Monday, September 28, 2015

Another piece of writing...

Rhythmic kneading, up, down, in, out, punching a soft center
Fingers lightly grazing the inside of the bowl
Pliable, stretchable
Strange alchemy
Left alone
To rise
Or not  

Each stronger than the sum of softest parts
Primal impulses

Nourished by love, even in absence, and the solace of small acts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Another piece of writing from my class...


The solitary practice of making tea by the cup…
A prelude to our late morning phone calls
Started when your girls were in diapers and down for naps
You always began with a joke or a funny story
Our natter quickly turning to the world beyond our doors or
Some book neither of us could put down
Your treks into the desert, telescope in hand
Looking for the perfect night’s sky, filled notebooks
Now in a box, closeted in a city apartment, far from the landscape you adored

I sip my tea alone, the only sound
Your voice in my head

Fall Down, Go Boom...

This does not look like much but in my world, if I hit this just right, I go down, which I did. Nice to know people in this county take paving seriously. I'm buying a helmet next time I'm out. Have a good day.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Old Photos

I found several photos I hadn't remembered taking on the card for my now defunct camera...
The bottom one came from a former blogger and artist named Kate who was kind enough to ship it from the UK. It is now on one of my bedroom walls. Wherever you are, Kate, thank you again. It has been several years since this was sent but this is another reason I love bloggers. You mention their art is interesting and voila, you end up with a bit of it.

The top one relates to my continued fascination with trees. I do not recall when taken, but I love the canopy above my head in this shot...

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. A dear friend's dad passed away yesterday. He was 92, and one of the nicest people I've had the pleasure to know. I'm wishing his large and loving family peace and comfort during this time.

Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

And, Speaking of Roles...

Last night, I attended an artist's reception at a gallery about an hour from home. I was with a friend whose watercolors were on exhibit, along with the works, in various and mixed media, of other members of an art society. Normally, I enjoy going to these types of events because one meets new artists and may get a peak into their work spaces and a chance to discuss what they like, creatively speaking, and why.

I enjoyed chatting to an older woman who had been both an art and music teacher and whose time is now spent creating works from wood cuts and etchings. She was able to explain how each was done and her work is very visually appealing. She allowed me to pick up and examine some of the wood cuts, which were highly textured, and showed me a chisel used to create that.

While I would have been equally fascinated by a few items done by other artists, my friend's running commentary about their efforts was less than flattering, though I did not notice what she referred to as "dreck." Not wanting to prolong her comments, I remained quiet. Deprived of the opportunity to look further on my own, I suggested we go to dinner at a nearby Mom'n Pop.

Upon arrival, the place was fairly full. I pulled up to the end of a table near the front door and my friend sat to one side. As we perused menus, I heard a voice from behind asking my friend if the other party was somehow bothering her. She responded by saying that she was simply staring into space, which I hadn't noticed because I was busily checking out the dinner options.

As I turned to look behind me, my friend made a big deal of saying that one of the two women and I looked a lot alike, which neither the woman nor I particularly appreciated. After some remarks from me trying to be polite to what was obviously a same-sex couple with a small child, we ordered dinner. When a friend of theirs arrived with a child, it was obvious the little girls had either a play or dinner date together and they moved outdoors.

It wasn't until we were in the car on the way home that my friend told me she had difficulty determining whether one of the women was actually a man or not. I was astounded to realize that she had likely stared at this couple in that attempt and had in fact, made them so uncomfortable that they left. Furthermore, she asked me which acted as the man in the relationship, a question I found so antiquated and full of stereotyping that I was completely caught off guard and left speechless, which does not happen often.

This friend is in her sixties, and this is the twenty-first century, not 1950, after all. I know she has gay friends and is very aware of my background and history, so the level of ignorance simply threw me. When I could talk sensibly, I explained that there was no man, but two women, neither of whom was in drag or trying to look like a man, that families come in all forms and that rather than referring to roles, it is more appropriate to use a term such as partners or spouses, whether they are legally married or not.

I can appreciate that she felt comfortable enough with me to talk about this, but my own discomfort with her behavior remains. She is, regrettably not someone with a lot of confidence or self esteem, and she tends to view things negatively, all of which I can deal with in small doses. This, however, was downright boorish. Having been the subject of public staring myself throughout my life, I understand how deeply that can affect someone and I am deeply embarrassed by this person's behavior and her ignorance as well as being sorry that she has been in the world as long as she has without understanding more about people.

Friday, September 11, 2015

New Camera, Same Problem...

I charged the battery for my new Canon Elph 160, and was thrilled when the little green light appeared indicating it was ready for use. Inserting it into the camera, along with the sim card, I then attempted to turn the camera on and Nothing Happened. Dismayed, I followed the instructions twice more with the same result...Nothing...At this point, I am beyond frustrated. I have saved up for this thing, waiting patiently for the day when I could again take photos without worrying about whether the camera would suddenly quit, as my old one did repeatedly in the last years of its life...I did find out that the average life span for a camera of this kind is about four years. I had my old one for seven, so I guess that was lucky. And yes, I am aware that this is a first world problem. Disappointment with a capital "D."

I will be winding my way back to the store at which I made this unfortunate purchase and returning everything tomorrow.

I hope all of you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A bit of this and that...

Labor Day weekend was busy, with Saturday spent out doing the weekly food shopping and other errands. I managed to find a relatively cheap point and shoot digital camera in a brand recommended by several friends or acquaintances, two of whom are avid photographers. Sunday I had a Hebrew lesson and then had plans in the evening.

A rainy Monday was spent at the movies with two friends where we were treated to some funny antics courtesy of Nick Nolte and Robert Redford in an adaptation of Bill Bryson's book, A Walk in the Woods. Apart from its comedic moments, this film is really rather a touching memoir about two boyhood friends, now nearing old age, and the choices each has made in his life.

Three recent reads bear mentioning. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is an autobiographical account of the author's adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail some twenty years ago. This book was also made into a film by the same name and both are worth your time. Tell Me Where it Hurts by Nick Trout recounts the daily working life of an experienced veterinary surgeon and the zany pets and owners he must deal with. A first novel by blogger Karen Jasper was received in yesterday's mail and read last night. Entitled, The Light Stays On, it is a love story with a few twists.

The writing from my online class continues for me since I got a bit behind. It has been challenging both in terms of time and emotion as the prompts tend to throw me back into a dark or very sad or sometimes angry place. Someone asked if I thought this a helpful process and from where I'm sitting at the moment, I think so, though the extent will probably be seen more over time than in the present.

At this point, I am looking forward to some cooler weather, although when that will occur is anyone's guess.

Wishing you all a good night.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Weird Internet Problems...

I've had a tough day on the Internet. Though my connection is fine, Chrome seems intent on telling me web pages are not available, and it has effected everything from commenting to banking and other more necessary tasks. Several updates of Chrome have also failed, at this point, so I'll be back when I figure this out. In the meantime, I'm enjoying an import from British Columbia, Kelowna cherries.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Strange Encounters of the Male Kind...

Today, amid my various errands, I was approached as I was returning to my door by an elderly-ish man, who drove into my reserved parking space, which is clearly marked, disembarked and approached me on the sidewalk, asking if I lived here. Having failed to give me his first or last name, he indicated he was looking up the address of a unit for sale and wanted to know about how safe and noisy the neighborhood might be.

I was about to ask him why he thought women in wheelchairs wielding large bags would be rolling around in strange environs but thought better of it since I sometimes find myself in that situation. I told him that the road immediately outside was a bit noisy but the neighborhood has okay. I mean, let's face it, crime can happen anywhere and has in fact occurred here. With that, I continued inside and the man departed, leaving me to ponder the cursory inquiry.

Had it been me making such an inquiry, I would have checked with the Sheriff for crime statistics which the sheriff and police regularly gather and can provide if asked. Having done this in the past, I was able to avoid venturing into a property in what is known as crack town when looking for a rental. I might have also walked casually around the grounds, noting the condition of the buildings, pool and landscaping and any trash or signs of disrepair.

Since no realtor was with him, I wondered how he knew about the property and why he wasn't more curious, especially given his stated concerns. The neighbor above me has been here for three years. The young couple across from her are related to the association president and are renting. The older woman in the unit next to mine has been here for more than sixteen years. That information points to some stability. An equally interesting point of information concerns the proportion of on-site owners to renters. Our rentals are well over fifty percent, something which would concern me should I be looking to buy here now. When I moved in, there were more on-site owners than renters and those that were here kept the place up. Now, with only one member of our board in residence, standards have, not unpredictably, slipped a bit because the majority renters come and go and lack any real attachment here. Unfortunately for him, his approach to due diligence is weak by any measure. It will be interesting to see whether the property in question will go to a live-in owner.