Beauty and film

As I walked to work this morning, a dancing magnolia leaf caught my attention. I stopped to watch it gracefully twirl and circle in the breeze above its fallen sisters on the ground below. An invisible silken spider strand must have held it aloft. And I realized that I could not only see the leaf, but also the wind.

I stood there mesmerized for a few minutes, immersed in the present moment, and then my mind went elsewhere – should I walk home and get my camera?

This is a challenge for me. I always have the urge to capture beauty for my own. Not to trust my memory, or be willing to let the moment go forgotten. Then I decided that this moment would be diminished by a feeble attempt at video entrapment. I enjoyed it for another minute, then walked on.

I tend to think of these rare moments as “American Beauty” moments, after one of my favorite movie scenes. “Video is a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember. I need to remember.”

Then I thought of one of my very favorite artists, and how his photographs and videos bring me the beauty of his work, which I otherwise never would be privileged to see, and I am puzzled with the decision again…

Back Forty, coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

OOH OOH OOH! Getting closer to the Art-Is-You Petaluma retreat! Trying to stay positive and not sink into regret about the money impulsively spent due to the disappointment of India’s August workshop being cancelled. The vacation will be short for such a long trip – I leave on Wednesday, Sept. 19, spend three nights, and return on a red-eye flight Saturday, Sept. 22. I need to suck it up and deal with the logistics of it, which includes a bus ride at rush hour Wednesday and on Saturday night. A fun adventure in a place where I’ve never been, on my own, and two workshops with artists that I adore. HOOT HOOT HOOT!

In case you can’t tell, my anxiety has been a bit high. It seems to happen this time of year.

I aced my first test in my early 20th century art history class and will take another test on the Tuesday before I leave. Which means I need to get going on my reading this weekend. It is a difficult textbook, but I do love the art. Not so much the theory and philosophy and battling critics behind it, but that is part of it. I ran into the professor in the parking lot the morning of the first quiz and joked with him with a brilliant smile since I’d had a chance to crack down on studying and felt good about it. He said, “I’m glad that you’re not mad at me.”

Still transferring the posts from the old blog, and I hope that I will complete it before the serious deadline of Oct. 1 when it goes away. Right now I’m in the middle of 2008, which was a tough year for me, and it is quite depressing to read the posts. Also it is distressing that I will lose many of the comments of my friend Terri-Lynn, who went to another place. I will need to keep my spirits up while working on 2008, because unfortunately the last half of 2007 was even worse for me. Once I make it past then, it will be easier.

Sandy made a suggestion to move my loom into this room behind a folding screen that will keep the cats out, and I am almost ready to do it. At first I said no, there will not be enough space. But now I think that I could do it with a little shifting of furniture. I know that I would weave much more if my loom was in the house. I moved it to the back building because Miss Lucy ruined several scarves by scratching on them while they were wrapped around the front roller. As long as I keep my yarn stored in the back and the cats away from my loom, it would probably work out great, so I may try it. An added advantage would be that I won’t have to heat or air condition the back building as much.

I think that I am going to take my tapestry loom down to the gallery and do what I need to do sitting at a table in the back room. That way it will get done with no distractions – I just won’t leave until it is done.

Politics has a lot to do with my depression right now. I am still much better than I was a couple of months ago, since I doubled my anti-depressant dose. I have hot flashes less frequently as well. My ob-gyn told me that might help with the hot flashes. I never made a connection between the brain and my hot flashes before he told me that.

I hope that the weather forecast is right about the temps going down the next few days. If they do, I’m going to put on long sleeves and pants and tackle some yard work that has been ignored too long because of the heat and humidity.

Still getting figs and butterbeans and field peas but the people who cut down the trees next door trampled some of my herbs and a huge part of the fig tree has bent over the field pea patch. The silver lining is that I can reach a lot of figs that I could not before. But this tree will have to be severely pruned some more this fall.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts

Labor Day

I remember the days when Labor Day meant work. I feel so lucky that I have a job now where I get Labor Day as a holiday. But I never forget that for the retail and restaurant workers in this country, Labor Day is a day of retail sales and shoppers going out for meals. All part of the money-making machine.

Without the Labor movement, we would not have Labor Day, or 40 hour weeks, or minimum wage, or sick time, or weekends. So we can thank liberals for fighting tooth and nail for the protections we do have.

I’ve had a lazy morning so far. Sandy is a little over halfway finished with cleaning up the computer room and it has been rearranged so that my desk faces the window, and the window of my former kitchen next door about eight feet away. And the jungle that has sprung up on the other side of the property line since our absentee landlord neighbor hasn’t bothered to clean it up in at least a year. There are electricians out there now working on something. I hoped that it was Joey cutting down the freaking TREES growing next to his foundation, but no. The last time it happened was when I went to him directly and asked him to take care of his side. What really irks me are the comments that my neighbors on the street make about what a great neighbor he has been. He only cleans up the front yard, which is very low maintenance to begin with. They can’t see the mess on the sides and back of the house.

I went into the Back Forty and yanked a few vines out of the ground along the fence between our other property line this morning before I got too hot and beset by skeeters. Now THIS is Back Forty news. My former schizophrenic NDN is now in assisted living in the Asheville area and will not be moving back here. For the past few weeks, crews have been hard at work clearing out nearly all the vegetation in her yard, including all the small trees and bushes, and there is so much more light and air. Of course the vines along the fence will come back, and are still rooted and spread over onto my side, but now when I clear out that area it will not seem so pointless. I wish that I could do it now while the ground is wet and the vines are freshly cut down on that side, but it is just too much with the heat index of 109 degrees yesterday and West Nile virus making a comeback. I look forward to tackling this when the weather cools down.

Figs have been plentiful and I did get enough field peas and butterbeans last week to cook a pot. The Juliet tomatoes have done so well in the whiskey half-barrels that I may get out the dehydrator today and dry them. My Nanking cherry bushes died this summer. I can’t say that I’m really sorry about it, though. They were taking up too much valuable space for the amount of food I got from them.

I finished my Dingle tapestry yesterday, so I’m going to cut all the small pieces off my tapestry loom today. It may be slow because I’m going to try to cut the Lake Waccamaw found object one off one warp thread at a time and sew it in over a driftwood stick to get a good fit. I have a strong feeling that while this is a nice theory, it will prove to be a huge pain in the ass and I’ll end up cutting it off in a fit of frustration.


A stormy Sunday night

Happily, we were able to get our roof replaced a week ago before these rains came through. I came home from work about three weeks ago and saw that the roof on our old house next door was being replaced, so I quizzed the roofers about it, since I didn’t think that the warranty was up (we replaced it when we owned it). I was told that insurance was covering it because of hail damage, and that I should check with my insurance about hail damage on my roof. Well. I knew that we needed some roof repair because despite having our chimneys re-chinked and rebuilt a year ago the leaks in my bedroom ceiling have gotten worse. (After spending 4,000 @#$%&@# dollars on the chimneys because my contractor friend thought that was the source of my leaks. But they are lovely chimneys and I’m sure that the work was needed.)

I thought that this guy was possibly conning me, but the adjustor came out, inspected the roof, and cut me a check to replace all the shingles. We’ll have to pay extra for the rotten wood that was replaced, and there was a lot of it, and we are getting a ridgeline vent because the extreme heat this summer was making the nails pop up. The roofing contractor, however, forgot to tell the roofers about the vent, so they have to come back. Insurance is paying for most of this. I’m stunned, to say the least. I wasn’t even here for the hailstorm – it must have been when we were at the lake. We have had a couple of hard rains and no leaks, so YAY.

Sandy and I are in a small exhibit at Artmongerz that is for the Friday’s Reunion Taterheads. This is the first time that Sandy has exhibited paintings in public. I put up a couple of small tapestries.

We didn’t really hang out that much at Friday’s on Tate St. during the late 70s/early 80s but some of our friends did. I was usually too broke to go to bars then and drank cheap beer at home or at my boyfriend’s house, who was broke also. Friday’s is pretty legendary around here among people ofacertainage because of all the alternative and punk bands that played there. Some got famous, like REM and the Violent Femmes. We went to the reunion after Christmas at Somewhere Else Tavern and tonight they are doing it again at the Blind Tiger. Sandy is going a little later but I am officially a lightweight and decided to stay home.

Today I signed up for a workshop with India Flint at Madeline School of the Arts on Madeline Island in Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. I put down a 20% deposit, and if I cancel there is a $75 cancellation fee. It is expensive but I really want to learn natural dyeing and printing from India, and it is in an area of the country where I’ve never been. I have until July 2013 to come up with the money. I can charge it, but I like to pay for these art trips ahead of time. Less guilt that way.

Whoa, suddenly my computer screen got really bright. This is my laptop that had the nasty virus. Sandy had to completely wipe the hard drive. I asked him to do it, actually. I didn’t want to take the chance that it was still there because it was so hard to remove.

In seventeen days, I go to Art-is-You Petaluma. Lord have mercy. I really am obsessed. After this one with India next July I need to start going to these things in North Carolina again. Flying all over the country is cool but I need to save up for retiring to Ireland. The round trip to San Francisco was only $269, which is why I jumped on it, but by the time I paid for the workshops and the hotel room and meals and the bus ticket and taxi fare from the airport I’ll have spent over $1000. Believe it or not, I am not rich. And I never will be because I keep spending all my money on art retreats and house repairs!

art, fiber art, tapestry, weaving


Well, I guess it’s about time for me to begin blogging in this space for realz. I’ve been manually transferring my posts from my former blog to here. Yes, I know that sounds obsessive and tedious. At first I was only going to do it for the past year, because I had back-up files for around a year ago. And I looked hard at the GoDaddy restore process and I finally said, screw it, I hate GoDaddy. My domain name registration expires with GoDaddy on Oct. 1 and at that time I’ll re-register it here with WordPress. My hosting is paid through January and at that time I will not pay to host this site anymore. I’m happy with It is much better than it was when I first tried it out and at least I will be able to update the software easily, unlike GD. As I started transferring the posts, I discovered that I was really enjoying it. So I’ll do that through the end of September, and hopefully have most everything here from back to February 2005 when I began blogging.

My good friend Zha K called me as I was writing the above paragraph and wondered what happened. The thing is that whatever happened to it left me unable to log in, so I can’t announce on that site about moving to this site. Rerouting the domain should fix that but in the meantime it is a tad frustrating.

So, as you see above, I’ve had a grand time weaving my first Ireland-inspired tapestry. This was one of my very favorite spots in Ireland, a cliff walk on the Dingle Peninsula in front of the Gorman’s Clifftop House, a place I would very much like to revisit.

Since I’ll be working at the gallery this afternoon, I’m going to concentrate on finishing the Dingle tapestry and if I have time I’ll blog some more about other parts of my life.