Monday, December 19, 2005

The Fouth Sunday Of Advent

I'm not sure why but it has become something of a tradition in our home for one of us to spend a significant portion of the Holiday Season with a cold, flu or an allergy attack.

It seems to be my turn this year.

Thank Heaven for DVDs.

I'll be going back to bed now.

Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

But What About The Third Sunday Of Advent?

Well you might ask!

Blogger ate it.

And before I was able to reconstruct my masterful essay of the Peaceable Kingdom and looking within ourselves for those places that keep this vision from being manifested I turned on the television and found myself staring at one of those dark places.

There is a rage that swells up within me at times and spills out in very, VERY colorful language. Its is a rage that is largely confined to a certain politician and his various ideological hangers-on, these days - although it has been known to extend to dangerously stupid people at large.

I know that I am called to see the Christ in my fellow humans.

All of 'em.

That is the truly scary part of the image of the Peaceable Kingdom.

It's not just a pretty picture on a card or a banner.

It's a challenge.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Everyone, Remember Where We Parked!!

Did your last trip to the mega-mall down the way leave you cold?

Do you long for the days when a shopping center was a shopping center and a mall was a mall?

Do you miss Christmas shopping at the mall of your childhood?

Check out this site for some yummy retro malls.

(Can't you just hear the Muzak? )

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hand-Wash Only, Handle With Care, Dry Flat

I am on a skirt-sewing binge this week.

Having successfully completed a muslin for a new skirt pattern, I have been searching the corners of the closet in my Studio for any and all signs of unused or recycled fabric of an appropriate weight to use for a posh new skirt for the Holidays. There are bits of old ballgowns and cocktail dresses and fabric that I've had for twenty years. There is even a few yards of what has been dubbed "the world's ugliest fabric" (which I inherited from my late cousin who had inherited it from her late mother-in-law and heaven knows from whom she inherited it!).

Oh yeah, there's also the cool fabric with the surfboards and woodies.

About ten years ago, I offered to sew a shirt for TonyP and he picked out the fabric with the surfboards. I had the pattern all set and then he says to me that any clothing of his needs to be able to go into the washing machine and dryer.

Well, my sewing doesn't stand up well to machine washing.

So, there the fabric sits, in a bin at the bottom of the closet, looking more and more like a candidate for my skirt project.

Which brings me to a dilemma which I am certain many of you are familiar with: crafting for men.

Let's face it, while gals may ooh and ahh over a nifty new beaded bookmark and some handmade soap, there's not a lot of ideas out there to make for guys. Oh, there's a few things for crochet and making gifts for guys is probably the main reason why women are taking up knitting. But elegant and home-made or hand-crafted gifties for guys are somewhat lacking in the craft design industry.

The situation is a little better in sewing pattern design and fabric availability. But I am a dressmaker - NOT a tailor. And we've already covered the whole handwashing thing.

I dare say that there is not a man alive who would not throw a shirt away before he'd handwash it.

Which is a pity because that retro fabric with the surfboards would make a damn-fine shirt.

But, it'll make a really nifty skirt!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Second Sunday Of Advent

I've been to Michael's twice in the past week which means that my studio is now packed with floral supplies. My work tables are covered with bits of polysilk florals and there does appear to be glitter everywhere.

A girl's gotta have a hobby.

Today I started decorating out front. The wreath is up, as are a few smaller floral pieces and our new Holiday banner. (It's a Lynn Bywaters design of an angel with a lion and a lamb that I just love.) The colours ended up being all reds and golds and the effect is quite festive - even with all of the grey rain.

This time of the year is all about preparation. Getting ready for the Holidays, winterizing the car, pruning the shrubbery and preparing for the long, cold season ahead.

Still, with all of the preparations, it can be hard to remember to take the time to simply enjoy ourselves and appreciate the beauty of this season for its own sake.

It can also be hard to take the time to care for and nurture ourselves. That's probably why so many of us end the year in the cough and cold aisle at Walgreen's!

We need to be good to ourselves. If we lose touch with ourselves, how can we hope to connect with other people and with the rest of Creation?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

So, anyway....

....I woke up this morning with a splitting migraine and felt like curling up under the covers and spending the day in the dark.

However, today was my appointment at Syd's and it would take a lot more than a mere migraine to keep me away from my December, pre-Holiday Cut-&-Colour!

As it turned out, I was mighty glad I went. Maybe it was the pretty pink Barbie Christmas tree in the corner. Maybe it was the Excedrine Migraine Formula. Or - just maybe - it was listening to Radio Nigel.

Anyway, by the time I was finished I felt positively human.

So human that I felt like going to City Beverage for dinner!

I'm so glad that I got up today!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Making Your Home Sparkle For The Holidays

Here are a couple of handy household hints to add a bit of shimmer and shine where now things are a bit tarnished and dull.

Brass - this works for brass that doesn't have any lacquer, like candle holders from import stores.( I am not recommending this for your good brass chandelier.) Just spritz with plain ol' Kaboom cleaner and rinse well. Works fast with minimal mess. We have a set of brass dinnerware that we we never using because it was such a pain to polish. Now, I have it done in a few minutes. (Note: this also works with copper - like the bottoms of Revere Ware.)

Silver Plate - To polish up silver pieces in a flash, you'll need aluminum foil, salt, water softener and very hot water. Put the aluminum foil in a dishpan. (You'll want a rather large piece if you have a large piece of silver because the process works best where the foil is touching the silver plate. ) Now, add about 1/4 cup of salt and about the same of water softener. You can use a little more if you're doing a large piece. Now, add very hot water; and mix the salt and softener. Now, carefully slip the silver object in the water - making sure that it's touching foil. You can even bend the foil up to make sure that it's reaching everything you need polished. Just keep the object in the solution and make sure that the foil is touching it. In no time, the tarnish will disappear. Do not leave in the solution any longer than necessary. When you take the object out, rinse well in warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Cool, huh?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The First Sunday of Advent

OK. I'll admit it. I blew off going to church today.

Sheer laziness on my part, I reckon. My only excuse was that it was raining.

Still, I did take the time to rake some leaves and reconnect with my home, after a week's absence. It was good to work in the rain. It has been so dry that there has been little gardening to do.

I got the Advent candles out but decided not to use my usual wreath this year. Instead, I've set the candles in brass candlesticks and I will be able to add appropriate greenery once I've gotten around to pruning the hollies.

Tonight, while TonyP was downtown, I lit the first candle and sang the first verse of O Come. O Come, Emmanuel.

Then I checked out the first installment of Angels We Have Heard Are High over at Going Jesus.

Go, Thou, and do likewise.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What Obsolete Skill Am I ?

It 's comforting to say that 'practice makes perfect'....
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.
You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by

My Favourite Day of the Year

Lots of families have traditions and mine is no exception.

I am the third generation of women in my family to have met their future husband in a bar.

We've been married for twenty-one years, TonyP and I.

But Forever would not be long enough.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Post-Tour Re-Cap

I am still not feeling emotionally strong enough to blog about the Studio Tour.

It's one of those Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul kinds of things.

Food + Beer + Bloggers =

TonyP and I just got home from a blogger meet-up, over at the new American Tobacco thingy.

OK, first of all: If you haven't been over to the new American Tobacco thingy, please do so. It is very cool. The old brickwork is especially beautiful and that's where they've moved the Mellow Mushroom. The complex is across the street from the Bulls stadium and within easy walking distance of the Amtrak platform and the big-ass jail that looks an awful lot like a hotel when you see it from the baseball stadium.

If you saw me at the meet-up, you probably thought that I was not having a good time. But I was just tired. Actually, I had a great time! It was nice putting faces to names and I always enjoy the vibe I get from bloggers.

It is a very dynamic community.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

So, anyway....

A few days ago, a friend of ours dropped by to say "Hi" during the show and said that she was expecting over thirty pounds of wool to be waiting for her when she got home.

See, she and her husband are animal rights advocates and they live in rural Virginia, where they provide food and housing for a bunch of sheep. They had the sheep shorn and she sent all of the wool off to be cleaned and spun into yarn. She's not a knitter. In fact, she's allergic to wool! But, she has been learning to knit so that she can make some scarves. (I guess that she wouldn't think of selling the yarn because that would mean that she was exploiting the sheep for financial gain. But I think it would be fine to ask them to kick in for their room and board.)

I wonder if she knows how many scarves that's gonna be?

Still, if the sheep are living there and they do need to be shorn then what else are you going to do but find a use for all of that wool?

Which brings me to dryer lint.

There was a profile in the paper, the other day, about a woman who makes paper from dryer lint. Naturally enough, that got me to thinking about how much paper I could make out of the dryer lint we generate every week. It makes a whole lot more sense than buying linter paper to make paper. Or (my particular favorite) shredding perfectly good paper in order to make handmade paper.

Hey, I'm all for recycling.

Actually, I'm an even bigger fan of PRE-cycling. That means, not bringing stuff into my house in the first place. That's because I have noticed that it seems to take forever to get recyclables out of my house! But, I suppose that there certainly are ways that I could do more recycling around here.

Washing, carding and spinning the dog's hair is one.

I could crochet him a cute little sweater.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Report on Weekend #1

So, considering the fact that PSNC has gotten approval for the third rate increase so far this season, I guess that it's nothing short of miraculous that people are buying visual art at all.

Add the gasoline prices to that and the fact that people had to drive all over the county on Saturday and Sunday to look at studios and I must admit that I am surprised that we had as many people drop by as we did.

We sold some stuff - mostly small. But still....

I know that craftspeople are also having a tough time in this economy but I can't help but feel that it's easier to sell something to a person that they can wear, stick a plant in or throw over their legs to keep warm. Objects with at least some practical value are much more justifiable than things to look at.

All of that having been said, I am pretty pleased with how well our stuff has been received. People will be looking for us now and that certainly helps.

In addition, TonyP and I will soon be adding a PayPal feature to our gallery sites and I have some plans to open a Cafe Press shop in the next few weeks.

What I wish I had done before the Tour was have some t-shirts printed up to proclaim: "I visited a bunch of artists' studios and all I bought was this lousy t-shirt!"

Those would have sold.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

More Shameless Self-Promotion!

The OCAG Open Studio Tour is next weekend and Tony and I have spent this weekend trying to get things ready.

Tony has also done a little updating of our websites. He has beautiful, new images in the North Carolina 1 Gallery and has added a gallery for his digital photography, as well.

Over on my site, please check out my new pen & ink drawings and a new acrylic painting, "Jenny's Flowers", as well as a new watercolor, entitled Blue Chair.

We look forward to seeing you during the Tour!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Too Effin' Cold!

Given that our first frost warning of the season has been issued for tonight, it seems that Autumn has finally arrived. That means that Winter is close on its icy heels.

A year ago, I weighed about thirty-five pounds more than I do today.

And, a year ago, I didn't need to wear a hat indoors to keep from freezing!

No kidding!

This morning I was desperate for warmth and went rifling through the coat closet. I wound up donning a Roots sweatshirt from Canada and a hat that I bought in Ottawa at a Hudson's Bay store.

There are a couple of things that the weight-loss articles don't mention:

First is that your skin is likely to resemble a deflated balloon.

Second is that you're gonna freeze, come Winter.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Most guys are a chore to go shopping with.

And don't even try to take them to a shoe store!

Fortunately, I married a man who grew up hanging around malls. A little retail doesn't scare him! He's great fun to go shopping with and is the one person I trust to select clothing for me. He'll even help me shop for shoes.

I may have pushed my luck when we returned home from a great day of shopping to suggest that we finish measuring for draperies, select a color and place the order online.


You see, we heat with natural gas, we have lots of windows and very little in terms of drapery. I decided that it was time for us to finally buy some insulated draperies and hopefully keep our gas bill from sky-rocketing this winter. (Well, we know it'll sky-rocket. Just tryin' to keep it from leaving the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere.)

Naturally, the window measurements weren't standard, the sizes that we needed were not in stock and the delivery date will be later than I'd hoped for. Oh, and they'll cost more than I'd estimated.

Even the most dedicated of husbands will start to get a little glassy-eyed at that point.

So, TonyP gets all kinds of thanks for putting up with my late night craving for vanilla window coverings.

That's service above and beyond.

(I just hope he'll still be that supportive when the order arrives six weeks late, the wrong color and the wrong sizes.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gala Report

The gala at the Carolina Club was yesterday evening and TonyP's photo "Fall Flames" was not only purchased during the event but also received the Staff Favorite award!

This year, the emphasis of the gala was less on the artshow and more on the general fundraising for the UNC Children's Hospital cards program and (while our work was competing for attention with a silent auction) I think the turn-out was better this year and the crowd was a lot livelier.

Some even looked at the art! People actually brought their drinks into the hallway to look at the art and someone had the sense to have the waitstaff passing trays of canapes in the vicinity, as well. So, people actually spent time looking at the work - which is a big change from last year!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Shameless Self-Promotion

TonyP and I are pleased to announce that we have work in two upcoming shows.

Wednesday, October 19, is the opening reception for the Paint-by-Members Show and Sale at the Carolina Club, in Chapel Hill. The work will be on view until November 12.

We will also be participating in the 2005 Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour. Tour dates are November 5th and 12th, from 10am-5pm, and November 6th and 13th, from 12pm-5pm. The opening reception for the Tour will be on Friday, October 28, from 5-7pm at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro where you can meet the artists participating in this year's Tour. Representative work of all participating artists will be on view at the ArtsCenter until November 14.

So, come on out and meet some real-live artists!

Updates to my gallery website ought to be posted this week and there will be new work for your perusal.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Having A Martha Moment...or Two!

The several days that I spent in the car last weekend has absolutely shredded my back.

After spending two days lying on the sofa (making notes for my next nano novel) I finally couldn't take it any longer and spent an hour raking leaves. My back still hurts, of course, but I feel positively virtuous for having done a bit of yardwork! And, I have officially declared Autumn underway.

Today, I tidied up the front porch and added a vintage-looking owl decoration to the grapevine wreath that resides on our front door. I will have to pick up a couple of pumpkins, this weekend.

There is something about Autumn that brings out the "country" in me. I find myself buying copies of Country Living and Southern Living. I do little bits of quilting, crochet like mad and even start thinking about cooking. Before long, I will start planning the gifts and decorations that I will make for the holidays. Hopefully, I will be able to even get a little sewing done!

During the Summer, I do nothing - or at least as close to nothing as makes no difference. (Just getting through the season is challenge enough.) But, in Autumn I come back to life.

It certainly helps to be living in North Carolina. This state is blindingly beautiful at this time of the year.

Can't make it to the mountains this week? Check out Blue Ridge Blog for pics that'll take your breath away.

Try this site for a quick mid-day vacation to Blowing Rock.

Or, pick up a copy of Our State and find out more about towns just down the road.

Since we're all trying to save gas and money, we may as well have a pretty view while we're doing it. While you're out running errands, this weekend, consider taking a more picturesque route.

Oh, and avoid the part of Raleigh near the Fairgrounds!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Birthday Greetings!!

I want everyone to join me in wishing TonyP the bestest birthday imaginable!!!!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Damn You, Whedon!!

Just........damn, you.


Monday, September 19, 2005

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

Go on! Talk Like a Pirate!

(You know you want to.)


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Something That You Never Thought You'd See On My Blog!

A quote from John Kenneth Galbraith:

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

So, anyway....

Just what the world has needed.... a demi-bra with "maximum nipple coverage".

In the last few years, I have noticed that it has become nearly impossible to find a bra without massive amounts of padding ( and we won't even discuss the whole underwire issue!).

I used to think that it had to do with some lingering, industry-wide breast-augmentation fascination but now I realise the the whole thing has to do with disguising the fact that women have nipples!

Every freakin' mammal has nipples!

So, what is the big deal?

While we're at it.... what's with the whole multi-strap thing? You know what I mean: wearing a bra under a camisole or spaghetti-strap top.

I mean, seriously.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Renewable Energy

Harness the energy of elementary and middle-school students!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Another "Just Don't"

Sweater Coats.

These make your ass look big.

They also ride up in the back, are lower in the front, saggy at the pockets and just generally make a woman look as if she were wearing her old bathrobe in public.

Seriously. Think back to when every-other woman on the planet wore one.

So...just don't!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Just Don't

Boots tucked into jeans.

Just don't.

Friday, September 02, 2005

So, anyway.....

For most of my adult life, I have worked in retail and food/beverage services.

I know how much those jobs pay.

So, when I look at the disaster in New Orleans - a city whose economy depends on the thousands upon thousands that support the services, restaurants, bars and hotels - I have to wonder what kind of evacuation plan did not consider the needs of people who do not have cars because they either live near to their jobs or rely on public transportation.

Many other urban economies rely on the labor of restaurant workers and housekeepers. Tourism, business travel and conventions are at the heart of many a U.S. city, including Washington, DC. and New York.

If anything good is to come of this disaster, I hope that some light will be shed upon the working poor that are the foundation of our service-based U.S. economy.

Concerning the Administration's Disaster Preparedness Planning

Dynasties have ended and empires have fallen over considerably lesser screw-ups.

I'm just sayin".

Friday, August 26, 2005

Let's Get Serious

In the August 22, 2005 edition of the Herald-Sun, Ray Gronberg reported that the Lenovo Group, which recently purchased IBM’s personal computer division, is asking Durham County and the state of North Carolina to pull together nearly $14 million in incentives to keep the Chinese-owned company from relocating. Lenovo currently employs 1,800 workers in the Research Triangle Park. The incentives grants to pay for infrastructure, $1 million from Durham to underwrite the hiring of additional employees and the state’s promotion of Lenovo as a research partner with local universities.

One of the most telling features of this request for incentives is that, when Durham suggested Lenovo might consider moving their facility into downtown – where they would actually be near the universities – Lenovo responded that “they don’t think that workable because much of the company’s workforce is coming from elsewhere in the region.” (Gronberg)

So, Lenovo expects a tax break, which will affect Durham. It also expects economic grants. Yet, Lenovo admits that much of its workforce comes from somewhere other than Durham.

If Lenovo gets what it wants and stays in North Carolina, the state will be able to boast that it has managed to keep jobs in the state. But at what cost to Durham? Many of the people employed by Lenovo don’t live in Durham and so they would be unlikely to contribute much to the economy of the city or county by way of property or sales taxes.

The Lenovo case illustrates two things: one is that the current business climate does not encourage companies to invest in the communities where they locate and the other is that companies expect to extract quite a lot from local governing bodies by way of tax incentives, grants and subsidies. Threatening to withdraw jobs, or offering to bring jobs to areas of severe unemployment, unless these financial conditions are met, is a form of extortion.

The Lenovo case is a snapshot of globalization and its impact on local economies. The promise of employment, no matter where in the world that promise is made, is a powerful one. The threat of withdrawing employment is, likewise, powerful. Both can be used by companies to improve profits at the expense of workers, local economies and natural environment. It often seems that the only way to keep the jobs where they are is to continue to keep employment costs low (either by maintaining low wages or by cutting personnel) or to provide further economic incentives.

Otherwise, the corporate partner will simply move along and feed elsewhere.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Oh, Great. More Links....

This semester I am taking a course on Global Economics.

It's slow going, as you might imagine.

Every couple of hours I take a break and walk around the living room until the strange metallic taste leaves my mouth.

I have come across some very useful resources, such as the Economic Policy Institute page, Dollars & Sense , and the webcast area of Commanding Heights, which aired on PBS.

I can't say that any of this will help you understand the current economic situation any better. But maybe, maybe, the information will help you to generate fresh ideas.

'Cause it's becoming pretty obvious that new ones are needed!

Last Sunday, I watched a noted economist (name withheld 'cause he pissed me off!) holding forth on tv about how misguided Americans are about child labor in other countries. He laughed at the concern - actually laughed! up. Bone up.

Then, when your brain and heart hurt so much that you just can't take it anymore, come on over to the Sugarquill, pour yourself a butterbeer and talk about Harry Potter, horcruxes and Snape's loyalty.

'Cause, trust're going to need a break!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I'm An Artist...., naturally, I seem to spend most of my time writing.

And, naturally, I seldom write about Art.

Writing about Art can be very difficult and inevitably ends up being very wordy. I'm afraid that there is no way to write about Art with any economy.

Worse (far worse) than writing about Art is talking about it.

One of the toughest questions that I am ever asked is: "What kind of Art do you do?"

I'm never sure if the query refers to medium or subject or style.

I never know how to answer that question.

As a result, I hem and haw and sound thoroughly ignorant of my own work.

This Fall, I will be participating in a couple of shows and - as much as I detest receptions and so forth - at least I can stand in front of my paintings and not have to answer that "What kind of Art do you do?" question.

No. Instead, they'll ask "So. Do you do this for a living?"

Friday, August 12, 2005

How I've Actually Been Spending My Summer Vacation

I decided to take advantage of the two-week gap between Summer Session and Fall Semester and have actually enjoyed doing nothing.

Well, maybe not "nothing" but as close to it as makes no difference, anyway.

I have read two books: Half-Blood Prince and a mystery by Beverly Connor called One Grave Too Many.

I've straightened up my Studio, managed to finish two pen-and-ink drawings and gotten outlines done for two new stories.

I have caught up with my laundry and gone kayaking twice: once at Roanoke Island and once in Orange County.

I even got a little sleep.

Those who have known me a long time are aware that I don't take "down-time" well. I tend to get bored and a little twitchy. At least, that used to be the case.

Over the years, I think that I've gotten a bit better at relaxing. And I am not all that stressed about how many things I didn't get done over the last two weeks. The front railings still need paint, the sofa still needs a slipcover, paintings need to be done for upcoming shows and work needs to be framed.

What I do need to work on is pacing myself a little better and balancing my art, writing and grad school as the new season approaches. I've committed to two shows, I'm taking Global Economics this Fall and I now have several stories in various stages of development.

Concerned over the enormous amount of work I will need to get done this Fall, I did take some time this week to develop a workable production schedule as well as a daily schedule so that I could plan out the next several months. Everything was marked down to the quarter-freakin'-hour.

Then, I tore the schedules into little shreds and threw the bits away.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Our Dichotomy Opens The Combat"

I'm sure that the rest of you have already seen this, but I didn't run across it til this morning. It's a series of screen-caps from a copy of Revenge of the Sith, where the English subtitles have been translated directly from the Chinese. If you've ever played around with Babelfish, you've got an idea of what can reasonably happen. But this time the results go way beyond the realm of reason!

If link above doesn't work, try here.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Thoughts While Walking

Summer Session is over !

I get to start the new Harry Potter this week!

Damn, it's hot!!

I really need to do some painting this week....

...and laundry...

and clean the house up, some...

...Summer Session is over!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wearable Art From Found Objects

I ran across these images of something called "the umbrella project" and wanted to share the link with all of you.

Just goes to show what imagination can make from even the humblest of objects.

I am in awe.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thoughts While Walking

Why would anyone name an SUV "Tribeca"?

Why is the coffee shop always closing when I get to the gym, regardless of the time that I arrive?

I'm walking very, very fast!

What day is it?

How many pages can I get written tonight?

I've got to take time to get some drawing in tomorrow!

The best part of a workout is the shower afterward!

Monday, June 20, 2005

What Does This Say About The Current Art Market?

Ran across this item about a chimp who's doing whole galaxies better than I am, in terms of art sales.

Must have one helluva agent!

Don't Panic!

The final installment of the BBC's new H2G2 (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) series of radio plays airs on Tuesday, June 21. This will take us through Mostly Harmless, and concludes DA's classic 5-part trilogy.

What's the matter? Don't live in the UK?

No worries!

You can listen to it online!

And to Douglas Adams: So Long....and Thanks for all the Fish!

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Evidently, I am the only person on the planet that can't get their damn laptop to work in a coffee bar!!! What's the freakin' problem?????



(And yes I paid for coffee. And yes, other people could get on. TonyP didn't have any trouble.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation....

Most years, I spend the Summer reading mystery stories til dawn and this year is no exception.

The difference is that, this year, I am doing it for credit!

I also have to write a detective short story before the end of the session which means that editing my novel will have to wait for a bit. (It's waited about a year and a half already!)

Seems that all I do is write, these days.

Which wouldn't be half bad if it weren't for the fact that I'm a visual artist, by trade!!!!

Still, getting credit for reading mysteries and detective fiction does not suck.

If I'd known grad school was this much fun I would have done it ages ago!!

Friday, May 20, 2005

What Am I Listening To?

OK, TonyP. Here goes:

Total volume of music files on my computer: Er....What's a music file?

Song playing right now: Earl Klugh "Fingerdance" (I've got the Lite Jazz station on Music Choice)

Last CD I bought: Soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean, I think. It's also my workout tape. So, I listen to this a whole helluva lot!

Five things I listen to a lot (in no particular order):

"Snakecharmer", Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra, Between the Hours of Night and Day.

"breakout", Swing Out Sister, It's Better to Travel.

Masakazu Yoshizawa, Zen Garden (the entire cd).

R. Carlos Nakai, Earth Spirit (the entire cd).

"Missa de Angelis", The Cathedral Singers (Richard Proulx, conductor), Sublime Chant: The Art of Gregorian, Ambrosian and Gallican Chant. asked.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

License To Drive

Word of warning:

I had my first golf lesson last night!

Unfortunately, I did not suck at it to the extent that I would be inclined to give it up before starting.

The instructor has done nothing to dissuade me either. Of course, the whole golfing industry revolves around purveying hope to the hopeless, so I didn't really expect him to shake my hand after the lesson and say: "Stop. Just stop now. Save your money."

But, did he really have to encourage me?

I grew up with something of an aversion to the game. That was probably because I was living in Greensboro. I'm not sure if it was the clothing that turned me off or if it was the fact that attending the GGO counted as an excused absence from high school but attending kayak races was not.

Still, in recent years, I have noticed that a lot of the people I know play golf. So, I decided to give it a try and asked TonyP for lessons.

My first class was last night.

And I didn't suck.

I'll probably take more.

I have my own clubs.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Vacation Planner

In case that chapel site got you to thinking about making vacation plans, this site might be able to help you plan your other stops.


Not For the Squeamish

I have been meaning to post about this for a long time but just didn't know what to say about it.

So, I'll just post the link and let the site speak for itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Precious Moments Chapel!

(I kid you not.)

For H.H.

One of my aunts died yesterday, at the age of seventy-five.

She was one of my Dad's sisters. And, of the six siblings, she was - by far - the tallest.

I didn't get to see her very often but, when I did, I was always impressed by the way that she carried herself. She was never one of those tall gals that slouch and avoid wearing heels. And, when she rose from a chair, she always pulled herself up to her full, magnificent height.

Compared to her and her daughter, I am only of middling stature - a tad under 5'10". But, for years, I was taller than my friends and classmates and I didn't go out with a guy taller than myself til I went away to college.

During my teen years, I might have easily turned into a slouching, teenage female - uncomfortable with my height - awkward around guys too short to kiss me without a ladder.

But that never happened.

I have my Aunt to thank for that.

Her example taught me that a tall woman should be proud of her height.

Besides....We're worth the climb.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Nifty, Nifty! JennySlash is......!

Last week, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday.

I celebrated by spending a few days at my favourite spa with my Honey, where I had a facial and a fabulous Shiatsu massage. So - having had my shoulder worked on and after spending a lot of time floating in the mineral pool - I'm good for a few more miles, anyway.

I didn't observe the day by doing anything crazy. Nothing nutty. Didn't jump out of a plane or get anything tattooed or pierced. No flashy new sportscar. Pretty tame by most people's standards, I suppose.

Then again, I did start grad school this semester - which was something I had always dreamed of doing. That was my great leap of faith - no plane necessary.

However, my small act of daring is nothing compared to my Mom's.

She just turned seventy-five.

She and her high school sweetheart just got engaged.

Talk about a leap!

So, no tats or piercings. No Jags or parachutes.

Not for us.

That kind of shit is for wimps.

Real life takes real guts.

Glory Be To Dog!

I just had to pass this along!

The website belongs to a friend of mine - well, to his three dogs, actually!

Be sure to check out the Pope Bingo the First movie. It's not to be missed!

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Well, I've just finished my first semester of grad school.

And I and actually managed to send of my final paper to the professor on time!

Don't ask me about the term unless you're REALLY interested in early Christian theology.

I expect that it will take a few days for me to return to normal.

By then it will be time for Summer Session.

No rest for the wicked.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Funny/Reverent Blog

Since I'm not getting anything useful done today, I've been surfing. And I came across this christian blog that I think will amuse you. She's funny, religious and has a brain!

Be sure to check out her "WTFWJD?" tee shirts and the "Cavalcade of Bad Nativities".

Talking Out Of School

It's really, REALLY hard to do my research on Renaissance popes and the building of the Vatican when the Vatican City website is jammed!!!!

Wonder how much of the traffic is comprised of fans of JP2 and how much of it is general newsgathering from folks at networks that don't know squat about the RC church apart from what they get from Dan Brown.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I know that I haven't been around much lately.

In fact, it's been so long that the template for Blogger has changed and I really have no idea how this is going to look.

So....this is just a test.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Writing Is Like Trying To Talk Without Using Your Hands

I have spent three days trying to write a short essay on medieval liturgy and church architecture, which probably shouldn't have been such an ordeal because I've studied this sort of thing most of my life.

Maybe the problem was that it really needed to be something short. Maybe it was that it's hard for me to talk about the subject without sounding a bit "flakey". Maybe I'm just so passionate about the subject of "sacred space" that it's hard for me to put it into words.

After three pages of notes on light, mass, sound and a short physics rant, I gave up and did laundry, washed dishes and put my mind on cruise control. Things weren't getting any easier.

So, this morning, I started over from scratch.

I said a quick prayer: "Please, help me not sound like a flake". I took out my stash of cathedral photos, popped a medieval polyphony cd on the player and started to write. I didn't stop to think about what I was writing. I just wrote.

Sometimes, it's hard to put enough distance between yourself and your subject to let the writing flow. Or the art. Or the science...math...problem solving...physics...theology...what have you. It's easy to overthink the problem. And very difficult to stay out of your own way.

I'm not saying that my essay is likely to win any prizes But I'm satisfied that I managed to articulate my major points without wandering too far afield. And now I've got that little prayer written on the inside of my notebook cover:

"Please, help me not sound like a flake."


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Play "I Want To Know"

I see Dr. Gene Scott has passed away at age 75.

If you never caught Dr. Scott in action, then you certainly never found yourself awake at three in the morning, during the late seventies and early eighties.

I suppose that you could call him a televangelist. But he had a unique wackiness about him that was very entertaining - especially in the small hours of the morning. And he refused to take donations from viewers unless they had learned something from his teaching - teaching which included UFOs and the Great Pyramid, among other things.

Eccentric would be a nice way of describing him. Full of **** is probably another - and more accurate.

But late, late night programming has yet to offer up anything or anyone else quite like him!

So, bon voyage, Dr Gene!

Now, play "I Want To Know"!

Studio Notes

Over the years, I've run across quite a few articles that suggest that artists need look no further than their own back gardens for inspiration.

I've just spent the morning sketching the view from the bedroom window - a shallow, suburban strip of mulch and scrub with a woodpile and an overturned wheelbarrow.

Those people who advise artists to sketch their own backyards have obviously not seen mine.

Actually, two hours drawing a rotting woodpile in pencil is an interesting exercise. Since it's February, everything is pretty much monochromatic anyway. So, I've mostly been studying the various shades of grey.

But, as I've been working, I've noticed tendrils of new vines and - here and there - a few tentative leaves.

In a few short weeks, the view from this window will be drastically different - a study in greens instead of greys.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Studio Notes

Feeling stuck? Uninspired?

You are not alone.

But Artist's Sketchbook magazine might be able to help. Published by the folks at Artist's Magazine, Sketchbook is chock-full of hints on how to feed your creativity. And it can help you to turn your sketchbook into your best friend.

Some recent topics have included: "how creativity can improve your health", "how to be creative in a busy life" and how to find inspiration in the season of winter".

Artist's Sketchbook magazine is available at most large booksellers and is also now being offered by subscription.

Speaking of sketchbooks.....I've always had a hard time keeping a travel journal. To make things easier on myself - and to avoid lugging around unnecessary materials - I've settled on a fairly small kit that will go almost anywhere. Here are my basics:

Arches "Travel Book", 6"x10", cold-pressed water colour paper: It's spiral bound and a good size for quick sketching. Since it is water colour paper, I can use ink and colour.

Sakura's "Micron Pigma Pen", 05, black: This is permanent, archival ink and I can use it for note-taking as well as for sketching. 05 is a fairly fine line pen but not so fine that my handwriting is invisible. The pen is also small enough to slide into the spiral on the Travel Book.

Sakura's "Sumo Grip" mechanical pencil, 0.9: This is a soft-ish lead that smudges nicely for shading. It also has an artist's eraser end.

Strathmore Sketchpad, 3.5"x5", 100 sheets: This little beauty is small enough to stick in my pocket. A good size for discreet sketching, it allows me to do draw almost anywhere. With just this pad and my Sumo Grip in my pocket, I am mobile.

Optional: a few aquarelles (water colour pencils) in colours that approximate my standard paint palette. (I generally use a similar palette in both acrylics and water colours.) These are useful in developing my original sketch into a painting. Unlike regular coloured pencils (which are waxy), aquarelles are water-soluble and are compatible with other water-based media.

To find these goodies, check out Cheap Joe's online. Or go by Studio Supply the next time you're in Chapel Hill. Better still, drop into your local art supply store.

There you have it! A basic and very portable field kit that will go almost anywhere and can make your next daytrip into an artistic adventure.

Really, you'll be surprised what you'll see when you take the time to stop and really look.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Studio Notes

I am an artist.

So, naturally, all I ever seem to do is....write?

Three writing conferences in three weeks, plus all of the essays for grad school. And I usually write at night, just before I fall asleep.

So,anyway.... I've decided that I'm going to spend more time in the studio. And I've also decided to try blogging a bit about art and art-related topics, from time to time.

To start things off: I am pleased to be able to write that I managed to clean off my worktable today. I also put my slide sheets into a binder and began an inventory of art materials that I have on hand. I realized that I need a couple of new full-spectrum light bulbs and another power strip. (I never seem to have adequate lighting!)

Storage is always a problem for me, as well, and I've been daydreaming about some flat storage drawers from Cheap Joe's, to store water colour paper. But, for now, I think that I'd rather put my money into materials instead of studio equipment. Paint doesn't ever seem to get any cheaper and I use a remarkable amount of ultramarine blue!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


I was talking to some folks, after the Blogger Con on Saturday, and mentioned Readerville.

For those of you who have never heard of it, it's an on-line community for readers and writers.

Our friend PC turned us on to the site, a while back.

My fave thread: "I've Read It And I'm Bitter". It's the thread for discussing those books that everyone told you that you just had to read but that left you yearning for those hours of your life that you would never get back.

The one that left me bitter was Kate Vaiden, by Reynold Price. I still get mad whenever I think of the days I spent getting through that thing!

Talking Out Of School

This online grad school thing is going pretty well, I suppose.

It's been a few weeks now. Long enough that I feel I can start to make a few comments on the on-line learning environment. I'll probably write more about the process, in the weeks to come.

One thing that I do miss is the face to face interaction that you get in a live seminar. That, and the way that a seminar discussion evolves around a conference table.

In the online class that I'm taking this Spring, the discussion area is multi-threaded. So, instead of one discussion growing organically and people contributing to its growth and shape, what we end up with is a sort of cocktail party situation where you wander around from group to group, looking for an opening. You say something pithy, or just nod. Then you move on.

The result is a series of incoherent ramblings that never really pull themselves together. So, I think that a better approach would be to not allow each student to create a new thread for each unit. That approach might encourage greater depth in the conversation.

One of the great advantages to the way the class is constructed is that the discussions are not in real-time. So, people can work through the units and the discussions whenever it is most convenient for them (like 2:00am at the kitchen table or at their desk on their lunch hour). As I have a rather unpredictable schedule, this suits me quite well. So, I am grateful that there is not a set class meeting for a real-time conversation.

Another advantage is that it gives a student time to read, research and formulate a coherent response. (Not that they always take advantage of the opportunity to do so. But it's there.) And I can see how that would be a great help to a student who is not outspoken in a face-to-face situation.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yet Another Jane Austen Movie

Here comes another one!

Here is the imdb info on the new Pride and Prejudice, coming out later this year.

Another f*****g Jane Austen movie?

Really, just how many versions of Pride and Prejudice do we really need?

[Spoiler alert: At the end, she runs out into the snowy street in her animal print panties and runs into Darcy, who is coming out of the bookseller's with a brand new diary for her Christmas present.]

Monday, January 31, 2005


This weekend, I was stunned to see a local tv ad for This End Up Furniture.

The website doesn't seem to be particularly useful but they do have a retail store at Briar Creek Shopping Center in Raleigh. That is the only storefront but you can order from the company, evidently.

I know that there are a lot of us that still have pieces of this furniture because the stuff is indestructable.

They seem to be making the old stand-by items and have some styles of replacement cushions.

Please, pass the info along.

Friday, January 28, 2005


.....Just wanna see if this is working!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I have tried posting a few times this week but Blogger keeps losing my posts!

I shall resume regular posting once the dog stops eating my homework.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

After A Day of Shopping

I was downtown with TonyP today and we went into a couple of cute boutiques that are usually closed when I'm in the vicinity.

So, I spot this absolutely killer dress and simply have to take it for a spin. Sure enough, it fits like a dream. Total knockout. Every dress should be this perfect. You have no idea just how much I want this particular dress to be mine.

Do I buy it? Er,,,,,,,,, no. Not yet. Maybe later this week.

Next stop is the office supply superstore where I find the briefcase I've been looking for for three years.

That (of course) I buy.

Along with a basket of office supplies.

Some times a girl just has to satisfy her inner geek!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

So, anyway.....

I reached goal today!

(does little Snoopy dance)

Monday, January 10, 2005


So, I feel this overwhelming need to log into the discussion area of my spankin' new online class (to see if anyone had scathing comments about the short bit that I wrote on 4th Century monasticism) and guess what?

I f*****g can't get in!!!!

System overload....have to re-do all your codes....oops, THAT server now overloaded.....everybody wait 12 hours for your codes to work.....invalid code.....can't authenticate.....Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!

When I started college, one of my biggest problems was getting to class. It was too early, too far, I was too busy, too much in love. Now, it's the damn classroom that won't let me in!

How's that for an excuse to give one's professor. "Sorry that I didn't get that essay to you on Papal-Hohenstaufen Struggle and the papal bull issued by Boniface in 1302.....the g**d****d system locked me out!!

Brilliant! This is only Day 1.

Again, Grrrrrrrrr!

Yes, I Am Still Here

As a lot of you know, I am starting grad school this semester.

What you might not know is that the MALS program that I am in permits me to do everything online.

That means no having to TA, no stuffy seminar rooms, no smelly carrels. It does mean a lot of online reading, discussion and writing in a virtual environment which (frankly) is a little odd for me.

So, I'm going to need a few weeks to get oriented.

If you don't see me here, I'm probably in the dusty stacks of some virtual library, drinking very real coffee and wishing I hadn't gotten myself into this!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Easter

Today is Epiphany/Little Christmas.

Today, all of my bows and wreaths come down. I'll stash my Holiday CDs away til December comes around again and I'll do my level best to put away the last of my presents.

Usually, this is the time of year when I am used to having to grit my teeth and steel myself against the onslaught of rotten weather.

But, this year, our part of the state is being graced with warm and pleasant days and mild nights.

It's a bit eerie, actually!

I keep looking at the weather maps for a hint of the foul weather yet to come! It's as if the sunny days are taunting me, teasing me. Then....WHAM! Winter will jump out and slug us with its icy fist!!

Or....maybe the weather will just stay like this all season.


Monday, January 03, 2005

In Memorium

Illustrator Frank Kelly Freas has passed away.

Now, you might not think that you're familiar with his work.

But I'll guarant-damn-tee you that you are!

He did what he loved for a living and leaves behind a memorable body of work.

May we all be so fortunate.


I know that we were ALL told, as children, to cover our mouths when we coughed.....

But, PLEASE, kindly remember not to use the same hand that you just coughed into to reach for objects like door handles or (pay attention!) to shake hands with someone!!

Swear to god(dess), I've made it a point to notice at church. Every single person that coughs into their hand then extends that hand to all around them, during the Peace.

Every single one.

Bring a tissue with you. Cough into your shoulder. Sit on your right hand ( extra useful if your right-handed). Carry a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. Everywhere.

Thank You!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's Greetings

To everyone out there, whether you celebrated the turning of the year weeks ago, last night or will be celebrating it a few weeks from now:

May the New Year bring you Health, Peace and Prosperity!