Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tea dregs & fortune-telling…

I wasn’t kidding about reading tea leaves… well, yes I was, but since I had some tea last night and peered into my cup this morning to find this very cool thing, I thought I’d photograph it. Doesn’t it look like an eye… or a sun?

In any case, I think it looks cool. And I’ll go so far to say that I dub it to be a good omen. You tea leaf readers out there are welcome to comment.

I worked in my journal for the first time in several days this morning. I love Howl’s Moving Castle… it’s one of my favorite movies, and Howl is one of my favorite heros… and Miyazaki one of my favorite animators. I loved Dianna Wynne Jones’ book, and felt that the story should have been stuck to, but I still love the movie.

I was inspired to sketch Howl… it’s a work in progress… not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. The left side was “pre-painted” in the class (taught by Kelly Kilmer) when we made the book.

Questions… and a bawdy response… and more musings

Ösze visza mint pinàn a ször 

How am I doing? (I was asked early this morning, with barely half a mug of coffee consumed.) I don’t know… up and down…

 

My dad had a saying (in response to “how’s it going?”, which was rather crude… who am I kidding… it was immensely crude… but it translates (from Hungarian) to the effect of : “all over the place, like hair on a pussy.” Yes… rather uncouth, but it certainly paints the right picture, as it were. And, alas, now you know where (at least in part) I get my class-less-ness from… LOL… 

 

My friend also told me that I’m sweet… I’m not sweet… sometimes I think I’m completely reckless and demented… I give when I don’t really have because I have this insatiable need to please… myself and others… but whether I do it in the right way is questionable. I have to ask myself why I operate in the way that I do.

 

At times I feel I am no better than my friend Robert, who I’ve accused of “buying” people’s affections by overwhelming them with gifts.  I think I do some of that too. Probably even for the same reasons… although I’d like to think it’s because I’m more altruistic and do it for the betterment of all… but mostly it’s to make me feel good, because I’ve pleased someone. Pleasing someone else pleases me… it’s selfish, really. But at least I make everyone happy in the process, if only momentarily. Happy little earthquakes of pleasure.

 

As to what is going on right now? I’m playing a waiting game now, really… waiting until time is up on my lease… and on my current life with Steve. It’s weird, really. And then things will change… either by actions I take or of their own accord if I take no action. I’m at a stalemate on whether I should let the river carve its own course or whether I should take part in directing it… seems I’m not a very good director, or I overestimate my ability to direct wisely, so maybe I should just see where it all goes and then work with what transpires. I don’t know. I’m ready to try tea leaves or sniff some ether for some great revelations.

 

I have issues… but at least I can identify them. Some people (many, in fact) have them and don’t even know they have them… and if they do know about them, they tacitly ignore them, pretending they’re not there, or perhaps hope that by not acknowledging them they’ll go away of their own accord. I’d say I’m a few steps ahead of the lot. I am human… how can I not have any issues? I’m perfect in my imperfection.

 

And garsh… I really wish I had a boyfriend… or plaything… when they tell you that women peak in midlife, they’re not kidding. *sigh*

 

So… maybe I should have some more coffee and shut up now while I’m ahead… LOL

Celebrating… friendship

It’s been sunny and cool here in Southern California. I spent Saturday with my friend Bonnie in celebration of her birthday, and went to see the Dan Eldon exhibit in Santa Monica. It was small but worth the trip. We had a late lunch at Anisette Brasserie, which was delicious and beautifully appointed. The restaurant was in a renovated bank building, so there were high ceilings, and they’ve imported tiles and different things from France to give it a French “brasserie” feel. We ordered several things off of the menu and shared… everything was delicious… my choice were the mussels, and they were absolutely delicious!

This weekend I picked up a couple of graphic novels… proving once again what a geek I really am. And, proving also that I am consistent in my tastes, I picked up a book that I already had… Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), by J. Michael Straczynski, who is also the creator of Babilon 5 (though I never watched the series… somehow television lost its appeal early in my marriage, since my husband’s viewing habits were mostly limited to sports networks and perhaps the news… and then when Gabriel was born, kid’s networks and the science and/or discovery channels–which I do enjoy). I have Vol. 1, which is a compilation of the first eight comics of the series… there are four more compilations of this sort, which I can never seem to find more of in the comic book stores (but was able to find on Amazon).

Another graphic novel I picked up was The Last One, which was written by J.M. deMatteis and illustrated by Dan Sweetman… the story is right up my alley (and fabulous in my opinion)… it’s about an angel… the last of the “old ones”… still living amongst humans… it’s a lovely story (though somewhat dark and gritty yet filled with hope), and it’s also beautifully illustrated… beautifully lined/penned and colored.

I’m still working on my February chapbook pages… they’re taking a bit longer to put together as each page has eight eyelets attached (which means hole-punching… attaching and setting each of them) and also five “danglies” per page that also require eyelets (for a total of 13 eyelets per page), which then need to be attached to the page with leather string. Me and my bright ideas…

Pssst… plotting a birthday excursion…

Each year my friend Bonnie does something special for my birthday. It usually involves some sort of excursion somewhere and good food. This year I’ve decided to pay back in kind and take her to the Dan Eldon traveling exhibit, which is being hosted at the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery in Santa Monica and closes this Saturday. Looks like we’ll be getting there just in the nick of time. Now that I’ve got the excursion part figured out, I have to figure out where a good lunch spot would be. Any suggestions?

Chapbook pages… February

I’ve been working on my February Chapbook pages, deciding to use my visit (and photos) to Canada as creative fodder. I took this photo while sitting on one of the boulders edging Chilliwack Lake. I remember being asked by Alex, with an incredulous timbre in his voice… “You take pictures of rocks?” Yep…

The writing intended to accompany this photo:

On Going Home

It has been long. Not so long that all of the details are obscured, just long enough to be fuzzy, like a long-forgotten humbug pulled from the depths of a coat pocket.

I never imagined that I would ever return, especially to this new part, this lush foresty and mountainous richness so close to where the people live. They live differently here than in California.

There is a common sense woven through their spirits, and a prevalent kindness. Here the dirt from the streets and air is regularly ushered away by the rain. Sometimes it drizzles… sometimes it pelts. It leaves behind a fresh scent, like wind-whipped laundry pulled from the clothes line.

It felt good to be home. Different, but good. Cradled. Like slipping my feet into an old pair of long-forgotten slippers. It provided an odd sense of security, though I will be returning to it with only my belongings and my child. My valuables.

Daily I brush off the fear that starts to surface. The discomfort of change seeping out from my middle. But as the tree drops its leaves and reburgeons when the days grow longer and the nights shorter, and the spring grass pokes out from underbrush, so too does my life inevitably alter. It would serve me well to learn from Nature.

This has been yet another forest fire, leaving me charred. Dry and brittle. Pain-filled and longing.

With richer soul, I anticipate a time of gentle regrowth. Renewal. Hope.

Because I can’t leave well enough alone…

Since I can never stop fussing, I played with the background some last night, putting a bunch of rub-ons on it… and I didn’t like it so I ended up covering it up with acrylic paint. I like this much better… but I’m not sure whether it’s done yet.

On sketching… and reference photo angst…

Last night I was feeling restless about not having sketched anything in a couple of days, so I took my journal and Stabilo pencil to bed with me and had a go at it. Several weeks ago I’d contacted someone about some illustration freelancing and she’d asked me to provide a sample of my work, specifically of a mother holding a child.

Well, I don’t have access to live models and so I resort to my only other alternative… I search Google images. Doing that can bear fruit, if you’re looking for something like a leaf, or winter scenes, etc… but when you’re looking for a “mother holding a child” it becomes a bit more iffy. The search yielded some results… most of them miniscule in size… the one I decided to endeavor (see above) was printed out at 150%… this makes everything even fuzzier than it already was in the first place. And, to make matters worse, my vision isn’t the best these days… I have fuzzy built-in.

In any case, this is the best I could do on this run… maybe I’ll try again. I’m going to play some more with this page… where it goes, nobody knows.

Galactic dust bunnies and cosmic parallels

I received this morning’s NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory newsletter, which revealed the following…

This aging and expelling process is typical of all stars. As stars age and die, they burn progressively heavier and heavier elements, beginning with hydrogen and ending with iron.

This struck me as funny… perhaps this would explain my inability to metabolize iron… I’m on my last evolutionary legs, perhaps. Now wouldn’t that be refreshing? Maybe I’ve become the symbolic equivalent of a Red Giant, spewing out almost all of my “heavier elements. These elements are the building blocks of all planets, including our own Earth (as well as of human beings and any other life forms that may exist in the universe).”

On failure and optimism…

Failure

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”
-Mary Pickford, (in Reader’s Digest, 1979)

Things happen. That’s just the way it is. But at every point in time we have choices to make. We can choose to learn from our mistakes. We can choose to try again. If we were perfect, and never made mistakes, then how could we possibly learn? Our wisdom comes from our own experiences. Like the song says: “pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again!”
-Lissa Coffey

from today’s WisdomNews from Lissa Coffey

Growing up, particularly during my teens, I was always struck by my mother’s pessimism. If there were two sides to something she would invariably flip to the one whose sheen was tarnished… her glass was always half empty. She seethed with cynicism, though she felt that she was merely being a realist. Perhaps she felt she had earned the right. Born in 1918 in Eastern Europe, she has seen more atrocity over her decades there than most of us will see in our whole lives. And then there were her personal conundrums… more tragedy.

Her tantamount task in life was to burst my bubble… “Stop floating around in the ether… get your feet back down to the ground,” she would reprimand. I, on the other hand, was given the greatest teacher. Essentially, I was shown that no matter what happens in life, we persevere. Somehow we will put one foot in front of the other and make tracks. Or we lay down and die… physically or figuratively. And whether I enjoy the journey (or not) is entirely up to me.