Monday, December 31, 2012

Oh Happy Day...

   On the last day of the year, as one is thinking of the year gone by and preparing to embrace the next, are there any words less festive than, "You need a root canal."  Knowing the first weeks of the 2013 will involve repeated dental appointments, I am loathe to make a single resolution.   I mean really, why bother? 
   It puts me in mind of a quote from one of my favorite authors, S.J. Perelman:  "Every twelve years I drop whatever I am doing and allow wild horses to drag me to the dentist."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Will Scar for Art

Carol Dupre's seminar "Potential Space and the Found" has ended.  I will miss being confounded weekly.  She promises us the Brothers Grimm and their deeply twisted fairy tales next semester.  I learned much this time, though I would be hard put to explain it.  Best to adopt a nod and a knowing smile.
Our "found" project is still in the works.  I chose to do an ontology (look it up, I had to).
Apparently, paintings of scars are big in the art world just now.  I don't mean to brag, but I have many scars. (The only better news for me would be if Ruben-esque women were to be declared the avatar of healthy womanhood.)  So my canvas is a grid of nine squares.  It will be titled, "A Sum of my Parts".  The center grid will depict of woman with a migraine (they were central to my life for many decades).
 For scars there's my knee replacement gone bad, my double back surgery, my hysterectomy, my ectopic pregnancy, my twisted colon, my skin cancer...
When this piece is done, the art world will be my oyster. (And should the knife  slip while opening said oyster, I'll have a series.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Passing Addictions

   This much I know to be true: Peanut Butter is my gateway drug.  Not just any PB, certainly not smooth, or natural (with its enticing pond of natural oils sitting on top).  JIF Crunchy is my Waterloo.  It's my go-to drug.  I have a long history with peanut butter.  As a teen I took long baths. My family speculated that I was doing something intimate.  I was: eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.  I can judge my adherence to a diet by how much I crave my JIF.  When off the wagon and eating late at night in front of the tv, I have found myself eating JIF.  I fall asleep, jerk awake, and eat more. 
    This being Thanksgiving week, food looms large. Even discounting peanut butter, I am a serial food addict.  Something catches my fancy and I eat it all the time, for about six months and then I'm done, never want to eat it again.  I've done this with Dove ice cream bars, bagels, Trader Joe meringues, lime yogurt with almonds, peppermint candy, those styrofoam wheat pops, caesar salads, fresh tomatoes, baked potatoes,peanut butter/banana/chocolate chip sandwiches, and buttercream icing.  Something triggers in me and it won't let go for months.  I can not have ice cream in the house or home baked goods.
   My current constant is McCann's oatmeal with sunflower seed butter and dried sour cherries.  Every morning for seven months.  I'm beginning to tire of it, which means another obsession is around the corner.
    The good news is I haven't had JIF in 8 months. My acupuncturist said peanuts were toxic to my  system. These days I am drinking Aloe Juice and curcumin pills to heal.  What fun!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The wheels keep on grinding...

   Once, many years ago, I got stoned.  I liked  the mellow and the munchies of the sixties.  This was the nineties and pot had intensified.  I felt like the inside of my body was rotating in one direction, while the outside of my body was rotating in another.
   I bring this up because I am having a similar reaction but without the grass.  Stasis on the outside, turmoil on the inside.  I'm not painting at home, or stretching canvases or in any fashion, productive.  My mind is whirling with ideas but there is a short-circuit.  I am taking a seminar with Carol Dupre, "Potential Space and the Found".  I knew I was in trouble when I didn't understand the class description. ( Do you know what a vulgate is?)  Carol is a brilliant painter and she has spurred many an artist to make the leap.  I wasn't in the mood to leap, but I figured it couldn't hurt to look over the edge.
    Apparently, it has disconnected my intent from my action.  It is supposed to be a painting class, but so far we haven't touched paint.  I don't even bother bringing paint to class.  We've made clay heads, looked at death masks, read "By Night in Chile" by Roberto Bolano.  (Excellent book about Pinochet's reign, but it is one paragraph, 118 pages long.)  We've seen and dissected the movie, "Perfume: the history of a murderer."  Lovely, twisted images to fire the synapses.  "Pan's Labyrinth" is next.  Last week we read about paradigm shifts in science.  I love what I have learned from this, but it seems to have immobilized me.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ask me no questions...

                        "Canoodling" 22" x 40"
I was asked by the Art League's blogmaster to answer some questions about my blog.  Oddly, I haven't blogged since I responded to him.  So, in lieu of a blog,  here are my answers, the italized words refer to his questions)
    I began blogging because Dawn Benedetto insisted that a modern artist must go viral.  Apparently, websites are not enough.  I joined Facebook for the same reason.  I draw the line at Twitter, believing it to be an offense to language.  I don't text for the same reason.
   My blog is not a true artist blog.  I don't discuss techniques or analagous color schemes. If someone asks, I would be happy to tell them.  But no one has. The Blogger 'leave a comment' section is difficult to use.  Artist block comes up now and again, but I am more likely to grouse about tenants of our summer house or my son's dog.  I try to be droll.
   Do I like Blogger. No.   Blogger appropriates your images as their own, with the feeble warning 'Images may be subject to copyright.'  May?#?!?  It is open season for pirates.  (I say this as one whose images were hijacked and displayed the walls of a fish restaurant in Singapore.  A woman from Hong Kong recognized my work from International Artist Magazine and sent me cellphone images.)
   I have never sold a painting from my blog.  I don't know who reads it, though apparently I am big in Russia, Pakistan and Malawi.  The few members of my family who read it,  do so sporadically.
   The benefits of blogging are purely selfish.  I used to write novels and food books.  When I discovered pastels, I stopped writing immediately.  (That and the lack of  hue and cry from the publishing world.)  Later when I had to write about my painting I found it incredibly difficult.  Writing is a different 'muscle' than painting.  After 20 years of apparent ease, I had to work at it.  So blogging helps  keep the muscle toned.  I enjoy the process.
   I try to blog at least twice a month.  I am up to 101 posts.  During my solo art league show, Erica Fortwengler, the publicity director, insisted that I blog everyday. It was a nightmare.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

It has been two years since I started this blog from this very couch.  It's a beach day, gorgeous, crisp and sunny, but I thought I should mark the anniversary with a post.  The island has changed more than I have.  Wasque Beach, where I had sunrise breakfasts with my mother, made out as a teenager, and built sandcastles with my kids, is no more.  Two years of vicious storms have reclaimed the dunes and a good chunk of wooded land.  People say it will grow back, like a salamander's tail, but probably not in my lifetime.
It is so quiet here, almost contemplative.  Except for the falling bricks.  One of the chimneys loosed a spate of bricks inside the fireplace last week.  It is always something with this house.  For most the year it is a troublesome geriatric patient, causing all manner of bother. But as soon as I get here and sit on the porch, I am home and content.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Operator? Operator!

The last of the tenants have gone home.  It was a financially bruising season.  I understand that Islanders on the Vineyard have to make all of their money during the summer months.  Gouging the summer folk is, if not a sport,  the norm.  They have reason to be bitter, the place shuts down after January first with few bars and nary a chichi store to be found.  Unemployment rises.  I have been there in February, walking the wind-whipped shores, and  I took to drink.
If I lived there year round, I would be right pissed about all these people in their Range Rovers trampling on my island.  So yes, there is justification.  But still....
A continually sparking pilot light prompted one tenant to call the gas company for an emergency visit.  I understand the tenant's concern.  The pilot light is electrically generated.  Unplug the stove for 30 seconds. Problem solved. We should have left a note to that effect. (There is nothing more inviting to a tenant than a house whose appliances are festooned with such notes.)  The gas company allegedly spent two and a half hours resolving the problem for $452.  (Last year a different company charged us $300 for travel time.) I called the gas company for an explanation.  The accountant couldn't find the work sheet.  She left a message the next day reducing the bill by $200 with no explanation of her generosity.   Then the phone bill arrived with a charge of $49 dollars for a 12 minute call to a 264 country  area code.  Namibia.  The tenants swore they did not call Africa.  No one else was in the house.  (Several years ago a member of cleaning crew had a lengthy chat to Brazil and billed me for the time as well.)
I called Verizon and waited 42 minutes to talk to a human.  When I explained the problem the operator said 'the call came from your house.'  Computers don't lie.  The best he could do was to call the number in Namibia and see if they could identify the caller. A long wait ended with the news that the call was to Cape Air in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  A stone throw from the Vineyard.  He didn't understand the mistake, Hyannis is a 508 area code but the computer listed it as 264-- Namibia.  (Perhaps with all the outsourcing the call was routed through Namibia.)  You would think I felt victorious, but I was just exhausted.
There are worse stories I could tell but my family won't let me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Piggy Addendum

In my rush to appear 'prepared' and not 'piggy' in my last blog, I neglected to include  my most troublesome need for plenitude.  Future paintings. I need a back stock of three or four good ideas or I get prickly.  This happens to me rather more often than I would like. The last time, I wandered around  taking photos of detergent bottles, spiderwebs and truck wheels, anything really, hoping for a jump start.  (There is a folder on my computer labeled "Desperate Still Lifes".)

I am now officially prickly.  I have run out of gas in the middle of the ocean.  No land in sight.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I am Not a Hoarder

Looking at my still lifes, one could be forgiven for believing I am a hoarder.  I am not a hoarder.  I am a plenitudian.  I know that is not a word (my autocorrect spelling tells me so). But it should be.  There must be others like me.  People who are only psychically happy when they have enough supplies to carry them through a prolonged emergency (with electricity intact, please).  The larder is stocked.  My freezer is packed, probably with inedible meat from 2002.  I have enough art supplies to stock a minor university.  I have never run out of gas.  I maintain a pile of books that I am eager to read.  Videos to watch and 14 days worth of songs on my ipod.   For the record, I am not piggy, I am prepared

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sam versus the Buddha

There is a scene in Eat, Pray, Love where the protagonist meditates at sundown in India.  Mosquitoes gorge on her flesh and yet she is able to maintain the perfect peace of her meditation.  I thought about that often this week.  Sam, my son's whirling dervish, was visiting for the week.  I usually meditate in the morning. The first day Sam slept beside me under the comforter. I was able to maintain my concentration even as he shimmied to the bottom of the comforter to escape.  It was the whining after he exited that ended my efforts.  The next day he wouldn't settle down, opting instead to chew and rip the down comforter.  Most of the week went like that.  If I put him outside the bedroom while I tried to meditate he butted the door. My husband erected barricades at the bottom of the stairs but that just made him angry.  Did I mention he excels at baying mournfully?

Sam is not a creature of  half measures.  He was outside stripping the tomatoes from the vine, I was inside reading.  When he decided he wanted in, he didn't bark or paw the door.  He didn't sit by the glass door and look longingly.  No, he hurled himself up in the air and planted four paws on the glass before thudding to the porch floor.

I love Sam. Really, I do.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Blue

The above photo is of my brother's five and a-half month old bulldog Tucker in an oxygen cage.  Tucker, who couldn't be sweeter if he were made of gum drops,  developed aspirational pneumonia and nearly died several times last week. He is now through the worst of it, we hope.  I can only imagine the vet bills. Catastrophic in many ways.   It didn't use to be like this.  When my black lab had an ACL surgery in the mid 1990's the total bill, including anesthesia, medicine and two nights stay was $180.  When my yellow lab had the same operation ten years later the bill was over $2000. And that doesn't include treatment for the subsequent kidney failure that resulted from the pain medication.  It can't just be inflation.  America is pet crazy. And I say that as one of the deeply crazed.   Vets just happened to be the beneficiaries of our madness.  Anything is possible now, transplants, cloning, the sky's the limit.  Three years ago my vet was stunned by my refusal to put my 12 year old lab through chemotherapy. (In fairness, if Clio had been young at the time I might have been tempted.)  This pretty young vet told me, in all earnestness, "Old age is not a disease."  Ha!
Canine allergy tests start at $600.  My god-dog Sam went through a battery of them when the kangaroo and red lentil diet proved futile.
Sam is staying with us while my son and his wife enjoy Napa Valley.  While I was at work yesterday Sam discovered a wicked, horrid monster cleverly disguised as a 6-foot bath mat.  Sam to the rescue.  He dragged the 'monster' down the stairs and thrashed it soundly, whacked it against furniture and water bowls.   He seemed to expect some reward for his efforts.
Sam has developed a whiny quality that I thought only existed in pre-school children.  Whatever we are doing for him it is apparently, not enough.  The house is littered with his toys and bully sticks (for those happily unaware, a bully stick is a dried bull's penis) but he wants to munch on my collection of vintage windup toys.  He wants to chew the down comforter.  He wants the monster/bathmat released from the closet, where apparently it is issuing a siren song of taunts.  He just whined at my husband who  commented: "Oh for heaven's sake.  He has a bull's penis, what more does he want?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Measure Up!

Sometimes when painting a piece, I can feel that it will sell.  One such piece sold off the easel.  Several that I know will sell are still waiting for their owners to claim them. Or to be born...   Then again, sometimes I know when a painting  will not sell.  The above, "Roman Love Triangles" is one of those.  It is from a photo I took in 2002.  I loved the dragon in the balusters staring at the the oblivious couple.  I doubt many people will share my amusement, but that's okay.  There's still room in my basement.
But I am baffled by consumers who buy, not because they love the painting, but because of its inches.  I was in the Torpedo Factory studio when a couple came in and pulled out a measuring tape.  They held it up against several of my partners' pieces and mine as well.  Then they left.  An hour later they came back, measured again.  I wondered if they would pull out fabric swatches to see if it matched the sofa.  They left again.  When they returned they settled on a piece that was 24 inches tall and was mostly red and yellow.
People should buy art that they love.  Repaint the room or buy a new couch, if necessary.  But love the art.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Tis the season of their Discontent

The rental season is upon us.  We (I) wait with bated breath for the first complaint.  My brothers posted a note for the tenants: "If there is a problem, call Cindy."  Most magnanimous of them.  I'm also the one who goes to jail if there is anything hincky about our finances.
My acupuncturist thinks my qi would benefit if I would envision  a place where I am "most me" and at my happiest.  I should do this whenever I feel tense and also when I meditate.  I immediately thought of the porch at the Vineyard.  I recall of the angle of the sunlight, the smell of the sea and the bayberry, the drone of the mosquitoes.  Happy place!
 But it's a short jump from that porch to unhappy thoughts.  My mind is on the porch, feeling the breeze, and the next instant I'm thinking about the septic tank.  We have been stewards of the house for 27 years and I don't think we've ever had it pumped.  I remember vaguely that my parents had it done.  I believe it is under the yard in back.  No telling where the opening is.  Probably six feet into the brambles. My mother told me as a child not to play in a certain corner of the yard, but was that the septic tank or the underground root cellar?
If thinking makes it so, I expect a call soon from the tenants, to report that the back yard is bubbling and ripe with odour.
Happy, happy...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Last night I attended the opening of my show "Summertime" at the Jarrett Thor Gallery in Colonial Beach, Va.  It was quite the exciting party what with the fire trucks and the ABC (Virginia Liquor Board) on site.
No doubt you expect I set the gallery ablaze.  Not so.  Turns out my opening was scheduled for the same night as the annual Fire Truck Parade.  Fire trucks from Maryland and Virginia, with horns cranking and wailing, drove through the tiny town of Colonial Beach for 45 minutes.  It was rather like being locked in a bell tower.
To add further merriment, an agent from the ABC liquor board dropped in, flashed her badge, and demanded that the gallery stop serving wine.  Apparently, the agent felt that the wine was unduly influencing people to buy art.  (I mean really, how else are we to peddle the stuff.)  No one was buying art at the moment, but the agent was not dissuaded.  The wine was corked and put away.  Sigh....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sam, the Happy Thresher

When last I posted, my son was about to leave me with his bundle of terror, Sam, the possible pit bull.    He casually mentioned  that Sam could leap over a couch from a standstill.  I didn't believe them.  Now I'm  convinced Sam is a four-legged pogo stick on meth.  He bounces through the house at warp speed.  At night, when I'm watching tv on from my bed, Sam dashes in, leaps over me to the other side of the bed. Then jumps back on the bed, over me and to the floor.  Repeatedly.  He finds this endlessly amusing.  I find it less so.   He also enjoys shredding things. See above.  In effort to divert him from my pillows and sofas, I offered him stuffed animals I picked up from a garage sale.   Daily sacrificial animals, if you will. I've run out of sacrifices with 8 days left. I could offer up a raw chicken, but then he's allergic to chicken ( and beef, lamb, rice, duck, salmon, venison.)  He's on a kangaroo and red lentil diet.  (I don't think I actually believed that until I saw the bag of food.) Sam prefers objects he can sink his teeth into, so nylabones are ignored.  He loves squeaker toys, or rather loves to  eviscerate the toy and render the squeaker mute.  I tried the "indestructible" toys.  He munched through them in a trice. 
Did I mention that he is often sweet and cuddly?
The four-foot flamingo was the last of the garage sale animals.
Beneath the fuzz was a hard layer wrapped around a core of styrofoam pellets.  I didn't want the pellets all over the living room so I put the flamingo in the yard.  Sam spent 10 minutes trying to drag the wide flamingo through the narrow dog door.  It took some maneuvering, but he succeeded.  And when I wasn't looking, loosed a geyser of styrofoam all over the porch.  
I told my son before he left on his honeymoon that if his plane went down, I was not adopting Sam.  He laughed and said, "Yes, you will."  Drat.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Run, Roo, Run!

 My son Ned read my blog and announced that it was depressing.  I was going for "wry."  Ah well...  So, in the interest of happy thoughts, I present my grand-dog Sam.
(I told my son not to adopt a dog, that he couldn't afford it.) What do I know?  Ned rescued Sam, a mixed breed.  Ned insists
that Sam is part pit bull, and is unreasonably proud of it.  Everyone knows that mutts are healthier than pedigree dogs. Everyone but Sam, who cost my son and his fiance a small fortune in vet bills.  Major food allergies.  For awhile, the allergy went into remission with zyrtec and a limited diet of venison and sweet potato.  Alas, that didn't work and he's now on a diet of (I kid you not) kangaroo and red lentils.
I see Sam every week.  I've petted him twice.  He never stands still long enough to receive affection. He zooms through our house as if he's going for a land speed title.  At home he chews the normal things, rugs, shoes, hands (Sam doesn't seem to know where the toy ends and the human begins).  One day he chewed a hole in the middle of their memory foam mattress.  Yes, he's a rascal all right.
My son is getting married next week. Sam is not attending.  While my son and his wife honeymoon, Sam will zoom through our house for two weeks.  I will lob pellets of kangaroo and red lentil at him as he passes by. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beginnings Again

The last time I had a puppy, my mother was in the end stages of Alzheimer's.  Our beloved black lab had died the week before-- the same week my mother moved to a nursing home near me.  I visited her twice a day.  Alzheimer's units are more like  lunatic asylums than assisted living facilities. If it hadn't been so disturbing, it might have been funny in a twisted, black way.  Clio, above, was the picture of innocence the day we got her.  Little did we know her penchant for vegetation would become a mania.  When her ball hit a bush or a plant, she took it personally.  She became quite adept at ripping plants from the ground and limbs from their trunks.  She also had a cute trick of flinging full water bowls across the room. And she ate all of our azaleas.  I remember clearly sitting at an intersection between the nursing home and my puppy's home, realizing that I did not want to go to either "home".
I introduced Mom to Clio.  They didn't get on.  My mother died soon after.  Clio grew to be a wonderful soul.  The two are entwined in my mind, alpha and omega.  Maybe that is why I never got another dog.
Which brings me to the new beginnings.  My brother's family had a great bulldog, Dozer, that died early and unexpectedly.  They wrestled with the idea of getting a new dog.  They waited months and months.  Cody, the dark blob to the left, is a gentle beast of a chocolate lab.  He greeted the new bulldog, Tucker, with great good humor, even as Tucker treated Cody's ears as chew toys.  My grand nephew, Max also enjoys tussling with Tucker.  He is size appropriate.  Max was to be christened in New York City. So I went to Baltimore to babysit the puppy.  He's adorable , aside from his razor sharp teeth.  Still in housebreaking stage, he had to be carted out to the yard hourly.  He took exception to my policing of chewables.  I spent the day in near constant motion: ferrying him to the pee and poop zones, keeping him away from the duck pond, removing sticks, dead habiscus, and stones from his gullet.  It was a long day.  I'm so happy my brother has gotten a new puppy.  And that I don't want one.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Too Much Information Alert

  If I am known for anything, artistically speaking, it's as a food artist.  Clementines, mussels, raw chicken...I have painted them all with love.   I have a complicated relationship with food, loving it, apparently, to excess.  Painting it, writing about it, devouring it.  I looked forward to every meal of the day. "Five a day" fruits and veggies/whole grains/ high fiber was practically my religion. 
   I need a new religion.  I have lymphocytic colitis.  They don't know how to treat it other than to carpet-bomb the colon with steroids for three months.  My perky doctor told me I could expect 3 to 4 attacks a year.  (Do the math: 9 to 12 months a year on steroids.)  Usually I have a month between attacks. This last one came on after only a week and was particularly vicious.  My acupuncturist used this as further evidence of my spleen qi deficiency.  (Previous evidence, food cravings, heavy menstruation and bruising).  I could no longer ignore the diagnosis.  To build up qi and rid the 'dampness', she has banned all cold foods, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dairy products, garlic and onions, sweets, red meat and alcohol from my diet.  I'm left with white fish, chicken, rice, bananas and root vegetables that have boiled and beaten into a submissive mush.   How can I give up tomatoes? And arugula, and apples?
  She said I have to develop patience. I'm pretty much known for my impatience. But I'm trying.  I meditate and drink ginger tea.  And I wonder at the irony of being a food painter sustained by mush.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pay it Forward

One of the qualities I admired most about my mother was her generosity.  She lost it and her tact with a massive stroke twelve years before she died.  I have already lost my tact, though many would argue I never had any.  I hope to remain generous.  Whenever I sell a painting, I buy another artist's work.  What comes around, goes around. I was talking to my acupuncturist (who is not only talented but young and lovely) about creativity. She went to art school but said she really loved music more.  I asked when she had last played and she replied, about a year ago because her clarinet had broken.  When asked, she said it would cost about $100 to fix but that financially, repair was a luxury.  I haven't sold a painting lately but I had my 'card' money. ( I sell note cards with images of my work for $5. After paying for the state tax, the cards, the cellophane envelopes, the premium photo paper and genuine Epson ink, I probably make less than 35 cents a card.  I try to ignore that.)  At the end of my session I gave her a hundred dollars of card money and told her to get her clarinet repaired.  What comes around, goes around.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Ties that Bind

My qi is in knots.  A Gordian Knot of the twelve pulses.  If this reads like gibberish, I hope you will forgive me.  Acupuncture  is my favorite hour of the week.  The first several sessions she  drained my stagnated qi.  Apparently I have quite a log jam.  (Small wonder, given the arsenal of migraine pharmaceuticals I took for decades.) Last week she made the pain in my shoulder, that was getting much worse with physical therapy, go away.  I was amazed.   This week she addressed my "cold qi" with a glass cup suctioned over my belly button.  No ice crystals formed.  I  have no idea how acupuncture works, but she can stick me with needles 'til the cows come home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

twisted influences

I took my sorry body to an acupuncturist. I've done acupuncture before without much effect.  This time I'm hopeful.  There was a lot of talking involved.  I described my art to her,  food paintings, and yes clearly, looking at my body, I've had issues with food.  When I told her about my Asian Influence series, I could not pinpoint when my fascination with Asia began.  As far as I could recall the only link was my mother.  My parents went to Japan and Thailand when I was young.  Connie Francis had a hit song called "Mamma" at the time and I cried copiously each time it was played on the radio. About ten times a day for two weeks.  My parents returned with wonderful pieces.  I told her I also paint a lot of sailboats.  She asked if I like to sail.  I answered, no, I spent my childhood summers becalmed, run aground or lost in a fog bank.  She said, "So you paint things that have had negative resonance."   It was a startling thought.
 So there you go, Psychotherapy and unblocked qi in one fell swoop.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I gimp I can, I gimp I can...

This pastel from my statues series is called, "Ah, Youth..."
I'm using it for this blog because I'm feeling old and cranky.  I always get this way when my body decides it has had enough.  Various sections are shutting down.  It's not fair.  I eat too much, but it's always healthy, five-a-day, fiber-licious food.  No fried foods, a minimum of red meat.  A soupcon of vodka.  I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day.  And I think good thoughts.  Really.
So why am I limping, unable to climb stairs without pain, and dealing with two tears in my rotator cuffs.  It isn't as if, as my husband pointed out, I just pitched a no-hitter.
Life is a bowl of mole.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aunt Edna's Ass

I was going through family photos and came upon this one of my mother and brothers.  She looks almost feral.  Children can do that to you.  When I had my two, I remember thinking, all I have to do is get them to the age of eighteen safe and sound and then I'll be done.  It seemed a tremendous task, and I needed to know there was a finish line.  I didn't come to that assumption on my own.  It is the fairy tale we spin to give parents the heart and the energy  to carry on.  But, as anyone with grown children knows, the fun is just beginning at eighteen.  Many of my friends' adult children are suddenly lost, or sick or bankrupt or heartbroken.  This pretty much means the parents are back where they started, and scared to boot.  The hopes you had for them as children are featherless and on the ground.  I am reminded of a line in the movie Parenthood.  Jason Robards says this of parenting: "It's like Aunt Edna's ass.  It goes on forever and is just as terrifying."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The One Horse Shay

Is there any more dispiriting a conversation than the one with your financial planner? My husband made me take part in this year's conversation because he wants to retire.  And I want him not to retire.  First, he showed me a graph of our financial future. Three lines that took in the vicissitudes of the market, the vagaries of the world situation, and for all I know, cricket futures (what an article in the New Yorker dubbed, "the other green meat").  It was not encouraging.  Two lines dribbled along with all the enthusiasm of a sulking dog.  The other dropped off the page after a few inches.  This I gathered was what happened if the fates did not align.  When checking the options from his pension policy, my husband asked me, in all seriousness, which of us would die first.

 One would think, with all my ailments and emergency surgeries, I would be the first one to go.  Not so.  My healthy husband was built like the one horse shay, each piece as strong as the next, never breaking down until one day it "went to pieces all at once, and nothing first, — just as bubbles do when they burst."

Actually, it's a race to the finish to see which of us can leave the other holding the bag. Ah, love....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oh say, can I see?

"You're not looking!" I hear my art teacher's voice in my head daily, chiding me to look closer.  I have recently realized that 'looking' isn't the problem.  Seeing, is where I fail. When painting,  I see what I expect to see, ie., the light is warm, the shadow will be cool.  This is not always the case. My new year's resolution was to 'see' with greater accuracy.
Apparently, this will be harder than my standard 'lose weight' resolution.  The other night I was brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and went to check my email.  (Don't ask.)  There was something of interest online.  I put down my toothbrush, and with a mouth full of minty foam, read the email. When I closed down my computer, I looked for my toothbrush.  It was not there.  I had not moved from my seat.  Where could it have gone? I rinsed my mouth and came back to search anew.  Still no toothbrush.  I enlisted my husband.  He found it readily, eighteen inches from my computer. (This from the man who suffers from Male Refrigerator Blindness.)  The next day I could not find my asthma inhaler which was right in front of me.  I am beginning to panic.