plan to devote part of my show to paintings I've done of myself over the years.  Zislav Sikora, a visiting teacher from Chicago, once told me that self portraits were an important part of my work.  Though I don't know how important they are, they certainly represent a large part of the paintings I've done throughout my life.  This is a little one, 8x10, done with acrylic paint.  I'd forgotten how much I like acrylics and am glad I tried them again.  It's a fairly good likeness, though possibly a little flattering.  If that's true, it is the first one that is.  I have always been pretty brutal when portraying myself.  I don't know if it's because of a poor  perception of  my appearance (or of myself in general), or lack of ability.

This painting is the result of three days of struggle.  Usually I don't have to work so hard.  It could be because I almost had to chain myself to my easel to keep from going back to my origami.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Moving Forward

Here is a more complicated tessellation that has taken me more endless hours to accomplish.  I've done better versions, but my camera batteries died after taking this picture.  No one would notice the difference, anyway.  It's an ever increasing mystery why I am so enthralled with this project.  I have become "proficient" enough now to begin to wonder why I keep going.  It's my usual habit to work at something just long enough to think I would be able to become good at it.  It's the pursuit of the thing rather than the product.  What in the world would I do with this?  Do I have to prove to myself over and over again that there is nothing I can't learn to do if I try hard enough?

When I was a lot younger I was in the habit of becoming an expert at everything I did.  This doesn't seem to be the case now...........possibly because I don't have the time left on earth to work that hard at each thing I try.  I have been patient with my paper folding in its different forms, giving up temporarily when I reach an impasse and going back later.  In my wake there is origami insects, origami flowers, and free form paper folding.  All of these keep coming and going as my mental energy warps and wanes.  There comes a time when some time for integration of experience takes place better on auto pilot.  Yet I'm not ready yet to say good enough for now.  I have managed to succeed at quite a few of the tessellations in my book when I make just one repeat of the maneuver.  These folds are meant for repetitions, though, and that's the beauty of them. 

Before I can give this a rest, I am going to have to learn at least one well enough to repeat it successfully on a fairly large grid.  Folding the grid is, as I've said, the obnoxious part of the process and I'm not going to invest the time in making a big one until I know I won't mess it up with mistakes.  I'm trying to learn to see it as a Zen kind of activity, as I'm sure it can be.  So far, though, I've made negligible progress on that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

An Unexpected Rush

I ordered this book after I read a review of it, but before I even opened the package I felt a peculiar thrill just from the sight of it.  It was heavy and solid in my hands, and I could feel the book's edges and binding through the brown wrapping.  It took me a short while to understand what was going on in my mind.......a book.  A book with substance, with a hard cover and with pages that could be turned.  It dawned on me that all my reading for quite some time has been on my Kindle. I have grown accustomed to its somewhat ethereal way of presenting the text that disappears with the touch of a button.  I have no expertise with the thing, and various messages often appear, seemingly random bits of information I didn't ask for.  If I lose my place, there are no page numbers to help me find it again. 

The digital world is so immediate, and each moment seems to exist by itself, a pin prick of time.  I first became aware of this when people stated wearing digital watches.  It's a completely different way of seeing time.  A clock sees the whole day at once with the hands moving through it.  One can't help but see the big picture, looking at a clock.  The present is seen in the context of a whole.  It can be almost two o'clock instead of 1:48.  It is clear on a clock that it was one thirty recently and that it will be two o'clock very soon.  I still have to translate digital clocks in my mind to orient myself in the day.  The idea of an hour, or a morning, seems difficult to conceive when every minute disappears almost as soon as one can grasp it, to be replaced by a new present, also in the process of fleeing as soon as it registers in the psyche.  I know that people brought up in my children's generation have no trouble with any of this.  They are able to hopscotch from one minute to the next and keep their balance.  I think people think differently in this digital age.  I have no opinion about whether one is better than the other.  Things always evolve, and the world is in quite a mess doing things the way my generation is doing them.

Well, quite a departure from my original thought about the book.  I adore this book without even opening its cover.  I love how the whole text is available at once, how the weight of the book feels in my lap, how the pages turn, but, like the minute on a clock, can still be reviewed at will.  The book is real in a way that the same text on my Kindle isn't.  I possess it.  It's mine, here, not floating invisibly  in the air, indifferent.  I am a slow reader, savoring every word.  It's a big book.  I have a lot to look forward to.

Friday, December 05, 2014


 Big news from downtown made the front page of the BDN.  Part of the breakwater fell apart in the middle of the night.  I haven't been to look at it, but this is quite a catastrophe.  A lot of business takes place at the breakwater. Some of the the fishing boats were damaged, and a truck parked there went down. I read that the town had just started to request bids for long needed repairs.  Certainly it will be a monumental task to repair and rebuild it.  All of the dirt in the picture is apparently what was holding it up.....dirt packed in metal boxes anchored to the ocean floor.  It will be interesting to see what happens now.

 Meanwhile, the moon came out full this afternoon and I couldn't resist taking a picture even though I knew it wouldn't do the scene justice.  It's pretty dark at four o'clock now, so this is what I saw as I walked the dogs down the street.  In the distance is Campobello, Canada.  The lights are from houses over there.  It's an hour later over there, Atlantic time.  I think Maine ought to be on Atlantic time as well.  It would prevent these days when the day starts to wane at three in the afternoon.  I guess the trouble is that the day is so short the morning would be too dark for the early business of the world.

The bottom picture is proof that I forced myself away from my paper projects long enough to sew covers for two old pillows that were ravaged by time, dogs, spilled food, and feet.  Thelma gave me the fabric years and years ago, and I have kept it in storage along with a lot of other cloth.  Thelma was a real pack rat and never wanted to throw anything away.  Instead she gave her surplus away when it became overwhelming.  I was often the beneficiary. She liked to sew, and I have lots of remnants from her projects.  I think of Thelma at least once a day and miss her still in a very present way.  Now there is yet more evidence of her in my living room.  The light color perks the room up quite a lot.  It was an easy project with a concrete beginning, middle, and end.  The product is predictably what it was meant to be.  From setting up the sewing machine, winding the bobbin, threading the machine everything went smoothly.  The scissors were sharp, the pins in the pin-cushion.  the needle flew down the seams without hesitation.  I turned the resulting squares right side out, poked the corners nice and sharp, slipped the pillows inside effortlessly.  The fit was perfect. 

What a pleasure it was to simply go from one step to the next, steadily moving confidently toward my goal.  It was all so smooth.  I almost felt sleepy as I worked, soothed by what was happening exactly as planned, with a specific end, the product of my effort floating into existence without so much as a murmur of either regret or surprise.  Now there it is, right where it was supposed to be, right where I envisioned it, looking exactly as I knew it would.

The antithesis of what my recent obsession has been............

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A Little Progress

Well, it's good to find out early when an idea turns out to be not so good.  I finally mastered folding the square to the point where I thought I could experiment.  My thought has been that I could take old images and make something new out of them.  I guess I did that, but the results, at least with these images, are nothing I want to use.  It could be that something else would work, but I can see that random images do nothing.  I'd have to trust the power of my "inner artist" a lot more than I do.  I doubt that my inner artist went along for the bumpy ride while I struggled to duplicate a prescribed geometric form.  And even my choice of the piece of work I used was based on its size and manipulative qualities, not the image on it.

So, keep going.

(I ordered the book you reviewed, bookseller friend, but I still don't know how to communicate with you besides as a footnote to my own posts.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Newest Obsession

It's unbelievable how much time I've been spending on learning this one fold from my book on origami tessellations.  It's the very first lesson in my book, and even though I have managed to flounder through the folds, the way they actually work remains a mystery.  Every time I succeed I'm not quite sure how it happened.  The most obnoxious part of the process is folding the grid.  At least it's not difficult, but time consuming.  I feel like a chimpanzee at a typewriter (or a keyboard).  Of course I am aiming for the "awe-inspiring" results described in the book, but I'm beginning to wonder if I will live long enough to get to chapter 2.

I have to force myself to make my coffee in the morning and walk the dogs.  Usually I don't succeed and head straight for the book and paper I have put out of sight the night before.  I hope in vain that I will resist giving it just one more try while the coffee maker works, but even if I manage to pour a cup of coffee it sits on the table unnoticed until it is long cold. Next thing I know hours have passed while I struggle to understand the maneuvers required to reach my goal    I need to focus on other things, notably beginning to plan the solo art show I have committed myself to do in May.  Unless I plan on exhibiting hundreds of pieces of waste paper I had better get moving.

Right now I have more folding to do, though.........I promise myself just until I master the square.

In search of my Blogpal, an asside

Pamela, I am not sure my comments to you are getting through, since the "Books" site says no-reply.  I've lost the other blog addresses you gave me.  Let me know if we are communicating both ways:)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Snow and Naughty Dog

There have been storms all over the country, messing up plans for the holiday all over the country.  Not so for Eastport, though.  All we got was this slush, which has frozen now in a lot of places.  Willy, that naughty boy, got away from me this morning as I was so dutifully picking up his poop.  He disappeared and I spent about thirty minutes slogging through the mess looking for him.  When I finally spotted him with his leash wrapped around a bush behind a neighbor's house, he simply waited for me to untangle him, then raced away before I had a good grip on him.  I am almost never angry with my boys, but I must say Willy inspired a deluge of unprintable words from my usually genteel mouth.  It was another fifteen minutes or so before I spotted him again, this time racing toward town.  He stopped and looked back at me, waited until I was just a few feet from him, then took flight again.  Finally I was able to grab his leash as he stopped to investigate some irresistible aroma. I put him on a short tether and dragged him home, lecturing him the whole way.  He, of course was oblivious to my irritation until we got to the house.  Snapping his leash off and calling him uncomplimentary names finally  got through to him that I was angry, and when I refused to give him his usual post-walk treat he knew something was wrong.  He slunk upstairs and I haven't seen him since.

He has no idea why things took such an unfortunate turn, but he is laying low, no doubt waiting for the puzzling storm to pass.  I ought to call him down, and I will in a little while, but thoughts of the winter ahead keep me in a less than charitable mood.  I see the near future,  me trudging after him through snow banks as high as my waist, slipping on ice-covered driveways, struggling through neighbors' unshoveled yards, peering under porches....well, you get the picture.  Willy, Willy, Willy.

But ya gotta love 'im..........

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


When I moved here twelve  or so years ago I brought with me all the paintings I had done as an art student in the 80's and 90's.  They are very large and storage was a problem, so I put them in the cellar.  To save space, I had already cut many of them off the stretchers and rolled them up.  I forgot that I had a wet cellar  that was far from appropriate for storing such things as artist canvas.  Fast forward to the present.  This morning I went to collect the paintings in anticipation of a big show at the Arts Center this spring.  What I found was mold, slime, and rot.  The paintings had come loose from the stretchers and rotted along the
edges.  Some of the canvas tore when I touched it.  At first I couldn't find the paintings I had rolled up, but as I gingerly pulled the soaked mess away, I saw an old black nylon bag I recognized as one of my old outdoor painting bags.  Closer inspection revealed what looked at first like a pile of wet newspapers.  It was actually a pile of soaked and moldy canvases.

Well, I was philosophical about the situation,  aware of the fact that  nothing lasts forever.  My concern was my plans for my show.  So I sorted through the mess and salvaged some of the least damaged paintings.  I hauled them into daylight and set them out to dry.  The sky is threatening rain, but these works are obviously no stranger to water and maybe they will survive a good bath.  Whatever happens, I will have to cut them down and glue them onto something solid....perhaps masonite.
If I were a different person I might have been sad and upset at looking at the rubble that had once been the outpouring of my confused and desperate mind .....the evidence of my anguish, the visual manifestation of my otherwise unbearable turmoil.  Probably this rubble saved me from suicide a hundred times.  But now it conjures up only some bland memories seen from a great distance, and indescribable gratitude.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What have I been doing?

After a relatively long hiatus that I really can't explain, here I am. I have been busy trying to get some control of my finances, which takes much more time than I want to give it.  I have also been producing various kinds of artwork.  The most recent is woodburning on this table I found on somebody's lawn.  The picture is as it sits now, completed mere moments ago.  I plan to finish it with polyurethane once I am sure I'm done.  It's an image from a book of Asian needlepoint designs.  I did in on 14 count needlepoint canvas many years ago and the pillow I made still sits in a chair in the living room. I tried to find another design for the table, but nothing pleased me as much as this. 

Here is the table "in situ," ........really nice little table with a drawer.  I spotted it at the top of the hill coming back from the dog park.  There were several pieces of furniture in front of an empty house with a for sale sign in front of it.  I'm assuming that they were abandoned after a bigger yard sale.  I originally was attracted by a bigger table, and went back to get it after taking the dogs home.  I wrestled it over to the side of the road, but no matter what I tried, I wasn't able to get it into the trunk of my car.  As I stood there despairing, my friend Lindy appeared on her bicycle.  She offered to help, but after several failed attempts she went home to get a truck.  While I waited for her two good samaritans in trucks stopped, proving that chivalry is not dead.  The other pieces of furniture sat tantalizingly in front of me, and before Lindy returned I had put this smaller table into my trunk. Together we loaded the bigger one in the truck and I drove home.  After a short wait Lindy appeared with my table and a big cabinet she had pulled out of the dumpster at the same house.  I used that table as an island in my kitchen, replacing the table top on two file cabinets I have been using.  I'm happy with both acquisitions.

Next is the pathetic result of my attempt at making mosaics.  I enjoyed doing it at Lisa's studio, where she showed me how to do it.  The first design I made I dismantled before gluing it, then proceeded to do this one.  The idea was good, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.  My plan was to produce the ever-amazing (to me) Fibonacci  curve.  I was unable to accomplish it beyond this barely recognizable image.  It was fun, though, and I look forward to trying it again.

 Finally here are two pictures of the same paper sculpture.  Paper folding is so intriguing to me and I return to it every so often.  It is a form of origami, with a different focus.  I was introduced to it in art school in first year sculpture class......I was a non-tradional student in my 40's.  Right from the beginning I was crazy about it.  I have several books on the subject and am still amazed by the mind-blowing things people do with it.

So that's what I've been doing, with the notable exception of participating in a show at Lisa's gallery last week. The reception was the usual gala affair with food, drinks, and live music.  The regular art crowd was there and we all had a good time.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sometimes I Hit It

This is a painting I did this afternoon and it reminds me of why I love watercolor.  Nothing can compare with the color and brightness it has when it's done right.  This one is done right.  The trouble with the medium is that it needs a sure, confident hand.  It's so easy to blow it.  Now that I look at the photograph, I see that I need a wash of blue toward the back of the road to make it lay down better.  That's a simple job as long as I don't allow myself to be tempted into "fixing" anything else.  I'm happy.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Painting

I am endlessly fascinated by the view from my studio window and this is my latest effort.  It's the same painting, yesterday and today.  I knew that I didn't have what I wanted, but I was ready to settle for what I had yesterday until I looked at it this morning.  I had not in any way done what I wanted to do, which was to portray the strange light of the afternoon.  It was foggy and overcast in the distance, but the sun kept poking through the clouds and illuminating the houses in the foreground.  I failed to get the drama of the situation in the first version, and I'm not sure I got it in the second one either.  Still, I like the results and will let it stand as is.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Back at the Farm

Anyone who has ever tried to photograph horses can sympathize with my failed efforts.  They either ignore you, walk into your face, or turn their rumps to you.  These horses were the only ones not on pasture yesterday, but it was such a beautiful day I wanted to get some pictures of the ones in the paddocks........Fern on the bottom, then Twilight, then Twilight and Fern together arguing, then Twilight walking out of the picture with Zippy and Fern in the background.  Notice how clean the paddocks handiwork.

I am so happy to be working at the shelter again that my outlook about everything has improved considerably.  What there is about shoveling horse poop that is so therapeutic for me I certainly don't know.  My practical problems are only marginally better, but my outlook has improved a lot.  The world here in Maine is so beautiful as the leaves turn.........I think they are at their peak this week in this area.  The foliage report in the newspaper shows what parts of the state are most colorful, tracking the blaze of color as it moves from North to South.  We are last to get it even though parts of the state are more southerly than we are.    Being an island, the ocean keeps us relatively warmer (or relatively colder depending how close the temperature is to 34 degrees).

I am doing my pre-winter thing.........the lower animal in me that prepares for winter.  I am too far away genetically to have to think of storing food, and I don't can and freeze food like many around here do.  But I do start finding my hats and mittens, digging out my winter coats.  I re-arrange furniture, which must be a vestige of preparing my den, put up curtains, move plants a little way back from the windows.  I drag out my sweaters from the drawers in the guest room, check that I remember where I put my long underwear.  I find my boots.  My fake woodstove, which has served as an end table since last spring, has to be moved to an as yet undetermined place where I can plug it in and sit in front of it in the evenings.  Amazingly this activity is comforting, seeing the evidence of the predictable movement of the earth.  No matter how our little individual lives go, nature goes on without the slightest notice.  The death of that fly I just found on my window sill as I dusted it impacted nothing that I can perceive.  Its life and death was just a clue.

When I read what I have written, I now inspect it with an editor's eye, thanks to my new distant  friend Pamela. She has taught me a lot about writing, inadvertently (is that word necessary?). I now know that you can write beautifully and make your point clearly without overdoing it. I don't change anything that I write, but adverbs and adjectives leap to grab my attention in a sometimes menacing way.  Did I really need that word "predictable"?  What about "marginally"?  Once when I had written a long essay for a course in school, the professor said the content was great, but I needed to "unpack" it.  I love that way of expressing what I had done.  I am doubt about it. I notice it. But as my own editor I choose to let the chips fall where they may.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Love My New Shoes

............metal loops for the laces, zippers up the ankle......after so long without any money, when I got my check I fell to pieces with joy.  I just couldn't resist buying myself a present, even though I couldn't in any way afford it.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My future obituary

I am always intrigued by the obituaries I see in the paper that show the deceased as a young person and then as they looked when the grim reaper grabbed them. I decided to see what my own obituary would look like. The top one was taken the day I was married in 1969.  The bottom was taken a minute ago.  I tried to get myself in the same position (what a good job I did!).    When I was a young professional woman I wore make up, which is responsible for some of the difference.  I cared a lot about my hair, which is almost laughingly evident, whereas I now comb it only every few days and cut it myself when something gets out of line.  All in all, though, I can still see that young psychiatric social worker in the face I stare back at now.  There was a lot of trouble ahead that I did not foresee, and my face looks as smooth and untroubled as a baby's.  In the bottom picture I look tired and a little haggard, but I still have the same smile on my face.

I look good for almost 70.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


So I haven't painted for awhile since I've been so consumed by money problems.  Today, though, I finally got up to the studio and went at it.  This is another painting inspired by a picture in the newspaper.  The minute I saw it I knew how I wanted to do it, with the huge foreground,  I tore it out of the paper and it has sat on the table for weeks, amidst all the other clutter that is always there.  As I was picking things up in an effort to tidy up before Carrie comes to visit tomorrow I unearthed the picture and immediately headed for my paints.  It was already after three, so the dogs were nervous about their supper.......and rightfully so.  I worked until almost 4:30 before I gave in to their pathetic faces.  The painting was almost done by then, and after I came back from walking them I finished it.  It's a rare painting that comes out just as I picture it, but this one pretty much did.  It would probably look better if I cut it in half ( it's 18x24) and discarded the bottom, but for now it will stay as it is.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Coming of Fall

There's more than a hint of's cold and it gets dark by seven o'clock.  Out came the afghans, though they weren't far.  I hadn't got around to putting them away last Spring and they were still piled on a table in the hall after I washed them.  This particular one was a thrift store find, and Patrick is certainly comfortable on it.  I also have a huge one given to me by favorite even though it has to be washed quite often.  It's white with pink and green roses.  Then I have one I made myself many years ago with a complicated crochet pattern, and yet another of Thom's, shades of blue and white granny squares.  They signify winter to me.  Every evening the dogs and I sit on the couch wrapped in these blankets watching TV.  It's the only time I am warm...probably the dogs, too. 

Right now the temperature in the house is 60 degrees.  Outside it's much colder.  My hands are stiff with cold as I type, in the familiar way of winter. Of course the days are still relatively warm.  I worked at the horse shelter without a jacket today.  The sun was out and there was no wind there in Perry.  Eastport is always colder this time of year, and often not as cold in the winter months because of the ocean's constant temperature.  The trees have not started to turn color yet here as they have on the mainland.  Fall lasts longer here, too...........again thanks to the ocean.

Strangely I don't seem to feel particularly negative about the coming cold and snow and ice. It.s still a  month or more away. It was only the sight of Patrick with the pillows and blanket, and the descending darkness. and the cold, that made my mind race ahead.  I like the changing seasons here.    Each year the world turns itself around, and here we see it.  We see the evidence of time passing, and the cyclical nature of things.  Every year there is a winter, but not the same winter, spring but not the same spring, summer not the same summer, and fall, not the same fall.   Our seasons are loud and raucous........they force us to have to adapt to a different way of life four times a year. 

And now, because it's Fall, I have to go out and close the hen house door.  My girls are vulnerable in the dark, and it is totally dark now.  I'll need a flashlight.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Not Going Crazy

 To distract myself from the turmoil surrounding me (which is slowly subsiding) I have been at my origami with obsessive vigor.  This is a mobile I made from a tree branch and paper cranes.  You can imagine I can now make a crane blindfolded.  I think I will add a few more on the right hand side.  Below them the flowers are still blooming.

When not making cranes, I am making flowers.  Practice makes perfect, and I certainly have practiced.  I'm not near perfection, but I can make a pretty good blossom if I do say so myself. 
 Then there is my little Willy eating his supper.  He eats in the living room behind a baby gate to prevent Patrick from attacking him and stealing his food.  The two of them are fine together unless there is food involved. 

After I felt I had conquered cranes and flowers, I opened my book on bugs, which is what I want to do eventually.  I succeeded in getting to step number eight out of 108.  After trying for an hour and a half to figure out number nine, I went to bed.  I spent the next two hours involuntarily visualizing the fold and trying to understand it.  I couldn't do it and finally fell asleep.  When I got up I closed the book.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Comeback with Flowers, Artificial and Real

I have been without a computer for two weeks, just one of  many problems and inconveniences.  I did manage to take pictures of notable changes in the garden as Fall flowers begin to take over.  The first picture is my first successful origami flower.  Since then I have made many more, as I distract myself from feeling totally overwhelmed.  My car can't be driven because of mechanical trouble I can't afford to fix.  I am therefore housebound. By spells my phone and TV have refused to work.  I have overdrawn my checking account to the point that this month's deposit only brought me up to zero.  It's amazing how one problem can lead to so many others, the last being this morning's realization that it is Paint Eastport Day.....a chance to make a little money by selling a painting.  Since I have no car, I asked Diana to take me downtown to register and paint.  When I came home to get the necessary paraphernalia, I realized I had no canvas.  I decided to obliterate another painting, covering it with white paint.  Then when I tried to pack up, I discovered I had very few tubes of acrylic paint, and those were not the colors I use.  Still, I thought I could be adventurous with the ones I had..........white, blue, green and magenta.  Then I discovered all my acrylic brushes had turned to little bricks for lack of washing thoroughly after their last use.  Well, I could make do with watercolor brushes.  When I realized I also didn't have a usable palette for acrylics or oils, I decided perhaps I could do watercolor.....but no watercolor paper.  At that  point I became overwhelmed with frustration and decided I was defeated.  Besides, I had things to deal with at home.  My TV, my router, my keyboard, and my mouse weren't working.  I had given up on them all and gone to bed last night, but I knew I had to face them today.  I have obviously managed to get the mouse and keyboard functioning.  The rest is still ahead of me.

It would be possible for me to go on about how one thing leads to another, leads to another, leads to another for quite some time.  But I won't.  There are origami flowers to be made.  And thank goodness,dogs and chickens.............

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Two new works

Since I don't think anyone looks at my painting blog, I decided to post them here, too.  I am really having a good time with this woodburning.  I think everyone I do is getting better.  They look like illustrations from an old book.  I got this image of the woman with the cats out of a book of Rockport artists that was published back when the Art Association was first formed.  Her name was Edith Lowell and she painted in pastels.  After looking at her for so long, I feel as if I know her.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lilies, etc.

I bought these lily bulbs on the discount counter at Mardens late in the Spring.  I always question my purchases made at a salvage store, but I risked it.  They are so beautiful I wish I had bought more, and certainly I will get more in the spring.  Planting bulbs is a leap of faith, of confidence that the time will come when they will grow and bloom.  In my case, it is also an expression of my hope that I will still be here to see them, in this house,to see my garden rejuvenate itself. 

I am feeling increasingly insecure about my ability to pay my expenses here.  I explore the possibility of assisted living housing for the elderly ( a term I can not believe applies to me, yet it does), where I would have basically two rooms to live in.  The apartments are modern and clean, with laundry rooms in the basement and a community room on the first floor.  In my imagination they have group activities like playing cards, communal puzzles, and sing-alongs.  One pet is all they allow, if they allow them at all.  Heat is included in the rent, which is the only redeeming feature for me.  I try to imagine myself in such a place.

I see myself with no dogs, no chickens, no studio, no garden.  I see myself leaving this house I love and have lived in for so many years.  The picture is unacceptable.  Everything that constitutes who and what I am would be gone.  Yet every year my fixed income buys less than the year before.  At the same time the benefits I used to get because my income is so low are being  taken away.  Prices are going up on everything as well.  I try not to think about this, but as it gets harder to manage it seems that I am in a constant state of financial emergency. 

Well, there's no point in complaining about it, and I really am not complaining, but worrying.  It's hard not to talk about it because it is such a large factor in my existence.  Yet I know it sounds like whining.  Off and on I  feel overwhelmed.  I am happy at my core, though, and resilient.