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“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.


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: 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: 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.



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.


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.



I’ve been driving up to Cornucopia, to hang out at the beach for sanity purposes. That dark line is open water. The week before, open water started at that farthest ridge, which was loose chunks of ice rising and falling with the waves. I stand in the wind and imagine that all the terror and fear and anger is being blown out of me and dispersed. It works.


A sleeping horse.


There were the customary gulls. This white feather against the russet sand exposed by wind blowing away the white snow, which could be a haiku, if I worked on it.

Maybe I’ll go up there again tomorrow.

In other news, all that stuff last time about iterations? I was doing something and not paying attention and turned on the burner under that cutting board. All I got to say is, thank goodness for smoke detectors.

I think my entire life has been one huge karma lesson about letting go. Or maybe everybody’s life is, and I’m just thinking I’m special. I should let go of that.

And also in letting go; we did passport applications. Word to the wise; don’t let that self-important weirdo from the post office take your photo. If I don’t get arrested and deported on the basis of that image, I will be stunned. (We’re not planning on going anywhere, but I have been told several times that it’s a good idea in this particular age of the world.)

how to write haiku

pieces of place and season

you stop to observe

However, I’ve given myself permission to slack. Or do other things.

To be honest, the incoming administration rattled me severely, and I’ve been surviving on junk and denial. Words in particular have seemed trite, with a greasy overlay of deceit. I’ve been loads of fun. Except for the part where I’ve been occasionally harassing elected officials.

But! there is good news, for me anyway. Daughter discovered melatonin, and has been sleeping well for the first time in ten years. She has to double-check with her doctor, before she continues taking it (drug interactions and all that). But she’s been waking up with energy and sunniness. A big shift of gears.

In Knitting! I’ve started Bedragonned. It looks so innocent. To get a workable gauge, I had to knit fairly tight. I call it the Belgian Death Grip, for no reason. So I’m doing the Death Grip, and then I get to the part where I have to retrieve 128 stitches from a provisional cast-on using a slightly splitty yarn with another slightly more splitty yarn. I’ve gotten about halfway through retrieving the stitches, about an eighth of the way through knitting two stitches together in an awkward way. I’m reminding myself how proud I should be for persevering.

And for dinner I had Oreo cookies, the white ones, with potato chips for the main course, and a nice green salad for dessert.

Have a kitteh picture;


When she sleeps like this, with her face buried, she is out like a light, won’t wake or twitch her ears until you touch her rather firmly. I try to leave her be, but it’s hard, knowing how warm and soft that fur is.