Monday, January 26, 2009

I'll follow the sun

Early morning sun trying to get into the neighbors attic.

As far as I know, my neighbors only use their attic for storage. Their very large house is in the morning sun's path, and often my first glimpse of light when I put up the curtain is this fire in their attic. This picture doesn't do it justice, but I have no upstairs windows facing that direction. I imagine an artist and model up there taking advantage of the chiaroscuro!

I moved these globes to a safe spot while I was organizing the girls' room yesterday.
The sunlight found them here.

I love all the seasons. Yes, winter, too. I love snow and snow activities. It is true, though, that in winter I seek the sun as often as I seek shade in summer. Maybe more, because sunlight in winter, and its play upon snow, is so beautiful.

This tree, so lovely bare in winter, is also our shade in summer.

The sun is shining this morning. I hope it's warm enough to thaw the frozen bathroom tap. This is the one thing that has been hard about this winter for me, trying to keep this hole in the ground heated.

At least I got some new copper bling...


Friday, January 23, 2009

Writing it down.

The 6yo has begun to write. And such a lovely start.

25 Random Things About Me

(This meme is going around facebook, and I got tagged. I wrote a list of 25 things, and now I find myself editing it endlessly.)

1. I like to make pie. Pear-blueberry is my current favorite.
2. I wish I had some pie right now.
3. My tub drain is still frozen and the words "standing water" enter my head when I go in the bathroom.
4. Worse than the tub drain being frozen ('cause I can bail it & it's not that bad taking a shower standing in inches of icy water), the washer is frozen and I can't go this long without doing laundry, so it looks like the 'mat for me.
5. I grew up in southern California. My mom still lives in my childhood home.
6. Growing up, I preferred the beach at night, and spent many hours up on lifeguard station M watching the moonlight on the water.
7. When I visit my family now, I want to spend as many daylight hours in the ocean as I can.
8. Whenever I float in the ocean, Atlantic and Pacific are the two that I've tried, I like to close my eyes and picture a map of the coastline and water. I imagine a little dot in the water representing me. What?
9. I started a girls flag football league for my school district in elementary school. Yes, I played center. And yes, there is a great photo in my yearbook of a kick off with the ball long flying away and my finger still in holding pose.
10. In high school, a friend in MGM with me decided he would make up awards for each of us in the group so that we would all have something to add to the awards section on our college applications. I received the Paul Klee Humanitarian Award, and was quite proud of it.
11. I am an artist. I have sometimes thought that discovering at a young age that I share a birthday with Picasso had something to do with it. Recently, clicking around the 'net, I read on someone's blog (I don't even remember whose), that she had a similar thought. Now I wonder how many of us there are.
12. I loved it when Brian O'Doherty, a professor of mine in college at the end of the last century, remarked that in the near future Picasso would be referred to as "that 20th century artist."
13. Dancing to live music is one of the top five physical pleasure in life for me.
14. I thought one of the top five physical pleasures in life was the same for everybody. However, when I was in a mother's group with eight other women, all of them married to men, I was shocked by how few of them put sex in the top five. One woman even asked if reading counts as a physical pleasure.
15. I've never been married, but...
16. I *do* love to read. I'm embarrassed to say that most of my reading these days is online.
17. I miss books. Curling up in bed with a laptop just isn't the same. Yes, I know what you're thinking -- I miss that, too.
18. Legend has it that, as a child, I walked through the neighborhood singing, and all the neighborhood kids followed me around.
19. I am still amazed that I started a band (as a woman over forty with two young children), that a bunch of stellar professional musicians volunteered to be in it, and that we got to play at the Iron Horse. We opened for Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys the first time and the Wilders the second time.
20. I am also amazed that my first out-of-town gig, and biggest crowd ever, was playing solo at EschaCon08, in Philadelphia. Thank you, NYMary.
21. I am enjoying seeing all the photos on facebook.
22. I don't think you're supposed to edit these lists, but I'm doin' it anyway.
23. I would like to invent, if it hasn't been invented already, a family-size all-season pedal car that stores energy as you pedal and taps that energy to help you motor up big hills.
24. I have a fantasy of closing the highways to cars one day a week and folks enjoying vacations that take them slowly across country by bicycle.
25. Insomnia does kinda mess with me, but I do love these quiet hours.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I forgot to post a self portrait yesterday.

This is a painting from college, after Magritte

The Menaced Assassin, Rene Magritte

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Renewing America's Promise

A brand new day.

(who's surprised that I'm not the first person to think of this song in this context?)


Monday, January 19, 2009

Feed the birds

Our friend Jacy is putting some old bread and clementine slices on the tree.
(while I wait in the cozy house!)

Of course, it snowed again after she did this, but hopefully the birds will still be able to find their treats...


Friday, January 16, 2009

Yesterday's Lunch

Yogurt with banana slices, oats, and cinnamon (the marks on the wall look like the bowl is smokin'!), cranberry juice/water cocktail, ubiquitous clementine. Yum.

What will it be today?

Dear Mr. President

"Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make."


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mug Shot

It's ten degrees outside. Tea with milk and whiskey, in my favorite mug, is a very good thing.

Self Portrait, Part II

I had hoped to draw a self portrait today for the self-portrait-a-week project, but with all the vole excitement, it'll have to be a photograph instead (taken just after I got home from delivering the vole to the woods).


Vole Hunter, Part II

After yesterday's photo shoot, I realized that I needed to get rid of the vole. Today, an opportunity presented itself as I was reading in the Hollywood room. I heard a splash come from the kitchen. When I went to investigate, I found the critter struggling to get out of the slippery sink. I stood there for a while watching, and then it dawned on me.

Grab the camera!

After taking a few pictures (I know you're thinking, "Do the dishes, Ina! Gross!" but), I was thinking about the possibility of the vole drowning. I knew that was not the best option. So...


Yes, I caught it in a jar.

Now what?

How about a trip to the woods?

Perhaps a new home in the magic house (used for storage at the wildlife sanctuary).

A happy ending?


Yes, I could be cleaning house right now...

...but I choose not to.

Instead, here's yet another internet meme.

things you've done: bold
things you want to do: italicize
things you haven't done and don't want to: regular font

1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. visited Hawaii
5. watched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity
7. been to a Disney theme park
8. climbed a mountain
9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo
11. bungee jumped
12. visited Paris
13. watched a lightning storm at sea
14. taught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. grown your own vegetables
19. seen the Mona Lisa
20. slept on an overnight train
21. had a pillow fight
22. hitch hiked
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. held a lamb
26. gone skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. ridden a gondola in Venice
29. seen a total eclipse of the sun
30. watched a sunrise or sunset
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. been to Niagara Falls
34. visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. seen the leaning tower of Pisa
39. gone rock climbing
40. seen Michelangelo's David
41. sung karaoke
42. seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited Africa
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. seen the Sistine Chapel
50. been to the top of the Eiffel Tower
51. gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. kissed in the rain
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre
55. been in a movie
56. visited the great wall of China
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class
59. visited Russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold Girl Scout cookies
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood
65. gone sky diving
66. visited a concentration camp
67. bounced a check
68. flown in a helicopter
69. saved a favorite childhood toy
70. visited the Lincoln memorial
71. eaten caviar
72. pieced a quilt
73. stood in Times Square
74. toured the Everglades
75. been fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in London
77. broken a bone
78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the Grand Canyon
80. published a book
81. visited the Vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire bible
86. visited the White House
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating*
88. had chickenpox
89. saved someone’s life
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous
92. joined a book club
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby
95. seen the Alamo in person
96. swum in the great Salt Lake
97. been involved in a law suit
98. owned a cell phone
99. been stung by a bee


Self Portrait, Part I

Yet another picture of a picture from the past. My friend Christine took this picture of me at my old apartment, standing next to a pastel self portrait I had started. I never finished the drawing, because I liked where it was and was afraid of ruining the energy if I went back in for details.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Clean Up

I finally took the tree down yesterday.
Look at all that lovely empty space!

We like to keep our tree in the yard,
Standing in the snow until Spring.
We sprinkle it with snacks for the birds.


Vole Hunter

A couple months ago, my daughter was walking through the studio when she called out to me, "Mom, there's someone trapped in here." When I went to investigate, I found that a vole had somehow fallen or climbed into a wooden crate with slanted sides, and s/he couldn't climb out. Another, clearer thinker, might've covered the crate and taken the creature over the stream to the far woods. I took it the ten steps to my front door, stepped outside and tipped the crate gently over, letting the vole out.

Since then, there has been a vole happily exploring our house. It may not be the same one as the one I rescued. It may not even be the same one every time. But, it has come to seem almost like a pet.

Today, I tried to photograph it as it scurried its usual routes. My camera is too slow, and my reflexes aren't much better!

It was scoping out the cabinet.
When it heard me, it jumped through
the grill under the fridge.


This time I thought I had a shot for sure.
It was investigating something under the couch.
The damn camera was too slow!

A final attempt as it ran away,
passed the years-of-christmas-tree-stumps pile.

I spent several minutes with my camera at the ready, aimed at the vole's main pathway from music room to kitchen. The vole mocked me by sitting under the very couch I was on as it loudly crunched a snack.

Update I: a slightly better photograph.

Update II: trying again...


Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictures of pictures

When I saw this post at m.heart's place this morning, it sent me looking for this photograph. I apologize for the poor picture quality, since I don't know how to work my scanner, you get a picture of a picture.

I took this picture from the window of an art gallery during my friend's father's opening. I had taken a series of portraits of my friend in a nook by the window. When I looked out the window, I saw this message painted there. "You want this, too." Yes, I thought, I do want this, too -- the life of a professional artist, building and showing a body of work. It is a comforting thought to me that even the walls outside knew this about me.

The hunt through boxes of pictures revealed some other treasures.

This is my favorite Halloween costume. As an adult, before I had children, my costumes always involved fake blood and zombie make-up. Usually I had a head wound that dripped aesthetically down my face. For the costume pictured, though, I chose instead "the heartless bitch," 'cause she always gets her man (and I never did)! Huh, it doesn't seem as amusing typed here as it did saying it at that party. Oh, curse you, maturity!

"Look up, mom!" This picture is from my mother's first trip to New York to visit me. It was January. It was wind-chill below zero her whole trip, so I have lots of photographs of us at tourist spots with scarves wrapped over our faces! It is still hard for me to believe that these buildings are gone. It is hard to believe that the Supreme Court was allowed to make a partisan decision eight years ago, with tragic results.

Yet, I am willing to believe that we are now on the path to healing. One week from tomorrow, we make it official.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good People Day

(I love this guy. I'm gonna go watch more...)

Clean up

Still cleaning up and putting away, post-holiday. All the ornaments and wise men have been tucked in for the long wait 'til next December. The tree is still up with its lights on. A friend pointed out that it's not really until mid-January or early February that the winter seems too long and dark, so why do we rush to get rid of our sign of light and life? It does look lovely -- here would be a good place for a picture of it, but the camera is upstairs, so it'll have to wait...

Update: here's a photo!

I'm about to take the tree outside for the birds...

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Next Chapter

Today starts twelve weeks in a blogger book club, led by Jamie Ridler (thank you, Jamie). We will be devouring the book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin.

The first chapter is Secret #1: Acknowledging Your Creative Self.

One way I am acknowledging my creative self is by deleting my secret blog that I used for Soul Coaching, and using my regular blog to follow this journey. I am creative, I am an artist, but I am still resistant to the language of this self-help genre. So I felt the need to hide. However, I am inspired and nurtured by this creative community, and I am ready for the next chapter!

As a single mother of two young daughters, I find the greatest obstacle to creating my own work is simply lack of time. Or at least I use that as an excuse! I am able to find some outlet for my creativity by making art with them. And they are already amazing artists (proud mama)!

by the 8yo

by the 6yo

As a visual artist, I paint, draw, and photograph. I am also a singer/songwriter, which is somehow easier on my soul. A couple days ago at the "tavern" where I spend way too much online time, folks were discussing some naked skiers. This reminded me of a time years ago when I had an assignment from a local arts weekly to photograph some winter sports. I called my favorite model, Nikki, grabbed the camera, the tandem bike, and some cross-country skis and went to look for snow. This is one of the fun moments...

Looking at this picture, I can feel the energy it took to make it: the naked artist sets up the shot, runs across the snow, hops on the bike and starts pedaling. It is invigorating!

Searching for that photograph sent me through my collection of self portraits, including some I made twenty years ago. It was energizing to reconnect with that young artist. She is still with me, longing to work again.

Self Portrait, Bather

Self Portrait with Nikki

This photograph is from a portfolio I did in college for my senior show. It is one of my favorite photographs. Although it is attempting to address a serious subject (or two!), when I look at it I see the joy that we had creating it.

I am awakening the artist within me.

Here's me with my band doing a 12-bar blues of mine that speaks to the need for in-home help (and though the song is gender specific, I'm open)!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who's counting?

Inspired by Serena's photograph a day & self portrait a week and Jamie's amazing video of her three hundred sixty five photographs project from 2008, I'm wondering if I can do both for 2009.

Here is my self portrait for this week.

I am allowing myself to choose a photograph, drawing, or painting self portrait, as the mood strikes me each week. Hopefully you can find them here Wednesdays!

As for a photo a day, I'm not quite sure if I will post one each day or seven at the end of the week, but I do hope by the end of the year I figure out how to make a cool video with all three hundred sixty five! Stay tuned...

This is one of the pictures I took today.
This one is at the girls' request.

They were playing "Christmas," and had wrapped all these pretend presents, and wanted documentation!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009


Hair combed, washed, and trimmed!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sledding with Jacy

Taking turns...

And all together for the last run of the day...