Wednesday, January 01, 2014

happy new year

‎January ‎01, ‎2014
Shit I Need to do This Year
an open letter to myself















In no particular order and strictly off the top of my head

* Botox. Get some. No one needs to look like that.
* Closets. Edit. Extreme edit. Empty.
* Weight. Lose it.
* Gym. Three times a week. Minimum.
* Be gentler to yourself, but not so easy. It's a fine line. Find it.
* Stop being fat.
* Stop being stupid.
* Stop being ugly.
* Ooops. See above.
* FOCUS!!!!
* Sewing; tablecloths, curtains, buttons.
* Sculpting; steampunk.
* Painting. Anything..
* Find a part-time job. Savings will not last forever, and poor, fat, old and ugly does not a winning combination make.
* Stop that.
* Voices in your head; don't listen to them. He loved you because he thought you were strong, smart and beautiful. Be at least half the woman he imagined you to be.

I just went in the back and looked in the guestroom dresser, searching for the fabric I bought in Paris to make a tablecloth. I realized, once again, as I heard myself form the phrase, "the fabric I bought in Paris..."  how glamorous that sounded; what a wonderful life I have lived, what a priceless gift I have been given. I have loved and been well-loved, first by mom and dad, then by my husband. I have been treated generously and with kindness, even when I deserved it least. I have traveled far and with gusto; I have seen wondrous things and met memorable people. Up until the day Russ died, my life was full, and everything I needed it to be. I have been so fortunate in all things but one; that it had to come to an end. Even there I have been lucky; I had a good run.

That's life. I weep with gratitude to all those who gave so generously of themselves. I am still here in spite of my best efforts, and I need to make it matter. I still don't know how, but I have to find a way. I am alone, and I have chosen to be, rather than try and replace the irreplaceable. But there are still friends to enjoy and care for. There are still places to go and people to meet, and I don't want to crawl into my hermit hole, however cozy, content half-inhabiting a shadow life, just me, my dogs, some books and TV. I feel the allure of it, but that way lies waste, and would do a disservice to those who gave me so much. I have to do better. Such a cliche'; live, love, laugh. I cringe every time I hear it, or see it embossed on a stone, pillow or poster. And yet... oh, well. Happy New Year and Carpe diem, Gi. Get off your fat ass and do something.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

shadow of a girl

It's been cool and raining off and on all day ~ the clouds threatening above as the dogs walked me quickly around the block. I have to admit, this is my kind of weather. I'm just a dark and rainy day kinda girl. It makes me cheerful.

It's been ages since I've had the time to enjoy the better part of a Sunday just playing in paint. I used to love such days when my husband was around, laughing, critiquing, always encouraging. Now it seems there are constant chores and responsibilities to be dealt with, the serenity of a quiet weekend all but lost. Too much quiet, too little serenity.

But recently I've been indulging in an occasional mixed media art class in old downtown Orange with the lovely and talented Erna van Dyk, who kindly guided me through this copy of her painting of a darkly elongated lady. As usual, I could not finish it by the end of a (generously extended) class; I am hoping to someday understand how to blend acrylic paints on canvas, as I seem to be horrible at it right now. One must work fairly quickly before the paints dry, and I can't even think as fast as paint dries. Too busy watching it, I guess. Fascinated.

Still, I worked on it today and, even though it is a lesser copy of someone else's art, I really like having my own 'shadow' of Erna's elegant lady. The slender figure seems to see something in the darkness, and I am grateful for her company on a quiet, rainy day. Serene at last.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

the moon, my shadow and me

I haven't been writing very much lately, or painting or drawing or anything else of much consequence. I have, however, been doing my share of drinking, which I like to think of more as a hobby than a vice. My way of making the world a little happier place. You know, for me.

I am drawn to wine labels, not for their pedigree but for their design, which makes me an object of oenophiliptic contempt*, but one must amuse oneself somehow. I soak them off when I can, which lately is not as often as it used to be. They seem to be using some sort of rocket glue that cannot be removed with the help of blow torches, water, vinegar or time. They either remain pointlessly clinging to their vessels for all eternity or surrender completely, dissolving at once into nothingness. Existential bottles. Choose your path wisely.

When successful, I glue the more pliant labels to paper and doodle around the edges. Sometimes in the morning I like how they look. Sometimes I don't, but it doesn't really matter. Mostly, I am drawn to the moonlight and the shadows and the flowers and the wine.



Drinking Alone Under the Moon
A translation of a poem by Li Bai (701-762 CE)

Alone among the flowers with a jug of wine,
Without a single friend to drink with me,
I lift my glass and invite the bright moon to come
Join in—now the moon, my shadow and I make three.

I know the moon is not a famous drinker,
My shadow’s toast no more than mimicry,
And yet for a little while the three of us
Carouse in springtime camaraderie.

I sing, and the moon sways to and fro in rhythm;
I dance, and my shadow floats in harmony.
Drinking, we share our joys with one another;
After, we’ll need to find them separately.

Let’s meet again, at the end of the Silver River, 
And there, my friends, resume our revelry!




















* a phrase I have almost certainly made up, and quite like

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

green parrots


I brought orange roses and red geraniums.
Their edges glowed as if lit from within
infused by the winter sun.

A flock of green parrots gathered noisily in a nearby tree
as the white dog lay placid.
Unperturbed.

It was a moment I wanted to catch, but didn't quite.
The colors leapt and then bled,
a memory already fleeing.

Like the shiny Mylar balloons affixed to graveside markers
that loudly exclaim,
"Happy Valentine's Day!"

A pretty thought,
but highly unlikely
under the circumstances.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

rescue me


At some point it had to happen. I just couldn't stand being around me anymore. I needed to find someone who needed someone who needed to be found. Still, I can't say it was love at first sight.

He came to the pound as 'Felix', a starving, mangy, parasite-ridden stray of dubious decent. He was called 'Wild Man' by the time the shelter people rescued him, and his picture shows a scrawny, badly shorn, befuddled but defiant little mutt. His foster mom, Tracy, told me she sat him down one day, told him his wanton behavior would have to stop and from that day forward he would no longer be known as the lunatic 'Wild Man' but as the aristocratic 'Reggie'.

"He knew," she said. "The minute I told him his name was changed and he was to behave accordingly, he did. I swear to you, that dog speaks English." With an accent.

I met him on Adoption Day at Petco. I thought he was kind of homely, and he thought the same of me. But there he was, front and center, pleading with everyone who came by, dancing tirelessly on his hind legs, thrusting his paws delicately forward, begging to be loved. I resisted, cuddling puppies and walking out with some of his handsomer mates. But those damp, yearning button eyes kept calling me back. I sensed a kindred soul. I took him home that night, my head filled with images of the things the two of us would do together: pictures of us climbing Half Dome in the fall, kayaking with the whales come spring, bicycling to Huntington Beach in summer; me in the basket with wind-whipped hair, he pedaling away furiously. Just a girl and her dog, sharing adventures, living the dream.

So far, mostly, we laugh.

It's been a couple if weeks now, and aside from some serious separation anxiety (Reg, I swear! I'm coming back!) he's happily settled in. We read the paper together in the morning, chuckle cozily at 'Modern Family' and '30 Rock' at night. We take long walks and marvel at all the things we never noticed when we used to walk alone. He reluctantly lets me take his picture, worrisome as the camera may be, and gnaws contentedly on his rawhide bone when I am being dull. We are good for each other. I chose him, and he rescued me. Thank you, crazy pound pup. I needed that. I think I needed you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

another year

Peartini Party (Tribute to Sandra Jones Campbell)

I started this painting over 2 years ago. Russell posed the hands holding glasses for me, and it was on the easel when he died. I couldn't go near it for nearly a year. I couldn't bear the thought of painting on the patio, still expecting him to come out and peer over my shoulder on his way out the door to play golf.

What do you think?

It's coming along. I think she's really going to like it.

Thanks, honey!

See you in a bit.

Bye, sweetie.

I finally finished it in November, and gave it to my friend for her birthday. I do believe she liked it. I think it turned out pretty well (again, with apologies to Sandra Jones Campbell, whom I adore). I know it was extremely hard to let go of. I only wish he could have been there to give it to her.

I miss him like hell.