“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Lily gets a rose!

I came in this morning to find this rose laying on the windowsill outside one of Lily's favorite spots.
Could she look any more smug?


How beautiful to do nothing

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward." ~ Spanish Proverb

That's what I have planned for the weekend. Oh, I'll work on a couple of paintings, but rain is in the forecast, so I plan on being lazy. I will check on owls & robins & Mary & my mother, and curl up next to purring cats, and read poetry & pulp fiction. I will light my house by candles each night & listen to cello music. I will stand in the March wind, I will take long baths, I will eat strawberries, I will go to a movie alone or rent Captain Corelli's Mandolin, or Anna & the King. I will sleep, and be reminded of the lines "We will dream of a magic person, and when we awake, that person shall still, by our will, be magic." ~ John Wain. I will buy paint. I will paint.

Oh! And listen to this to make me feel even better!



My sister-in-law sent me this think test. It's one of those internet things that people send you & it usually drives you crazy because you find out how little you know or how little attention you pay to things, but surprisingly I scored very high! It tests your power of observation, and I scored 19 out of 25 - I would have scored 20 except that there's a trick question.

It reminded me of a creative writing class I took back in the 9th grade. For our very first assignment, the teacher walked us all out of the classroom, marched us through the school's patio area, around the exterior, through a few halls and back, then sat us down & had us answer questions about what we'd seen. Needless to say, we hadn't really seen anything. (In our defense, this was the 9th grade & we were way more interested in checking out each other & trying to look cool.)

Later, when I was studying photography with the usually-packing-heat-but-still-loves-babies Robert, he had an "experiment" he would have the students try. At the front of the room, he'd put 2 boxes, each containing the same Tinkertoys, except that in one box the Tinkertoys were assembled into some crazy shape, and in the other they were loose. He'd then send a couple of people up to the boxes - one for each box - & have the person positioned next to the box with the assembled piece describe to the 2nd person how to assemble his/her pieces to match that assembled piece. The boxes were separated by a "screen" tall enough to keep their contents hidden from the other person. It was hilarious, but it was also very revealing about how hard it is to just describe things you see. It makes you really have to look at those things & think about them. Like drawing - drawing is all about seeing what you really see, which is hard. You have to get rid of all those preconceived notions about what you think you're seeing - any of you who have had a drawing class will know exactly what I mean.

So I decided today to give myself an assignment - to change my route to work each morning & see what I haven't been seeing. This morning it was a pink chair with sticks or poles or something "growing" from the seat - sticking into the air at least 3 or 4 feet, and you know how I have a thing for chairs. I feel a painting coming on. A not-blue one.



Okay, this is NOT a great picture. (The usually  ever-wonderful Michael suggested that I should've coaxed the robin to turn around! Hmmpppfff!!)

This is the beginning of the nest - it was larger when I checked later (and, no, the robin was not around to kindly sit for a more a more dignified pose). It's a nest that will be lucky to survive. Other birds have tried this spot before - last year, I think it was blue jays - with no luck. There's just not that much room - I'm amazed the nests actually stay put - and it's too close to the staircase where cats linger & stare. But there's hope - it's spring, & the robin obviously believes  it to be a good spot. It's in a cherry laurel tree, and it's nestled with a dogwood at the corner of the house. I'll keep my eye on it. And  take a cue from it - I've begun a new small painting, which is still in the "adding texture & paint & gel & more paint" stage & it looks as hopeless & disorganized as this little nest, but, like the robin, I know beginnings are messy & difficult, but that you have to start somewhere.


Fear & arrogance

I watched Bull Durham for the umpteenth time (no pun intended) last night - baseball is right around the corner (well, okay, Boston & Oakland played the season opener in Tokyo today, but what's that  all about?), and that means life just feels easier & the air is warming up & the lake & all outdoors is beckoning & YES,  I have survived another winter - what was it George Will called the time of year when no baseball was being played? Something about the long, dark, dreary days of winter - I don't have the book here or I'd look it up. But he was right. Baseball has no time limit, it just flows  and . . . well, anyway,  back to the movie. It has many, many wonderful lines, but last night I was particularly struck by Kevin Costner's character, Crash Davis, telling Nuke LaLoosh that he had to play this game with fear and arrogance.  What a wonderful attitude, and I hereby take it as the way I am going to make art.

And what does that have to do with these gorgeous tulips? Well, the thing is, I'd seen them the other day when scouting the neighborhood on a "photo safari", and even though it's Azalea Trail time, which means the streets are full of people with cameras & permission to take pictures of people's homes & yards - even encouraged to do so, these tulips were quite a ways up into the front yard of their owners' beautiful home - up the steps, past concrete greyhounds wearing green silk bandannas - and really, there were very few people on this block, and I just felt uncomfortable about meandering up the front walk with a camera & snapping away. So I didn't - I just drove by. And was mad at myself for doing so. Part of that annoyance with myself was still hanging around when I passed the Big Gran Fiesta pink dress, whose photo is part of Saturday's post & that annoyance was part of the reason that, after passing the pink dress, I drove a couple of blocks, and made myself turn around, go back & get the picture I wanted. And I did  - I got the picture I'd seen in my head when I first drove by.

So this morning, with the fear & arrogance quote in my head, I turned left instead of my usual right & talked myself into walking up & taking this picture of these incredible tulips, my very favorite flowers, & it was still  hard - there was almost no one on the street - a woman walking 2 teensy white dogs was the only sign of life, and still  I felt uncomfortable. I even drove around the block once while talking myself into doing this. Why this fear, I wondered, but really, I knew  & I know  - I'm afraid of calling myself an artist or a photographer, or even a writer. What if the owners had asked who I was? What would I say? Would I explain I had a blog and wanted their tulips to happy up today's page? Am I afraid they would laugh & say "YOU? An artist?" Yes!  Afraid that the art police would jump out & handcuff me & arrest me for impersonating an artist! And that  means I have to develop some arrogance, along with the fear. "Artist" feels like such an arrogant title, and I've fought that title for years, I've made fun  of that title, but the time has come to give in & own  it. I AM  artist - hear me roar! And hey, even in the movie, Annie tells LaLoosh that he should keep his brain slightly off center, which is where it should be for artists and pitchers. So I'm in good company.


Robins as music

To J.Y. for his purchase of Spring Equinox 2008.  This is my first piece to sell as a direct result of this blog.  Coincidentally (or not), it's my first piece to actually exist  because of this blog.  When J.Y. saw this piece, it reminded him of a musical score - something that never occurred to me while I was working on it, but of course, now that I  look at it, I see it, too.  (Ditto the ever-wonderful Michael.)  Which makes me as happy as the sale.  Because isn't art supposed to be not only about what the artist brings to the table, but what the viewer brings also?  If not, it ought to be.  I'm glad I didn't  think of this painting as a musical score while involved in its creation (although I would  have positioned the robins so they were more obviously musical notes) but I would've agonized about it, I would have worried, I would have re-done it over & over - those robins would've flown off the canvas just to get away from me.  I would probably still be standing in front of the canvas trying to make a decision.


Serendipity & little pink dresses

Things just fall into place.  I've been watching girl movies all week -Becoming Jane, Vanity Fair,
Girl with a Pearl Earring, & this morning, Serendipity.  Spring is here, tomorrow is Easter.  Easter has always been my favorite holiday - when I was a little girl, the Easter Bunny would hide not only eggs, but our baskets (crammed full of goodies).  We'd return home from church to a yard full of surprises - part holiday, part treasure hunt, so different from Christmas morning, when we knew  where all our presents would be.  And then I grew up & Mr. Bunny stopped coming around.  Christmas morning still arrived with presents, but Easter did not.  (I still look every year to see if maybe . . .  but he is gone forever & it breaks my heart.)  Now  I've taken his place for others - I love to make baskets for my mother & for Mary & leave them at their front door early on Easter morning, and when my niece was born, I became the real Bunny for her, but I still feel a certain sadness that the magic of those childhood Easters is gone.  I know - it's silly & I should be embarrassed to even tell you, but I'm not.

And so . . .  that brings us to these dresses.  I wanted an Easter photograph to help tell this story, and I'd taken pictures of pink & magenta azaleas & white pear tree blossoms, but nothing felt right.  And then . . . there it was.  This pink dress.  Hanging among all the other Easter dresses outside Big Gran Fiesta (where for years I've secretly wanted to go - there are always these incredible dresses blowing in the wind outside the front door).  And so I got up the nerve to go inside & ask permission to take this picture - granted, no problem, thank you, de nada  - & the store is better than I'd ever dreamed  it could be, and I want to go back & take pictures of everything!

And then  I remembered my drawing.  From years ago.  My  pink dress - not an Easter dress, but my 6th grade graduation dress.  The first time I wore heels & stockings & felt so grown up  & so beautiful,  and full of joy & hope & expectations.  And then  I compared the images. Serendipity. The Easter Bunny is not  gone forever.


Spring Equinox

This is the first of my experiments to not use blue.  It proves that sometimes the universe just laughs & laughs at us.  For some reason - I don't know why; don't ask me to explain - I thought gold  would be perfect border for this little scene.  I mean gold!  I was feeling very India-y & red & gold seemed the perfect solution to get me out of my blue period.  So I used gold leaf - I really wanted it to feel like India, and I don't even know if there are robins in  India, but this is art, not real life, so it didn't matter.  And I've used gold leaf before - I've used silver leaf - I've used copper leaf.  Never a problem.  Of course, I was never going against my true nature, and like I said, the Universe (I decided I probably should be using a capital U) laughs when we try to mess with the true nature of things.  So, after applying the gold leaf, I painted over part of it with white - okay, I painted over most  of it with white; that lovely thick, thick Golden titanium white with nothing added to thin it down.  I let that dry & then applied a thick coat of glossy soft gel medium & figured when I got up this morning, it would be this gorgeous salute to India or wherever, and all it would need would be a coat of matte medium to tone it down & voila!   I would've completed experiment #1 with such success!   I would've used different  colors, I would've completed a painting quickly,  with no agonizing (okay, with minimum agonizing; okay, maybe more agonizing than that - this was originally the painting that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the one that had me stumped re: whether to attach girl words  to it or not - obviously I decided not to & gessoed over the poor thing, put it out of its misery), I would've been a little looser  with the whole process. But the Universe couldn't help it - it had to just smile a little.  What I actually discovered this morning was that the gold leaf had turned blue-green.  My  blue-green.  I don't know if the paint wasn't really dry (I touched it! I checked!) when I applied the gel medium & that's what did it, or if was the combination of the two, or what, but this morning there it was.  It was almost a robin's egg blue,  actually.  And I admit it, I laughed.  I got out that wonderful titanium white again & I toned it down & I toned it down some more & here it is.  I actually like it with this color better than the gold - like I said, I don't know what I was thinking.  This color looks like spring is coming.



Today, just a quote, but it's one of my favorites, and it hangs as you see it in my living room. When I was adding the black border, I was reminded of something that the-usually-packing-heat-but-still-funny-as-hell Robert told me years ago.  A friend of his - another photographer - had berated him (he, Robert) for adding a black border to his (Robert's) photographs when he (Robert) printed them.  He (the friend) said the print should be able to stand on its own, that the border became part of the visual image.  Which I believe is true, but okay if you want  that border to be part of the image.  I'm pretty partial to borders, and have always, up until this very moment, felt kind of juvenile about it, like a student who doesn't know any better.  But I now, as of right now,  embrace that border-loving part of me - I even paint borders on some of my paintings, and add them to collages - I'll have to take a picture of the painting commissioned by the lovely lovely Katie; it has a border right there on the canvas, where everyone & God can see it.


Sidewalk Art

my old friend, the blues

Saturday's wind kept me indoors Sunday, recovering from all the pollen being blown about. I finished this painting (yes, I know  - another chair!) while listening to/watching a PBS special about the plasticity of the brain, and how you need to keep your brain active by just doing & doing & doing, so I just did & did & did.  I completed this painting in a couple of weeks, with an hour here and a couple of hours there, and a couple more over there.  That may be a record for me - I so often get frustrated right at the end of a painting, and after looking at it for a few days, will gesso over the thing & start something else.  I'm not sure what that says about me (although I will admit to a fear of commitment which I experience as a fear of entrapment - for years I've kept a laminated "cartoon" with the caption Window of Opportunity  & it shows a drawing of a window with the word escape written over it).  So I am making it a goal to actually finish those pieces that are working, and stop agonizing & making excuses.  I am also setting as, well, maybe not a goal, but as an experiment, actually working in other colors.  The end of the blues for a while.  I started a small canvas last night with red & gold (I, too, am shocked).  Admittedly it's mostly white, but still . . .  In the meantime, here's a bit of the song whose title I stole from the incredible Steve Earle. Not a great video but a great song nonetheless.


too pretty a day for painting

It's way  too beautiful a day to be inside painting.

Today is the 1st day of our local Azalea Trail (49th annual, Azalea Belles & everything!).  I live right in the middle of the whole shebang - my house is the one with no azaleas, but never mind.  I have grape hyacinths & some unknown blue flowers that have bloomed, and I can see everyone else's  azaleas.  The streets are full of people with Poodles & Yorkies & cameras (a man gave Katie & I each a photograph of a white tiger, which is very  strange & karmic because I swear  I was googling white tigers just 2 days ago!) & a white horse- drawn carriage draped with lavender wisteria.  We bought jewelry & air plants at the arts & crafts show, then sat on the corner & just watched the parade of folks & animals.  And I really was going to take pictures of the flowers, but this sidewalk drawing was too irresistible & no doubt temporary.  The azaleas will be there tomorrow.


What is there

This flower was given to me last spring by the lovely Katie & has since been hanging at the entrance to my "studio". A small wish of good luck so unobtrusive that I don't believe she even knows it's there.

What I know is there:

At Joe & Lisa's Howling Wolf Creek there are 2 giant dogwood trees that storms have blown down. Roots are barely connected to the earth, but nonetheless, both trees are filled with small white blooms, soon to be in full flower. For Joe & Lisa: "How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank. Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night become the touches of sweet ha
The concrete parking lot at Los Gueros is filled with the imprints of leaves that fell onto the concrete before it was dry - I will be there this weekend to make rubbings.

In my very own driveway, there is a white stone imbedded in the pavement in the exact shape of a tulip & today a windblown stick formed the stem. A photograph for the weekend.

And THIS song by Van Morrison.

The blues

Katie says when she walks by my door sometimes she doesn't see me because I match the room. My clothes do, I mean. It's so true that it's funny.

"I merely took the energy it takes to pout & wrote some blues." Duke Ellington



Just playing today. I changed the background color here because it's very close to the color of a lot of walls at my house - can't quite get there exactly, but I'm being easy today! If you don't like it, if it makes it hard to read, just drop me a line & I'll switch it back because it's so easy.

The photo above is a "sketch" for a collage/assemblage I'm working on/thinking about. It suddenly occurred to me that I could just take a picture & save it & that way I could fiddle with it some more & not have to remember where everything went. (How easy is that?) Hence the shadow across the bottom - I just laid it on the floor & took a snapshot.

And here's how the universe works. One of the main computers here at the lab has been nonfunctional (is that a word?) for 2 days. We bought a new hard drive & replaced it with no luck, but at this very moment, as I'm going on & on about how easy things are, the ever-wonderful, can-fix-anything (they don't call him Magic for nothing) Michael just popped his head in to say the computer is going. He just found another hard drive laying about somewhere (yes, that's the kind of place we have!) & lo & behold, we're back in business. Easy, huh?

"The more you know, the less you need." - ~ Aboriginal quote


Gesso & the silence of my heart

I'm beginning to feel this past weekend's anxiety to get some art completed - no matter what - easing. It was a busy weekend, I had company, I felt pressured by myself to do something NEW, to show you all that I was serious about this, that I meant it, that, that, that, that, those eternal thats!

The truth is that I worked on 2 paintings, that I laid out a collage, that I prepared boxes for assemblages. Ahhh, the soothing magic of gesso. Those boxes were relaxing little things. No thinking, just laying on the gesso, letting it dry, laying on more gesso, letting it dry, laying on still more gesso. A meditation in itself. Surely that mood finds its way into the finished piece. Surely that silence of heart, that peace of spirit, those slow breaths, surely they're there. Surely the slowness of a brushstroke, the intent behind that stroke, surely it's felt. I've always been unable to work with music playing because the music seems to direct the painting - I feel myself moving to someone else's rhythm.

I find more & more that I am interested in stillness, that that's what my work is about. The stillness of a tiger before she pounces, or perhaps that moment after the pounce, when everything looks the same, but the air has a different feel. You know something has happened, but you're unsure of what it may have been, and so YOU become still. I'm interested in objects & places that hint of that stillness, the space around those objects, that unseen-but-felt shimmer in the air. That sense of untold story.

And so I must find the stillness within myself before touching the canvas or the paintbrush or the box, if I am to truly leave that feeling with the viewer. A beginning ritual may be required - is it to sit in silence for a few moments? Perhaps it's only to always have something that is not yet started. That needs a coat of gesso.


Time & space

I've been feeling depressed & sorry for myself all day, with no good reason other than I need/want/have to have more time & more space for artmaking. This is part of my workspace. I don't even own a stove because it takes up too much precious space - paintings are strewn across the kitchen counters, the washer & dryer, propped against the walls & chairs in other rooms. It can make me crazy. I need this stuff to be visible & accessible, so I can see it & think & ponder & agonize & decide I hate it & paint over it, but at the same time, when I walk by unfinished stuff (of which I have LOTS!), I start feeling like a failure, a fraud. I mean, who am I fooling, I think, if I were a real artist this stuff would be complete, it would be on display somewhere, it would be sold. (Ask the lovely lovely Katie how long it took me to finish a painting for her - how many incarnations it went through, how her Rastafarian thief dream was painted over - but still lurks in the background - until one day I just KNEW what its real face looked like & it was completed within a couple of hours.) Today the chaos has been screaming rather loudly.

But I worked for a couple of hours anyway (aren't you proud of me?) while listening to/watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off, then the universe took pity on me & the ever-wonderful, very patient, generous ("It's all about the givin', baby") Michael called to take me to breakfast. Of course, the time change made us late & we ended up having hamburgers instead, but they were really good hamburgers & as for the time change? Thank you to whoever's responsible! More daylight & baseball just around the corner! I have survived yet another winter.

AND when I finally ripped yesterday's page from my Zen calendar, today's quote read: Chasing after fantasies is always a bad idea. Stick with reality. Reality's all you've got. But here's the real secret, the real miracle: It's enough. ~ Brad Warner

God is happy. He plays with me.


Maggie's storm

It's been snowing all morning. On the way in this morning, the pear trees' white blossoms which have looked so cottony-white all week suddenly looked green & dull against all this. Last night was all cold rain, sleet & wind, and thanking God for indoor heat & hot water.

This drawing hangs in my hallway. Unlike yesterday's painting of the bird & bench, this is a piece I thought was not finished when I hung it, but it's been there for several years, so obviously complete. It's Maggie's Storm and there's a story behind it. (Back when the-usually-packing-heat-but-still-a-terrific-photographer Robert was a teacher, he used to say that if your photograph required you telling the story of how you had to, oh, I don't know, climb this scary, giant tree because a bear was chasing you & while trembling with fear & clinging to a teeny branch, you spied this incredible landscape & managed to take the picture while hanging on to that branch by your teeth, then your picture isn't working & you oughta just write the story. He's right, I think, but thankfully I've always been a sucker for a good story.)

Years ago, I suffered a HUGE panic attack at work. I could tell you how it was triggered (and no doubt you'd want the address of the customer responsible so you could track him down & exact some sort of sweet revenge for me), but the reality is that a true panic attack is a reaction to a lot of adrenaline flooding your system, and it scares you, and that's the real trigger. I managed to get home - sick, sick, sick & hyperventilating so badly that I couldn't feel anything from my knees down, terrified I would faint. It took an hour or so before I managed to get myself from the floor next to the bed (where I'd stayed, thinking that if I fainted, I wouldn't fall anywhere) onto the bed. By then, a huge thunderstorm had blown in, and I was just unable to get up & close the window over the bench you see in this drawing. But that was really okay, because I like thunderstorms - I always feel very safe & protected (I owe this feeling to my mother, who taught me that no self-respecting burglar would be on the job during a storm). At that time Maggie the cat, a.k.a. Miss Magnolia, Maggie Pie, Magpie, Maggie Doodle, and the Magster, also loved storms (a freak hailstorm changed her mind a couple of years later). She hopped onto the bench as it grew darker outside, and let the wind & rain blow across her, facing the lightning & thunder as if she controlled it. It seemed to me that she did. I laid on the bed, and just watched her, and eventually stopped thinking, thinking, thinking, worrying, agonizing. I just watched Maggie meditate on the storm.

And so I have this drawing, not quite a documentation of the event (after all, you'd've really had to've been there), but something of a talisman. A reminder of the day Maggie taught me to just be.


Trust me - there were robins

I woke up this morning to a yard full of robins, which is quite a good thing, as it means spring is almost here. But an undocumented thing because I'd left my camera at the lab. However, I'm not one who believes everything has to be photographed - in fact it's a pet peeve of mine. (That's a phrase I haven't heard in a while. I remember it used to be in Tiger Beat & 16 Magazine back when I was 13 or 14 - all the teen idols would answer silly questions like what's your favorite color? what's your favorite tv show? what's your pet peeve?) I on purpose do not take a camera to my niece's basketball games or other events because I don't want to end up missing what's really happening by being preoccupied with documenting that it - whatever it may be - really happened. I sometimes wonder what's behind our photo-obsessed culture (odd, I know, for someone in the photo business, but maybe it's because I am in this business. I've yet to meet a male photographer who didn't become a photographer in order to see naked women and prove to others that he had, in fact, seen naked women. But that's a whole nother story.) I see people on tv all the time who've lost homes to fire or tornadoes or hurricanes saying they've lost all their memories, and while I know what they mean, the reality is that they haven't lost their memories, they've lost their documentation. But trust me, the robins were there.

The above painting is one I keep thinking is finished, but I'm not sure it's finished, so it probably isn't. It's 24" x 48" or so - mixed media. I've been looking at it for months, waiting for it to tell me what to do, but it stays silent. It's also one of the many chair or bench works I've done. I have a thing about chairs. Years ago I had a small show & you know how people are - they want art to mean something (another pet peeve of mine, and yet another story) - & this woman came up to me, wine glass in her hand, & mentioned that she'd noticed I had a lot of chair drawings on display, and what exactly did that represent? I was sitting with my mother at the time, and my mom immediately replied that it was perhaps because we'd had no chairs when I was a child. My mouth dropped open, as did the woman's - as did everyone's within earshot (what a great word!). I mean, I didn't recall being deprived of chairs! I looked at my mom & asked her if that was true, and she just smiled and said "No." It was a terrific moment!

And speaking of birds (were we speaking of birds or chairs?), I just got a call from the-usually packing-heat-but-still-kind-to-birds Robert that last year's owl is back! Same tree, same knothole. I promise I'll try to document it!


Lulu's back in town!

This is my view as I sit here laboring hour after hour after hour! (You believe that, don't you?) Well, okay, the laboring part may be exaggerated, but this is my view.

My friend L. is in town for a few days, visiting from the snowy wastelands of the north, where I cannot imagine living, being the summer, sunshine-loving baby that I am. She has a very serious job, requiring very serious clothes (for which she earns a pretty serious amount of $$$), & I don't think she'd want me to actually give her real name. So I'm christening her Lulu. Because I KNOW there's a Lulu inside - I'm privy to the information that she has a pierced belly button underneath those serious business clothes! I KNOW the Lulu in her wants out & wants more COLOR & more fun! I mean, this is the person who sends me pedicure accessories covered with skulls & crossbones wearing bows atop their pretty little skulls! Who bought me that little pink ducky with hearts to float in the tub, when I refused to spend the 2 bucks for it! The tissue paper she includes with gifts makes me as happy as the gifts! Yes, I admit it , I'm pretty easy to please - I was always a cheap date - but there's a lurking Lulu I intend to cajole into the open!

All of which puts me in this kind of mood!


Spirit spa

I don't think the right kind of spas exist. I'm not talking about having your nails painted peony pink or having permanent eyeliner and lipstick tattooed onto yourself (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm not talking about a meditation retreat (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm talking about a spa for an exhausted, overworked, overstressed spirit. Where you could go and really, really relax. Where you wouldn't have to work at it. Where you'd be surrounded by soft colors & nature & where silence is as important as music.

Last night was my every-2-weeks magical massage session with Theresa, who, I swear, MUST mix her massage oils with tranquilizers, whose hands almost seem to glow with the heat of a healer's hands, who gives me chocolate Buddhas ("see the Buddha, eat the Buddha"), who puts warm stones between your toes if you want (how great is that?), whose attention leaves you needing a recovery room before attempting to drive home while under post-massage influence.

And THEN tomorrow night is a private Pilates session with the lovely lovely Katie, whose first questions are "How is your body feeling tonight? What is it saying?". And because she LISTENS to me, sometimes we just have that-which-we-call-Pilates (phrase courtesy of, yes, the ever-wonderful Michael). If I'm exhausted & really achy, she'll find a Yoga constructive rest pose which supports me, nestles me, cradles me - she'll put weights on my legs (soooo good) & cover me with a blanket, dim the lights. She teaches me to be aware of my body - to reeelaaxxxx . . . . .

So here, reeelaaxxx, have a bonbon, have a listen . . .


Beauty, Joy & Maui Rainwater

I wanted, wanted, wanted so badly  to delete Saturday's post because it just felt so silly & so hokey  & I was truly embarrassed to really  feel that way & let others know.  But ohmygod, it is so  the truth.  The right colors can just change my mood.  When my father died, I painted one wall in my living room over & over & over,  looking for that elusive color of calm, just knowing that if I got the color right, my grief would ease.  I agonize  over my paintings - looking for that same elusive color, that luminous glow Marilyn Monroe had in black & white photos.  I dream of blue flowers.

And it's springtime, despite the possible snow flurries we may get tonight.  Is it the season that makes this need for beauty & joy so strong?  I cannot seem to shake this pink thing - I looked for pink flowers yesterday, but couldn't find that perfect soft baby girl pink I wanted & I came this  close to buying the sweetest  little bikini all covered with cherries & pink flowers.  I looked for pink t-shirts.  I bought a pink smoothie  for lunch!

I finally came home & made new curtains for my bathroom - plain white cotton (again!), but with 2 layers of fabric not sewn to each other, so that they would flutter in the breeze in just that right way  that will make me smile.  Am I the only one who misses sheets hanging on the line in the backyard & the way they'd move in the wind?  (Of course, they had to be beautiful  sheets!)  And the lovely, lovely Katie brought me some gorgeous jade soaprock & told me stories of the birthday party she'd been to, which included gifts of Maui Rainwater & a trip to France, and an apricot/mango cake (which painted quite a luscious picture in my mind).

Second-hand beauty, but beauty nonetheless.


Jealousy & Joy

I'm feeling jealous today of people whose lives seem to be so much more full of beauty than mine.  I want to live in the village featured in Chocolat & have meals outside on white tablecloths with white lights strung overhead.  I want to live at the water's edge, and watch the birds fly in at night.  I want, I want, I want . . . . I don't know.  Here is where I must stop and remember the beautiful day outside - temperature in the mid -70s, sun shining, silence.  A purring cat on the chair behind me.  That's  the thought to hold on to.  Lily the cat, who lives here at the lab.  Who is absolutely thrilled  by such a day.  When I let her outside, she rolls on the concrete in absolute joy.  I  feel sad that she only has concrete and no grass to roll about on, but she  harbors no such thoughts.  JOY!   That's what she feels.  Appreciation for the beauty of the breeze & the sunshine, for the cooing of the white doves who live in the house behind us.  Glee in the way the weeds sway in the wind.  Beauty is not what  you see, but how  you see.  It's a night to sit under the stars for a bit, to recall the paperwhites & daffodils that have sprung up overnight, to remember how happy I was this morning to see the ground under the pink tulip tree littered with lost blossoms.  Yes.