Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who Would Have Thunk It?

Guests:
This Thanksgiving my daughter and son-in-law were on travel. My son was the only one who was going to join us for TG Day. I could have called some friends, but was too lazy. They were also thinking about calling us and didn't! So there were going to be only three for the big meal.

Location:
We could have eaten down at the house using the new kitchen, but I had to work on Friday so that was a long drive back at the end of the big meal that I didn't want to make. We could have eaten at my son's condo which has a larger TV to watch games on, but my son indicated he didn't really care ab
out the football all that much---Translation:" I don't want to have to clean the condo for you guys." We could have eaten out somewhere, but we took so long to plan that that option disappeared fairly soon. Thus, we ate at the apartment.

Decor:


Hubby generously brought home a bouquet from the market to brighten up the table. So not too much more decor needed for just two guys.

Menu:

In years past I went all out with the meal. I like to cook, hubby likes to cook and the kids even like to cook. So some made pies and side dishes and I would work on the turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes and a special salad. Ah, but this is a lot of food to prepare for just three people in a tiny kitchen.

So this year we had 'take-out.' from Boston Market via the Giant supermarket. This box feeds 8 to 10 and costs $60.00. That comes to about $6.00 per person, the food is good if not outstanding, and there are leftovers and plastic leftover containers for everyone. All we had to do was reheat the meal in the oven and microwave.


I would never have thought of a Thanksgiving like this years ago. But I guess I am getting more mellow in my old age. Release the control, let go of the remote, put down that camera, hand over that turkey baster and just mellow out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanks


Thanks for this big blue planet that keeps on turning in spite of all the assaults we place on it.

Thanks for the sanity of the people around me when things seem insane.

Thanks for the sparkling eyes and quick smiles of small children.

Thanks for love in all its strange configurations.

Thanks for one more day.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

LIfe Story #5

A long time ago when I was living in a land of artists and spiritualists and peaceful people with violent rivers inside their souls (Indonesia) I took a batik course at the Palace grounds in Jogjakarta. I was taught privately by an old man who was as small as a goat and as brown as a coconut. He was always patient and smiling through his many missing teeth. He also taught batik to a class of young Balinese men, who were the real artists and devoted their lives to the medium, in early afternoons. I have had no formal artistic training ( unless you count the elementary teacher's art class I took in college many years ago), so his patience with me as I practiced in this very unusual medium was amazing. Of course he probably saw me as this rich, idle, American who helped him put rice on his table. I was too young to see myself in that way and I was also tutoring American children half days and desperately needed this artistic break.

In my memories I can visualize driving down a street toward the Palace past the Chinese men who cut hair and trimmed toenails at their stands on the narrow sidewalk.

My work would take place in a small room with bamboo walls and a dusty floor. It was so dark inside that I can remember looking through the spaces in the bamboo and seeing the lady who sold birds in cages on the sidewalk outside. The smell of the pine resin that was added to the wax was pleasantly welcoming when I arrived each afternoon. The dyes were strong and we washed the fabrics carefully in very hot water over a ditch outside behind the building. I purchased all the chanting tools, bowls and kerosine stove and was fascinated with the shapes and rustic metals of each one. I bought large blocks of wax and small blocks of pine resin and would melt them together for the correct mix. The dyes would come as fine powders in small plastic bags and I could not really tell the exact color I would get until I dyed the fabric.

At first all I did was try to copy the batik patterns I saw in the fabrics around me each day. Then I decided to try something original. The batik above was one of the very first pieces I did. It took quite a while between the washing out of wax and the application of each new layer of wax for the new phase of dye.

The subject appeared from nowhere into my head. Since I am allergic to cats I am not really fond of them, and I don't really know where the idea of this brown cat came from. I made him guilty, so I guess my lack of love for cats shows. I did a lot of needlework at one time and that was added. I also fell in love with a maidenhair fern that was growing on the wall behind my house in Jogja. All of these were added into my piece.

This batik has sat for decades folded in a box. My powderoom (with the famous sink) in the new house happens to go with these colors, so I spent a small fortune at Michaels getting it matted and framed. I have an Egyptian parchment cat that I framed to go on the opposing wall. No, the powderroom is not that big, and the batik just fits on wall, but that is the only room where it seems to fit in color.

The young woman who matted and framed it at the store kept praising it and several other patrons in the store also said it was a very nice work. I never thought about it much, but now I guess I can share it with you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Found: One Tree Tanka


You may remember last winter how the burden of a heavy new snowfall caused a large branch from a pine tree outside my bedroom window to tear away from the trunk of the tree and fall heavily to the ground. It left behind a dramatic four foot white scar where the bark had been torn away. The painful burden of such a heavy new snow weighing against each needle was just too much for the tree. (I can relate to this in so many ways.) BUT this dramatic scar seems to have healed over almost completely. (Below not exactly pivotal in creativity...but I wanted to try thanks to Tammy.)

Hidden history
Shock and scars beneath the bark
Cambium bands true
Tomorrow grows the fair ring
Healing, hiding the past.

(I am not going to tell you where I found it...but those of you who have been blogging for a while will know!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Currently Wondering About...

There goes that last little pixel...

I was working (sporadically) on a 'tree tanka'...motivated by that very talented Tammy. It had been sitting in my drafts folder for a couple of months, and finally, I decided that I was going to publish it even though I felt it needed a little more focused work. (I have this inner feeling that tells me if you are 'working' on a tanka it is no longer a tanka.) So I published it before I left for the house late on Thursday along with the picture of the tree that motivated my creativity. Virtual electronic spirits, whose primary diet must be pixels and digital bits of light or whose primary entertainment must be squirreling away pixels and bits of light, absconded with my post. I don't know if the post sits in their tummies (I wish them much indigestion) or if it lights the way down their hidden bandwidths. Where do posts go when they disappear in the ethernet? Do they end up on someone else's blog as a shockingly naked invasion? Do they sit in a place somewhere that will someday explode in bites all over the Internet? Do they evaporate into the atmosphere and are they a future carcinogen that we should be studying? Did this one go into a collection of tankas that sit in a folder somewhere just waiting to be re-discovered? Or perhaps, my tanka was so painfully bad that the Internet police decided that they just could not let it get by.

All I know is that I don't feel I can re-capture the thought any time soon.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Two Personalities in the Marriage


Just a little grumpy. He is such a drama king, though.


I spent part of the weekend taking care of Xman who is not a happy camper since he cannot get around easily. He is slowly getting the courage to stand, but has to be distracted by something. Needless to say, he is getting tons of attention from everyone and has his own little party going on where he is the center. He is a flirt and loves to pretend he doesn't care that we are totally interested in him. We talked about how hard that will be for him, when in the future, he is treated like a normal child after the cast comes off and people tend to ignore him much of the time.

I am continuing to have issues at work as are several of my other colleagues with the same problem. I still haven't decided whether to just keep a lo
w profile the next two years and do standard work, or try to venture out and be creative with projects and ideas even though there is a chance certain entities will fight me on anything they think will take the focus away from them. It is really hard for me not to be working hard on something. (My supervisor is being very understanding...whether she will do anything is another matter, of course.)

I was down at the house on Sunday bringing some end tables and lamps from the apartment. Hubby cleaned out the gutters which were full of leaves while I did three loads of laundry and went through several weeks of mail...mostly junk mail.

The bush by the dock has turned to snow.

Since we didn't get down there until almost noon the day flew by. The sun was setting as I was trying to sort some groceries for the freezer when Hubby came running in and said I had to get out to the dock and see the sunset. I was totally focused on a bunch of other stuff, but reluctantly relented. I took some photos and did some breathing in and out. I must have done something right to get this guy to marry me! He is so good about tapping into my zen moments when I am too busy being anal retentive and missing so much.


Dad was released from the hospital yesterday...things are looking up. I am smiling through the tears.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just for Mannababies!!


Digging in for the Long Haul


(This is going to be a rant...so you can stop reading now.)

1. Can it get any worse? At work someone's supervisor (not mine) edited a report that I had veted through my supervisor (who is the overall supervisor) and proceeded to delete 40% of the content. I never got any feedback on that and her staff person was told to publish it ( I wouldn't have known except her staff person had a sense of ethics and was very uncomfortable about it). Guess what I will be doing early Monday when my supervisor returns to the office? At least I will be calmer by then and allow my supervisor to breath between my venting.

2. Then I got an email from the "colleague" who had called me stupid (and later apologized) asking for some input on a project. Since I didn't know anything about the project I asked for background, scope, meeting notes, etc. Her reply was that "I could leave you out of this input if you feel this way." Fortunately my supervisor and her supervisor were included in that snotty remark.

I remember that about two years ago I loved this job and was excited about coming to work and contributing. Now all I want is to stay out of everyone's way while they claw their way to the 'top.'

3. I am venting and under more than usual stress because, on the day that my Dad was supposed to go home from Rehab (two days ago), he contracted pneumonia (a rare virus or bacteria version) and is now back in the hospital. We are all checking on him daily and hope to finally have him home this weekend. He has lost his spirit and is frequently confused about where he is and what is happening. It is a common but still sad story. Send good thoughts (or prayers if you pray.)

4. The final note (I thought bad things happened in threes?) was that Xman in going down the slide at the park with his father twisted his leg and fractured either his tibia or fibula and is now in a cast for the next three weeks. He is not happy. So when I babysit tomorrow night, at least we will be on the same wave length/plane/fetal position.