Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ATC Mania

It warmed up enough the last week or so for me to work in the basement aka "my studio" (say it with a haughty lilt because I am such an Ar-Teest). Anyhow, it wasn't Arctic in the basement and I made a few ATCs. I like to make them because they are fast and easy.

this one has made an appearance on the blog. The anatomically correct heart image was inspired by an ATC Jas Faulkner shared with me.

The background paper is from the back of a Nordstrom catalogue and the dragon fly is a detail in another mail order catalogue.

This ATC combines a fragment of Emerson and a detail from a page in Kahlo's illustrated journal.

More Emerson on an altered Tarot card.

An iris I actually drew and painted myself!

La luna card from my favorite new tool: a vocabulary game I bought at the Cancun flea market. Plus antique buttons and a transparent copy of the background in the first ATC.

Thanks to Jas for creating http://twopointfivebythreepointfive.blogspot.com/

(she might be sorry she told me about it!)

Inspire Me Thursday: "I am"

I'm just under the wire for Inspire Me Thursday's prompt of "I am"

I took this last night in front of our kitchen window. It gives you the feel of our colorful Mexican Fiesta kitchen and the lovely tree I contemplate when I wash dishes.

Diana Arbus, Tina Barney and Annie Lebowitz had better watch out!

I was trying to take a picture at the dog's eye view and as I was settling in on one knee I hit the shutter and created this image. Good thing my house isn't really sinking and it doesn't defy gravity, common sense sometimes hut never gravity. Actually, I'm messing around with art this week and trying to learn how to use all the bells and whistles on our camera. It isn't a rebel or anything but it's a nice little Canon and deserves to be utilized more than a Kodak Instamatic.
Stay tuned, because next week I might write about the crazy train that has been my unit. You might find"Beaver's Airport Adventure" (it has the working title of: "June Deserves A Cookie Because She Didn't Lose Her Temper In A Two Hour Line") Or maybe I'll write about coming out of a particular closet. Or perhaps I'll pitch my business idea. Or maybe I'll just blather on about how great the gym has been for my state of mind and how much I love it when people ask me if I've lost weight. New adventures in gardening could make an appeareance, too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Gots Nuthin'. Whats you got?

Kipper doesn't always make the best decisions. Fortunately, what he lacks in intellect he makes up with enthusiasm. Goof-dog insisted on carrying his moose like this. Walking down the stairs was a foolhardy choice and fortunately didn't end in a trip to the vet. Like my dog, I make foolhardy decisions. Most recently I decided to blog every Thursday. You know, exercise my writing muscles, create a habit. But this week the well ran dry and I have nothing to say.
I Got Nothing.
I could blather on about how much I enjoyed Milk and experiencing what it was like to be a gay man in the 1970's. I was seventeen when he was killed and I vaguely remember his assassination as just another news item. But it didn't really mean anything to me, in part because I was seventeen, but largely because I was living in the Bible Belt and most of my peers sided with Anita Bryant and thought those dirty homos were going to Hell. Actually, if I think too hard about Bryant's opinions and how much they threatened to shape my own, I throw up a little in my mouth and cringe for my classmates who knew in 1978 they were gay but didn't dare come out. I didn't have a clue I was queer and even when I ran into a teacher at a gay bar my senior year, it didn't register I should be shocked, upset or outraged. I was completely oblivious to gay people until I was in college and came out for the first time. And I was happily oblivious to discrimination. I suppose it was easier for me in Lubbock Texas because I'm categorized (grrrrr...) as a Femme. So I can "pass" as straight. The whole dichotomy of femme/butch makes my head hurt so I need to change the subject.

Is the gym eating my brain? I've been accused of becoming a gym rat and up until a few weeks ago, I used every excuse in the book to NOT exercise. Hell, I even went to work on my day off to avoid the gym! Now I look forward to my exercise routine and wish I had the energy to go after work in the evenings. But it isn't like I stare blankly into space, feeling the burn when I'm exercising. I listen to uplifting podcasts while I row or walk. I still think riding an exercise bike is a glimpse of Hell. B-O-R-I-N-G. Especially at my gym, where Fox News is the television station of choice. But I love to row. I crave rowing. I remember years ago when I was visiting a dear friend in Kailua Hawai'i and being amazed at the strength it must have taken for the Crew teams to skim those long boats over the rough water. Picturing Kailua as I row lulls me into a peaceful state. It could be the gym...

The economy would be easy to blame but I've chosen to ignore the meltdown and just live my life; go to work, pay my bills, have some fun. TG's industry is changing; health care is changing and how we do what we do now, will be vastly different in ten years. And this isn't a bad thing because I will be forced to grow and change. Like this picture of my chunk of photo optic glass, everything is changed but the end result remains the same.

My life's work isn't eating my brain either. In fact, the mix of patients we have has been interesting and each possess an interesting or poignant story. I wish I could tell them, they would individually make for an interesting blog. It has been a welcome relief to be able to actually manage and care for my patients without feeling as if any minute I was going to miss a crucial detail and fail at keeping them safe. Nor are they aren't a bunch of addicts who ran out of Oxycontin and just need a legally sanctioned fix. We are seeing a lot of abdominal pain. People hurting in their core and usually without a readily identified cause. We take X rays and CT scans and MRIs and ultrasounds and come up with nothing. Like my imagination, they got nothin'. My therapist once told me belly pain equals the fear for survival. It can also be a way the body deals with emotional/sexual/physical abuses. One of our young physicians and I discussed this and how we do a terrible job of screening for these things. Dwelling on their pain makes my heart hurt.

I blame group malaise for all of this belly pain. Everyone on the planet needs to take a day off from the news. Everyone. No one reads the news or listens to the news or looks at the news. And then we all need to breath deeply. Collectively for 17 seconds, concentrating on what is right in our world and in our lives I think the malaise would lift and the economy would begin to improve. The belly pain would resolve without a milligram of Dilaudid IV push. Breathing does so much more to increase the vibration of the soul than opioids.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Sometimes we have snow, sometimes we have sun. It looks like sun tomorrow. Frankly,I'm the only person in the US who wasn't upset about the time change. It's chilly here in the evenings but it's light outside so I don't have the dual burden of cold and dark. Just cold. And we are back on the the clock in Kipper's belly so he doesn't start asking for dinner at 5:00.
Flowers are gracing the kitchen table. A birthday present a couple of weeks ago that are now celebrating the equinox. Coincedently we are having dinner with the Divine Ms. A on Saturday. The weather promises to be nice enough to start out on her lovely patio in her garden. Spring is better than Christmas because it's about flowers and lengthening days. Spring means summer--sweet lazy summer--is just around the corner. The promise of summer exchanges limp brain cells for flowers and promises.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"the dimension of stillness"

Ezra Pound/1916 photo by Alvin Langdon Coburn


Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anemia.
And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.
In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.
She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.
Ezra Pound (1916)

I love poetry and whenever I discover a “new” poem I get a bit obsessed by it. This is my current obsession, likely because my theme this winter seems to be all about becoming a crone. A crone in the post modern sense of the word. Not the hooked nose-brewing up poison for unsuspecting maidens-sense of it.

“In her is the end of breeding”

When I read this poem the first time a week or so ago, my first conclusion was firmly rooted in an old school feminist lit criticism: Pound saw women who can’t breed as useless. Middle-aged women are useless, better off invisible…blah…blah…ageism…blah (Let’s all raise a fist in solidarity. . .)

After I finished my self inflicted eyeroll, I reread the poem and took a lighter view of it, one actually more in keeping to Pound’s sensibilities. In 1916 he was writing imagist pieces and finding inspiration in the Pre-Raphaelites. With this in mind, she is the symbol of a Goddess too perfect to breed. A bit more sympathetic but a stretch: “like trying to cross the rim of the Grand Canyon on a suspension bridge made of dental floss” (my favorite literature professor wrote that in the margin of a particularly terrible paper I wrote promoting some harebrained deconstructionist screed.. It made me laugh out loud and still does)

My final and favorite interpretation is a literal one: Pound observed a beautiful and genteel young woman walking through the park and their eyes met. She improperly held him in her. As he was about to speak to her; she suddenly turned away, raising her nose, sniffing at the idea he would dare speak to her in public. My interpretation is heavily influenced by all the romance novels I’ve read. Very simplistic and almost crosses into the realm of “precious”. I manage to back away from the preciousness by insisting on the feminist reading: By virtue of her sex and gender, this lonely woman is “dying” as a result of her independent and private leanings which are in opposition to the expectations placed upon her by virtue of her class. She was further a symbol of how society was changing and how women were changing. Big shoes for a little poem to fill.

I’m actually not a big fan of Pound. His Cantos string together beautiful and memorable phrases--like the title of this blog from Cantos XLIX--but I don‘t think I ever fully understood them. I remember attempting to understand the Cantos ions ago when I returned to school. It’s a big mess of a poem and some feel it was never completed. He draws on imagists, troubadours, economics, politics, his bitterness about the futility of war. Granted it’s very long but he tries to do everything in this poem and it makes my head hurt. Pound was also a vocal about his anti-Semitism and spewed his opinions on Italian radio during WW II. Once, I was chided by a Pound lover (see the professor from above) for failing to separate the artist’ politics from the art. At the end of his life, he expressed great regret for his political views during the war. Having just learned this a few years ago, I relaxed my knee jerk reaction of: “Ack!! It’s a poem by Pound, so it will be dangerous and hateful political ravings couched in weird images and nonsense! “ Now my reaction is: “Ack!! It’s Pound, I won’t get it!“ I’m relieved I didn’t get the Pound Brain Freeze when I stumbled on "The Garden".

I wish I were one of these people who reads a poem and immediately understand what the poet is trying to say. Most of the time I can’t interpret poetry without the aid of a PhD telling me what they think it means. Poems must be verrrryyyy simple and straightforward for me to grasp their meaning. Or they must be abstract and the art is simply the way the words are arranged and sound together. I can do that. I can suspend my hamster brain for a few minutes and just enjoy words and the images evoked for the sake of art. My wise and well-educated Oldest Friend told me she thinks unintelligible poems aren’t necessarily good poems. Of course I agree with her because it bruises my delicate ego when I can’t interpret a poem.

All of my feminist mumbo jumbo aside, I have imagined interpreting this poem through another artistic medium by setting up a picture: Huge piece of brightly colored sari silk blowing against a dirty graffiti covered wall. I think it would be interesting if the graffiti said: "Her boredom is exquisite and excessive" Maybe in Italian as a tribute to Pound‘s years in Italy.

I do know I never want to feel "exquisite boredom" especially if it is anything like exquisite pain. I wonder if Wally would be marked down for "poor usage" in his composition class if he called boredom exquisite?

Sweet poetry: the literal meanings of word are suspended for the sake of art.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Forty-seven Going on Twelve

Aren’t I cute? That was taken on my sixth birthday when it was exciting to be another year older. As a suburban child with a Cleaveresque mom we of course had birthday parties. They weren’t lavish pony, clown, and magician affairs, but rowdy backyard parties. Mom thought them out, we always had interesting games to play, I can’t’ remember if we had projects and crafts (like at my boys’ parties). Of course we had cake. Duncan Hines. My favorite birthday cake is German Chocolate. I haven’t had one in years because my favorite favorite birthday dessert is pie. Peach pie.

The bigger digits started freaking me out when I turned 35. (If you thought last weeks crisis was ridiculous, you should have seen me at 35!) In some ways I welcome my birthday. It’s a chance to get to do what I want to do. Plus people give you presents. And they sing to you. This is a fine thing as long as it isn’t in a restaurant amongst strangers.

One of my most amusing memories is the boys’ grandpa Francis 90th birthday celebration. We were at the Olive Garden and the waiter overheard us talking about this auspicious occasion. So what does he do but gather together the wait staff and imprison us at our table singing that highly copyrighted song. I looked over at Francis and he was mortified; The Beav who was all of three years wanted to crawl under the table as did the rest of us. Seven year old Wally looks at Ward and me, daggers in his eyes: “If you ever do this to me, I’ll hurt you.” “No prob son. I don’t like drawing attention to myself.”

That‘s me at 20 and I loved drawing attention to myself. My excuse on my birthday was I couldn’t help myself, after all I was drunk and Adam Ant was playing on the jukebox; that table was begging me to dance on it. Besides, it was my birthday. This is the only reason I wasn’t asked to leave the bar-without-the-cabaret-license. And I was hot.

Speaking of drunken birthday celebrations: When I turned 41, I spent my birthday on this beach . (picture from gohawaii.com) The whole nude thing necessitated the copious amounts of alcohol I consumed that day. But what a hoot! All the people with the pretty bodies were covered up and all the not so pretty bodies, nude. Isn’t that the way it goes? My friend had this awesome beer opener, ever time you popped a top a voice jovially encouraged you: “Oh yeah! Time for a beer!”

Another memorable birthday was my eighteenth. I had this massive thing for Johnny Mathis (image: newlog.com) and he was on tour that spring. My boyfriend at the time was so smitten with me he actually took me to a Johnny Mathis concert! What a great evening. What a dear man. I’ve been looking for this guy for years just so I could tell him his gift became the litmus test for how much you really love me.

I love being the princess…but... sometimes it doesn't always work out that way. I met the boy who handed me my first broken heart, on my sixteenth birthday. My mother threw a party for me and he came with his sister. Funny, as I was looking through pictures for blog images, I found his. I also found the picture of the girl he left me for,too. I had a WTF moment and then without thinking shredded them. It felt great. A good birthday gift to myself.

I made resolutions (which I am happy to say I’m keeping!) this January so I have formulated three goals to reach by next March:
1. Weight what I did in 1993
2. Certified in my nursing specialty
3. Ready to pitch the novel to an agent

Looks like a busy year for me! I’m slated to have a happy happy birthday this weekend. I‘m not sure what The Girl has planned but I know it will be fun! Assuredly it won’t be Maui, or a massive party in the back yard with balloons and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, and thankfully not a drunken night in a bar. It will be filled with laughter and people I adore.


This is my response to this week's Arty Girlz challenge. My humble sun and moon ATC will cheer me this weekend when late winter returns to the Rocky's. The background is a card from a Spanish vocabulary game I found at the Cancun flea market this January. I used a hand painted design as the overlay. I decreased the intensity on my printer to make it my design more transparent and copied onto opaque sticker paper. The buttons add a bit of whimsy and sun imagery.