“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


Another bird in the house & too-green trees

Another bird in the house.

Actually, 2 of them, zooming through the open bathroom window, heading for the tree branch propped against the wall in the bedroom next to a mirror. Chattering loudly, discovering their mistake, I watched them zip into an abrupt u-turn, one flying past me back out through that open window, the other past me in the opposite direction, through the living room, into the kitchen, bouncing off of things, walls, the window more than once, finally landing dazed in the sink, nestled between a stack of bowls & the sink's edge. I picked her up, dried her with a paper towel, and placed her on a tree limb near Katie's stairs, out of the reach of cats. 5 minutes later she flew like the bird she is, off into the blue blue sunlit sky.

I so hoped it was my muse, back from her vacation, but alas, I think I am on my own. Less than 2 weeks until my small, small art show - why can't I remember that? why does it feel so huge & overpowering? - and I feel done. I struggle & push & nothing feels right. Today, a lovely painting of 3 trees, which I have just made too green. For no other reason than it seems like all the paintings that are not white & neutrals are bluey-green and I felt I needed to change that. The trees were just fine bluey-green, I think, and I will be back at them later, but I am pushing. I am inspirationed out. I have painted more in the last 2 months than I have in the last 2 years, and I feel empty. I still have ideas, but nothing that is complete, nothing final, just ideas, just sketches, and I don't want my name on pieces with which I am unhappy. I want the luxury of working on them peacefully, no deadline looming. Each weekend arrives and I want to not paint, I want to do something else, and truth be told, I will be glad when this rushing is behind me. How ungrateful of me, I know, but how wonderful it feels to say. And probably tomorrow I will feel differently - I will know what to do with the brush, I will stop imagining what people will say when they view these pieces, I will agonize less. I will listen to myself - I said to the lovely, lovely Katie earlier how happy I was with these 3 trees on the canvas, how it was possibly done, but I continued on when I shouldn't have. Beneath those trees is a hand holding a bird and another tornado - it has been a busy canvas.

I am full of second-guesses these last few days. I looked at the image of this morning's little wren, and thought, oh, this isn't blog-worthy. This is just a cute image, this is something you would just put on Facebook & tell your friends about, if you could, in fact, figure out Facebook, but then I remembered that that is just what I am doing - I am putting it here for my friends to see. So please forgive me if I read your blogs & leave no comment, forgive me if I take another 2 or 3 days before I post here (having said that, I will no doubt be in here at midnight telling a tale), forgive me for complaining. It is just temporary.

I am just annoyed at how green those painted trees are.


The light on my mother's wall

It begins as just a thin line of blue light.
Then cyan.

Over the course of 10 or 15 minutes
it weaves & bobs & moves & slowly wiggles
like the Aurora Borealis
on my mother's living room wall.
It eventually paints this picture,
then begins to fade away,
and as it fades,
the sun lowers behind the trees,
and the house feels totally peaceful,

She sees Jesus here.
Actually, she sees 2 Jesuses.
One looking down,
one to his left,
looking upward to Heaven.

I, however, see an ex-boyfriend
who still owes me money
and a big apology.

Pretty revealing, huh?
he also owes me a car


Reading the Cat

Remember last year?
When Maggie left me a trail of hearts?

She is up to it again.
She is sly, as cats are,
not coming right out & saying she loves me,
although I am sure she does.
She leaves me subtle love notes.
Up to me to figure them out.
she sleeps in this plant & the plant suffers, but it hangs in there


Challenge #10

your way begins on the other side
become the sky
take an axe to the prison wall,
walk out like someone
suddenly born into color
do it now.
~rumi ~

A challenge by The 4.

I spent this weekend doing nothing.
But needing that nothingness,
angry at the rain outside,
full of fear & sadness for Maggie,
growing weaker.
By last night I was better,
taking an axe to that prison wall of anxiety,
picking up a paintbrush with peace.
Escaping. Doing it now.
I walked out of it all
like someone born into color,
and suddenly, suddenly,
I understood this poem.
i am still in color


Sorry! :)

To anyone who received an "invite" from me
to become my friend on Facebook,
I apologize.

In a moment of weakness,
after another friend asked me to join & become their friend,
I joined.
It lasted about 5 minutes,
and during those 5 minutes ,
Facebook sent emails to everyone in my address book
asking them to also join.
I am not smart enough for Facebook,
and I didn't mean to do that,
and I apologize again to everyone for the annoyance.
I have learned my lesson.

Blogging is enough.
I am quite embarrassed.
never again


The Color of my Soul & Childhood

Suddenly the lake would appear through the trees
and it seemed tall,
it seemed the sky,
it seemed impossible.

Though far below the road, the blue-green of the water peeked through the pine trees, tall next to the roadway, and my heart, the heart of a child for whom a trip to water was rare & wonderful & never long enough, that child's heart would almost stop in reverence. Thou art everywhere, but I worship thee here. A prayer I whispered deep in my soul even then, though I wouldn't hear the words until 30 years later. Waiting, waiting, in the back seat of the car, windows rolled down against the summer heat, waiting for that blueness to appear behind the trees, knowing that at any curve of the road it might appear, holding my breath, the suspense almost unbearable, and then there it would be. Its width appeared vertical, and I thought it was the largest piece of water anywhere in the world - how could the ocean possibly be larger? - and that moment of vertigo, when it seemed tall, not deep, was intoxicating. I came to know it was an optical illusion, but it made no difference, it surprised me every year, every year. It is still with me, that first view of a lake over a hill, or through the trees, and it is still intoxicating. Nothing is better. Nothing. To be on the water at any time is to be healed of my worries. In the heat of a summer day or evening time, watching the sun go down. The dark of night - stars overhead silence silence silence so blessed sweating against my skin, the doing of nothingness, floating with my head thrown back to the moon.

And that color. Still with me. Not that child's idea of ocean-blue, not the brown of muddy river water, but that greeny blue, made more green against a bright summer sky, but made more blue against the green of the trees. It is everywhere in my house, in my closet. It is the color of Michael's eyes. The image above is part of a painting, a chair I am working on (does it need flowers, I wonder? does it need nothing?) and part of a table in my home. The table belonged to my mother, and was so small in her very big old house - after my father died and she moved to a smaller place, she asked if there was anything I wanted. I took the antique clear glass door knobs from the kitchen drawers & cabinets, and this table. In my house it is huge, and sits next to the front door, front window & I use it all the time when photographing objects & artwork. The natural light is just about right. When photographing this painting this morning, I liked the way it played against the color of the chair in the painting, and laughed because it matched so exactly without my even thinking about it. This color is in my soul.

And that basket, you ask?
(I know you do!)
On the floor for Maggie,
a white blanket for her nest.

We have so far not had a sunny weekend.
If it is the weekend, it is rainy.
I am holding out hope for tomorrow,
and my hand to catch the rays.
i am not holding my breath, however


Of pigs & cats & crime

I understand.

Outside right now is so much more pleasant than inside. The rain has stopped, the sun is out, owls are in the trees, mockingbirds have nests, the cardinals are flirting with each other, and apparently we have pigs running wild through the neighborhood.

It is a story I laughed at when first told, a story I first heard from N. I don't mention N very much - she lives catty-cornered across the street; her backyard bumps into Mary's driveway. We are all very helter-skelter around here - only 3 houses actually on this block, others facing other streets, but next to us all anyway. And like I said, N's backyard bumps into Mary's driveway, which means that her backyard is part of my out-the-front-door view, along with Mary's yard. It's unfenced and green with grass and there's a giant tulip tree and a paperwhite extravaganza each spring and the tree at the foot of Mary's driveway is home to at least one raccoon - I've seen him scuttle into the hollowed out limb at the top, peering over at me to see how much of his secret I've learned.

The neighborhood is also home to a bit of crime. It's just the way it is, and I have no sympathy for these criminals, but that's the way it is, and you learn to live with it. (I promise I am getting to the pig part of this story, but it is a story after all, and I am a Southerner, and a Texan, and the entire story must be told.) I have had my house broken & entered, and things stolen; I have had someone try to enter very early one morning while I was home, his hairy white legs visible at the front door - he'd picked the lock, but couldn't get past the deadbolt. I have had my vehicle vandalized more than once. A long-long-ago ex-girlfriend of Robert's had her car stolen while it was parked outside, by spoiled kids who couldn't drive a manual transmission & left the car a few blocks away at a bingo parlor, the clutch ruined, but the bottle of wine in the backseat still unopened. When Mary was alive, her house was burgled the day she left for a trip to Russia - she'd been gone only 10 minutes - a quick trip to the store for last minute items - but that's all it took. The guy who used to live on the corner - on Mary's other side - came home one day to find 3 kids in his house, and when he confronted them, one crashed through a glass door, fleeing the scene. There is always something, and it is almost always kids, and here is where I could talk forever about the terrible parenting skills behind these kids, the excuses made, the expectation that someone else is responsible to teach them ethics & morals & personal responsibility, but I won't - you all know anyway. It takes a village, they say, to raise that child, but God forbid if the village decides to actually punish him. So anyway. Back to the pigs.

Bicycles have been stolen recently - Rodney & Amber on one side of us, his a very, very, very expensive bike, hers not too bad either, a few hundred dollars. I've had a camera go missing. N had a bicycle disappear. And maybe here I should mention that N is in law enforcement, as is her boyfriend, and there is usually a police vehicle of some kind parked at her house. A couple of weeks ago, there wasn't, and N & C were awakened by their dogs - someone had been at the door, and when they looked out the window, a kid was shining a flashlight into their cars, trying to jimmy a lock on one of them. By the time they were dressed & out, he'd skedaddled. The next night they were waiting for trouble, which, of course, didn't come, but in the middle of the night, an odd noise awakened them again, but this time, what to their wondering eyes should appear but, standing in Mary's driveway, a dog and a small pig. She swore it was true. He swore it was true. I laughed - like a Disney movie? I asked. They were traveling together, out seeking adventures? It seemed too silly to be true, even in our neighborhood.

But. Last night. Outside in the yard, trying to get my cat to come in, I heard feet paddling quickly through the creek, a snuffling noise. It was dark down in the creek, and as I headed into the house for a flashlight, I heard more feet splashing fast fast, more snuffling, and, I swear this is true, squealing. Squealing! By the time I got my flashlight, no sign of anything.

So it looks like pigs.
At least it sounds like pigs.
No wonder my cat doesn't want to come in at night.
There is stuff going on out there.
Who'd'a thunk it?
i swear i swear this is true


Baptism by Wind: Tornado

mixed media w/acrylic on canvas: 24"x24"

The color is just not quite right here.

It is just fine in Photoshop, and, as usual, Blogger has shifted it a bit.
It is brighter in person, but at the same time, darker.
Much like a tornado, I suppose.
I've never really seen one right up close like this,
and I've certainly never seen a white one,
and truly, I could go my whole life and be perfectly happy if I never do,
but still,
they are quite beautiful things when they are just out there in the open,
not harming anyone.
I am thinking about changing the name for this one -
I just stole these words from one of my previous posts.
It went fast, this painting,
and underneath is a painting of a giant red dragonfly,
sacrificed to the necessity of a bigger square canvas,
which is impossible to buy in this town.
If it's not rectangular, it's not on the shelves.
Unless it's really small,
but I knew the tornado needed to be larger,
so alas for the dragonfly.
I'm sure she understood -
she's just been holed up in the hall closet for several years,
no doubt ready to be freed to the wonderfulness of gesso & new paint.

I am quite in love with the overhead cloud,
and the blocking of space.
So back to that for a bit in a few paintings.

And truly,
in person,
it shimmers.
truly truly


Owls & Smiles

Playing peek-a-boo with the baby owl.
In that magical cherry laurel tree,
next to the spiral staircase,
cozied up to Katie's blue lights at night.
The older baby is gone,
falling prey to something.
Who knows what?
Dragons maybe.
Leaving behind a few feathers.

Mama owl, maybe? In the front yard, a few feet from my door.

Even bigger owl, around the corner in the back yard.

So a few less smiles for the missing owl, but continued smiles for these.



Loosening Up

The announcement.

I am less scared now, less intimidated about this show, and the art is coming easier. Yesterday was a storm day - a painting of a tornado flowed from my fingers as if it had been living inside me and wanted out, out, out. 576 square inches of paint so easy ~ if I had my camera I would show you, but it will have to wait; said camera is the backup today in an actual paying job, and no doubt feels quite smug about it all. The Caffe' no longer allows artists to leave announcements there, saying it is too messy, so I have more than I need and I am leaving them everywhere I go. A rival coffee shop in my neighborhood has even allowed me to leave a few on their counter. Thank you, James.

And so I take these few moments, while gel is drying, and my belly is recuperating from a breakfast of leftover quesadillas & salsa, to say thank you to all of you. To those of you who comment & to those of you who don't. To those of you I know personally, and to those of you I know only through emails & blogs & an occasional phone call. To Jenny Doh for the opportunity to show myself to the world, for her belief that I was worth publishing. All of you have made me feel I could do this. It's been a long time, and this is a small show, but it is important to me. It means a lot to be out there again, after so many years. Without you all, I would not be.

At a party last night, one of the women insisted I loosen up, insisted I needed to loosen up. But I am just shy, I said. She was not taking that as an excuse, and I found myself dancing with her, doing the bump with her, just the two of us in front of the band. And later, dancing with 3 other women, all of us flitting around, just bopping, not caring, and I thought Who is this person I have become? She is braver than the me I used to know. Thank you all. Without you, I would not be.

And yes, there were men at the party,
but they were cooking.
The women were dancing.
The wind blew in a cold front,
and a bit of rain.
All was right with the world.
but cold? what is up with that?


Of Pears and Dreams and Summer

What beautiful light falls through the pear tree.

I feel a Texas summer in the air, in my lifting mood (I am such a warm-weather baby), in the dance of birds, flirty, flirt, touch, flirt, a game in the air, a game on the ground, a tiny bird foot shyly grazing another's, the flight away, the flirty flight back, look at me, look at me, no don't, another touch, another jump into the air. Tomorrow evening the first party at the lake, the first nightfall over the water, the first stars in this warm sky. I dream of ghosts, and red houses painted green, and screened-in porches opened to the darkness, welcoming the summer, welcoming bottles of beer sweating in the heat. I awake and buy bags of ice, lemon sorbet, gingerbread pigs with candy sprinkles on top. I stay up at night and gesso paper, then spread thin layers of silver & pearl paint, not thinking, not thinking, and I see the pattern of that paper in the leaves on the trees, in the fallen honeysuckle blossoms, in the feathers of the owls. My calendar reads Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. I am keeping that tree and the birds are coming; I felt a shift yesterday evening. Something in my soul stirred a bit and made room for the summer. There are more white canvases in my house, and my new neighbor, another Amber, the taller Amber, ~ I am bookended by Ambers ~ said, and I may have mentioned this, when I welcomed her into my house, apologizing for the chaos of paint & canvas & paintings of birds, Oh, it's all right, you are an artist.

It's more than all right.
The summer, she is coming.
and i am an artist


Baby Owls, Baby Pears - and I finally exhale

Last night there were baby owls.

They have moved across the street,
from Mary's yard to ours.
2 babies.
1 mama.
A daddy no doubt somewhere about.

But these babies.
One fell from the tree,
and I spotted him
whilst conversing with the lovely, lovely Katie.
Wings flapping oddly,
clinging to the oak tree
in the front yard.
Climbing it, mind you.

And so we were off,
trailing Robert to the tree,
and there it was,
wings flung wide open,
grasping the tree,
and climbing back to home.
A foot or two at a time,
then a rest.
Then his mama flew in,
offering encouragement,
and then a sibling ~
owl baby #2 ~
fuzzy head appearing above a limb,
big eyes staring at us.
Offering encouragement also
as owl baby #1 continued upward,
eventually finding the lowest limb
just stopping for a while,
owl baby #2 on the limb above,
flapping his wings
(maybe her wings,
maybe scolding that bad brother of hers,
while happy happy to see him home.)

Happy happy for us too.
And the neighbors.
We could not stop smiling.

And then later, late, late,
I was driving home
from a forgotten errand I'd left at work,
a raccoon crossed in front of my car.
Where I didn't know there were raccoons.

For the first time in forever,
maybe the first time since Mary left us,
I felt the magic of the neighborhood return.
And I embraced the absolute darkness,
the wind,
the rustle of leaves,
the early morning rain.

And there are baby pears.
The squirrels always beat us to them.
The one above looks like it has an ear,
That magical sidewalk
curving around the side of the house.
How can I leave this?
I think to myself.
It is home.

UPDATE right here: pictures of the babies.
but i will, i will & it breaks my heart


Flower #1 - She Has No Name

The flower with no name.

I know what it's about - this flower sticking its head above the clouds, above the storms, eager, eager to be in the world, blooming earlier than her brothers & sisters who are just awakening underground, just finding their way. She will have stories to tell them when they arrive.

This is a piece that came easy. Rare for me. I have been buying old metal signs, covering them up, letting them show through in places. The brown of the earth in this piece is the original sign; the rest is paint, paper, a photo transfer, magic. Like I said, it came easy. I am not having that luck with much else - everything else is beginning to feel forced, beginning to feel like I am pushing it to be born too early. I am worried there will be too few pieces for my show - I have been uninspired, wanting to do anything but face these pieces of metal, the canvases, the paints, the brushes. And the work shows it. I finally stopped Sunday night - just stopped, because I was making things worse. No inspiration, no muse, no anything but messes. I just stopped. I watched The Sound of Music and went to bed.

I have stopped for 2 days.
Bits & pieces are beginning to come - slowly;
I sketched ideas last night.
I am feeling more positive.
Perhaps like that little unnamed flower,
I am pushing my way above the clouds.
We will see.
what shall i call this sweet precocious bloom?


Flowers for the House You Live in NOW


The sound of the television is not quite loud enough to drown out the cheering, screaming, racing crowd out there on the street. Not my street, but the bigger street at the corner, less than a house away. Today is the Susan Komen Race for the Cure and there are pink ribbons everywhere, and no doubt pink wigs, and pink hats, and even pink heads belonging to those who have lost their hair to chemotherapy, but are still out there in this sticky, muggy morning. Live, they are saying. Fight.

My block of the neighborhood is roped off - we cannot drive in or out. The race encircles us, as do other races throughout the year. Used to be, we were near the beginning of the route, but last year the Komen race changed directions, and now we are near the end, and for some it is a tough end. They sneak through the neighborhood, down our street and emerge nearer to it all being over, laughing with each other, teasing, knowing it matters not that they've had to take a shortcut. I sit here on the couch and laugh with them as they go by. They are tougher than I.

Last year I sat on Rodney's front steps and took pictures - new to the blogging world, I was determined to steal images from every event in town, sure I would have a story to tell. I don't think I used one picture. But this year I have this detail from an art piece - an altered sign. It is actually more than a detail - if you add a few more inches of different paper to the bottom, you have it all. Live.

And I have a phone call from last night in my memory, a friend sure she is wasting her life, sure she is not living - ironically, she, too, is a cancer survivor, though a different cancer - sure everyone else's lives are better, sure that just this day to day stuff she does is not life. I know what she means, or at least I know what it would mean if I said it, and I would not be quite serious, but she is. It feels to her that this career path she has chosen encircles her; she is roped in, she says, she can't get out. It is the career she chose, the career requiring years & years of schooling, degrees, a PhD., but she feels trapped, feels overworked, feels it is not worth the money she makes - which is substantial, 4 or 5 times what I earn in a year. She wants to move to Italy or Spain, where life is really led, she says, and will, in fact, spend most of her summer there, all expenses paid by her job, with nothing to do but look at paintings and sip whatever she chooses to sip at outdoor cafes, and yet, it is not enough. My heart goes out to her, but I don't have any magic to fix this - of course, the magic is all around her, but she can no longer see it. I have told her before, in moments of frustration & pettiness, and yes, jealousy, that I haven't had time off from my job in 12 years, and that was just a week, and it came after not having any time off for the 3 or 4 years before that, and that vacation was just a week also, and dear Lord, I would kill for that much paid time off, but it matters not - she is miserable, she wants a life. And I remember that's what I used to think about life, about being an artist. I thought it was what everyone else did. It wasn't this everyday stuff, this doing the laundry, this buying the groceries, this rounding up the cat and taking her to the vet - how does one make art from that? I thought, how is that living? When of course, it is. All I have to do is walk up to the corner and ask any of those sweaty, pink clad women to define life, and I'll bet that being able to go to the grocery store & stroll down an aisle & compare this chocolate to that chocolate would make their list. I'll bet those small moments are the tops of their lists. I am sure their priorities have changed also - I am sure now that they are determined to do what they want, to make sure the lives they lead are the lives they want to lead. And the funny part is, that's exactly how my friend ended up where she is, ended up with those degrees, that PhD., that job - after her first bout with cancer (I love that word bout - I think of boxers & I think of her as a winner when I say that) she was determined to live the life she wanted. 16 or 17 years later, 2 more bouts with cancer later, her priorities have changed, and she thinks her life is not a life. She thinks my life is, she thinks your life is, she thinks we are all happy except her. And I understand - I, too, want to live by the ocean, I want my own little home, I want time to paint, I want dinner in the evenings under little white fairy lights strung from tree to tree, a white tablecloth on my baby blue table, vases of flowers everywhere. I understand. But I cannot stop living now for the hope of then or when or if. I have to buy flowers now for the house I am in now, for the life I lead now. Live.

And so, if she is reading this (though I suspect not) I say to her Go to Italy.

Go to Spain.

and then quit your job & get back to Texas


Poetry & All That Jazz

Yesterday morning, sitting here crosslegged on my couch, tv on, sound off.

It is not a poem, I think - it is jazz. It is here; it is there; it moves all over the place. There is sunshine breaking through the clouds barely, barely, and oh-so-welcome. Bono is on the television, sound off, singing away nonetheless. CNN is talking to the Taliban who are saying about US troops: We will kill them - sound still off, but CNN providing all I need to know in their little black box full of white words there at the bottom of the screen. Truly. After such a statement I need no further information. I look away to find the bird who is singing outside my bedroom window, then back to the television, and now CNN is in Cuba. The bird stops singing and I hear the ticking of the small white clock I keep in the living room. Dan from up on the corner walks by, wearing black socks & shorts, patrolling the neighborhood, his dog on a leash leading him forward. I look back to the tv, and CNN is in Texas. The bird outside begins to sing again, but the sun moves behind some clouds, and the day turns a pale gray. Again. I switch to the local government channel, their morning camera pointed downtown - the street where I work is always at the bottom of the screen. If you turn right at the tv screen and head down a couple of blocks, there we are. Just look for the blue walls.

But right now it is today. The weatherman says we can almost call it hot. It is muggy. It is slow jazz, if it is jazz at all. It is air barely moving - if it is jazz, it is early early in the morning jazz, after a wild night. It is the jazz of an old black & white photograph, one corner torn off, small nightclub, hat on the back of the head, slow slow exhausted jazz - white button up shirt unbuttoned, tie loosened; it is jazz sitting backwards in a wooden chair, tired arms draped over the chairback, one hand barely hanging on to a cigarette, the smoke drifting up & out, too tired itself to move far or fast. And it is still morning - this jazz will be a slow shuffle through the humid air by this afternoon.

The image above is a detail of a possible piece for my show. Probably. I may change the word, although I have used this image for the announcement, and have placed a flower above it, blooming from the very word itself. And in writing that sentence, it occurs to me that I will keep this word.

A flower will bloom from the finished piece.

That's poetry.

and sweat and Texas and reality


Oldsmobile Four-Four-Two

Oldsmobile four-four-two.

I saw this at lunch today, parked in the mechanic's garage next to my Jeep.
First picture with my new phone camera.

And I gotta tell ya.
I am not usually prone to car lust, but this was a beauty.
Dear God, what images it conjured up,
especially in this day of political correctness,
of teeny Flintstone-like cars run on batteries
or hope
or whatever they run on.
I don't know what year this one is,
or how big the engine is,
or what kind of gas mileage it gets,
but I could not care less.
It is a thing of beauty.
A muscle car.
Yes baby.
ask you baby, you wanna ride in my car?


The Gift of Maggie

Just for me.

Maggie is 17 today, and I didn't expect to see it. It's been 11 months since she began receiving fluid injections for her kidney disease. 11 months. 6 days a week. 11 months. She - and we - get Sunday off for good behavior, and so here we are on her 17th birthday. You can see how excited she was about the whole shebang when I tried to take her picture this morning.

It is the ever-wonderful Michael who actually gives her the injections. I hold her, he does the dirty work, and she puts up with it for the most part. Without him, she would not be here. It will embarrass him when he reads this, but truly there are no words I can find that say thank you in the way I really mean it. He has given me many gifts through the years - CocaColas way back when we first began dating & I was always broke, diamond earrings the year my father died, a white denim jacket a couple of years ago - I saw it on a woman at a restaurant and lusted after it and - you can't make this stuff up - he saw the very same woman the next night at a bar, asked her if she'd been in such&such restaurant the day before, wearing a white jacket, and oh! She was quite thrilled that he remembered her, quite taken with that, but then of course, he asked where she'd bought the thing, he wanted to buy one for a friend, and how back-to-Earth she landed, but still nice enough to tell where, and Yes. He bought it, and not-inexpensive it was, and surprised me with it that very week. How romantic is that? How much better than roses when everyone else is getting roses on the same day, although they are quite nice also. He has kept me in cars, found me new places to live when I needed to do so, paid for massages, and bracelets I've lost, and tons of those special pens with which I work crossword puzzles, and almost 24 years worth of other things, but nothing compares to the gift of Maggie. Nothing.

I know he thinks I don't think about it, but I do.
A lot.
I say thank you, but that seems so little,
so not up to the way I really feel.
And so I take this time,
Maggie's 17th birthday,
to say happy birthday to her,
and thank you to him.

Thank you for giving her another summer.
Thank you for the fall,
thank you for the winter.
Thank you for giving her the chance
to see the robins in springtime again.
Thank you.


A Flock of Seagulls, A Silver Bracelet

Headlights through the rain.

The rain maybe gone for now. Hopefully gone for now; outside, though, is still gray & green, but a paler shade of gray, with hints of sunlight behind the clouds. No actual sunlight, just a lightening of the day. A flock of seagulls flew past earlier, apparently blown off course by the storms, heading who knows where - to one of the nearby lakes, I assume. They were headed north, and the ocean is way south of us, so perhaps a rest at a bit of fresh water, then a turn around back to salt water. There were hundreds of them, which I admit made me smile - not a normal sight for us.

This pale gray outside echoes the palette I am immersed in, working on these paintings, these partial collages, these collaborations of photography, canvas, paint & paper. When there is sunshine outside, I feel calmed by these tones, these pearls & silvers & cool taupes, but I admit that to be surrounded by this grayness both inside & out is a tad depressing, making me almost grab a tube of bright aqua or even red & just start slathering the color on. Knowing that I will regret it if I give in to that urge stills my hand. Knowing that I have a time frame within which I must finish these pieces keeps me on track, keeps me from surrendering to the me-that-used-to-gesso-over-everything. No time for that now; it is a good lesson.

Visitors stopped by a few moments ago,
and I found myself watching their colors.
The silver of a bracelet
against a dark mahogany wrist particularly attracted me:
a beautiful pairing of colors.
When they left,
a flower with those colors
magically & mysteriously
appeared on one of my canvases.
funny how that works