Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

to one and all who drop by from time to time to see what I am up to. To you I wish you a very creative year with only a few brief periods when there is nothing of interest on your design wall.
I have this same wish for myself because for months there has been nothing of interest on mine and I plan to rectify this very soon.

The only thing going on with me that is related to quilts is I am working on hand out material for some classes I will be teaching next week in Louisville. Someone thought teaching would be a good thing for me to do while I was in the area anyway helping to get Form Not Function the art quilt exhibit hung at the Carnegie Center for Art and History. Last year I traveled over just to hang the show on Monday of opening week but did not hang around for the opening reception on that Friday.
This year, I committed myself to hanging around a little longer and as a result picked up two days of teaching. (I am happy to say I have enough people interested that the classes are a go) So it was suggested that I add another class for Friday, since the reception doesn't start until 6:30PM (I think) at any rate with nothing else on my agenda for the day, I agreed. So back to the desk I went to produce more paper.
I know a lot of people make verbal or written resolution for themselves this time of year. I don't as a rule, but this morning I decided that I would set three goals for myself for the coming 365 days.
The first one is I will adopt a healthier way of living, which I determined for myself will be (A)) making wiser eating choices and (B) engaging in some physical activity that will increase my heart rate and hopefully burn some of the more than I need to live calories that finds their way into my mouth.
The second one focuses on the fact I love to create but I have a hard time staying on tract so if I don't have a destination for at least two to three or four of the pieces I make during a year and more important, a deadline, I divert my creative energies into other directions like knitting or I simply veg out and play free cell on the computer for hours. That said, I decided my goal for the coming year is to find at least 4 juried art shows or art quilt exhibits to submit my work to and write at least three proposals for solo exhibits in various venues that will require me to create new work using two techniques I have been looking forward to getting into more, (dye painting and screen printing).
And the last of the three: Rededicate myself to daily journaling. Every morning for years I sat down with a cup tea or coffee to drink; a pen and paper in the form of a bound book called the Everyman's Journal I get from to journal. Journaling during those years was so helpful in sorting out my life and setting daily goals. Journaling was so much a part of my life that on days when I didn't do it the day felt off . My journals were not pretty, my penmanship awful, at times unreadable almost as soon as my pen tip lifted from the page. My journals were the place I dumped everything that was bugging me. On pages after page the journal was where I parked my anger, dumped my disappointments, spilled my grief, whined, cursed and praised God and I was a better person for it. My journals were not keepers. I tossed them as soon as the last page was filled. Any insightful thoughts or ideas about my art I garnished while writing each morning was transposed to my sketch books or studio journal at the end of my journaling session. I must say some really great idea came during those journaling sessions. Because of the personal nature of my writings, I've told my children under no circumstances were they to read it, if I didn't before I drew my last breath throw away the last journal I was writing in.

Just before I moved I stopped journaling each morning. I can give you a dozen different reasons why I did, one of which was, I started blogging. But dispite me liking to blog, blogging and journaling are not the same thing. Blog entries are public thoughts that are filtered and self censored. Journal entries on the other hand if the are meant to be helpful to the person doing the journaling, should not be. However by blogging what I found was, I can free think and write much faster by typing than I can with a pen and paper. So getting to the end of this long narrative, my last goal is to is create a new blog site for myself, not connected to my current one, that will be just contain just the thoughts that have about my life and where I am in my life; a private dumping place so to speak. I haven't decided what to call it. But suffice it to say whatever I title it I'm no telling. I will use it to tract my first goal and document my progress. So you want think you will be missing anything, here is an example of what will be on my blog, Pictures of what I eat, the calorie count of what I eat, my time on the treadmill, my starting weight and my current body measurements, boring stuff, right. Right!

More than likely, the next time I post on this blog it will be from Louisville. I'll take some pictures and give you a workers view of the Form Not Function exhibit and images from my classes and my trip in general.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I don't know if Christmas would have the

the same feel for me if I was someplace warm, like Florida. For me Christmas has always meant cold weather and is it ever that around here. On Sunday with the wind chill being some where south of minus 10 I went out of the house under duress. John the grandson had to be at work at 2PM and Lyn was elbow deep in cookie dough and cup cake batter. I on the other hand was doing "nothing"
After I dropped John off at the Mall, he works at Hollister's; a California based young peoples clothing store. I was amazed at the number of cars in the lot and the number of times I had to come to a complete stop to let people cross from the sidewalk to the parking lot. Each one was laden with packages and I thought of all the years in the past that I would have been among them. Wrapped up warmly in hat, coat and gloves, trying my best to make Christmas merry for the people I love, especially the ones 4 feet tall or less. The truth about Santa is the taller they grow, the less they believed. I don't know any parent who isn't truly happy to see the end of 3 AM bottles and diaper changing duty, but we are reluctant to see the end of Santa.
My trips to the Mall for gifts have ceased. Replaced with shopping online and improving my check writing skills. There is only one person in my life who measures less than four feet and that is my youngest Grand daughter Olivia; she lives in Louisville. I assigned the purchase of Olivia's gift, from me, to her Aunt Rene'. Rene' is my youngest daughter. Despite living in Orlando Rene' sees her far more often than I do. Besides, Rene' has the ear of Santa so to speak. So I know I have selected the very best gift possible.

Although no small children live with use anymore, our house hasn't been totally without little people.

These two (Jason and Lola) and their mother (Laura) dropped in a couple of days ago and they were suitably impressed with our tree which we turned on for them to see before the timer did. They were on their best behaviour. By that I mean they looked but did not touch and ate the last slices of cheese and made sugar cookies with Lyn and sat still long enough to have their picture taken.
As I was making my way back to the house after leaving the Mall, I decided that I would be lazy and make the salad I wanted for lunch from the veggies and other stuff on the salad bar at the local market instead of fighting Lyn for counter space in the kitchen when I got home. So into the store I went in a hurry to get out of the cold, fussing every quickened step of the way. I wasn't wearing my really cold weather coat and I didn't have a pair of gloves with me.
Back in the car with the heater on high as I drove home I began thinking about what things; images, sounds, and smells says Christmas to me.

Here is my list, some with pictures and some not. There are no pictures for the sounds of the season the ringing of a bell beside a red kettle manned by one of many Salvation Army voluteers who braves the cold to help the needy. But I think my
#1. Is hearing Silent Night, Holy Night being sung. Hearing this song sung is truly my first memory of Christmas. I must have been maybe four and I was in church. I am assuming I was with my mother but I have no memory of her or the people with me, just the song being sung and candles burning.
#2 . When I was older I remember fruit at Christmas time. Oranges and especially tangerines. But its the tangerines, juicy and sweet, more than the oranges that does it for me.

#3. And so does Ribbon candy.

Does anyone remember those pre-packaged plastic mesh stockings or how old you were when you first heard the story, "The Night Before Christmas" read? I remember the first, but not the second.

#4. And then there are poinsettias. They came into my life way way long after childhood. But for me Christmas would not be Christmas without at least one pot of them and truth be told the more, the bigger, the better. I remember for years I brought several pot to support the Hemophilia Society, but don't know if it is active here in Columbia.

#4. And a bowl full of assorted nuts that have to be cracked. Despite them saying Christmas, they stay around as long or longer than the maligned, even by some cursed

#5. Fruit cake

I have to admit, I love fruit cake and must be one of a very few people in the world who does. But what do you do with nuts that never grow stale unlike a fruit cake which can be put down the disposal on or about January 15th without guilt.

#6 Nativity sets especially ones crafted by artist moreso than the mass producted ones, but any of them commemorates the reason for our day of celebration.
#7 Angels some of which never get put away
#8 Santa's, Old Saint Nick's, and Father Christmas's. My daughter collects Santa's and here are a few of them.

#9 A bowl of spicy hot chili and tamales on Christmas eve . I remember one Christmas eve being allowed to go with my father to the "Walnut Street Chili Palor" to bring home our Christmas eve treat. The chili and tamales were packed in white carry-out boxes with metal handle and each order came with oyster crackers. I was pleasantly surprised to find out years later that chinese take-out came in the same kind of box.

#10 Stars, the five pointed ones as well as the six pointed Star of David
#11 A lighted tree no matter how modest or grand
#12 For some reason I have never been fond of the movie It's a Great Life, but I am a sucker for Babe's in Toy Land, the original one with Laurel and Hardy.
# 13 The ballet, The Nutcracker. Didn't know how much I loved ballet as a dance form until I saw Mikhail Baryshnikov moving across the stage. As I neared home I thought my list could go one for at least a few more items, but as I turned the corner and saw our house I stopped with the best.

#14 A place to call home, and people who love you.

From our house to your, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I had a "I'm going to the movies day" today

It's been awhile since I've done so, mainly because there hasn't been any movies that have peeked my interest. Today I can not say I was overly enthused about going out. A winter weather advisory had been issued for our area. (freezing rain, changing to snow) it just was that Lyn was having people in for a meeting about which I didn't ask and had no interest in sticking around to find out. And I figured if I could get home before dark, I could beat the rain. The temperature for the last several days has been in the mid to upper 50's and surely I thought the temperature wouldn't drop fast enough to cause the roadways to free in a few hours.

So out the door I went to see two movies, the newest 007 flick and Australia.

I enjoyed both very much. The Bond movie was fast paced and I do like the new Bond, he's ever so much more manly than all of the other Bond actors have been. I didn't miss the more debonair air of the others.

Australia was set in a time just before Pearl Harbor. It was far the most part a predictable love and hero saves the day story , however the writers interwove a second story line that chronicled the Australian social issues of the time. It's always good to learn some history along with your popcorn and soda. Both of which cost nearly as much as the two movie tickets together.

The rain began to fall just as I left the theater and began freezing on the car as I turned into the subdivision.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Living with a Sweetist

is both a pleasure and a curse. A curse because while my taste for food left me for a few days, my nose was operating without difficulty. So for days I laid abed hearing the sounds of baking and smelling as a result of the activity the wonderful aromas that came from the kitchen the last five - six days; mid morning to late night. Lyn has always said of herself that she is not creative or artistic. I beg to differ. While she does not like things that remotely relate to the domestic, she is curious and inventive and determined to master that which she is interested in. And like artist of all stripes she has acquired all the tools of the trade/craft. While I have shelfs pn my side of the garage to hold my art supplies, on her side she has shelves too which hold all the overflow stuff required for baking.
I am an artist, Lyn is a sweetist.
She loves to bake sweet stuff especially cakes and thinks it fun to make sugary flowers to decorate her cakes with. She loves to make specialty cookies of all kinds. even the plain sugar cookie get jazzed up with colored sugars and artfully drizzled icing.
And has she been making cookies. Dozens of them. Cookies I can not eat. Cookies I am allergic to because of the wheat,
So as not to make me feel neglected she told me, she was making me buckeyes. Let me tell you, buckeyes are the most deadly delicious things she could have tempted me with. Right now after having eaten two of them I wish I was allergic to dark chocolate and peanut butter in combination with sugar and butter. ALL FATTENING beyond belief, but wonderfully wonderful followed by a glass of cold milk.

One pillow down. five to go. Goal to get them done in time to ship to arrive at the Grand son's place by Christmas

I made this with an envelope closure on the back so the cover can be removed and laundered when soiled.
As far as my cough and snotty nose goes, yesterday I gave up and went to the Doctor's office at Lyn's urging, but like the tooth ache that disappears as soon as your butt is in the dentist chair or the washing machine that come back to life when the repair man knocked on the front door, (another story for another day) most of my sinus symptoms had dissipated to the extent that the doctor didn't do anything for me but ask of I had had a flu shot yet and now that I am 65 Medicare would pay for a pneumonia shot. Both of which I declined. For some reason I felt I was being sold what I hadn't come there to buy. Had I wanted a flu or pneumonia shot I would have made an appointment. That said, I know there or those who do need to be told about these things. I'm not one of them.
While I was out and about yesterday I severed my last legal link to Kentucky. I have for all intent and purpose been a Missourian for 2 plus years. And now I at last have a Missouri drivers license.
I went to get my drivers license changed about a month after I moved here, but didn't when I learned what the requirements for doing so were and I rebelled for a time. The post 9/11 requirements of having to present your birth certificate, proof of address and in the case of a married woman her marriage license to prove her name change or a Passport even when you have a valid license from another state just sent me into a stubborn mindset that lasted until about two weeks ago when I realized my Kentucky license would expire on 11/30/2008. Because I wanted to drive legally, and board airplanes I had no choice but to produce my Passport and present proof of my current address to the licensing office. So I took several pieces of correspondence with me as proof , but because I vote they verified my address through voter registration records. I gave the State of Missouri $20.00. Looked in a viewfinder for a combo vision and road sign recognition test. Moved to another chair as instructed to sit very briefly in front of a blue screen for my picture and then to wait in the fourth chair I occupied while there for less than 3 mintes more. All total , 20 minutes. My plasticized drivers license says its valid until November 2015. I hope there is no long tale to tell about getting it renewed then. ha!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seven days ago I was humming

Six days ago I was coughing my head off.
Five days ago despite the cough I was putting the final touches on the house for the holidays which included decorating and supervising the youngest grandson as he hung the wreath over the fireplace after which I took to my bed, downed a few pills and thinking tall grandsons are a blessing. A blessing I didn't consider as such when I was trying to keep them fed, or they seemed to out grow their clothes between one wash day and the next.
Four days ago despite feeling like snot and thinking I was having one hell of an allergy attack I helped Lyn prepare dinner for 12 guest that we served buffet style. Lyn and I made 14 so that meant assorted china, glassware and getting out a card table so all could be seated.
Our guest began to arrive at 4PM after all of them and Lyn had attended a play.
Cooking for so many is a lot of work. But all in all it was fun having them.
Our guest left at eight and I went to bed.
Three days ago, I got up long enough to hand wash the wine glasses and other glassware that had belonged to my great-grandmother that I don't trust to the dishwasher and that was the last time I was upright and on my feet longer than it took to go to the bathroom or to the kitchen to get something cold to drink with lots of ice.
Two days ago I thought I was getting better so I cancelled the doctors appointment I made when feeling my worst on Monday. I also discovered the benefits to be had from using a Nitti pot as seen and demostrated by Dr Oz on and Ophra espisode. .
One day ago, late in the afternoon, food began to taste like food again.
Today, I am having thoughts of starting on the six decorator pillows I promised to make for my middle grandson for Chirstmas and his birthday since they are so close together.
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Eight years ago I began collecting angels created by Judy Murphree expressly for Hospice as a fund raiser. Because I had not purchased one since moving to Missouri I went on line to see if any new ones had been created and I found three that I did not have. In discovering this I also came across an article that reported that the artist was ill and was closing her studio. I was saddened to learn this. She created 13 angels and I have twelve of them now. I'm missing angel #1 and since they all were limited editions the likelihood of me finding it is slim to nil, but there is always hope.
I thought at first that I would use them only as Christmas tree ornaments but thoughts of putting them away and out of sigh for most of the year didn't set well with me so they hang, year round, evenly spaced from hooks in my studio above the window.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh Christmas tree

oh Christmas tree, --la la --la la-- la-- la la...

I woke at 3:30 this morning humming this song. Waking at 3:30 is not unusual for me, it an age thing... however waking at 3:30 AM humming is. Generally I wake with quilt ideas in my head or list of things to do in the mornings, but never before humming. I'm blaming it on the season and the fact that I was up and down the ladder; bending and stooping to unload the tree trimming boxes and staying busy for most of the day before I got all of the angels, Santa's and pine cones placed through out the great room. It has taken me several days to decorate the hall, (great room and foyer) mainly because I enjoy doing it and I really didn't feel the need to rush through it. Truth to tell I rather like the Zen like task of making 6 dozen or so gold bows which was accomplished unhurriedly over the last two days.

As I was humming myself back to sleep after a trip to the potty, I began thinking of all the Christmas trees that have graced my life through the years and in doing so I did not recall a single year when I didn't love the Christmas season, the decorations and the tree when it was done.

I was a child during the years when most of the major retail stores had animated decoration in their windows for the holidays. Children of today have no clue what they have missed, unless they happen to live in a city like New York where I believe Macy still does it holiday windows. I was fortunate in another way too. We lived 5 blocks from a large Sears store. In my youth I recall spending hours with my nose pressed against the large corner window peering in and being throughly entertained. The windows were up as I best remember shortly after Thanksgiving until a day or two after the New Year.

Of course too, when I was a child our house always had a well decorated tree and smelled of the season. There were bowls of fresh fruit nuts in the shell and hard candy, but no fresh flowers or stocking hung from the fireplace because our house did not have a fireplace. But our shoes left under our beds were filled with coins; that I later learned when I was much older, were left for us not by elves or Santa, but by our Uncle Jack. But best of all during the holidays was the smell of a freshly cut pine tree.

The trimming of our Christmas tree, like the cooking of the Thanksgiving dinner was what my Father AWAYS DID. We all grew up knowing that it was Dad's tree. We knew not to ask to help because we wouldn't be allowed.
Oh we did get to add the tinsel when I was nearly 12 years old, one strand at a time but only when my Dad had finished what I always thought was the fun parts; stinging the light, hanging the pretty ornaments and placing the angel atop the tree. To this day, I still dislike tinsel on tree. The benefit of being an adult is you don't have to use it.

Growing up our Christmas trees from the time when I can first recall the memories of them were decorated for adults, or rather for my Father, not the children. It was a look but don't touch thing that stood in front of the window in our living room year after year.

When I grew up and became a wife and mother and the maker of the home I wanted I finally got to decorate a tree. Except for the first two trees that were decorated with passed on to me from my Grandmother Christmas ornaments, Starting the year my oldest son was 2, I began decorating our trees with the children in mind.

There were toy solders some years. Or lots of candy canes another year. One year I did a tree mainly of ginger snap cookies in holiday shapes that I spend hours sitting with a large bore needle punching holes in the cookies so I could add tiny red ribbon to hang them by. I remember fondly that by the end of the season the tree was denuded of cookies at the level the kids could reach. All pulled off by little hands and eaten.

But as the children grew the tree began to chance and it became more fru-fru-ed and adulterly done.

Now with all my kids long grown and the grand boys following suit bows have replaced cookies. Baby breath some years was used instead of candy cane. This year ribbons have won out over garland made of popcorn. Last year Lyn reluctantly let go of her collection of Sesame Street character ornaments. She sent them off to the home of a friend with small children, hopefully to charm and cheer. This year Lyn and I looked wistfully at the collection of Dr Susses Cat in the Hat, hats and the Grinch's pointed toe shoes we couldn't part with last year, but now know that from this year forward they no longer have a place on the trees in our house.

This year we have gone GOLD. Gold ribbon done up in bows, gold balls both shiny and matte and, gold stars. Touches of red in the form of holly berries abound. All very adult-ish, ... but as pretty as it all is, there is something missing... and I know what it is... as I sit satisfied with a job nearly complete, I look about the almost too perfectly done room and wistfully remember and miss the sound of laughter made my small children and grand children who in wide eyed amazement stood transfixed gazing at the lighted trees in my past.

It's all about the joy given to others that makes all the work one does for Christmas worth the effort.