Monday, October 29, 2007

So, What do Beth of Three Sheeps to the Wind and Robert Fulghum
have in common?

Well...together they have inspired me to share something on the blog that I wasn't going to share.

As one gets on in life, it gets harder and harder to try something new. First of all...if you've lived awhile, you've tried a lot of things and have pretty much figured out your preferences.

Then, if you've become reasonably proficient in some things, there's a risk in trying things in which you have no proficiency at all. So, why subject yourself to that risk? But Robert Fulghum's essay about "dancing all the dances as long as you can" was a good reminder to me. (Please click on the link and listen to it, not just read it.) So I hope this will be an inspiration to you.

Well...last Wednesday AM, I plunged in and took the risk. At the gym they've begun offering a new class right after my PiYo class. So I was rolling up my mat after PiYo, getting ready to head to the park for a walk when an acquaintance from PiYo said, "Come on, stay with me for the Cuban Dance class. It'll be fun and you'll get your cardio workout done."

So I did...and I'm proud to say I could even get out of bed the next morning. If you're wondering how it went...this video has about the right level of activity. We didn't get down to our knees, and we didn't wear the Cuban garb (particularly the high heels), but we went at it for 50 minutes. The "real thing" was not as pretty as this, but it was every bit as much fun. I'll be taking my "dancing shoes" to PiYo again next week:

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!

Now, what about you? Get out there and try something new!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wake up call....

For all the cat people. And there are many of you in the fiber community...

This is the reason our cat sleeps in the basement and doesn't come up until we come downstairs for the day. Believe me, she makes up for it between 4PM and 6PM (6PM is her dinner time).

Still painting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thinking about Art & Creativity.....

And it's importance in everyday life. Working on this redecorating project has pretty much brought my fiber life to a halt. The looms sit behind the family room furniture which has been moved to the dining room for the duration. The spinning wheels are also inaccessible. And much of my time has been spent painting or trying to put things together in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Over the past couple weeks I've been so grateful for the art education I received through public school education in the 60's. And for all the color and design theory I've learned as a byproduct of weaving workshops and guild participation. None of this was my primary educational objective. I'm not a professional artist, nor do I aspire to be. But this supplemental education has enriched my life beyond measure.

Sad to say that when funds are tight in education (when are they not?!) the arts are the first thing to go. If a person doesn't show a special artistic talent, they may never learn that the secret to drawing is as much about training the eye as in training the hand. Or they never learn the language of color to help them get dressed, let alone create a comfortable environment for themselves.

It's been a great exercise for me to assemble paint chips, fabrics, window treatments, etc. to put together this room. All the more so, because I'm not starting from scratch but am challenged to make a new look while keeping some basic furnishings.

As mentioned earlier, the Mary Warshaw print arrived this week, which meant it needs to be matted and framed. I knew what I wanted to pull out in the picture, so thought a 'quick and dirty' run to Joann's with my 50% off coupon would do the trick. I spent 2.5 hours trying to communicate with the person behind the counter who seemed to have no background in color theory or design. I should have walked away when she started with: "What colors are in your room?" Instead I walked away, print in hands (it's a big print!) with very tired eyes.

The next day I headed to a place where I knew the woman had more art training. We put together exactly what I wanted in 20 minutes. We spoke the same language and putting it all together was a joy. And they too had a 50% off coupon.

Now I must head back to the paintbrush. The walls in this room are board and batten cedar, which means all brush painting, no rollers to make it go quick. Maybe standing on a step stool doing trim work with a one inch paintbrush is affecting my perception, but this video speaks to me right now. It's certainly a counterpoint to the way I am meticulously agonizing about the right shade of the inner border of the picture mat, or should the window treatments match or harmonize. Skip the jingoism, get sucked into his process:

PS: (later that same day) This afternoon it became evident that the walls are going to need a second coat of paint. With a brush. NOW I feel like imitating Michael Israel.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book Me-Me:
I've been tagged for the book me-me by Cathy. Hmm, this will take some thought to avoid regretting my answers once the publish button is clicked.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

Trade paperback when possible. They are sturdy, economical, recyclable, and easy to handle. It's just one way to be good between the covers .

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…

There used to be a book store in the area which had a coffee shop, at least a decade and a half before B&N and Borders caught the idea. The name of that store: Eye Browse. I could never top that name.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
"Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise." Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye (1988)

3a. My favorite quote from a blogger
"But we persist. We knit and spin and dye and weave, and sometimes fling beads on everything, and call it good.

It has to be for the love of it. " Sara Lamb

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

I'll pick two:
Alive: Margaret Atwood
Deceased: Wallace Stegner

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be…

Again, I would try to wheedle my way into taking two. One would be the Bible (either NIV or Revised Standard version)....there's every kind of story in there and some great poetry as well. The second would be Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins .

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

They already have and you can see it here.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

browsing around used book stores.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

phew boy...the only ones I can think of are pretty tragic. Let's see there's the unnamed narrator in Rebecca (as in.."Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.") It would be intriguing but stressful to be that character.

I've got it: Bathsheba Everdene ! That's the character for me!

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…

No thinking required on this one: The DaVinci Code. (Notice I didn't even put a link.)

10. I hate it when a book…

Has a lot of graphic violence that isn't necessary to the plot or story line. Patricia Cornwell has gone down this path since her earliest books.

And now for the tagging part - if they are so inclined:

I would be interested in seeing what Lee and Sharon would write. Mary and I attend book group together, and we talk books, but I don't know what her answers would be. And I'd love to read Catherine's responses, but I don't know if she'll do a Me-Me.

And any of you reading this...feel free to do the Me-Me, but let me know so I can see too!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Making Progress...

Things have gone more smoothly this past week and I've made some progress without sliding backward. Progress highlights:
  • Paint color has been chosen and the fireplace wall of the family room is painted.
  • With one wall painted, I was able to make a color selection on the window treatments. They have been ordered with promised arrival next week.
  • A new print has been ordered for over the fireplace. I've been kicking myself for leaving an enchanting print in the gallery when we were at the NC shore last summer (2006). So I searched online and was able to find the print and have it shipped to me. It too should be here early next week. It's here in the Aug. 11 post if you'd like to take a look.
  • And at last some fiber progress!! I finished a prayer shawl to turn in to the prayer shawl ministry. I've hemmed two pairs of slacks, sewn a loose button onto a fall suit jacket, stitched shoulder pads into another suit jacket, and shortened the sleeves on yet another jacket.
This weekend I'll be painting. In fact I may be painting into the next week or two since the halls and stairways are on the "to paint" list.

Meanwhile, I've been thinking about why October is one of my favorite months:
  • There's the obvious autumn color that's part of our geography.
  • The Supreme Court goes into session early in October, which always makes listening to the news more interesting. (Not necessarily good news with this largely conservative court, but I do love to hear Nina Totenberg's reports.
  • The Nobel Prize announcements begin in October and often continue through to early December. I love the stories associated with the prizes. The history of the Nobel prizes is also something worth noting. If you're not familiar with it, go read War and Peace in the Thinking of Alfred Nobel.
  • October also means fresh apple cider, trips to the cider mill and a cinnamon donut or two slipped into the month.
  • And it means that the flowers which have been dying from my neglect for the past 3 months will now finally die of natural causes. My guilt will be assuaged!
  • The month wraps up with Halloween, which is the dh's birthday. Even tho' I'm annoyed with him today, he is still one of my favorite people.
All in all, October is a pretty good month. There should be more months like this.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

(caution, old rock titles and dark humor ahead) Eva Destruction.....

Yep, still cleaning and organizing with my own particular form of vengeance.

This past week found me tearing apart my clothes closet, trying everything on to see: what fit, what needs repairs, what goes with what, and what needs to go. After almost 3 hours of costume changing, I ended up with a pile of clothes on the bed that took almost as long to sort and put away. My fiber work for now is incrementally working on a large pile of mending and hemming. (I still have to sort through the shoes.)

Yesterday was particularly messy:
First, the washing machine overflowed the laundry tub, right before my very eyes. It was one of those experiences where I was walking into the laundry room and what I was seeing was so unexpected it took a moment to register before reacting. Then it took another half hour to clean up the mess.

From that mess I went to chipping a huge chunk off the surface of one of the doors in the family room with the vacuum cleaner. That too took time and a little wood glue to repair....and will need paint in the near future. (Good thing we'll be painting in there in the next week or two.)

Next on the ever destructive housecleaning list were the baseboard heating units. While taking those apart to wash and vacuum all the dust and cat hair before heating season, I got a huge gash in one of my fingers from the sheet metal. That's what I get for thinking about turning on the heat on a 90 degree day in October in Michigan.

However there was one humorous SNAFU to the day: I clean to rock music......loud rock music. Our telephone number is only one digit different than the township police. In the past 29 years our number has been printed as the police number one time (that I know of for certain), and depending on the print quality of the phone book, their 3 will look like our 8. So, it's not that unusual for us to get police calls. They seem to come in spurts. It's been awhile since we've had any of those calls.

About 4 PM yesterday the phone rang, the rock music was playing, I looked at the caller ID and the name sounded familiar so I picked up. The phone was just out of reach of the music intercom and the refrain from When the Bullet Hits the Bone was playing loud and clear. On the other end of the phone a young man asked incredulously, "Is this the police department?!" When I said, "No, you have the wrong number", he sounded so relieved.

Dark comedy to wrap up the day.

Now to wrap up this post: I clearly remember seeing this on tv when it first aired in 1965.

The message is as relevant today as it was in 1965. It's a tune that is often in my head.

Ever wonder what happened to Barry McGuire? Google him....