Friday, July 19, 2019

even the garden frog is laughing

Sometimes things are just so absurd there is no making sense of it. This week in politics has absolutely blown my mind. The president of the United States makes these racist remarks and people support him? Women and people of color at his rally cheer for him and repeat that four Congress women should go back to the countries they came from? It's unfathomable. And it's personal. But it's kind of a washing machine kind of thing for many emotions and thoughts and fears are churning around now that I can barely be articulate.

It's been a busy summer. Lots of gardening, watching babies grow and learn, coffee with friends, work at the Arts Center. Life is so good and so rich that it helps keep my head above the quicksand. Last night we had our monthly Third Thursday Potluck. We're on our third year, some have gone and some new faces have joined us and it's always so much fun and so much good food.

Yes, I colored my hair purple. It's an homage to Prince, my friend Kathryn, and Megan Rapinoe. And it's a flip of the bird to the White House. (I know that isn't rational.) My friends last night were very complimentary of my purple locks. It's only hair and it's temporary so what the hell. I should have brought the bottle of Purple Rain and done a couple streaks for those who were interested.

I'm inspired but I still don't get much done. I finally mailed a Christmas package to Jane in Iowa that arrived in time for the 4th of July. What the hell. Hahaha!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

can i say yes, i am an artist?

I've never thought of myself as an artist. The last class I had related to art, not counting the wine and paint gatherings where the main focus of course, was wine, was in middle school. Miss LaCroix, who was a very good teacher taught me things I still to paint trees and humans and form follows function. Then I pretty much left that subject alone.

I have always loved to write but I never thought of that as art until I started working at the Arts Center. People would ask if I was an artist, and finally I could say, "I am a word artist." But it still seemed different.

About a year ago, I decided to take drawing lessons. I signed up for three lessons and struggled mightily but I did learn that it was ok to struggle and I could keep going.

I found a wonderful teacher who calls herself my creativity mentor. For the last year, she has encouraged me through drawing, some introduction to painting, paper cutting, the fundamentals of art and design, famous artists, and many different art materials. I have a huge collection of my own supplies and I even set up a studio in our basement. I have an antique drafting table that belonged to a man who had been an artist and illustrator for many years. I bought myself a cool LED lamp and a nice chair and I've done a reasonable job of organizing things.

The last time we met, my teacher introduced the notion of a project. She had ideas from things I have talked about, the way in which to encourage me. She suggested a three part project...abstract landscapes, writing about landscape and home (mostly things I have already done), and three dimensional sculpture using fiber.

The last one has given me the most pause. I've been a knitter but mostly used the cheap acrylic yarn from the big box stores. I don't know much about real wool fiber, so I'm learning. I'm learning about color, and texture, and heddle looms, and circular weaving, and free-style weaving. It's a blast.

Thursday, my teacher and I are going to Mankato to check out a yarn stash sale. I want to know more about felting.

I have so many ideas that sometimes I have to take a nap to give my head a rest. Haha!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

stuff falls apart

I've been composing this in my head for months. Months. Nothing ever gets any clearer so I guess it won't. Or it will. I don't know.

The last two years have been horrific. I watch the news almost obsessively. It's the first thing I do in the morning...I check the news to make sure nothing horrible, or more horrible than yesterday, has happened. It's exhausting and demoralizing. I've lost a few friends. It's not exactly their politics, it's their world view I can't stomach. I've been to marches and demonstrations, sent emails and made phone calls. The only thing my rage does is wear me out.

This past week, The sexual assault allegations. The entitled anger of the accused. The horrific comments of men and women telling us that now men and boys must be afraid. I say go ahead. Be afraid. I have been afraid all my life. I am 65 years old, I live in a safe neighborhood in a safe rural area but I always think about whether or not it's safe to go out alone at night. I always take my phone to bed when my husband works late. I think about repairmen coming in the house when I am alone. Especially when the dog isn't here. So, frankly, if a man has to be afraid of a false accusation, I don't care.

I don't owe anybody the details of my own experience, but I can tell you this. I don't know one man, not one, who has been falsely accused of sexual assault but I know many women who have experienced sexual assault, been overpowered by a man, felt fear, felt shame, never told a soul except maybe in the privacy of a therapist's office. Thought for years it was her fault. Didn't even have the words to call it what it was. Many women.

Teach your boys, and girls, about consent. Teach them that it is not normal for boys or men to behave as if we owe them something because of the way we dress or laugh or drink. Then go ahead and be afraid.

I'm tired. I feel like I'm going through menopause again. My mind is foggy and I have no ambition. I look at my garden where there are so many things to do but none are getting done. Chairs blew over in the last storm and there they lay. There are three or four little plants under the tree, still in their garden center plastic pots, dried up and lifeless. A piece of mail dropped one day midsummer into the dirt by the front door, still there wet and dirty.

Some day. Some day, we'll rise up.

you reading this, be ready

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


We're barely into summer by the calendar but in the middle of summer by all other measures. The 4th of July is past, Christmas decorations are up at the craft stores, and the bugs are horrific. We used our screen tent last night and it was tolerable to sit outside and have a beer while we grilled peppers. We mocked the gnats and mosquitoes trying to gain access. Little bastards.

I love the landscape of this time of year: crops are green, rows are tidy, usually some haze off in the distance, clear blue skies, small farms dotting the horizon. We took Gus to Nicollet this morning for his monthly shave and a haircut and as I watched the miles go by, I thought how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.

We have forsaken the news for a while because there is only so much outrage you can stand to bear. We read snippets on twitter and the online WaPo, but the nightly gathering of the talking heads is getting a much earned vacation. We started watching Shetland, a wonderful British mystery drama that takes place in the Shetland Islands.

I snatched this photo from the Instagram account of @inspiredbyshetland. I hope that's enough of an attribution so I don't get nabbed by the copyright police. Such a wild and lovely place. Did you know they have winter hurricanes? It might be a place I'd like to visit, but it would require several airplanes, some of them quite small, and a ferry into the North Sea. I'd have to be sedated.

I spent 3 hours in the front yard yesterday. I was a sweaty, bug spray covered, hot mess by the time I finished. There is mor to do...not sure I can make myself do it today. So sad.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

we aren't the traveling kind of folks

I know some people wouldn't even consider a 130 mile trip to be travel, but we plan it for a week and we labor over the details. We're exhausted when we get home even though the biggest exertion was to go twenty miles (by car) to eat. Sigh.

Here's a good article about why it's ok to dislike travel.

We had a nice time and even stepped out of our usual routine by going downtown to sit on the patio of the local pub until near dark, chatting with the locals. I know. Not like we were bungee jumping or anything but you have to take your bows when you can.

I do love the landscape...cows, prairie, corn fields, wind towers.

I don't need opinions about how we should do this or that. I can find a poem about the pleasure of not traveling and I'd be happy to share it. Somebody has to stay home, you know, or we'd all be out running up and down the highways.

Tomorrow, I am attacking my outdoor jobs. I'm sure the garden plants are competing for space with the weeds and my front yard looks like Boo Radley's yard. I'm going to spray myself up with DEET and just do it.

Mom and Me

Thursday, July 05, 2018

a major cloud of ennui settled over us

  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
    synonyms:boredomtedium, listlessness, lethargylassitudelanguorwearinessenervation

  2. Yup. That's it. It hit me Tuesday, but Regis drove the bus that day so he did not succumb until Tuesday night. Wednesday, we were in the throes all day. We can't remember a day when we did less...if there has been one. It had all the markers.
  • A nap in the chair immediately upon waking.
  • Consumption of leftovers, twice.
  • Lack of interest in any community goings on of which there were many.
  • Lack of focus and nothing accomplished.
  • Abundance of reading and Scrabble.
  • Minimal conversation.
In our defense, I would say that we both showered and got dressed. This would have been a 911 situation if we had been in our pajamas all day. I would have suspected a leakage of carbon monoxide.

Toward evening we had a burst of creativity and gumption enough to order this as a way to combat the mosquito hordes that have prevented almost any patio time this summer.

It's 10x10 so it will hold two lawn chairs and not much else. That's ok since my general malaise includes lack of interest in cooking for crowds, even the familial kind.

I have a busy day planned...some baby watching, some work at the Arts Center, some celebrating of the birthday of my sweet husband. Ta da! The cloud has lifted!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

what the hell

The weather. I saw on Facebook, a trusted source of legitimate news, that 10 weeks ago from July 1st we had almost three feet of snow on the ground. I didn't bother with any fact checking know...fake news.

We had a long, gray winter and a snowy spring that lasted about 18 hours. I had a few wimpy daffodils that bloomed for a few hours before they were bludgeoned to death by 100 degree winds. Winds like you get on the Sahara Desert.

Since then, it's been too hot, windy, rainy, or buggy to care about anything outside. I do, under duress, spray myself down with a lethal does of DEET and do a few things outdoors but I can't say I enjoy it. It's a year of just surviving.

The river is rising, again, so who knows when all routes out of here will be closed unless you have a raft. The dog park is completely submerged and giant carp have been seen swimming over the fences. When the water goes down, imagine this: the stench of rotting carp, hellish mobs of mosquitoes, clouds of gnats that get through even L.L. Bean's finest mesh screen hat, and a nasty case of West Nile.

It makes me yearn for January.

Regis and I went to a comedy show last night. The weather forecast was for thunderstorms and high winds but the venue is right down the street and it's a one story brick building so I felt safe. Remember that scene from Twister where the cars are blown by a tornado through the screen of the outdoor theater? That could happen.

During one of the breaks, we talked about how we have been retreating to books and stories this summer, hiding from the world. We both have felt, during the day as we go about our business, the anxious calling of a book. The difference is that I read escape literature and Regis reads science fiction and dystopian literature. That might be worse than reality.

It was so hot yesterday that the smell of hot asphalt recalled memories of other hot summers in the past. I'm writing another post in my head about that. Funny how smells are so evocative of memories.

Well, onward my friends, into the heat and humidity and windblown rain. Have a pleasant day.