Friday, December 31, 2010

An Extended Happy New Year!

Because of my "regular" job, I have today off...the last day of 2010. Because I have been going around spouting off about how Time--or the measurement of Time--is just an artificial construct, today is the first day of my 3-day (maybe more) Celebration of endings and beginnings.

My personal favorite holiday and signifier of the turning of the seasons was the Solstice, on December 21st, when the days finally start getting longer, if only by seconds, and the SUN we know and love comes back into my northern sky and begins to show its face...if the sky is not too cloudy.

Winter sun is a cause for celebration in my neighborhood.
I saw people on bikes, and even
some bare arms and legs in my
travels today, although the temperature was in the thirties (above zero), and heading for the twenties tonight...cold for here. I spent most of my life where white was the landscape color more frequently than green.

So, Endings and Beginnings: here the grass is green, heather starting to bloom pink and white, and I know another month will bring flowers on the trees, as well as a surge of millenium plants among my stones. We are always beginning and ending, but I salute this time of recognizing and celebrating the beginnings and endings.

Today I celebrated the change by washing my sheets, my hair,
my kitchen floor. I like marking a new start with cleanliness, BUT
I also realize that I will never be the obsessive-compulsive
cleaner I wish I could afford to hire. Instead, clean the most obvious surfaces and save time for being Outside, and reading, and All the other things that take up my time...more
Realistic about what's possible as the years turn.

My family's decision not to give presents is a huge relief of the self-induced Holiday pressure to show our love with material goods. Of course there are those of us who cheat a bit and do get too much of a kick out of giving to
stop: Thank you, David and Doug.

I am learning not to feel guilty about taking care of myself, but still at the last minute made my traditional Christmas Angels, the Solstice party, and a pecan pie for work yesterday.

Today, instead of cleaning Everything, I went to Ediz Hook and took pictures of town from the salt water Strait, picked up a few rocks to bring home, bought myself a couple of bath time treats, and books to follow up on this week's fascination with memoirs.

I just finished reading Mary Karr's LIT and had to buy it, as
well as THE LIAR'S CLUB. Because of my own ever-lasting
urge to write Everything, save each moment in words, now
for 41 years, I fantasize about writing stories from my life, as
the women who contributed to HOT FLASH: A CELEBRATION
did. I also have a book from the library with super-short stories
from South and Central America...LOTS of ideas...and instead of setting up too-high resolutions that I may or may not achieve,
I'll keep on following my heart, investigating what seems interesting, trying to be clear about what I really want as opposed to what others may seem to want from me, going for the Experience, rather than the Stuff. Remember to give people
credit for the good things they do. Spend time with sunny days and the people we love. Keep stretching to learn more widely, hone skills in making art. Stay Curious and Interested. Don't expect it all to be Perfect, or your self to be Kind.

Maybe the trick is to frame our stories about ourselves and lives in ways that make us successes, rather than failures in how we deal with life's bumps...same action, different frame of mind...makes all the difference.

Be kind to yourselves, make plans but give yourself as much time as you need. Follow your heart and see where it leads you.

The drawings above are more from the series I've been working on, inspired by Richard Tuttle's simple work. They're all 4" x 6", the drawings done with three colors of pencil, painted over with one of two shades of yellow glaze, just taking a simple idea and simple tools and playing it over and over again to see what comes out.

The HOT FLASH book took seven years, an idea, and talking with a lot of other I can't stop collecting
stories...don't know yet where that will lead...maybe to another book. At some time during this three-day celebration, I'll be back in the studio, working again on my portrait painting series...finishing the Big Doll...maybe stories to go with the portraits, outdoor sculpture when the weather gets warm enough to drive re-bar into the ground,

I'm thinking about retirement already, although I may have to work another 5 years before I can afford not to work. I'll have plenty to do. Still, I'm happy that I took time off in my youth to explore, travel, do craft shows, and meet all those wonderful people, dance, make love, audit philosophy classes...I think that what ever happens, we can find something positive there...although I am So Happy that I have a good place to live, a loving family, and a job that probably won't go away...a mind with which to search and stretch...PLEASE JOIN ME!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Hot Flash friends, Rita Tritabaugh and Julie Branch pose in front of Rita's paintings in St. Paul, MN, with my book and a wise woman that Julie made to celebrate Rita's 50th birthday.

"Thanks again for your wonderful book and sharing the stories of so many women. Risa and I have journeyed through a lot in the past 25 + years and it will be exciting to see where the next years take us!" Julie

Here's an excerpt from a letter Kim Tinsley wrote and one of her poems following:

"HOT FLASH feels like a good visit. And an embrace. And a rare opportunity to read the thoughts of women who probably don't get asked very often, if at all, about what it feels like to walk the path from innocence to experience, what it is to negotiate the phases of a human life in a female body, what it is to live a woman's life."

places in the heart

the force unseen
that beats my
breaks it too,
the number of places
where love resides

Kim Tinsley 2005


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I have so much for which to be thankful...although I would be even more thankful if I hadn't just wiped out this almost-completed blog entry by moving tooooo fast. I live close to a big chunk of my gourmet chef family, so we can share holidays. Thanksgiving is my second favorite after Solstice, where I welcome the incremental inching back of the sun.

Don't get me wrong, in the Olympic Peninsula, rain is fine, and the early dark of winter gives me the opportunity to stay inside and blog and make Art, but Sun is Stupendous! We all get a little giddy when it shows its golden face.

Last Saturday: " A wonderful Saturday, staying in bed late, sun, a fantastic view of Mt. Baker from my front yard, warm enough to wear just a sweatshirt over my insulated underwear and fleece, visiting a craft fair with Barbara and chatting with friends, nice Asian food, book store, talking about money and time and how to get and spend them.
It's good to see green grass in December, know a wide variety of people, some of whom are doing interesting things, and to have a warm home to which to retreat with abundant projects and possibilities for the long dark night." Tonight rain, rain, and more rain, and home from the lively party at Gray's Warehouse to turn on my propane fire and chat with all of you.

I feel like quite a celebrity around here recently, with an article about the HOT FLASH book in Peninsula Woman and an interview on Karen Hannen's Art I agreed to do one of Mark Harvey's shows on KONP...pretty good for a formerly shy person! You can listen Saturday 1/29/11 on streaming radio. I have lots to talk about, apparently, with years of practice making conversation with my patients, following the time-honored advice to: get them talking about themselves, and they'll think you're a brilliant conversationalist.

Doug and Brian start with the pumpkin-filled won ton skins that David made.

Deb Alwine has been with us for the six Thanksgivings I've been here, starting as my mortgage broker. Her family wonders why she isn't hungry when she gets to their house.

Casey Groff, who built my house, loves family gatherings around food, too, and made my kitchen/dining/living room perfect for cooking and eating together.

Serene fractured the end of her little finger playing frisbee just before Thanksgiving. As a hand therapist, I hate that the surgeon in Seattle put her into a full cast after pinning...I'm looking forward to getting her
least as much as possible...when I see her at Christmas time.

Doesn't that plate look tempting: Doug's pumpkin rolls, Brian's whipped mashed potatoes and pumpkin, Amal's green beans with roasted pumpkin you sense
a theme?

Connie, Seattle's Queen of Pies. Don't worry, Barbara, you're still Sequim's Pie Queen.
I've been practicing for the Port Angeles title, but I won't go up against either of the Queens!

Hugh, sampling the first piece of his vegetable and stuffing Panade, made in a pumpkin-shaped mold.

Further back, you'll see Connie's pumpkin cake, made from the same mold, and glued together with cream cheese frosting, and more on the side. Doug made pumpkin cheesecake, and Serene made bread pudding.

Instead of the traditional smoked
turkey from Sunrise meats, I did a fresh
turkey--love the aroma throughout the house on Thanksgiving morning. My never-fail recipe: put an apple, an onion, some celery, and a bottle of cheap white wine in the cavity, smear the outside with butter, salt, and pepper, sear at 450 degrees for 20 minutes and finish at 325 degrees. I didn't have to start baking until 8am--very civilized.

Fun with the turkey-shaped turkey baster that Connie and Hugh brought last year.
I'm still looking for a red
flour sifter for when Connie bakes at my house. They wanted to stay for the Tamale making the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll take some to Seattle for was much easier tying the tamales with string this time, instead of shredded corn husks. I have a lot left in the freezer, and they came out well with corn oil instead of lard this time. No point in making just a few tamales!

The southeast
view of the table.
Good thing the snow melted off the roads in time for everyone to get up my hill.

The north west view of the table. I'm thinking that I'd like to have both a smoked and a fresh turkey next year...but we'll need another table worth of
people to make it work out...Steve and Linda? any of the Bickfords???

After dinner digestion in preparation for a May I? tournament. I was doing very well until Brian and Connie did me in.

The Art Part: In the upper right corner, you'll see a chunk of the 9.5 foot tall big doll, who has joined us for every meal for the last few years now. She's actually getting close to finished now, and I think we'll all miss her when she goes to the OK Hotel Gallery in Seattle...I do have another Big project in mind for the back yard, my Stonhendge in the front yard worked out so well.

Question for the world at large: I am on my last box of HOT FLASH books...I'd love to hear from people who have successfully used printing on demand.

Plan your Solstice Festivities Now!


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Friends, Art, Travel, Inspiration 3

I know, back to front, but I am Determined to finish getting through my recent trip for you, so
I can move on to more current events.

Thanksgiving is waiting in the wings, and it
was a Delicious Pumpkin theme this year--good thing Steve and Linda didn't come out West
for this one, as he made it clear that he
can't stand pumpkin. I'm still enjoying left overs.

To return to my story, which starts two blogs before this one, this is the view of Lake Iraquois in Williston, VT, from my cousin's back deck.
As you may remember from an earlier post, there
was a hurricane passing through and I had only brought one pain of shoes with me, so we didn't walk down to the lake, but he rows every morning, or does until the lake is frozen and covered with snow...then the cross-country skiing begins.

Wells River, VT, which used to be "downtown" when I lived in the old schoolhouse in East Ryegate. The main street has changed very little since I was there, helping with the library expansion in the Seventies.

The hurricane had flooded the main route south of town the day I was there in October. The beige car on the right was my rental, parked in front of the white library building. We used to go into town on Friday nights to do laundry, shop, and play chess with our State Representative, who carried the fragrance of manure on his rubber boots.

One of my quintessential Vermont images: hill, foliage, field. The gray sky reminds me of my home here in Washington, and makes the colors seem even brighter by comparison.

On Route 2 west in Vermont. I never got tired of soaking up the color.

Another primal VT scene, adding the farm. OK, I'm getting it out of my system. This was in the Green Mountains in the northern part of the state, probably covered in snow by now.

And the classic New England white church, Montpelier, VT, in the end of the hurricane.
David C and I met because of architecture, working together for an architectural designer
in Burlington. We took a historic preservation tour of
Montpelier in the rain.

David has a big old Victorian on Liberty St., scene of many wild times with his three children and their friends. I love the turquoise truck livening up the rainy day.

Tim at Al's Fries in Burlington, to reprise the food theme. We love our fries with the skins on and corn dogs.

Flash back to summer and my studio treat here in my bedroom/drawing studio in Port Angeles: fresh strawberries from the Farmers' Market (which can run year round in our temperate climate) good vanilla ice cream and home made brownies...I treat myself right!

And now I come home to Port Angeles, where I can drive downtown and out on to Edis Hook after a hard day at work, and look back at town with the real Olympic Mountains behind.

I am blessed with many wonderful Homes and Friends!

Now go Celebrate and make some Art!


Friends, Art, Travel, Inspiration 2

This is going to come out in the wrong order, I know. My life
is rich and full, and my aspirations far exceed my grasp.

Why do I have this compulsion to record my life and thoughts--I don't know why, but I do, and it's always a total THRILL when someone tells me that they read what I write and find some resonance here.

This post will include the best of the rest of the pictures I took on my trip back to my birth/growth home...again with the theme of all of the HOMES that we collect during our life times and all the roles they play in our formation, our dreaming, our inspiration.

Above are a couple of collage boxes in my friend, Loel Annie Barr's studio...she has a one-woman show at WAM in Woodstock, NY.

She took the photos of rusty things and through a smudged window when she and Patti and I went to look for stuff together at a huge storehouse in Kingston, NY. Friends who inspire me to push my art work further are So Valuable, in person or via email, travel journals, and memories.

Moody, moody, moody. Annie took pictures with my camera, so we got to share them. I wonder if taking photos creates distance from just being IN the experience...but now I'm happy to have the photos to take me back...and maybe
inspire a piece of Art. Annie does digital collages.
I took a wonderful class at Womens' Studio Workshop in digital collage and loved it--yet another item on my To Do list/notebooks.

This is a picture I took at the same place, the repeated image of radiators: shape, form, color, and I may have learned how to use the Saturate button in Photoshop...Oh, the Excitement of discovery!
May we Always Inspire each other to do Great Work!

Looking up in a gallery in the Roundout District of Kingston, NY...I have lots of inspiring pictures. I better make time to exercise and eat well, so I live to be very old, but vigorous!

Zaborski Emporium--good thing I put the card into my travel journal. Me and Patti taking pictures, amazed by the wealth of possibilities! I'll show you the travel journal another time...also the series of small drawings I've been working on.

Remember: the more we work, the more the ideas flow.

Calico Cat French Pastries and restaurant in Rhinebeck, NY...I keep a running list of Must Eats when I go back to familiar places. Sadly, they didn't have the Blood Orange Chocolate Bombe in stock, but I did get a chocolate bombe and numerous other goodies to share. It was a shun-pike trip--no freeways unless absolutely necessary...and Oh the thin-crust pizza with red cabbage, spinach, and porcini sauce at La Florintina...I wish I'd taken a picture!

I did take a picture for my niece, Serene, of a Chicago hot dog with all the fixings in
O'Hare on my way home to Port Angeles.
I may have mentioned that we are a family of Foodies.

After NY I drove back north to Vermont, following this strange X in the sky all the way back to Burlington...I guess X marks another magic mystery HOME spot.

Home with friends, with positive experiences, and with familiar/comforting land arrangements...what are all the facets that come together to make a HOME?

People in Washington state laugh at what's called a mountain in the East, but those Vermont rolling hills, underlaid with granite, make me feel at Home...there are quite a few areas here on the Peninsula that resonate with me the way Vermont does. As David C said when he came to visit, "this is like Vermont on steroids." David is a tiny speck here, center stage, in front of a giant pile of granite blocks at an old quarry in Barre, VT, where is friend is going to build a house with this view.

Montpelier and Barre are close together, kind of like Port Angeles and Sequim. The Victorian building boom in Montpelier brought lots of artistic Italian stone cutters to Barre.

David took me to a cemetery in Barre that is a showcase for their work, and a bit of a competition--artists egging each other on to do
more and more fantastical work.

A couple in bed, side by side in death as in life.

An airplane in flight. A racing car...why shouldn't death be interesting, too?

In the early Eighties, I was an original board member for Catamount Arts in the 8,000-person town of St. Johnsbury, VT. I was delighted to see how much it has grown, having moved up through the old post office into the Mason's Temple, with two theaters, galleries, and a full list of exhibits, performances, and all kinds of Arts Activities...Pay Attention, Port Angeles, we have a long way to grow and a lot of enthusiasm here, as well. I talked with Odetta, BB King, and Arlo Guthrie after performances in this small town.

And about 80 miles away on the other side of this small state, is another long-term HOME of mine, Burlington, the city on the shore of Lake Champlain, a city much like Seattle, where the mountains on the other side of the water, keep the climate a bit milder than the surrounding area, but still down into the twenties below zero, with lots of deep snow.

Church St., Burlington, home of endless festivals and active street life all seasons of the year.

The former fire station is now home to an avant guarde art gallery. True, Burlington is larger than Port Angeles and boasts several colleges and industries, but I see common threads in the cities I have chosen as HOME, and I have High Hopes for PA.

A rainbow arching above a brilliant red maple, shot from the parking lot where
I work to support my Art habit. I know, I'm in the habit of working my Stuff out in public, but here and there you may feel a resonance and a spark of inspiration.

Port Angeles, another HOME, probably for the rest of my life. There are some common elements in all of my HOMES, proximity of water, hills/mountains, good people, art opportunities. Now I work with all the others in making Port Angeles the best HOME it can be for all its citizens.

Friends, Art, Travel, Inspiration 1

I actually made a new painting: Coffee, Coffee--a painting with collage, currently on display at Harbinger Winery on Route 101 west of Port Angeles.

I love painting so much, why is it so challenging to get myself to do it? The last few weeks, now that it gets dark about 4:30 in the afternoon, I've been going into the studio to play--what fun! As I've always said, just doing Any kind of art work makes more ideas come...and it is necessary, even Vital, to allow yourself to get through the ugly stuff to get to the good stuff.

I've been invited to be a guest curator (of websites and blogs on starting the last Monday in December for a week, so I get to span the start of the New Year.

It has been interesting to look back through my old posts and to gather other interesting and inspiring blogs to feature. I seem to work best with the pressure of a dead-line, although sometimes the self-induced pressure gets ridiculous!

Two openings on Friday: Harbingers and the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, where I added elements to a series of small collages I made last summer, as well as finishing up some small dolls...I love it ALL!

Diane Urbani de la Paz did a wonderful write up about me and the HOT FLASH book in 12/5/10 Peninsula Daily News and I will be interviewed by Karen Hanen on Art Beat, KONP, this Friday 12/10/10.

The response to this book has been AMAZING and all the 50 contributors can be very proud of your participation and the inspiration your stories have provided/will provide to women everywhere. When we reach out, others are there. We aren't alone. Maybe that's part of the magic of blogging--discovering that we share so much with so many others.

I need to keep reminding myself to take notes on all my many-branched aspirations so I don't forget any brilliant ideas. No, I can't do All of it in one day off, but if I keep plugging away, I get things done. After all, the book did take seven years and is now a 3-D Reality.

The time frame of blogging is challenging for me who gets so behind at times. My next post will be the remaining pictures from my trip back to New England and New York in October.

Note: I only have 1 box of my first printing of HOT FLASH left and would love to hear from folks who have had experience with printing on demand...or is there an Angel out there who would like to finance another printing??