Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Painting

Life has returned to normal enough for me to go to art day and paint. This isn't finished yet, but it's the view out the window of the guest room. There are a lot of great compositions from my upstairs windows, and I'd like to do several paintings of what I see from all of them. I feel like painting small canvases lately, and this is just 8x10.

It was good to be back to an ordinary activity. I had missed my friends and our time together.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still Working

It seems as if I have spent a lifetime arranging furniture putting things away, and hanging pictures. Today I fixed up this corner of the kitchen and am pleased with the results. It's always exciting to rearrange my belongings to make a new home. All the possessions I have keep rearranging themselves like a kaleidoscope. There are so many permutations that even though the separate parts are the same, the whole looks very different.

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half untangling the bamboo mobile I hung in the hall. Every time I change its location it becomes incredibly snarled and knotted. I have actually come to enjoy getting it back in order. It's a mesmerizing activity. Each of my fingers holds one string and I maneuver them over and around each other until they fall apart. It's a delight when the nucleus of a nasty snarl is found and several strands are released at the same time.

I have also been doing a lot of small jobs that require tools. I think of David every time I pick up a hammer or a screwdriver. He gave me every tool I have for Christmas a couple of years ago. Everything is so much easier, and the result is so much more pleasing when the right tool is at hand. I am a sloppy worker, but even I can do a passable job with my many beautiful tools.

Under the activity my brain struggles with practical problems I can so far not solve. The dogs are getting out of the yard, the fuel tank is getting low, no rent or fuel assistance has come, the chickens need a house, I can't afford my medication. I'm anxious about David, anxious about Lytton, anxious about money. My car is making too much noise and needs repair. I've had computer and printer problems and spent hours on the phone with "technical support" with very little satisfaction. These things and more are like bees buzzing around my head as I move through the process of day to day living. I slap at them from time to time, but they keep coming back.

Well, things always work out somehow. There's no alternative. And basically I don't take these problems very seriously as I sing my way through the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Full Moon

When I took the dogs out for their walk at about 4:15 it was already quite dark. We are approaching the shortest days of the year. It is cold, and seems colder because of the almost constant wind blowing off the water. I should have dressed more hands were cold without gloves and my hooded sweatshirt wasn't quite enough to keep me comfortable. Still, I had to stop several times to admire the view of the full moon and its reflection on the water. This picture was taken just outside my front door, looking across to Campobello.

What an amazing place to live.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007


David is in the hospital. After a rather worisome period, it seems that he will recover and be home in a few days. He had an apendectomy and then some complications. These apparently stemmed from past failure to attend to symptoms that can no longer be ignored. I have pretty much remained calm and optimistic, not having the strength to be otherwise. Life without David is inconceivable. My mind rejects the idea so completely that numbness takes over if I try to comtemplate it. I can say nothing else on the subject, which is why I haven't mentioned it before this.

Toni and I had planned to have Thanksgiving with David and Thom, even after David's surgery. Thom had bought the food for the planned traditional meal. When David had to be transferred to another hospital, we had to abandon our plans. Thom brought the turkey over here, along with stuffing bread, etc. He left to be with David, and we were left on our own.

It was the antithesis of the Thanksgivings of my recent past. The starched white table cloth and napkins, the china, the silver, the candles, the elegant food and drink in a beautiful formal setting.........these were replaced by a dinner so casual it almost defies description. I did cook the turkey, and when it was done Toni pushed the recorder music and other paraphenelia we had been using to the side of the table top. Paper towels served as napkins, the cranberry sauce was served from its can. We drank water from the bottle and shook our pepper out of the can. The meal was bare bones--turkey and stuffing. I had made a pumpkin pie for the occasion last night, and we topped things off with two pieces each, smothered in whipped cream. The dogs were thrown pieces of meat and then licked our plates when we had finished.

Earlier in the day I had made the rounds of the several cats I am caring for while their owners are away for the holiday, opening cans of food and cleaning litter boxes. My charges were as grateful as any Thanksgiving guests could be, running to meet me and accepting seasons greetings with happy purrs and much head rubbing. I visited the chickens who clucked with what I interpreted as thanks for being home again. It was a nice day.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Return of the Chickens (minus 1)

What can I say? They are back where I want them to be. I couldn't rest until I had them back. It was wrong to have given them up. I will just have to make a place for them outside. I can visualize how it will be, but the execution of it baffles me for the moment. I did bring their old house over by way of the dolly, pushing and pulling it along the street from Wilson St. For the time being that is all they have. The weather is mild, though, and I am fast.

I feel so happy to have the chickens again that I wish I could hug them. They wouldn't like it though, and I was satisfied with the thanks they did give me by clucking and chasing me around the yard. They followed me up to the back door and waited while I went in to get their food and water, then hurried along behind me as I took their supper down into the yard. No one can tell me they didn't recognize me, and that they were glad to be home.

If only Hannah could have come, too............................

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Dog Pen, Visiting the chickens

It rained today, but that didn't stop me from putting up the rest of the pen for the dogs. This is Patrick looking things over in his new, expanded space. All three boys seemed to appreciate the room, even though it was dark by the time I had it ready for them. I have done quite a bit of work outside in the rain, in fact. Last night I dug up an area in front of the house to plant crocus and tulips. I found some bulbs on clearance at the hardware store, so took advantage of the sale and bought several packages. I haven't put them in the ground yet, but I will do it tomorrow. I know how happy I will be to see them come up in the spring.

I have been thinking about the chickens in their new home, so I looked up the address of their new owner and searched for it over in Quoddy Village. When I found it, I drove in the driveway and was greeted immediately at the front door by the man who bought Carrie's car. He told me that Hannah was dead. Then he took me out to see all the chickens, which were in an outdoor pen about a quarter of the size of the one I had. Their inside coup is even smaller, and there are twenty-four of them. Demeter and Annie were huddled together on one of the roosts, both of them with feathers sticking out at odd angles and raw places on their necks and backs. Mary was strutting around as if she owned the place, apparently fitting in with her new friends without a problem.

It's hard to describe the feelings that welled up inside me. I find it hard to get the picture of Annie and Demeter out of my mind. I abandoned them amd shirked the responsibility I took on to provide for them. I killed Hannah and sent the others to a cold, crowded place where they are picked on by more dominant hens and roosters. It's beyond my ability to comprehend and accept it all. I have come full circle back to the early days of my chicken experience when I couldn't protect them from raccoons and so many of them were killed.

Of course they are only a few chickens in a world where chickens are raised in terrible conditions and slaughtered routinely. They are "harvested" like vegetables. Millions of people are starving and suffering and dying all over the world. How insignificant the lives of my four chickens are. How ridiculous of me to care so much.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wall of Me

I spent the day starting to organize my studio. This picture shows the one place where things look relatively settled. In trying to find space for the countless pieces of artwork I have, I decided to put all my self-portraits together on the wall. There are more, actually many more, but many of them are not ready to hang or are in the nude (a favorite school-era subject for me). I'm not interested in looking at myself without clothes every time I go into the room. At the time I was trying to come to terms with the way I looked. Even though I was modest to a fault in the flesh, so to speak, I seemed to get something out of making unflattering images of myself and presenting them to the public. It was a kind of nose-thumbing at physical beauty. The classes I attended with those young students was a real gift to me, and possibly to them. Working with them as equals despite the difference in age was an education in perception. The years melted away in most cases and we saw each other as just people. Their talent and intellect was equal or superior to mine and I enjoyed them no end because of their devotion to their art.

Only two of these portraits were done while I was in school.......the big one of me with Big Bird, and the white one to the far left, called "Self-Portrait with Headache and Bell Curve." At the time I had grown my hair very long and wore it in a braid down my back. As I was in my forties and quite over-weight, I was certainly pushing the envelope as far as acceptable appearance was concerned. Still, it was my late rebellious period....well, my coming out period, my self-discovery.

Lytton is doing better, and as I write he is beside me softly whining for his supper. I'm missing my chickens.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coming Along

I've been having the usual problems of moving in that my internet wasn't working, TV cable is not hooked up yet, printer won't work, etc. Nevertheless, I work hard every day to organize my surroundings, and I am pretty well settled. I even have my stained glass windows installed together in the one usable living room window. It was amazing that they fit the new windows, since Joanne made them specifically for the other house. I think they look quite spectacular.

Two things have kept me on edge and unable to totally throw myself into the more pleasant tasks at hand. Lytton has continued to be sick, and the lump I found on his side exploded with blood a few days ago. I called Dr. Cloutier, who put my mind at rest as always. He said it must have been an absess from an injury in a dog fight and prescribed antibiotics. For two days he was his old self, but today he was shivering and lethargic, obviously in pain. I called the local vet and took him there on an emergency basis. A hundred dollars later he was pronounced in good health from stem to stern. I was given pain medication for him with the diagnosis of bruising from the absess. I had been giving him pain medicine, but stopped when he seemed to feel better...a stupid idea as it turns out. The relief I felt was well worth the money.

The second event that provoked tears of sentimentality and loss. I was told by Sue that I could not keep the chickens here as I had planned. That meant I had to find a new home for them. Every day that I went over to the old house to feed them I cried. They have been such a part of my life and even my identity (hence the name of this blog) that the thought of giving them up was almost unbearable. Luckily the mother of the man who bought Carrie's car has chickens. When I asked her to take mine, she was very willing. I agreed to help her get them in a box and into her car. When the time came, though, I found myself so emotional that I knew I couldn't do it without losing control of myself and sobbing like a baby. I called her back and asked her to get them without me, and she did.

That happened yesterday, and I'm still unable to think about them without getting tearful. I am over-sentimental in the extreme, and very melancholy about pieces of my life floating away behind me. I loved the chickens, and even more, I loved myself with the chickens.
It seems like a very significant change has taken place, another phase relegated to the past.

Well, I will soon get over them and move on ahead. It won't take long.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So Much Work

It has been an incredibly tiring few weeks since I decided to move. I have settled in quite well, but there are still many jobs to do at the other house. The most noteable is the chickens. Somehow I have to make a place for them here in the cellar. When I can focus on what I'm doing, I'm happy to be here, and love the way things are shaping up.

Nevertheless, I am very distracted by Lytton, who is not recovering from whatever is wrong with him. By spells I am sure he is dying. The thought is unbearable and I lose myself to hysterical crying. Ann gave ne some pills to put under my tongue when this happens, and they do bring my emotions to a point where I can bear them. For a few hours I am able to go about the business of settling into the house. Soon enough, though, it begins again. We all live through a cliche in the face of great loss. It is more or less the same for everyone, I imagine.Why must we deal with inevitability with such pain? We ought to have learned how to accept what we can't change without the great gnashing of teeth, the screams of agony, the unending streams of tears that grip us and hold us prisoner.

I don't know if this is the time that Lytton will die. I do know that I live through that death every time he is sick. If the actual death proves to be worse than these practice runs, my mind can't comprehend what it will be like.

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