Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

Happy New Year,'s a rare one, sporting a Blue Moon, a term that simply refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, something that hasn't happened on a New Year's Eve for nearly 20 years, NASA says.

"December 1990 ended with a blue moon, and many New Year's Eve parties were themed by the event," said Professor Philip Hiscock of the department of folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in Canada.

Most months have just one full moon, because the 29.5-day cycle of the moon matches up pretty well with the length of calendar months. Occasionally, there will be two full moons in a month, something that happens about every 2½ years, NASA says.

But a blue moon on December 31 is rare.

And so, in keeping with the theme I offer you four very different versions of Rogers and Hart's wonderful old jazz standard, "Blue Moon."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bailey The Unknown Reindeer

As a special holiday treat, here's Harry Connick, Jr. accompanying Bailey, The Unknown Reindeer as he shows you how to REALLY enjoy being snowed in! Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Uplift, Parts 2 & 3 - Crayons and Puppies

I can't help myself...I just have to post these two videos. One fun song, and one VERY sweet puppy.

Sunday Uplift - Hedgehog In The Fog

Feelings very much like a hedgehog in the fog this week, I thought this lovely animated film from 1975 Russia was the perfect uplift for this sunday morning. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Doing The Right Thing Makes Everyone's Life Better

I just caught a tiny bit on ABC News in the segment they've been doing all week as a farewell to Anchor Charles Gibson, who's retiring after 35 years. The little piece I saw STILL has me in tears of awe.

Some years ago, Gibson was given the privilege of releasing a Bald Eagle that had been nursed back to health after being injured. He was told by the rehabilitationists, "The eagle will fly off, then circle over your head in a show of thanks, and will then fly away." "Yeah, right," Charlie thought, and then, to his utter astonishment and delight, the eagle did precisely that.

There's SO much more complexity in the minds of the life around us than we humans have the snap to recognise.

How people can be so cruel - to one another, to themselves, to the natural world? I just don't understand how they can be alive and not see how stunningly beautiful and immense and impossibly incredibly and inexorably connected we all are. Time and again, I see clear evidence of sentient behaviour in animal species that most humans consider "lesser forms of life." Things like the eagle predictably circling its "friends." How can anyone only see a dumb animal in that behaviour? What arrogance! What absolute rubbish!

Has my rant made any sense? I dunno...I'm far too serious these days, but then, I always have been.

Back in the 70s, when I was a fairly angry feminist, a guy once asked me why I seemed so humourless about sexism, and at first I felt a little ashamed. And then I realised the fellow was right; I AM humourless about injustice and cruelty and mindless behaviour. And honestly? I don't really care to find the humour therein, though I confess that I eventually relaxed a bit and managed to find some humour in the interplay between men and women. But then, I had no choice; I worked as an enginerd in the high tech industry...when I started there were MAYBE two other women in my department. :-/ Late in that career, I was informed during a performance appraisal that other managers had complained I was "intolerant of mediocrity," and I just guffawed. "If tolerance of mediocrity is required, I want OUT!" Now THAT was a pretty funny situation.

I don't suppose I will ever stop fighting the good fight for all my fellow creatures, and following Dylan Thomas' insistence that we must "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

So DO go gently into that good night, folks. Be kind. Be mindful of your words and deeds and thoughts. Do your ever-connected best to be good neighbors to the world around you, and remember, we've been given the great honour of being Stewards of this perfect world. Let's not screw it up another day/hour/minute/moment's worth. Please?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Animals Are So Much More Fun Than Humans

Enough with the holiday blues! Time for what's important..shameless fun!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lonely Holidays

Holidays are so strange. It doesn't get much more lonely than the two or three days a year when 99% of the people around us are with friends and family. Fighting or laughing, they're together, in the warm embrace of a fantasy, anyway. It's weird not to have that in any fashion. It's weird to be alone on those days that are so devoted to the ideal of loving togetherness.

And you know, it's really the ideal that we all long for, not the harsh reality of the Holidays. I've shared plenty of holidays with my family that were less than ideal or loving. We all wanted that, we just couldn't seem to bring it off within the parameters of our sick, sad little group. I've been alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas more than once, too. The first time was the hardest, though I only remember the feelings, not much detail.

I'll be alone again this year, and I know I'll be sad and lonely. But honestly? There's not a lot of difference between being completely alone and having Peter in the next room. A little, but not a lot. We're like two objects in separate orbits that occasionally overlap, coming together to create a grocery list, or to put those groceries away. We seldom cook or eat together, or talk about our days. It doesn't get much lonelier than that, not really.

So I take a deep breath, straighten my back, plaster a knowledgeable smile of resignation on my face, and go forward. What choice is there?

Love 'em if ya got 'em, folks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feast for the Eyes

You can ALWAYS tell when I'm in a good mood, for I reach for two things - music and colour...and where better to find them in glorious combination than BOLLYWOOD!?! And the always perfect Aishwarya Rai dancing Nimbooda - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is food enough to fill anyone's cup to overflowing! Enough talk, enjoy this feast for the eyes before you fill your belly tomorrow!

You say you want something a little more contemporary? Well then, try this blend of modern with the gorgeous stars of Bollywood:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Uplift - Allison Iraheta

Last Year's American Idol was ALL about Adam Lambert and his glamrock power style, but I had my eye on the 16 year old rocker chicklet who came in fourth place, Ms. Allison Iraheta. I was certain that this little gal surely was destined for greatness, from her cute 'tude to her fearless performance style, so I was pretty pleased to encounter her kickin' first release "Friday I'll Be Over U" Get ready for one that's gonna stick in your head and make you wanna DANCE!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Friends, Ravens and Crows

I have loved crows and ravens forever, and defended them to people who think of them as pests; scavengers, carrion birds, and destructive creatures. Fortunately, since the general populace has begun turning more and more "green," scavengers are seen for the intuitive recyclers I've always known them to be, and more and more people are willing to share our bounty with the creatures of the wild with whom we are inextricably linked. I love vultures, too, but this is about how amazing and just plain old SMART my dark-feathered friends are. You may have seen some of the following videos, but they're worth watching, whether as a repeat or not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Mini-Show

Mini-Show at the Library

Just after the first of the month, I was asked by the Port Townsend Library staff if I could pull together a display of my artwork for their case dedicated to such things. So I ran home and grabbed some pieces, and created a small show that includes Three Skull House (the skulls bob up and down when the handle is turned), the Today Is Not Tomorrow - Raven journal, the mica bound journal, a representative group of ATC/ACEOs, and one of my favourite dolls; Bill Witkowski, Vampire Accountant. Here are some photos of the various pieces...

Bill Witkowski, Vampire Accountant
(12" tall)

Bill and his vampire cat

Mountain Raven (3.5 x 2.5")

Safe Harbour (3.5 x 2.5")

Raven In the Snow (3.5 x 2.5")

Today Is Not Tomorrow journal (5 x 7")

The display I created was liked so much, I was asked if I could do one for December, too, so I am busy working on a Winter Solstice theme. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Uplift, Redux - This Way Up

I just decided we all needed more of a real lift on this gloomy November Sunday. This short is so wonderful, and just fills the bill of giving you glimpse into my mood.

This Way Up - Watch more amazing videos here

Sunday Uplift - Mars and Beyond

In the midst of the dark chaos that was my uber-dysfunctional family, I ingested a wonderful diet of science and art, and ended up with a lobe dedicated to each discipline. Science was often presented in an artistic manner when I was a kid, especially by Disney. And so I would like to present a glimpse into an example of the type of animation that formed my strange mind via an ungainly post of multiple video parts. I hope you'll enjoy this, I know I did.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What is Art?

Someone posted this in a forum I frequent, and I thought I'd post the questions - and my own answers - here. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who feels like stepping up to the, comment section. The questions posed are in bold font.

What is art?

Art's a LOT like religion (for some of us it IS our religion) in that what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. Likewise the definition of same. For ME, art is that which moves my soul in a positive direction. Doesn't mean I'm all about bunnies and butterflies, though. I am particularly fond of strange oddities, said fondness often utterly confusing my "normal" friends. That said, I am also the first to call bullshit on what I call "Art School/Critic Crap-speak." Just because a guy CAN shit on a canvas in the middle of a crowd does NOT make it art because of its supposed avant-garde aroma (so to speak). Codswallop and rubbish I cry! But like religion, art is enourmously personal, so who am I really to say that act of defecation isn't art? It sure as shit isn't MY idea of art (pun intended), 'cause my soul isn't moved to anything but disgust, and so-called art that is repulsive doesn't make the cut for my inner gallery. Sadness I gladly incorporate, but not something that destroys the spirit rather than heals.

Why is art important?

One of the only things that makes humans worthwhile is our ability to express our feelings through art. Sure, elephants and apes paint, and maybe they're expressing their feelings through art, too. Hard to say since we currently have no metrics that allow us to measure their feelings with any degree of accuracy. Hell, we've JUST figured out that fish feel pain (well, DUH). In order to evolve as a species, we must grow as a society, and that requires the Individual to be aware of both others' and their own feelings. I wish I could report that human beings are good at being mindful of our emotions, either collectively or individually, but sadly we're not. And so art - music, film, sculpture, painting, textile, etc. etc. etc. becomes essential to our progress as a species.

Growing up as I did during the depth of the Cold War, I have been a fan of dystopian fiction usually involving a small group of humans trying to survive some terrible apocalypse. With almost no exceptions, the individuals chosen by writers, filmmakers, television honchos, etc. as essential members of their depicted band have all been useful in terms of their "hard" worth. That is, their ability to help their band survive via their expertise in some methodology involving machines or science, guns or foraging, and even the occasional leadership role (usually a former military man or a political figure). What is almost never factored in is the enourmous importance of art in the underlying health of the individual and social human psyche. Artists tell stories, we sing songs and play instruments, we bring colour and light and laughter to dark spaces...but even more importantly, we bring an extremely adept ability to think outside the box.

Akira Kurosawa said "Being an artist means never averting your eyes." I don't strictly agree with that statement, but I really get what he was saying. There's an inherent curiosity that artists are born with that causes us to examine that which others find unthinkable or repugnant. Because we don't avert our eyes; because we are deeply and undeniably curious, every artist I know of is capable of looking at almost any object or situation or problem and coming up with a dozen different ways to see and/or solve the situation. Artists are essential to the survival not just of our society, but of our core physical selves!

And why are YOU an artist, rather than anything else?

You mean I have a choice? Believe me, I have tried to be something else, but I end up miserable, angry, and suicidal. My name may change, and has, but I am an artist no matter what. It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Da Bones Journal
made for use at Journalfest

October, 2009; the month of quantum acceleration in Els' creative brain.

After Glenny's Art & Soul in Portland at the beginning of the month, I wasn't quite satiated yet, but after another intense three days and nights at Teesha and Tracy Moore's Journalfest here in Port Townsend, I am done. Stick a fork in me.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED to have attended both events, and I already have plans to attend MORE next year, but for now I am full to overflowing with ideas for new work and changes to works in progress. My creative self feels much the same as my physical self does after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. A little bloated, a little sleepy, but both with a BIG smile across my puss. And NOW is no time to go back to sleep!

Today is Not Tomorrow Journal
Made in Doris Arndt class at Journalfest

I have posted a number of photos of work done at Journalfest in the My Albums section of my website, with photos of the work done at Art & Soul to follow shortly, along with a few movies of the work made, as still shots do a sub-standard job of capturing the dimensional aspects of the pieces. I am very pleased with all that I learned, and have a clear idea of the next set of information needed on my journey.

Love Is the Key front cover
made in Stephanie Lee class at Journalfest

Now, the fog is clearing fast, so ONWARD!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Art as Life

Look at this incredibly cool video of an incredibly intricate and wonderful piece of art!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Madness Reigns

I really think the face masks add a little something to the routine, don't you?

Let's take stock of the month of October, shall we? Wednesday the 1st found me in Portland, attended the long awaited Art and Soul, or as I like to refer to it "A Gathering of The Tribe." The first couple of days are a bit of a blur, as I was sick, sick, SICK. I loaded up on heavy duty tylenol (thank you Faythe), drank grape juice fairly constantly, coughed down into my shirt, washed my hands obsessively, and did my level best to avoid contact with other people - not an easy task at an airport hotel filled with over a thousand artists from all over the globe. Yeah, well, I really did try not to infect anyone. Still, by Thursday night, I saw myself as radioactive. I seriously considered a trip to the ER that night, and ended up taking two baths in an attempt to get warm, but by Friday morning the terrible temp had broken and I felt almost human again. Almost. Enough that I actually remembered most of what was taught in my oh-so important automata class that day. I was still pretty funky by Sunday, when I boarded the train for home, and even now I am still working at getting over what I found out from my doctor after getting home was the dread Swine Flu...H1N1! The good news? I've had it, so worrying about whether or not to get the shot is off my plate.

Now here's my secret confession: I've always wanted to be Patient Zero in a plague scenario, and where better to do that than in the aforementioned crowded airport hotel! Score one and gimme that merit badge!That brings us to October 5. A week into the month. Full to bursting with renewed knowledge of my true path in life AND a map of how to get back on it, I signed up for JournalFest, another wonderful Gathering of the Tribe, but this time in my own back yard! Almost literally, as it's held at Fort Worden, and Fort Worden is two blocks from my house! How cool is THAT!? So now, before I've really fully unpacked, I'm ramping up for another set of classes with Mah Peeps.

Last night I attended a talk and demo of encaustic painting at Akamai Art Supply here in town. Very interesting, and quite possibly the process I've been looking for to use with my art dolls instead of the miserable wax dipping I've done in the past. Can hardly wait to try it out, but it will HAVE to, as I still have the following list to complete by month's end:

The Deck Project, a year-long weekly committment I haven't begun yet! Ack!
Handmade Miniature Books with Inchies This one I have well in mind, and partially begun, too. Three books are currently awaiting my find hand for stitching, etc. Lord how I love book binding!
The Mad Alchemist - an art doll that is well along in her construction, I just need to sit down with the soldering iron for a day and get her bones put together into a skeleton so I can begin constructing musculature, etc.
Photos of all of the above and more
Clean my studio from the mad press to get ready for Art and Soul, so that I can take people from JournalFest into my lair without fearing for their health.
Begin prototyping a new art doll design that incorporates automata
Finish binding an art journal that is currently sitting in multiple signature form
Create covers and design bindings for four other books that have guts but no real structure yet
Play with some of the new products and techniques learned at A&S
Get my etsy store restocked (ACK! MUST DO THIS NOW!)
Get some canvases done for the gallery's Winter Show

And I know there's more...

I need a clone, please.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


After a real brain slog, and FAR too many starts and stops and massive failures and roadblocks, I have FINALLY managed to get my Wolf Bird Studios website up and running! That's right, folks, my professional art site is LIVE!

I am most interested in hearing ANY comments or suggestions or critique. There are almost certainly ticks and wonky bits, and I need your help in seeking them out, so com'on folks, let's hear some feedback!

Oh, you need a link? Sheesh...why didn't I think of that? :-) Here y'go: Wolf Bird Studios

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Kitten and the Pea

Remember The Princess and the Pea fairy tale? At my house that has now morphed into The Kitten and the Pea for the following (obvious) reason:Brady on a stack of clean dog blankets

There's a chair under there someplace. Cats are SUCH hedonists! Or as Margaret Benson said, "The cat is above all things, a dramatist."

And here's the sweetness I awoke to this morning. Th two brothers - by love, not blood.

Brady and Kramer cuddling at my feet

Meanwhile, His Grace, Big, sprawls across the entire width of the bed. Hey, I don't call him "Big" for nuthin'!

Note the "normal sized" cat on the far right (click for much larger look)

Isn't furry love just the best?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We the Sheeple

Super Yank - aka Captain America

A European friend asked me a question today, and I thought I might share the question and my response with you. I'm interested to know if I make sense, if I've overlooked or misunderstood or misrepresented anything, so please leave me a comment if you are so moved.

"Give me a clue what is going on with your politics at the moment. From this side of the pond there appears to be some anti Obama backlash, which is really sad, since the man hasn’t been in the job long enough yet, plus I don’t understand the fears re health care reform? Surely everyone would prefer a system where everyone can get and afford healthcare?"

There's a lot of cultural psychology I could share that would explain the reason we became the way we are in the first place, but I'll save that for the sake of brevity and staying on point.

But here's what you need to understand about the USA populace as applied to the question of our currently political situation:

Since the turn of the Nineteenth Century, when American Capitalists had the reins of the world market firmly in hand, the Controlling Class has been eager to control the worker classes in order to maintain their own power. We the People have been pointedly sold a bill of goods that we are the best and brightest in the world, and that America is the most important and powerful nation on this planet.

Post WWII, when our "enemies" were largely crushed, and our friends (think Britain and France) were in dire straits, believing that the US won the war for the rest of the world, we then wrapped ourselves in the myth of Super Yank, and declared the people who fought the war "The Greatest Generation." The ruling class, seeing a grand opportunity to continue their controlling role with the populace, set about building an entire industry (Madison Avenue and Advertising) on perpetuating the impossible myth.

So for the next twenty years, we grew our belief that we're the most fabulous country on the planet. And the ruling class, fully appreciating how herd-like we are when we believe we're all that, put their full resources behind the effort to keep us in Fantasyland.

Meanwhile, the Boomer generation was growing up without fear of war or want, and we thought this idea of working really hard without questioning the reasons behind what we did was stupid and too blindly docile. So we Questioned Authority. Loudly. Although there was great value in Questioning Authority, there was also a downside: in doing so, we taught others how to do it, too. That part becomes important later on.

Now, the Government didn't like being questioned; they didn't appreciate the sheep looking up, so they studied the whole experience and learned how to quash such a thing in the future. And boy howdy did they ever crush any attempt at rebellion during the Reagan and Bush years!

The knew that had to give the sheeple SOMEthing to make them feel happy and thus be more easily placated and thus controlled, so the entertainment industry; television, movies, sports, gossip, etc., and media of all kinds began overtly feeding us the Conservative line of "We are the greatest nation in the world."

During Bush Junior's regime, the propaganda was taken to the extreme. Any footage of wars in which our troops are involved or flag drapped coffins arriving home were not allowed broadcast on television (seriously, it was illegal during his years), and ONLY "Bush friendlies" were allowed into any situation where the little weasel was speaking. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Absolute control of the media, and thus of general public awareness created an environment in which things replaced feelings; where how much you had was more important than how much you were loved. Things became love. And by gum, Americans had more stuff than anyone else in the world. And we just knew other people in the world were jealous of all our cool stuff, and wanted to take it all away from us.

We were ripe, nay - pregnant with fear.

Enter Rupert Murdoch into this fertile field with his insidious tyranny of disinformation. Fox News became the (very loud) voice of the conservative right in the arena of coverage, a voice that was welcomed by all those people who were afraid someone might take away their stuff or The American Way. I do hope it's not lost on you that the final catchphrase of that sentence comes from Superman. As in "Truth, Justice, and The American Way." Too many Americans believe that phrase originated in some Founders document. *sigh* I'm ratholing again, I know. There's just so much slight of hand and so many half truths that really need some light shined on them that once I start sweeping around with my floodlight, it's hard to know where to stop. My apologies.

All of this brings us to the events of 9/11. On that day and of lot afterward, pretty much everyone (including me) was in a trembling state of stark fear/terror. And at that point, the whole ugly snake's nest of greedy power brokers came together as one. Murdoch and Fox News ramped up their rhetoric, and practically overnight Bush & Co stripped away entirely new levels of rights and privacy - in the name of security. And We the People begged the government to protect us from the bad guys at any cost. Murdoch and Bush were in complete control of this so-called "strongest nation." The only "strength" being displayed was abject fear, and a blustering anger in the face of a threat to our status and stuff.

So to sum up:

1. Madison Avenue and the Government and the Media figured out how to control the US Populace and abused the privilege
2. The US Populace believed the b.s. they were fed about being the Greatest Nation, and when the rest of the world's disagreement with that stance began to make itself known, the People were immediately scared shitless that their "perfect" country and life was going to be taken away.
3. The Power Brokers figured out how to parlay that fear into more money/power for themselves. Yep, Greed is of COURSE at the core of all this. Rat bastards.

Right. So now let's look at where things currently stand.

This country is divided, and divided deeply. A lot of the anger being generated toward Mr. Obama is a direct result of intense racism, but mostly that's just a leverage point used to get into the psyche's of the Fox News Followers. I'm not alone in feeling very frustrated by the Conservative Right's use of precisely the things they lambasted the Liberal Left for using, but more than that, I'm frustrated and seriously disgusted by my Countrymens' apparent disinterest in using even the tiniest portion of their higher brain function.

The impossible political/cultural/economic balloon of "keep 'em scared and sedated so they'll keep making us money" burst shortly before Bush left office from the terrible pressure of the Greedy Bastards constant sucking whatever rights or monies or power they could access. This left a no-win situation for whoEVER took over the White House. I believe the Power Brokers did whatever they could to help Obama win, simply because they KNEW how easy that situation would be to manipulate via Fox News - bile and bilge outlet for the Country. Here's a reasonable analysis of Fox News and the Stoopid Sheeple (my term, not his):

This country has been very purposedly made fat (and I mean that in every connotation of the word), and stupid, and docile as a measure of controlling us for anothers' gain.

The irony of what is happening in this country is that the Right Wing is using precisely what they learned to supress back in the 70s against the people who were doing it then; the Liberal Left! And because those of us in the Liberal Left believe fervently in Freedom of Speech and the Right to Assembly (both First Amendment rights), we allow the Conservatives to assemble and spew their poison and invective - no matter how illogical or factually inaccurate (DEATH PANELS? Come ON..Obama not a citizen? Give me a BREAK). Yep, we're caught between a rock and a hard spot, as my dad would say.

From The Guardian

I've been watching the health care issue with no small degree of interest, of course, as I am aging, have increasing health care needs, and currently have no insurance. I'm frankly alarmed by the idea of "requiring individuals to purchase insurance, and penalizing them if they don't." Frankly, that simply means those of who can't afford to purchase insurance will just not go to the doctor or hospital, period. We'll die, simply because we can neither afford insurance nor the penalty for having none. But let's extrapolate one more level. Let's say I DO go to the hospital without insurance and I get penalised. I can no more pay the penalty than the insurance premiums, and they're NOT going to deny my health care at the hospital (we do have protective laws about that), so after a few million unpaid penalties (folks who can't afford insurance when it's required any more than they can now, etc.) we're back to square one in terms of "affordable health care," as the defaulted monies have to be absorbed somewhere, and without a GOVERNMENT-RUN/FUNDED (aka more direct controls than are possible with private companies) option, the private insurance companies are GOing to pass those costs on to their consumers, precisely as they do now. Is Obama's plan a perfect solution? No, but it's a start, and we have to do SOMEthing to get this old machine rolling again.

The biggest single problem with the US Populace - and the problem is getting incrementally worse (just look at current television programming or the film industry's blockbusters) - is that we've been carefully taught NOT to think beyond satisfying our next immediate desire. Any thinking that requires more than one element - long division or multiplication are two ready examples - any thinking that requires real logic is apparently beyond the capacity of 90% of the individual American brain.

Sadly, We the Sheeple is a far more current and representative start to our Constitution's Preamble than the historic We the People. Time to wake and look up, folks.

I think it's appropriate to quote Rumi, a Sufi poet of the 13th Century. In case you don't already know, Sufism is the mystic heart of Islam.

Don't go back to sleep by CATeyes.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Mary Travers and John Denver, ca. 1968

First of all, you have to know that I was the quintessential California girl in my teens. I lived in the Monterey/Carmel area in the mid-late 60s, hung out on the beach wearing a bikini and my hair long, blonde, and straight. On the beach, my friends and I played guitars and flutes and sang folk songs. My favourites were always the versions of songs done by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Great song selections, and they sang in the key where my voice is most comfortable, so I walked around singing their music a LOT of the time. When Mary split off and did her solo albums, I memorized those, too. I loved "The Song Is Love," "I Guess He'd Rather Be In Colorado," "Rhymes and Reasons," and "Follow Me." The last three were John Denver songs, another favourite artist. Mary Travers died today at age 72, and I've been taking it hard. For me, PP&M represent my youth, and losing Mary feels as another terrible reminder that my life is decidedly finite and and my tme ever more borrowed. I'm grateful though, that I will have Mary's voice and the memory of those lovely times with my frends, singing songs of freedom and love and peace to accompany the rest of my days.

So here are three favourites - Because All Men Are Brothers (Joe Glazer), The Rising Of The Moon (John Keegan “Leo” Casey (1846-70), the "Fenian Poet"), and In The Early Mornin' Rain (Gordon Lightfoot):

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There's No Place Like the Internet, There's No Place...

So last we spoke, my horrible-terrible-awful-birthday was in full strike. Another catastrophe struck in the form of THE worst brownie+frosting combo in human history. Seriously. I gave some to a coworker just to see if I was overly biased by the horrible, etc. day, and she ended up spitting out the bite and throwing the rest away. Who knew you could ruin chocolate or lemon frosting? It was so bad that Peter and were practically on the floor with our laughter at just how utterly doomed my birthday seems to be. When midnight struck we high-fived one another and went off to our beds relieved the beastly twenty-four hour period was behind us for another year.

The next day dawned GLORIOUSLY, with stunning Indian Summer weather here. I dressed and ran around town with many errands to accomplish by the afternoon, and everywhere I went I ran into people who were glad to see me. When I got home, there were cards in the mailbox from distant friends, and an e-mailbox full of greetings from dozens of friends. One friend in Scotland went so far as to start a special forum thread for my birthday greetings in the online group to which we both belong! I was so amazed anyone would go to that trouble for me, and so very pleased by everyone's kind words in the thread. Really means a lot to me.

Yesterday I was up at oh-dark-thirty taking Peter to the shuttle stop, and then running at top speed which didn't stop until I flopped into bed, comPLETEly whipped at 11pm, just in time to watch Jon Stewart and then pass out. I did a LOT yesterday, and I can feel it in my body today, but the sense of satisfaction at having gotten SO much done is just HUGE.

A bit of silliness

Today I did my volunteer stint at the library in the morning (I'm their a/v repair person), then trotted off to the post office for shipping, to the doctor for two months of thyroid - funded by the check received yesterday for my winning County Fair entries! - then treated myself to a couple of replacement boxes of my favourite incense. It's a cheap thrill, which is about all I can afford at the moment. I have figured out and done the first of about twenty steps toward creating an accordian inchie book that's in the works for a swap over on iATC. I've also got the doll armature wire pieces cut and prepped for soldering tomorrow. Once I have the skeleton built, I can start sewing the musculature into place, then the skin, and THEN I can attach the arm-hands, shin-feet, and neck-head that are finally finished to my satisfaction. The piece has gotten named, based entirely on the head; The Mad Alchemist. After I'd named her, I realised it may not be entirely appropriate, but only the person who has commissioned it can tell me if it crossing any lines it shouldn't. Mr. V?

Upon my return today, a VERY special treat awaited me, as that same amazing Scottish friend sent me a birthday present! My only actual present this year! I tell you, as the years go by, I continue to learn deeper and deeper appreciation for the gentle kindnesses of friends.

Thank you all, your friendship means more than I can express in words. Thank you, everyone who took the time to write a few words of cheer and celebration. Thank you, old friends who haven't let our connection slip away, in spite of time and increasing distance. And thank you, all my new virtual friends, who have brought the kindness and acceptance into my life I have so long hoped for and sought. I love how technology allows such disparate souls to find one another and connect. I have gone from feeling alone to knowing there are a lot of sister and brother spirits out there, and I just wanted to give you all a great big virtual hug and thank you for continuing to pay your internet bills. Ha!

So as a small note of thinks (er, I mean thanks, but now that I say "thinks" I can see how it fits, too), here's a little funny for those of you in the know...(nudge nudge wink wink say no MORE)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Downburst - 20820 Days and Counting

...whether you're having fun or not.

Have I mentioned how much I LOATH my birthday? Ever since I can remember, and I can with great clarity remember every one from my 4th birthday on, my birthday has been synonymous with a terrible, miserable, absolutely rotten day. Pets die, car crashes occur, terrible storms arrive, and anything else you can think of that constitutes a personal or communal catastrophe happens either ON the day or within a couple of days, either side. Remember eight years ago? We were all trembling in shock from the events of 9/11 as I turned 49 and NO ONE noticed. Well, one friend sweet next door neighbor who had the rotten luck to celebrate HIS birthday on Sept 11. A year later, the neighbor son on the other side was born on the 12th. Yeah, counting his mother and sister and my friend/cohabitant Peter, there were SIX Virgos in three consecutive houses. Be afraid, be very, very afraid...

But this is about the crap day that always seems to be my birthday, no matter how good I feel or how fine a mood I'm in at the beginning of the day.

No, there will NOT be cake.

Today, as the newest example, I got up in the middle of the night for a drink and a stop in the bathroom, and reached for the glass of juice I always keep next to the bed. Yeah, you guessed it...3AM, half a glass of GRAPE juice spilled-all-over-the-carpet-and-my-precious-sketch-pad later, the lights are all on and I'm running to the kitchen for paper towels and spray cleanser. Half hour later, I'm back in bed, staring at the ceilng. Yup, must be my birthday.

This morning, I got up and sat down with my cup of eye opener while I waited for a wave of pain to pass. I opened the card and wee gift that awaited me by the coffee pot, then proceeded to have a crap time of getting breakfast together. You'd THINK toast would be pretty easy, huh? Not toDAY.

About twenty years ago, I actually realised there was some crummy cosmic pattern involving September 13th, so I decided to change the date I celebrated my birthday. I consulted a variety of oracles and after seeing a lovely biorhythm pattern of perfect peaks of physical, emotional, and intellectual cycles on that date for that year and the following two, I decided on October 2nd. Coincidentally, the first person I informed of the change was born on the 2nd of October...he thought I was joking! Stuff that makes you say "hmmm..."

Another step down my path

So I celebrated my birthday on October 2nd for five years running, having absolutely glorious days each time, and I figured I had broken the curse so I returned to celebrating on September 13 again. I actually had a pretty good birthday for a couple of years, and then back in the toilet the event went. I think I should really consider altering the date again, don't you?

For today, though, I'm just going to sit here, type, sew a little, watch some global disaster shows on The History Channel, and wait for another birthday to pass.


Remember the middle of the night grape juice incident? That was NUTHIN' Peter and I have just spent the last half hour or so cleaning up a MUCH bigger spill of the same substance. THIS time I moved the same way I've moved a thousand times before, but this time a FULL - that's a 20oz glass - tumbler of grape juice got knocked over, spilling across my bedside chest (where I'd piled stuff the night before during the clean up), down through all three drawers, soaking a multitude of stuff that I haven't yet been able to face, and (thank GOD) soaking both the throw rug next to my bed and my (formerly) lovely yellow linen blouse. Purple and yellow make a particularly dreary shade of grey, btw. So NOW I have to clean everything from the drawers, then clean the room, and finally do a thorough vacuuming before moving the bedside chest and tackling the stain.

Anyone care to TRADE birthdays? Please?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Status Report

I was always the world's worst when it came to logging my weekly status report with management back in my corporate life, so the title of this post is a bit of a joke, though I confess I'm beginning to need to keep status reports for mySELF! How miserably wretched is THAT?

I've been incredibly, phenomenally, profoundly busy the last month or so, and that's not going to stop being my daily truth until late November. And only then if I stop taking on new tasks, projects, and promising another slice of my time and attention to someone.

After weeks of coding/building the sucker, the last few days I've been really trying to take my Wolf Bird Studios website live, but continue to experience some FTP difficulties on that front. Setting her jaw and stamping her foot, she insisted "I WILL have this done before the Art and Soul Art Retreat the first week of October!" Determination R Us.

Right. So here's what I owe everyone - and if your request isn't reflected in the following list, you MIGHT want to ping me sometime soon...

Write public invitation for Sci-Fi Reading Group I've been asked to organise and lead. - due by 9/20/09
Magic wand for Teresa finished and shipped to Wisconsin - due asap
The Mad Alchemistart doll finished and shipped to Seattle - due asap
The Deck Project (iATC) - a new piece due weekly through 10/01/10
The Chakra Swap (A4A) - four atcs due 11/22/09
Miniature Book w/Inchies (iATC) - eighteen inchies mounted in a miniature handmade book due 01/11/09
Closet Swap (iATC) - atcs already on hand due in Canada on 10/10/09
Sock Symposium (weekend of Sept 18th) - learn to knit socks, stay two nights in Towanda the Wonder Bus on nearby property!
New web site finished - when? when? when it is DONE!
Art Retreat 9/29-10/04/09
Packages shipped - due by 09/20/09

I know there's more, but my brain is starting to liquify at this point in the evening after a very full day out and about at the Wooden Boat Festival here in Port Townsend.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Uplift - St. Olaf's Impromptu Joy

On a visit to the Santa Barbara Mission in California, the choirmaster Dr. Armstrong called everyone into the chapel and had them sing one of the songs from their tour called "Sicut Cervus" by Palestrina. What a lovely impromptu moment. Don't you wish you'd been there? I certainly do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

International Bacon Day!

The curious up-front truth is that meat really doesn't squeal my wheels, and every day I step further and further away from it. That said, if I could only eat one meat the rest of my life, as much as I adore fish, I would choose pork, and I'd even be willing to narrow THAT choice down to bacon/ham. I. Love. Bacon and Ham. YUM.

I do my level best to thank the hapless pig that gave its life so that I might savor the pleasures of its flesh and continue to life, but for someone as sensitive as I am to the plight of animals and our planet, loving pork as I do goes TOTALLY against the grain. So does my love of leather and fur, and I hope someday to come to terms with my cravings. Not today, though. And not tomorrow, for tomorrow is International Bacon Day!

In celebration of those incredibly delectable, crisp strips of fat and meat, I'm planning to make maple cupcakes with rich chocolate ganache, and topped with (drum roll, please) BACON!

Alas, I didn't make up such a wonderful idea, it came from the folks who started International Bacon Day; Tee & Cakes in Boulder, Colorado, USA. As logistically, I cannot possibly get to their shop tomorrow, I hope to replicate...or come close, anyway...their lovely bacon cupcake (shown at the top of the page). I'm considering two different recipes, though one is definitely in the lead as the other is from "Cooking Lite," and "Lite" just seems wrong somehow when celebrating bacon.

This is real...currently available in L.A.

Once I've created the cake, I have to address the dark chocolate ganache that will hold the bacon pieces on top. One recipe I have calls for instant coffee, the other for dark rum. Now believe me when I tell you that the coffee makes a frosting too rich to believe...and hey, coffee, maple, cream, and bacon? Obviously, this is breakfast in the making! So many choices, and only a single day of celebration. Oh well, there's always next year.

If I had some of this (available in Seattle), my choice of ganache would be easy.

So what d'you think? Which dose of death by maple, chocolate, and bacon should I choose? *sigh* So much sacrifice in the name of porcine glory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Music I Love

Working hard at trying to get everything done before the end of the month. In particular, busting my brain getting my website built so it can go live before I go south (literally, though perhaps figuratively in that I may crater - go south - before this month is over). Anyway, I thought I'd share some of what I'm listening to while I've got my head down, immersed in flash and html code. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Geeky Nrrd Grrl Plays With Her Brain

After a couple of days of head-down, shoulder-to-the-wheel working, I decided to take a little break this afternoon and play with my brain. Okay, so there really was no decision involved, I just got sidelined/distracted by a fun link to an interesting blog, which led me to another and another and, well surely I can count on you to understand the fine art of surfing the Web. Inevitably, I landed on one of those "what kind of dog are you? quiz sites. The set of quizzes I decided to take were the following, with the answer received just after them:

How Many Colors Can You Name In Five Minutes? I ended up with 79...which doesn't seem like very many unless you include the requirement of typing. This wasn't so much a case of naming them as how fast I could type the words.

How Geeky Are You? I am very proud to announce that I am 97% geeky. And I don't know which answer lost the 3%. Good to have room for improvement, though.
How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight? 23. No further explanation required beyond sharing the absolute that when pressed, I fight to win.

How Many 90 Year Olds Could You Take In A Fight? 27. See above.

There were many other quizzes, some I took, some I didn't, but really, where's the fun in letting you in on ALL my secrets? Here's the straight skinny, though...I am a geeky artist who can - and will kick both young and old butt , and whose body, at death, is currently worth (drum roll, please) a whopping 6,115 bucks! Must be the long hair...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Uplift - Bollywood Workout

In keeping with yesterday's Bollywood post, I thought I'd continue in that vein, but today I'm focused on fitness. First, a terrific song and dance scene from Monsoon Wedding:

And now those moves I promised yesterday:

Let's start with an easy one, then build on those. As tired as all this makes me, I feel wonderful and glowing after these moves, and I think you will, too.

Now get up offa that thang and MOVE!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dil Se (Inside Man), Revisted

Some of you know that I am a long-time Bollywood fan. Enough that I have TWO boxed cd sets I like to listen to! I fell hard for Shahrukh Khan a bunch of years ago as I watched Dil Se, and started thinking earlier to day about two scenes I have never forgotten due to their powerful imagery, great music, wonderful direction and production. And so I reached out to the wonder that is this marvelous Web and found both. So, for your pleasure and mine, here are two of my favourite scenes from Dil Se:

Tomorrow's uplift will be some moves you can learn so you can dance along with your next Bollywood fix! Stay tuned...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dreamy and Surreal Art for a Drowsy Summer Afternoon

Sandman by Dave McKean

Some of you will know Dave McKean's artwork from the animated film Mirrormask, others from his collaborative efforts with Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury in book form, or literally dozens of other places. Distinctive, surreal, strangely compelling, McKean's work is certainly worth the minute, twenty seconds it takes to watch his lovely interpretation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 138.

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue,
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told.
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is It Just Me...

...or is the new James Cameron sci-fi flick, Avatar (due out in December of this year) very, very tantalizing? Okay, okay, I'll admit that I adore most anything sci-fi, but this really looks good...except for all the grungy military crap, which VERY seldom enhances anything for me. But take a, huh?