Thursday, September 26, 2019

Nocturnal Blue

The free-cycle picnic table is restored and embraced. We left the legs shabby-chic, weathered and sealed, and the seat and table top were scraped then painted in a dreamy deep shade of blue... Nocturnal Blue. It happens to look extra with pumpkins and mums!

Outside, we are ready for company, a fire, a starry-night dinner with friends. Inside we are ready for whipping things into shape, because things are getting a bit "lived in."

You know what? It is what is. It's been a busy week, and if I get too over-wrought about what I am not accomplishing, it will be kind of disastrous, because there's no sign things will be any less busy in the weeks and months ahead. So, steady on! And keep moving forward.

Maria gave so much thought, research, study, and learning to this physics project... a mouse trap car, designed and built to stop at a predictable distance.

She and her physics partner will get to demonstrate the car today, and I wish I could be there to see it go, and stop!

The first thing I wanted to see the next morning... our new table. We ate our dinner there. Well, some of us did. Maria ate her dinner with a headset, listening to a school lesson, and an open book. Her classes are hard enough, but she's been sick all week, trying to recover, and keep up, after missing 2 days of classes. We are imagining that this trying week means that she's paid her dues, and will be healthy, and strong, for the remainder of the year, and that we will enjoy many relaxed dinners around our table(s).

This week our watercolor assignments are all about brushstrokes... calligraphy. They're drills, warm-ups, and help me learn what each brush is capable of. Single strokes, double strokes, and repeated strokes. Round brushes, filberts, flats, pressing, dabbing, dragging, lifting, turning. It's interesting to get familiar with all the possibilities, and recognize what different effects there are and how they can be used. I liked seeing the simple swipe that looked just like a banana, and then I decided it could be a boat. The figures... people, animals are the hardest for me. They are small, and meant to be done in quick, minimal strokes. I struggle to not over do it!

Our teacher suggested we find bamboo placemats to use as brush holders. The ideal thing is to keep the brushes flat, and dry. I found a great deal on some mats, and got very ambitious about adding a sleeve to one. Well. I am happy with how it turned out, but ooph! that was harder than expected, and I am going to take precious care of this brush holder, because I don't want to hand stitch around finely tied bamboo sticks, again!

We still have a bun garden. We still have a very large Viking tent in need of repairs. We still have a sewing machine, also in need of repair. But... let's just gaze at this cute bun, shall we?

Buns, flowers, clouds, garden lights, pumpkins, picnic tables. All the pretty things.

I was just reading a therapist's post about trauma and how we manage strategies to escape the intensity of our emotions, especially negative ones... and how one strategy is to overly and excessively focus on the positives. (Here is where I casually mention that the DA's office called me to talk about the forms and additional reporting they need me to submit, and how important it is that I am "thorough and convincing, otherwise the defense could object and we would have to add another hearing after the first restitutions hearing." Will this never end?? Bunnies. Bunnies. Soft pillows, bunnies.)

Witch Physicist. She told me she's happy being a sophomore, and she loves her school.

Have you stacked some pumpkins?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Values, Lines, Musings

These Gomphrena were all lopped off by bunnies, and I am so glad to see them blooming, again. They are a variety of strawflower, and the petals are crisp, stiff, like straw. I don't notice much fragrance, but they are bright and cheery, and if bunnies aren't snipping the stems, they are hardy. I keep imagining that I am going to take my collection of cut ones and make a dried floral arrangement of them. In the meantime, I am happy to see them in our garden.

Geoff and I bought and assembled a picnic table, and it's in the backyard, next to the blacksmith shop. We love it. It's already appreciated and used, and making sense. Would a second picnic table make sense? I hadn't thought to ask, or ponder, until one showed up on the curb with a big "FREE" sign taped to it. Geoff's first impression was No. Then it was Nope. And when I suggested we take a closer look, he decided, No. No way. I didn't feel contentious, but I was feeling increasingly convinced that a picnic table in the our front yard, where we tend to hang out with neighbors, sit around a fire, sometimes take dinner... it would be a really good thing. And! We happened to have 4 strong men in the house who could carry a (slightly) wobbly, a bit rough, wooden picnic table down the street to our home. By the time Geoff was railroaded gently persuaded that it was in fair condition and would actually be useful, it was dark. We made it a family adventure, with Corey, too... all marching up the street to give the table a good look over and then carry it home. Half-way back, a couple of cars were coming our way, so the boys stepped to the side of the road, and all sat down, until traffic cleared, and they were rested. Along the way, Geoff could see the vision I was conjuring, and that the table is in better shape than expected. Today, we are hitting it with a scraper, sandpaper, and Behr Nocturnal Blue paint. And this weekend we can decide whether we would like a front yard picnic, or a backyard picnic.

Remember when I talked about how art classes have me seeing the world in new ways? Colors, values, tones, shapes, line... these lessons came to mind and gave me a soothing pastime while I waited in the lobby of my attorney's office. This view! With or without art lessons, this view would captivate me. Lindbergh Field, and the San Diego Harbor. I watched planes taxiing, landing, and taking off. I also studied the squares and triangles, circles, curves, lines, and shapes making all of the buildings, lamps, roofs. The big shapes, the small details. The arches of aircraft hangers, the decorative, repeating squares of an old house, and shadows. I didn't bring my sketchbook. This time I was carrying yarn. And I brought that out.

A paralegal took a load of paperwork off my hands, and those were photocopied. My attorney said that I had written a very good victim's statement, thanked me for all the details included in my report. And so... another ball is rolling.

With that accomplished, and me one step closer to done, I decided to treat myself. I am now in possession of a handmade watercolor brush from Barcelona. Remind me to use it... I don't want it to be so precious that I keep saving it for something special. Do you know what I mean?

On the walk to Artist & Craftsman Supply, I stopped to admire more lines and shapes, and values, and colors. And then I drove the scenic way home.

At the hardware store to buy paint for our curbside picnic table... Alex helped me choose the color, and we visited the pumpkins while they mixed our paint.

And, this morning... a still-life. Have I ever described what I think our ideal home would be? And this is not to say we don't have a wonderful home, already. But if we started from scratch, and made a realistic assessment of our behaviors, interests, needs, desires, and activities... our home, on the outside would look Midwestern, a farmhouse with covered porch, a bit rambling, old-fashioned. And inside it would be one massive, open, warehouse room, where we could skate on sealed concrete floors, and have various workstations, gathering spots, and the kitchen. Industrial Bohemian. Adjacent to this a smaller area with wood floors, and deep comfy couches, walls covered in books, and our screen and projector. Bedrooms would line the back of the house, small and minimally appointed for sleeping and changing clothes. No fuss. The bathrooms would be simple, almost perfunctory, designed for efficiency more than luxury. We live together, and play, and cook, and read, and talk, and relax, and make... together. Next to our dining table, we should have a dining table (a ruse, though) and it would be for making something other than breakfast.

My view, sitting in the car with yarn... carcheting another shawl, while I wait for the traffic to clear.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Now It Is Fall

Our weather has been kind; a tender mercy, and I am reluctant to say so, because it's probably only a very local phenomena. I know, elsewhere, weather is a sore subject, and rightly so. We have been enjoying sweetly mild weather. There was a heat and humidity spell, last week, but generally we have had cool nights, and warm and breezy days, even a couple of nearly coldish mornings. I feel as though I am about to insert a *but* in here... because there is still the chance that we could get hit with a heat wave, or worse, Santa Ana winds, dry, hot, and moody. I'd rather just remain thankful and cautiously optimistic. It's come to the point when Have a Nice Day, feels teeming with effusive hope, a wish to eagerly anticipate.

Happy Fall!

My first inkling and longing for this new season came the last day of August when we picked our own homegrown pumpkins. Then, once more on September 4th, when we had a splash of a summer storm. There are fewer beetles buzzing around, and lots more orb spiders, and big ones, too! Maria baked a pumpkin pie, and our Harvest Moon feast definitely put us in an autumn mood. Now it is official, and Max will be going back to school. The hens are beginning to molt, and pumpkin flavored most-everything is hitting the shelves.

Ok... I could go on, listing the signs of the change of season. I do this every year, I'm sure. Probably the most telling indication of it being fall is the one I cannot suppress, the giddy, eager, happy, gleeful, giggly, romantic, and hopeful humming inside of me.

That's it. It happens every year... and it makes me wish I could compose the finest poem, dedicated to autumn. It makes me long to return to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, to rock walls, and farm fields, rocky coasts, and friends. Fall is a song in my heart that I want to dance to, and share. Fall puts me in a holiday mood, recharges my desire to accomplish good things, make plans, turn to home and family, and get cozy. Definitely, a dear and anticipated part of fall is the quiet, warm, gathering comfort of being cozy... I am emotionally worked into such a state with these thoughts and ideas, feelings, hope!

I know someone else who loves fall, and fall traditions, delights, spooks and spells, crafts, and whimsy... Calamity Kim! She's my longtime, blogging friend, the one that has more creative skill and energy than an entire issue of Where Women Create! She was invited to be a vendor at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween... Marshall, Michigan will be overrun with some of the best and spookiest crafters and artisans in the world, and Kim will be right there, too, where she belongs, with loads of her one of a kind, and lovingly made crafts and wares! I ordered a bag of hers before she flew north, and I love it!

Do you know what I did this morning? Geoff and I... we hopped out of bed, at 6:40 am and rode our bicycles to the coast! The ride was almost 7 miles going out, and then home was up hill, another 3 miles... no need to be too impressed, because the e-bikes make the improbable quite possible. For me, scarier than hills, up or down, is being in traffic, getting startled, or feeling on the edge of something unknown. But early on a Sunday is the time to feel slightly braver, a bit more capable.

There's more... but I am all worked up about the season, and I want to see what I can get started. And, too, I hope you will tell me about your days.