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I used to be a really good cook. Sigh.

I made polenta today, because even I can still make polenta and throw an egg on top of it, right? However, one part cornmeal to four parts water does not equal 1/4 cup cornmeal and two cups of water. And there was the failed chicken curry. A long series of meals that I forgot one crucial ingredient. and the quiche where I forgot BOTH the white pepper and the nutmeg, AND set the timer but didn’t start it. And the thing where I set fire to the cutting board. Sigh.

Fortunately, throwing another 1/4 cup of cornmeal in twenty minutes into the process still yields a good product – perhaps better, because the original cornmeal had become fully hydrated – yes, I looked up how to cook polenta on one of those food sites – and so the resulting mass was smooth and creamy with a bit of crunchiness. Put a soft-cooked egg and some cottage cheese on top, and gobble it down. I’ve given up on the original spinach and garlic and maybe curry that is supposed to go on this, because I was failing at spinach and possibly onion too. That’s right. I have been failing at onion. It’s just depressing. I can still bake a frozen pizza with the best, so all is not lost.

In better news, we went down to Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Guillermo del Toro exhibit which was AWESOME! The paintings and drawings were fantastic, the video compilations on various themes were intriguing, the detail in some of the props was amazing! The gauntlet that Rasputin wore when he tried to open the gate was on display, with all the tubes and wiring. We weren’t allowed to touch it, unfortunately. Not enough Hellboy, no Samaiel, no Abe. A brilliant homage to Edgar Allen Poe, with rain-lashed windows.

While we were waiting, we cruised through the Asian exhibits which were AWESOME! also, All I could think was how much time and effort went into the pieces, weavings, sculpture, pottery. I feel like a hack. After we got through the del Toro exhibit, we wandered around looking at paintings. Van Gogh, O’Keeffe, Gauguin, Renoir, Degas. Too much for the short amount of time we had. Daughter got bored – “they were just paintings.” We were all tired, and my companions basically dragged me away. Fortunately, Daughter is cool with me going down by myself to spend more time. You better believe I will.

In other strange and unrelated news, I seem to have an allergic reaction to jelly beans.

And I don’t know why.

I do know that I like drawing flowers, because here is another one.Scan 2017-5-7 19.00.54

I was practicing drawing circles and ellipses, and drawing with a loose grip, and all of a sudden there was an almost-a-sunflower. Weird, how that happens. (Too much like a chrysanthemum, no sense of the meaty disc that is a sunflower, no green – bracts? hanging out behind the petals. I got the sawtooth leaf on one side, so there; sunflower.)

In other flowers, I pulled a bunch of geraniums last year and stuck them upside-down in paper bags. They started sprouting, so I stuck seven of them into a pail of water, and then one bright day in April, I planted them out. Of course it snowed the next day, so I nailed plastic over the box they’re planted in, and they seem to be about ready to go nuts – if we get two days nice weather in a row. I’m wondering if this will be a year when we get snow in July. Photos to come.

I’m knitting a sock, la dee da, and a boring one at that, and thinking about a sweater, because The Cat has taken over my thrift store Fair Isle, and this would be perfect weather for such a thing. And of course, none of the ones I’m seeing appeal to me, and so of course I’ll design my own, and so of course I will curse myself for it because it is so much easier to follow someone else’s pattern. Sigh.

In less pleasant news, the Cat pooped on my bed. I know, it’s a message, what with her not speaking english, and actually has nothing to do with me except that I’m in charge, and I should get the staff to do better. I don’t know, it’s put a damper on my feelings towards her.

I think my plan of getting her a puppy is a good one.

 

“To be sensual . . . is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”

It’s from James Baldwin and “The Fire Next Time”, but I’m not reading that, it’s quoted in “Breaking Bread” by bell hooks and Cornell West. I think I’ve jumped into the deep end. Community and bread-baking have been coming up lately. I am not sure how to do community, but I do know how to bake bread.

I’m also reading “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman. I think it should have been illustrated. And Loki! Trickster Makes This World.
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The weather is broken. But a) you knew that, and b) it’s April. Some of the personal poop has passed, some is still in progress. That silly facebook thing – “so far, you’ve been 100% successful in making it” or something, has actually been helpful.

(And oh no, the cat is awake and looking at things. It can only go downhill. We use the Invisible Hand of Doom squirt-bottle method of cat deterrence. It worked maybe twice before she figured out it was us, Doing That Thing. There are days when she is bored and does A Bad Thing just so we will squirt her and she Must Run Away. Having a three-year-old-teenager-fox-sprite-creature living in your house can be hard, but it’s not boring.)

Journals, sketchpads, philosophy notebook, other books. The house is probably sinking into the ground.

The metaphorical poop has hit the turbine in a bunch of ways. And Mercury is in retrograde. But I do have new pictures to show you – mainly because I’ve been lax and haven’t shown them to you. Otherwise, most of my brain is busy with stuff.

Oh, yeah, and I re-read American Gods. It was a different book this time; I might read it again in a few years, to see if it’s changed again.

I’m working on replicating a sky from a painting by a Group of Seven person. Can’t remember the details, but (presumably) he painted a sunset in tiles of color. Also, painting little boxes of color! The pen ink bleeds out brown; very useful. I don’t think it even begins to be permanent, though.

I suspect they’re ash trees.

This was the third print of the tulips. You can see how faint it was getting.

This was . . . the second?

The lines were nice and dark. I was putzing with ideas for reworking the plate, and then aliens invaded and took over. I had nothing to do with it. But I like it. (The radiating lines are gold paint, and the stem is silver paint. Scanner can’t cope with that.)

And then I did this.

Dune grass up at Cornucopia (8×10 plate). Obviously, something must happen to this image, but I don’t know what. I’m enjoying this process, especially now that I have a clue how to do it.

Speaking of grass, my lawn is greening up nicely. And there are crunchy tasty birds – or so Katniss says. Over and over again. Loudly.

Tomorrow is a new day. Or a great big fish.

The Art Cave is in the basement, and while I’m usually fine once I get down there, I frequently don’t have the … gumption? to go down there. Also, piles of unfinished things. So I paint in bed under the covers with two pairs of socks and leggings on under my nightgown and long-sleeved t-shirt and cowl. No, my house isn’t cold. I am.

Also, Katniss. We were told she was a very energetic cat when we got her. But the food we got her, while it had the virtue of Not Making Her Fart, was bad for her and drained her of all will, over a period of four years. We switched to better food, and then better food that is grain-free, and she is much more active, and now I understand that if we’re having trouble dealing with the Force Of Will of this Adult Cat, I must truly pity the people who had her as a kitten and brought her back to the shelter because She Might Be Nuts.

As I said, I got a better, nearly new mattress through a friend. Daughter and I went to move the old mattress. We pulled it away from the wall, and there was Katniss! What is down there? What are you doing? What will be different? And riding on the edge of the mattress as we hoisted it vertical, jumping off when we began to move it.

The new mattress came in and smelled, so after some thinking Daughter and I moved it out into the garage, and there was Katniss! What are you doing? Checking things out! And riding the edge of the mattress! and seeing what was out in the garage! And can she still get to the other window!

I threaten on a nearly daily basis to put her back on the old food, so we can get some peace and quiet. DID YOU KNOW IT’S SPRING? AND THERE ARE BIRDS? I WANT TO EAT BIRDS! LET ME OUT! OPEN THE WINDOW! DO SOMETHING! SPRING!

And it is spring. it was raining softly while we were out, and the air smelled sweet. Robins are doing their jobs, looking for worms and talking about the weather. Canada Geese and Tundra Swans came back last week, hungry. I drove past one of the flowages and saw nothing but butts sticking up in the air. Daughter spotted a Redwing Blackbird, too.

I can (and will) scan at 600 dpi.

Prang watercolors in bed. A pretty worthless painting, sketched incorrectly from memory of a reference photo at work. The grey areas are where the paper has buckled. Pretty poor calla lilies, but you can see how the blue breaks to purple and green.

There. That’s all I know.

I promise I’ll be here more. And I might be able to do that, now that the ACA is still the law of the land. I can breathe again! Anyway.

Pentel pigma brush pen with Prang watercolors.

Just Prang watercolors. (My “real”palette with “real” paints and brushes, is downstairs in the Land of Projects that Never Get Done.)

 

For some reason, I love making lines. I also love the way the colors break. You can’t see it in these pictures, but the blue has aqua and cobalt tones when you go back over with water, and the black has a little swerve towards the red. I know these paints so well.

I love these journals, stacked up on my headboard. I love that I decided to paint in them. I love going back through them. I love the way the paper buckles. My current journal is less than half-done, but the past pages take more space than the future ones, lying there all clean and flat. I have to go back and fill in details of what actually happened during the day, because I skip right ahead to color.

Mindless drivel, but I’m moving forward again.

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Daughter: Is there any stroganoff left over?

Me: In the Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator. I mean, the Sure Fine imitation Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator.

D:……..

D:…….

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s right in front of you.

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s on the top shelf, in the box, on top of the lemons. It’s right square in front of you (which, jeebus knows, is my error, because “right in front of you” to her meant I don’t know, somewhere in the hinge or something).

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s in the white tub with the blue label with a red thing in it. In the box, on the top shelf, on top of the lemons, on the left side of the refrigerator. I can see it from here.

D:…..

D:…..

D: Oh, do you mean the whipped topping tub?


I mean, I know it’s semiotics. It’s the Kleenex (registered trademark) problem, writ large. To me, “Cool Whip tub” means anything that falls in that general range of substitutable products. Part of my problem is that I can see where she gets confused. That to her, “Cool Whip Tub” refers to – and only to – “CoolWhip tub.” I could have sworn I had thrown in enough descriptors to make it clear. Some days I’m not sure if it’s her or me with the problem. Anybody want to borrow her for a few weeks?

Sorry I faded out. I did have a cold, and as is so frequently the case, I did it better than anybody around me, including Daughter, who apparently didn’t get beaten enough as a child because if she had been she would know real suffering and I wouldn’t have to hear about all. the. things.

Oh, and another excuse; Daughter went to Kentucky to see her grandmother who isn’t doing very well. I didn’t go. I thought about going, just because I know her dad drives POS cars, but I didn’t want him driving mine because he is an asshole, and I didn’t want to drive for 18 hours to hang with loud argumentative people. From the reports I’ve gotten, I’m glad I didn’t go. I cleaned, instead.

I also had a tooth pulled. I’m lying there, pinned down by apparatus, the tooth comes out, and the dentist and other person both go “Ew, look at that.” And then they start calling in people that are walking by in the hall, going “You thought that was a big abscess? Look at this!” Apparently one of the other dentists had pulled the biggest abscess of her career earlier that day. Mine was bigger. Not the biggest, but up there.

I don’t think I want to go for the record. Also, I’m not going to show you pictures.

In art news, I’ve been messing with circles.

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There’s a few of these I like. Need to figure out where they go. Smeary ones are watercolor pencil allowed to flow, and fairly conservative ones are watercolor paints.

circles1

And there’s this.

It doesn’t particularly look like it, but I’m thinking about getting serious about this art stuff. Problem is, when I get serious, I’m not happy. Also, I’m not sure what way I should go. Yes, I know where I want to go – liminal spaces – but I don’t know.