Saturday, December 26, 2015
Sometimes I forget that this blog is about the chickens, as well as the dogs and me. Of course not much changes in the lives of the girls, but last week I gave them a treat. I enlarged their pen to include the narrow space between my house and the one next door. From there they could go into the piece of fenced-in area I've made outside the back door. They were quite intrigued by the new space and have enjoyed investigating it. They can come up to the back door and poop on the step........a factor I failed to consider in advance. Still, it will snow soon and their world will become much smaller. They may as well have a little time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. I managed to get them all together for the picture by offering them pieces of apple, a big treat.
Today is the day after Christmas, which I celebrated in grand style. Now we will be settling into winter. It's late this year. We've had not a flake of snow. The weather report today is that snow is headed our way, but most of it will be north of us. In fact, we may have only rain here along the coast. The longer the snow stays away, the better as far as I'm concerned. The memory of last winter's record-setting snowfall is still too fresh. Kendall and I took advantage of the sunshine to visit her horse Charlie. We groomed him and took him for a walk down a dirt road near the place where he is now being boarded. People who don't relate to horses can't understand the pleasure we get from just being around them. I don't understand it myself, but I was so happy for the opportunity to spend an hour or so in their company.
Friday, December 11, 2015
This is a picture I just took from my seat at the computer. I didn't edit it to make everything look nicer, but it's looking from the end of the dining room down the hall to the front door. My current knitting project is on the floor........a complicated sweater pattern that will probably take me all winter to complete. The piano seems to dominate the room, though that's not so true in reality. I have made a pledge to practice the piano every day and so far have pretty much kept it. I've chosen two pieces from the movie "The Piano." They are not easy for me by any means, but neither are they impossible. I love the music, so I don't mind hearing it over and over again. It took me more than a week to manage the first two lines of the first piece, but I kept at it with dogged determination. In the past I have jumped from piece to piece, never really doing a very good job on any of them. I stumble over the notes and give up. I feel I owe it to the piano as much as to myself to dig in and really accomplish some degree of expertise. It's been a humbling experience over my lifetime that I can't really do it very well. I taught myself as a pre-teen, then began to take lessons after I started high school. I have not to this day been able to overcome the bad habits I learned before I knew what I was doing. Well, it's never too late.........or so I hope.
There is still no snow on the ground, and I actually didn't need a coat when I went out today. I have to keep in mind, though, that the horrendous winter we had last year didn't really gather steam until after Christmas. We all appreciate every day that we look out our windows and still see grass and dry ground.
Friday, December 04, 2015
I couldn't resist posting this bigger than usual, just because it is so big in reality.....about 2 1/2 by 3 !/2 feet. I've been working away at it for several days. I don't get sick of spending hours at a time burning tiny holes into wood. Go figure.
I couldn't resist posting this bigger than usual, just because it is so big in reality.....about 2 1/2 by 3 !/2 feet. I've been working away at it for several days. I don't get sick of spending hours at a time burning tiny holes into wood. Go figure.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Interestingly, to me, the memory of thanksgiving that pops up first is one that took place sometime in the 80's. It was unusually warm with no snow, like today. Before I began to cook the meal, Phil and I decided to go out to Trahfo Farms and take a short horseback ride. I doubt that this picture was taken on that day, but it was somewhere near it. My beautiful BJ.
The older I get, the more difficult I find it to make the present take precedence over the past. I wish I could muster the philosophy of my old friend Thelma, who at 89 told me that she never looked back. As far as I know, she lived in the present until the day she died. Her last project was to figure out how she could carry her oxygen tank and use her walker at the same time when she drove to the grocery store. She experimented with various methods until she designed a cart that worked for her and was easy enough to get in and out of the car. It doubled as a portable easel so she could still paint outside. How can I not think of her and look back with longing?
Well, I try to focus on my life now, which in many ways is the best and easiest time I have ever had. The context of my life is steady. I am content. Therein lies the dilemma of the manic-depressive on medication, the one who misses those extremes and longs for euphoria and pain. Though I have never been diagnosed as manic depressive (as far as I know), I understand the pull, the desire to feel life large.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
The moon is full tonight, presumably hauling the ocean away as I write. When it's full, I wonder if the pull is strongest and the tides lower. Well, I will have to look that up. I watch the water come and go every day with only the slightest understanding of what is going on. I find its reflection on the water beautiful without question. In most, if not all, things, the more you know about something the more rich its beauty becomes, or beauty emerges where it didn't exist before.
I often think about what happened to me when I took a class in music appreciation as a freshman in college. Until then, classical music held almost no appeal for me. Then I learned about symphonic form, and a whole new world opened up for me. The more I learned about how to listen to music, the more I loved it.That was a gift from some long forgotten professor whose name I can't recall.
I guess I had better find out more about the moon and the tides.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Anyway, this is my latest painting of dancers. I can't remember if I posted the original watercolor, which I didn't like. Yesterday I was about to throw it away when the idea struck me to paint over it. I did so with acrylics and am fairly happy with the results.
My days since I last wrote have been consumed by planning cataract surgery. The result was cancellation of the whole thing. At this point, I don't want to take the time to explain why. Actually I'm not sure myself. Thinking about it and trying to arrange the trip to Ellsworth without being able to drive myself, dealing with the dogs because I would have to stay overnight, became too overwhelming. The painting is the visual representation of my relieved and tentatively happy state of mind once I made the decision.
Every day when I walk the dogs I take the time to really look at the ocean. I had learned to take it for granted. My thinking about moving to Bangor has made me realize how much Eastport means to me. I wonder how I ever thought I wanted to leave, and stare at the ocean with new appreciation. There it is, always within sight. During the first part of my life it was a rare treat to see it . It meant at least an hour on the road even to get to a salt water bay.......over two hours to the open water. The sun was always shining. It was always summer. That's what I knew of it. In the first journal I kept when I first came to live in Eastport, alone, in the winter was the same day a huge storm hit the northeast. I wrote about getting to know the ocean during a winter storm. I was quite in awe of it, seeing it in a completely new way. That storm turned out to be quite a disaster, with electricity out for over a week or more all over the northeast and Canada. I had no radio, no newspaper.........I had no idea what was going on. I knew no one here. The dogs and I were immersed in isolation, eagerly embracing the experience, which I chronicled in my journal during the short daylight hours. I still love to re-read that journal, reliving that time.
Besides the location, I love the way of life here. I have none of the justifiably paranoid ideas of those who live in cities even slightly bigger than this one. Here, in the winter, we can leave our cars idling in the parking lot of the grocery store while we shop so they will be warm when we return. We rarely dress up.....my wardrobe is from the thrift shop. No one is in a hurry, no one cares much about making money (making it hard to hire anybody to do a job). People work at seasonal jobs just long enough to survive for a few months, then quit until they need money again. I admire this tremendously, but most people "from away" can not understand it. They are frustrated by the fact that the locals can not be bribed with the lure of money. Of course, this is all changing now with the influx of people from other places, even since I have lived here. Still, though, there exists a gulf between the two factions that makes them stare at each other with complete bewilderment, if not disdain.
I am an observer, philosophically on the side of the locals, but tainted by my roots. I fit in neither group. It's a place I have always been and am comfortable there.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Before I write any more, I need to go back and read my last few posts to see where I left off in the chronicle of my daily life. Certainly I don't want to leave out any of the minutiae that constitutes mydays on this earth.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
I simply can not upload pictures to this blog anymore. Apparently Google has usurped Picasa's power to do this. I guess I will have to find another way to use this blog or find some other site that Google approves for blogging. See you elsewhere in the blogosphere as soon as I find a way to get back in business. I miss my blog.
Monday, October 05, 2015
Nevertheless the rest of us enjoyed our sojourn. Josie, from Milwaukee, loves to see the ocean. Even though I see it every day from my windows and on my walks with the dogs, I am still awed by it myself. There it is, minding its own business, a whole other world right beside us. We are trying to ruin it with our waste, killing the inhabitants and their food supply. It does what it can and will probably survive us human beings in the end. Meanwhile we will destroy whatever is within our considerable power, just as all extinct species have done. We all go down hard, and we take a lot of others with us. It's the way of the world.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
The painting I've posted is a large version of a small one I did before. It is almost as tall as I am (which is shrinking to less than 5 feet).I had fun with it thanks to encouragement from my old friend Elizabeth. We talk every few weeks and she always inspires me to be more experimental, the way I used to be when we were both in school.....as adults in the 80's and 90's. She suggested that I make the brush strokes tell the story of the image. It's hard to see in the photo, but I splashed paint all over this, let it run, painted on it upside down and sideways. Certainly it doesn't look as experimental as it ought to, considering how much I played with it. I like it, though, and certainly had a good time doing it
Afterwards, I tried doing the same type of image in watercolor. I'm quite happy with this one, too, mostly just because I was able to get some interesting watercolor effects without making everything muddy.
The dancers look happy. Next time I think I'll forget the yellow stripes. I meant them to stabilize the chaos of the other brush marks, but they really don't work. One thing about watercolor, though. You pretty much have to live with your mistakes.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Comic relief came as I was cleaning up and spotted Patrick taking an overly active interest in the drying noodles. He managed to snag one, and then I tempted him with another in order to take a picture. He is such an adorable boy.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
The memory of last winter is still fresh in my mind. It is disconcerting that the summer is already coming to the end. Fall is looming, and then winter again. Meteorologists are predicting another winter like the one we had last year, which is very disconcerting. It seems as if this wonderful weather should last at least long enough to erase it from our minds. We have not yet adjusted to feeling warm and comfortable, looking at the spectacular scenery we live with. We've yet to be able to relegate last winter to a dim memory.
Of course the good weather is not over yet, and we have the pretty Fall to look forward. Still, while there are huge portions of the United States that are dry and very hot, our summer has been relatively cool. Extremes are everywhere. Global warming is changing the weather. We have been in the process of using up our environment for a long time, and while some are championing the cause to stem the tide, it's my belief that we are really on the road to extinction as a species. We are following the natural course of nature. We have evolved to dominate other species, to become so successful that we have over-bred and over-used the place where we live. It's happened to so many other species. It's the way of the world, the ebb and flow of life forms that flourish as we have. Like them, we are trying to figure out how to survive. Of course we are using our best tool, our brain, to diagnose and solve the problems we face. But like all the extinct species that have gone before, we will fail.
How do I know this will happen? I don't. I expect things to go on as they are and always have been (as far as we know). Even that is just a function of the human brain working to understand based on observation. This is not a gloomy thought to me, but a comfortable idea that we are far from alone, far from special. We are not outsiders.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Speaking of photographs, I am finally back in business in terms of computer functions. Yesterday I received the new monitor I ordered after the other one died, and today I got the camera cable I needed to download pictures (the old one ceased to function for some reason). Now all I need is the ink for my printer. I have ordered the cable and the ink twice already and got the wrong thing, but I think this time all will be well.
We finally are having what is typical summer weather for Eastport. It is absolutely beautiful.... sunny with temperatures in the 70's with a slight breeze off the ocean. My thoughts of living in Bangor now seem absurd. Though the summer is short, or perhaps because it is short, it is worth the wait. The winter seems like a vague memory, or a dream, or perhaps a nightmare that no longer has relevance in real life.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
It's hard to understand or describe the effect riding has on me. All day I felt different, younger, more physically fit, more energetic. I swear my body shed a couple of years. When I walked the dogs later in the day I felt like I could have walked ten miles. My back didn't ache like it usually does after a very short distance. This is the "upper" I had while working at the horse shelter. I knew that since I left there I've aged, mentally and physically. Though I suspected it was psychological, I also couldn't rule out my advancing age. I knew that I felt better then I had in years while I worked there. When I quit, I reverted back to the way I had felt before. Yesterday was like a shot of adrenaline.
I'm still feeling good in the "afterglow" of the experience. Strange, strange, strange.
Willy made himself comfortable on my bed while I looked for the scene of the crime. My limited imagination was incapable of forming a theory. Finally I went into my old bedroom, where I had thrown everything helter skelter in the process of moving to the other room. On the bed, in the midst of a pile of winter clothes, sheets, and blankets I found it. Somewhere Willy had found a tube of red oil paint, chewed it, and spread the paint all over himself and everything near him. He had made himself comfortable on my beloved hand-knit bulky sweater that I made and have worn since I lived on Wilson St. Luckily I am good at assessing a situation for what it is and didn't waste time crying over the sweater or getting angry with myself or my pink-tinged boy. I took the sweater down to the washing machine, rightfully not really expecting miracles. The picture shows the sweater after two washings.
I guess I better find that pattern and start knitting again.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
You need only to plant a garden to watch time pass before your eyes. I cam across this picture of how mine looked in 2008, soon after I planted the lilac I brought from Wilson St. I've been thinking about how I can tame the jungle that has grown from the nothingness that was here when I moved in. Right now it is on the threshold of being overgrown and I'm not sure what to do. The problem is the two bushes by the walk. I lacked the foresight to consider that they would grow so big. I can barely walk between them now, yet I don't want to touch one leaf of their beautiful branches. I should have put one of them on the other side of the bay window, but I certainly can't do it now. So I worry about it and do nothing.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I know I haven't been keeping this blog up very well, nor have I kept up with email very well. Somehow I don't seem to want to take the time. I post pictures on facebook and call it good. Eventually I will get my enthusiasm back, I'm sure, but I think I am taking a rest from the mental strain of thinking about and working toward moving. Now that I have decided not to, I feel tired and in need of a mental vacation.
I did put a couple of these wood pieces in a show at Lisa's gallery, but I know they will not sell. In fact I haven't even photographed them, but I will when I get them back. Her show was supposed to be about spirituality, which I knew would attract pastel-hued paintings of women amid flowers and butterflies, vacantly staring at some unseen figure or thing. Some of them would be holding birds in their arms, which would have somehow become tree limbs. Suns or stars or moons would be inevitably hovering in the sky, possibly above a rainbow. No doubt these paintings are inspired by a genuine feeling about women, or nature, or both, that I don't understand or find appealing. My contribution was a nude woman standing on the outside sill of a window. She is looking down, and her arms are spread out to the sides forming a crucifix. The title is "Dismount." What was my idea? I'm not sure, but it's the same image I once did as a woodcut, so there is something rebounding off the walls of my brain that have to do with sacrificial acts, crucifixion, women as victims, blah, blah. It hung there in stark contrast to its fellows, colorless and sad. My motive for hanging it was a perverse need to expose the other side of being female, or perhaps the only side that I can identify with.
I have been very happy with my decision to stay in Eastport. Everything here is bigger, brighter, more beautiful than ever before. Until the art opening, I was actually feeling like a part of the community, smiling happily at passers by, returning the friendly waves of the drivers in the cars that went by me as I walked the dogs. This is my home now, I thought. Bangor is no longer where I belong or want to be. With such ideas in my head, I decided to put in an appearance at the gallery party. The minute I walked in I knew I had made a mistake. The crowd, the chatter, the wine, the food............it all reminded me of how deeply out of place I was. I made a beeline for the door and never looked back. Where is my place? I don't know unless it is sitting on the couch with my dogs, watching reruns of "Criminal Minds." There I am content, peaceful, happy. I am loved unconditionally by my companions, I am satisfied that I have fulfilled my role of caretaker, exceptional caretaker, of my dogs and my chickens. They can take life and comfort for granted thanks to me. No one has anything negative to say, no one disapproves of me. There is no one for me to get angry with or to get angry with me. Nobody criticizes or insults me. No one argues. Neither do I criticize or insult anyone. I don't get mad. I don't criticize or feel critical of anyone or anything. I have nothing to fear. It is all so peaceful.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Thursday, June 25, 2015
When I first visited Eastport years ago there were no houses in that area like there are now. The whole world looked purple, white, and pink. I have seen the the gigantic seasonal homes spring up, one or two a year. Gravel driveways lead through formal gardens to huge, expensive houses. They have decks and gazebos, with many huge windows on the side of the house that faces the water. Many of the yards are decorated with marine paraphernalia, and they all fly flags from tall poles. For them it is always summer. Nevertheless, the area is very large and they are not yet particularly
Slowly, though, they are changing things. Gift shops have sprung up. Even some cruise ships are beginning to stop here. People who came here originally to find a quaint, small town full of poor fishermen and unemployed workers with little ambition or work ethic, are now seeing the town as a place that needs their help. They are working hard to turn the town into the kind of place they left to come here. Well, there is still more Lupine on Dog Island than there are formal gardens. Deer still roam the woods (and the streets), though their days are numbered, I think. They seem to be getting in the way of people. There is talk of "culling" the herd. The deer don't know that cultivated gardens are to be left alone or that they may cause some of us to get Lyme Disease. They believe that the earth belongs to them and sometimes cross streets in front of cars. Sometimes a person's car needs to be repaired after it has killed a deer.
Don't get me started.............anyway, I think Eastport will still be a place I want to live for long enough. I recently applied for a rental in my old home town. Eastport, I thought, was no longer where I wanted to be. I have lost everything that brought me here in the first place. Seeing Bangor again as I went to finish my application for housing there, I realized that Bangor isn't my home anymore, either. When I returned from my trip there, Eastport looked like paradise.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
My "new" car ought to be ready today after weeks in the garage. It evidently hid a lot of flaws behind its (to me) pretty face, and needed several repairs. Also, the mechanic has missed a lot of work lately because of a sick wife, which extended its stay considerably. Dennis is the only mechanic in town, and the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, so there was no question that I would wait for him.
Tomorrow I am going to Bangor and I hope to be driving my van.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
A faint desire to make another doll crept into my consciousness about a week ago. Yesterday it had grown to the point that I couldn't ignore it. I found a pink T-shirt that was expendable and went to work. It was a short-lived obsession and I finished this doll in record time..........all in all no more than four or five hours over two days. I don't think I will need to make another one now, but I can't be sure. This one is cute.........yes, cute. I guess there is room in my psyche for producing cute. It may be a genetic variation inherited from my mother, who made many beautiful dolls. They were very different from mine..........small, perfect ladies with clay heads, arms and legs she made herself. The bodies were made of cloth, and she dressed them in authentic period clothing made on her treadle sewing machine. She created their hair using embroidery thread which she would around toothpicks to make specific hairstyles. They usually carried baskets filled with flowers of fruit and vegetables made out of clay and painted. An apple would be only slightly larger than the head of a pin. Once there was a spot on TV about her and the dolls..........I remember her showing off their underwear, complete with lace trim and ties, saying "Ladies always need beautiful underwear."
So, aside from planting a vegetable garden and building a new door for the chicken house, that is the extent of my activity since my last post...........although I think I failed to post a picture of the car I bought with the money I made from my art show. It was cheap, and is now spending a lot of time at the garage waiting for parts. I'm happy though. I'll put its picture in a new post.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
The next room I tackled was the "guest" room. It's also the room where I store most of my artwork. Since so much of it was in the show at the art center I took the opportunity to go through the rest and throw out what was really meaningless.......proofs of various prints, failed paintings and drawings, etc. I went through the drawers of the chest in there and tossed towels and sheets and curtains that have been there unused for years. In my own bedroom I tossed old clothes and shoes, and hundreds of cassette tapes that aren't usable anymore. Downstairs I cleaned out the closet in the dining room, which was full of sheet music from when I was playing the recorder, musical instruments, old tablecloths, napkins, wrapping paper, boots, gloves, hats, skeins of yarn, etc. In addition, I put down a new tile floor in both the upstairs and downstairs halls. The kitchen and living room didn't require quite as much work, since I maintain them fairly well and keep the excess to a minimum. When I began this cleaning frenzy it was because I had decided to move back to Bangor if I could find a place to live. I wanted to weed out my belongings to make the move easier. For awhile I was obsessed with the idea and spent days on line looking for apartments and dreaming of the city life of my home town. I applied for subsidized housing. As time went on, though, my enthusiasm died down, as I had predicted it would. I have moved so many times, looking for nothing other than something different. I love the novelty of a new place to be...........so I made my house new.
Today I made bread using the first recipe I had tried. I've tried two or three others since I got my new stove, but this is the one I like the best. As you can see by the picture, these loaves were quite enthusiastic and practically overflowed the pans. I put two balls of dough in each pan to make them easier to store and freeze, but I'm not sure it was a good idea. The two balls bulged out over the ends rather than rising in the middle. Nevertheless, it is delicious.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
I posted a few other pictures of the general ambiance, mostly for my Michigan blogger friend Pamela. She has vowed to see horses every day now that she is back from the southwest. If no live horses are available, perhaps she can take some pleasure in seeing these. I certainly had a good time at the show............though it brought to the fore how much I miss working at the shelter. Luckily I am still in touch with the people I met there through facebook. It keeps me connected to that time and that life...........