Friday, February 29, 2008

Things that Make my Day

Karen gave me this award. There's been a lot of that going on, and it's a nice opportunity to see what blogs inspire other bloggers. Karen says she thinks I'm a philosopher at heart, that I make her think. I didn't intend to; although I've always figured that whatever message - - in words or in art - - is inside of you tends to come out, one way or another. The best is when you find a conduit that works well, even if you stumble upon it, unexpectedly.

It would be really great if I could find a way to make this part of my creativity - the daydreamy pondering of it all - generate money, of course (I'm playing with ideas, trust me). I don't think of philosophers as being content because of the money they make, sadly, and often, I imagine them being content more because they enjoy the wondering and writing about it all, in their fuzzy hand-knit wool sweaters, smoking pipes and going for long walks...

Really, the important thing that I see in the booming of blogs is the telling of stories, and they are all told and compiled in the day-to-day. The daily sketches, the questioning of faith, the yearning to be a parent, quitting a bad habit - the struggle and triumph to be who we are happens in the everyday. There is strength and resilience in the blogs I read; humility, humor, defiance and lots of good humanity. Maybe, Karen, I just have a knack for distilling some of it. Maybe I have the patience or an obsessive need to get it all down. I don't know. All I know is that I'm so glad to know that someone is reading the words. I've suspected that people are just looking for the new photos or drawings, scrolling scrolling scrolling past all the words, rolling both their eyes and mouse scroll wheels. I know it happens.
I enjoy getting the words out as much as getting the drawings on paper. So thanks, Karen, for reading. xoxox. You, and all of you, with your stories, you make MY day.
Do more than exist; live. Do more than touch; feel. Do more than look; observe.
Do more than read; absorb. Do more than hear; listen. Do more than listen;
understand. Do more than think; ponder. Do more than talk; say something. —John
H. Rhoades

Rainbow over Palm Springs

Rainbow over Palm Springs Click to see this photo's flickr page

It's been a very long week for both me and my boo. I don't remember having much of a weekend last week, either. And there's still today left, too. I'm behind on sketching, all sorts of work, garden-tending, cooking, working out, missed yoga this week, behind on getting down thoughts for school and for fun, and behind on sending thoughts to my bloggy buddies. [sigh] I think sometimes that I should rate my posts with the number of times that I sigh.

I'm going to dash out for another appointment, but wanted to leave you with this -
We went out to the desert last Saturday and took some time to get in another long hike, to balance the sense of being there out of obligation with getting something relaxing and rewarding out of it, as well.

We got to see the beginning of what is probably a short blooming season out in Palm Springs - little wildflowers and grasses. I saw one cactus in bloom, as well, and moss. Moss. In Palm Springs. Looked like healthy moss, at that.

More clouds rolled in and it threatened to rain, but we were close enough to a peak that we figured we'd keep going. It never really let loose, and we got to see the rainbow that appeared.

Palm Springs hike Click to see this photo's flickr page

I guess there's plenty to catch up with, but all the same, I'm looking forward to a lazy couple of days (or at least slower) and hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More about me

I’m so embarrassed. I can tell I've been putzing around way too long when I got tagged to do a “5 Things About Me” post by TWO different people, and then get the “Lists of Four Things About Me” email from two additional people, as well. I’m just trying to be coy; If you keep making me tell you more things about me in these lists, what secrets will there be left to keep? Really, now.

And then, Dianne gave me this award, and it became clear that it would be so terribly ungracious of me to let that sit as well.

Here are a few things you might not know about me yet.

Four jobs I’ve had, that proves that higher education pays:
- Pineapple canner (Dole)
- Census taker
- Toxicology lab tech
- Rocket scientist (moved up the food chain after college, huh? All this, but what I really wanted to be as a kid was a cartoonist).

Four T.V. Shows I watch:
- Man vs Wild
- Mythbusters
- The Dog Whisperer
- 24 (worked through the first three seasons on dvd with my guy)

Four of my favorite foods (no, PB&J is not one of my favorite foods, just happens to be one of the more frequent):
- Sushi
- Cookies
- Zippy's Zip-Pak plate lunch
- Chips and Salsa (nomnomnomnomnom!)

I love college football. Big Ten football. The worst thing about living in LA isn’t having to hear the endless hype about that football team. Ahem. The worst thing is having to hear that football team’s endless, mindless, brass-laden fight song. Over and over and over and over and over and over again (no, I'm not even going to link to the song. Over my dead body).

[Geh! Okay, wait. Let me get that yucky taste out of my mouth. Gaaack-Pf!]

My favorite colors are soft tints of blue-violet and yellow-orange (I'm wondering: What does it say about a person that specifically lists tertiary colors as their favorites?)
Are your eyes tired of all these excessive color changes? Yeah, too much extra html programming for me, too.

Okay. I’m not going to tag anyone to do anymore “Five things” lists (Mr NerdGuru and Mr Mom in FL are going, “Whew”). But I will list a few of the many lovely blogs that I’m visiting often... Besides the people who tagged me in the first place.

- What is love? Love is what you pack into your kid’s lunches, every day. Look at these amazing and terribly cute daily bento lunches that this mom makes for her young’uns. You thought you packed some pretty great brown-bag lunches? OMG. Go look: Bentoblog

- Yes, I love Cute Overload and happiness is indeed a warm puppy. And there’s a certain charm to ICHC, too, but this is even more precious. Love is in the company we keep, which sometimes, is unexpected.

- Love is sharing recipes from your family with the whole wide internet; food that tantalizes the eyes and promises to warm your soul

- Since we're sharing the love, I want to send hugs and warm thoughts to Roma.

Share some love, why don’t you? Let us all know a few blogs that make you smile, inspire you, and fill you with hope, warmth and love.
1. If you get tagged (or, if you just want to play along), write a post with links to blogs that you love,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dreamy gardens

I walk in the garden, I look at the flowers and shrubs and trees and discover in them an exquisiteness of contour, a vitality of edge, or a vigor of spring, as well as an infinite variety of color that no artifact I have seen in the last sixty years can rival... each day, as I look, I wonder where my eyes were yesterday. -Bernard Berenson

I spent some time in the library this week to look for books with good reference images of plants, trees, shrubbery ("Bring me a shwubbery!"). To daydream about a future garden. Or to paint. But mostly to daydream (you can imagine this, yes?). Flipping through, I realized that I have gardening books with great photos. And then I realized that I have plenty of really super images (or, nice images of super memories) from a class I took in school. It was an elective, The History of Gardens. There were lectures, but the field trips were the real treat. We toured a number of local Southern California gardens, both private and public. It was just fantastic.

The Lummis Home / El Alisal
The Getty
Huntington Library
Norton Simon
Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

One assignment of the class was to keep a garden notebook, with images, trimmings, thoughts from the gardens and notes on several of our design assignments. I found my notebook and flipped through the pictures, thinking, daydreamily, "Oh, now these are what I should paint."

I managed to find and salvage the digital photo files from archive CDs and lookit, it’s just so much fun and so much from a bright sunny Southern California summer, that I had to share.

Drat! They're so small here!
Click here
for the Flickr photo set.

Sending dreamy thoughts of the first bursts of color of spring and the warmth of summer to you all. Have a great weekend. xox -w

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eaton Canyon Gnarly Trees

Yes, this one did look like a figure arching back..
20080215_eatoncyn2 Click to see this photo's flickr page

Last week I met my art buddy Karen to trade some arty stuff and to get out, take photos and paint. We met at Eaton Canyon, lured by the thought of seeing the stream running and some new growth from the rains the week or two before. We decided, quite daringly (cough), to cross the stream and settled in after that treacherous adventure in a shady grove and painted. The trees were all so very lovely in that gnarly-tree sort of way. And, of course, you know how I love drawing gnarly trees.

I hadn't been on the trails at Eaton Canyon before, so was curious about them. And the weather was just too pleasant to pass up a return trip. So, a few days later, my guy and I went back to hike. No strolling around in the park, uh-uh! We took the trail that looked most like it would head UP and HIGHER (For the record, this would not normally be my first choice. I'd be all, "Whew! Hey, look at these gnarly trees! Why don't you go up, and I'll sit here and draw!"). I think it was the Walnut Canyon trail. The painted text on the signs have all worn off. The description on the website ("...This is the "equestrian trail" notorious for its steep, narrow, dusty, shadeless, winding path...") sounds like what we hiked. It was over an hour round-trip; we stopped at a somewhat unexpected grassy picnic area just below where the Toll Road starts and decided that was plenty ambitious for the first hike of the spring. The nice thing about steep hikes is that you gain altitude so much faster and get quicker rewards in the views, as you go higher [Right. That made sense]. And of course, now, all sorts of parts of our legs are feeling so much more toned than before.


Along with the really great trees, there's lots of foliage and shades of green goin' on right now. When the blossoms start, it'll be worth another trip back.

Another gnarly tree:
All sorts of layers of branches, crisscrossing behind each other
20080215_eatoncyn1 Click to see this photo's flickr page

and more photos here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wouldn't that be nice?

20080211_venicelibrary Click to see this photo's flickr page

Killing time at the library in Venice.
Venice, California, not Italy. [sigh]

Friday, February 08, 2008

One too many

20080208_bottleopeners Click to see this photo's flickr page

... bottleopeners, people. [What were you thinking? OMG!]

In combining our two kitchens, all these different bottle openers have taken refuge in one of the drawers. Or, maybe it was just a few, and they've multiplied without any sense of shame or self-control, nasty little buggers.

And don't even get me started on the corkscrews that are lurking.

It is SO Friday! Sounds like we're in for a sunny, warm weekend out here. Yeah! Have a good one out there. xox

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stringing you along

20080207_string Click to see this photo's flickr page

The thing about every day things, for me, is that every thing - - EVERY thing - - that is manufactured or assembled, had to be designed. It might not always be elegant, but these things had to be mindfully and deliberately designed, so they could be manufactured (can you hear it?: Ka-Chung! Ka-Chung! Ka-chung! The big, loud machines of industry, churning out stuff..).

You have to remember that I'm a product designer, so all the little details are things that I know someone, possible another designer or engineer or artisan, had to consider and create. Every once in a while I get lost in reverie, spending the time to look at the little details - zipper pulls, knobs, hooks, fasteners - and get lost in looking at someone else's work. My guy says I read more labels (especially food. Hello?! Counting calories?!) and get lost in details more than anyone he knows.

Of course I do. It's what I do.

Little rubber stamps

20080206_rubberstamps Click to see this photo's flickr page

I'm nothing if not consistent. I found a duplicate box of these little lettered rubber stamps, exactly like another set that I have on hand. I must have really liked the idea of them, huh? The letters are about 1/4" tall.
Does anyone want these?

Saturday, February 02, 2008


20080202_seeds Click to see this photo's flickr page

There's a saying that good gardeners are real optimists. You have to have faith that something you plant will eventually grow and blossom, or decades later, bear fruit.

In going through things from the last move, I discovered a squishy envelope. I rolled my eyes and thought, "OhGod, more swap fat-quarters that I never got to" (a fat-quarter is, basically, a quarter yard of fabric that quilters use and often trade). I checked inside and discovered these seeds! I'd had plans to grow poppies (corn red), Bachelor Buttons and blue flax, in the garden in spring of 2003.

Well, 2003 was five years, one divorce, one 40th birthday, two 5K runs, and two moves ago; a fairly good chunk of life. The envelope says the seeds are viable for a few years, if kept in a cool, dry place, which I think they were. I'm not inclined to use the seeds, actually. For the $5 I spent, I think I can spring for new seeds (no sense in setting myself for possible disappointment if these old ones never germinate! Aiee!). But, it's a good reminder and nudge to get some planters and some potting soil, repot the old plants so they can grow deeper and stronger this spring, and go through catalogs for some nice flowers and herbs and who-knows-what-else (did your eyes get wide with the possibilities, too?) to hope for, for the spring and summer. So, I'll get new ones, but doesn't the texture of these look great? Yum.

The promise of new sprouts and growth ... mmm

Simple wishes

20080202_blocks Click to see this photo's flickr page

We had a set of these wooden building blocks when we were little. We'd build things - roadways with ramps, race our HotWheels on 'em, knock our buildings over, drew on them with crayons and threw them at each other. They were cut from 2x4 hardwood, so warm and sturdy.

When I was looking for reference geometric forms to use as models in my class (and nice ones are oddly hard to find), I thought of these. I'd like to see 'em in person to make sure I could get the shapes that I want, but I'd really like to get a set. For class and to set up little settings to draw ...


Friday, February 01, 2008

Cleaning out the Fridge

Cleaning out Leftovers Click to see this photo's flickr page

I'm thinking of planting pots of herbs and leafy greens for the summer, to eat and draw.
I'm thinking I miss the design and painting gals.
I'm thinking there's just too much doubt rattling around in my head.
I'm thinking the runs are getting easier. Finally.
I'm thinking that teriyaki burger was damn good.
I'm thinking, "Pete moved?"
I've been thinking ... "Why blog? Maybe it's time to stop."

But mostly,
I'm thinking that the doubt ... and all it's dark, shadowy friends ... have been really getting the best of me.

So, I'm thinking that it was very serendipitous that I found this:

I managed to find the exact clip that I didn't even realize I was supposed to be looking for.

I'm thinking that there are people that I missed seeing last June that I hadn't expected. This is one of 'em. I really missed you guys; See you in June.

BTW - Duane owes me a luau t-shirt. Yup. Still.

Time to chuck all the ick that has been sitting around for too long, getting stale.

Red pens reappear

Red pens reappear Click to see this photo's flickr page

I'm disappointed; apparently just a few of you really appreciated the whole alien squid attack thing. Great. [Dramatic Sigh] I'm just another artist, destined to be misunderstood ...