here in my car; a musical ode

Oh, you darling. You snap to life the moment my sole touches your pedal. You accelerate like you're bound for heaven and you're still so smooth around the curves. How I missed you for the past six days. That new loaner car smelled nice and had a flashy display, but it was all surface glimmer, no real bottom at all. It rode lightly along a path, but you, Ava, you drive.

Naturally, when I got my old badass momcar back from the Jeff Wyler Mazda service department, all I wanted to do was drive her. I took the scenic path into town to the new gimongous Kroger, and played music like we were both still young girls, going places just for the sake of going. Except in middle age, and today, that really just meant passing 16 other Krogers to get to the new posh one.

But with the sun shining, the windows down, hair flying, it's easy to imagine I could take over the road; time shifts into reverse, collagen reappears, waistline flattens and narrows, and the odometer rolls back a million miles as we head to the city or the sea or anywhere we like.

We visit the places we'd always meant to see...

If we travel back too far, I might find myself alone in front of a green screen, telling myself I'm not self-conscious, repeating it over and over again until it's true. Which, of course, is exactly what I did, once upon a time.

Nearing home again after spending all the grocery money, reality takes a bite out of my brief fantasy. She's just a car. It's a car. It's old, and maybe the water pump will go soon, or a belt, or some seals. Other people are learning to drive this car, and I'll have to let her go with them, wherever they go, and hope for their safe return. I will have to share her. 

We understand each other, though. We are just like this. We've been a lot of places in the past eight and a half years, and I hope we see lots more. 20151006_141300

PS: those dealerships really know how to engender loyalty, don't they? I'm no good at resisting the charm of it all, and there's little question where I'll head to if needs arise or change...but for now, Ava and I are all in all. I'm going out now to give her a nice facial and massage.

Hot September Evening

Here, first, I know some of you become excited when you see this sort of thing.


This is how dogwoods do in fall.

And by the way, I don't care that some of you don't say fall. Like, whatever. We do. It's short for a very old expression, "fall of the leaves." It's nice.

It's thundering out, but we don't expect much rain. If we have some, it'll be all right because we're no longer continually overcome by it. True September weather is expected to begin around the 10th, and I'm so thankful for the reprieve. Last summer was kind of cold, and this one was mostly just wet and then not very hot until this past weekend. We are to have heat all week, and I am soaking it in.

Here are memories Facebook showed me for one year ago yesterday.

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No point in your trying to friend me there. You can find me easily and better at Google Plus or Twitter.

I haven't painted anything this summer, but learning to properly sew with the machine has been fun. Back when Mom knew me, I suppose she couldn't have imagined my favorite hobbies besides reading would be sewing, painting, and gardening. Cooking she might have guessed. But she didn't teach me everything she made in time, and I had to figure out some of it on my own. I was awkward as a young person, and as things came easily to her, I think she found me confusing. 

Yesterday when I was watering the pointless watermelon vines, and the peas and beans, I got to thinking about how it would be if I knew her all along up to now. It is a certainty I would not have my second child if my mother had not died when she did, and also I would not have endured some scary painful events. But I wouldn't trade second kid for the knowledge life would hurt less. It all came as sort of a weird package deal. Am I saying I wouldn't trade kid for Mom? That's too complex and silly to bother thinking through. What is, is.

I think Mom, still alive, would have passed through her very extreme religious era into something more...peaceable and open. It isn't wishful thinking; there'd be no point in that. It's just how she was, how many people are.

Big fat raindrops are drumming along the skylight now.

I think I'll make the olives tomorrow. I finally have it down pretty well after all these years.

Season's changing in the front, but in the back it's still summer for a little while longer.


Chatter about childhood and anti-heroes

The other day I was watching The Wild Bunch while coloring my hair. It isn't a favorite movie; a lot of violence and shouting, and the marginally likeable people all die. But it's a great film in many ways, and showed people the reality of mayhem in undeclared war, which previous westerns had either avoided or just touched on.

One concept that wasn't new but was just taking firm hold was the idea that sometimes the bad guys are more moral than the good guys. Sometime let's start to take up the difference between ethics and morality, and then change the subject for more shallow territory. Anyway. Holden's bunch certainly didn't have ethics on their side, but the groups of people working against them were largely immoral.

Oh, dear, please don't tell me in a Google Plus reply about how I did not perfectly state this because of some math that you know or something. I just couldn't bear it this week. Take my meaning, instead. In fact, always do that. I'm fingerpainting here; it's what I do.

The "anti-hero" was my hero from the moment I discovered him. Yes, him. They were all male, and at the time, it made sense that they were. They were mostly late 19th-early 20th century mavericks who bucked increasingly systemized thought and the people who used those systems to take advantage of weakness in others.

So many people relate to those characters and (often sheepishly) look up to them, yet in everyday life, and in what passes for the democratic process, they remain lazy or contented to let the hand-rubbing money barons run things for them. I've never understood that. It upsets me greatly, so I'm going to change the subject, only slightly.


I loved playing sheriff and also holding up the bank that was also my tree where later I talked to Jesus after I had First Communion and felt like a direct line should be established. When I was sheriff, I wore a denim vest with a tin star pinned to it that my mother made from layers of aluminum foil. But a neighbor complained there was nothing under the vest, and though I was five, this was apparently terrible.

Let's pause for a moment and reflect on a (very) large rural yard in 1970. If you are part of the always online generation, you can't begin to understand about that, and I want you to pay attention. It was a sweet wholesome life for a little kid. There were probably about as many nutballs per 100 as ever there have been, but they very rarely counted in our lives, because we did not have the world wide web telling us they were everyone except ourselves. What could you see beneath my vest in 1970? A narrow bit of skin between the two sides. And arms. Far, far less than any typical bathing suit of the time would display. But this person perceived something more. And what I want you to understand is that the person with the perception was the one I needed protection against. People who think five year-olds in play vests are on sexual display are akin to fundamentalists who never let siblings see a baby undressed. They have creepy attitudes about humanity and you should never pander to them.

But Mom didn't let me wear the vest alone anymore, and I've always hated layers, feeling trapped by sleeves and fabric clinging to my neck except during a brief Annie Hall fashion obsession a few years later, so I became a full time bank robber for awhile. I had money bags with fake bills in them of tremendous denominations, and six shooters with caps to stop anyone who tried to catch me. People who interfere with other people's happiness and dignity easily stood in for the bad good guys, and I tended to picture them like Jackie Gleason, which is nicely prescient toward Smokey and the Bandit, I do think. Or like Hamilton Burger, the D.A. in Perry Mason. He wasn't bad, but he was totally annoying, always assuming rotten motivations based on superficialities.

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I'd build escalating stories in my head about someone who was in trouble for being misunderstood, and being taken advantage of because of it, and I'd rescue them between bank jobs, and give them some of the money.

There's no point to any of this, in case you've been looking for one. I just wanted you to know I haven't really ever changed much. When I was younger, I was usually filled with some sort of moral outrage toward people who behaved either from selfish motivations, or from lazy assessments of something without regard for the bigger picture, and whatever lies beneath their first glance. People who thought how they felt about something mattered more than whatever was actually there. Now, I'm just weary of it all.


Hey, as a sort of aside, are you a fairly clever person, but kind of linear, (which is okay, but I mean, balance, and so forth,) and you make a sort of joke or half-serious statement perhaps to make a point, and someone like me replies in a way that takes you off balance and so your initial assumption because you took (me) literally is that (I) didn't understand what you meant, and so you explain the joke, kind of ruining the whole thing for both of "us?" I'm sorry I never really get that about you, and I'll try harder to match my communication style to yours sometimes, be less oblique, etc., but also, I think you should be aware that this makes it seem like you think you are smarter than everyone, and that simply cannot be true, especially on the internet, where everyone's IQ is either 132 or 146, and also, there's maybe a pinhole in your intellect where lateral thinking resides. Just food for thought. You could maybe just put your finger over it.


How I Bought My Movie

You might have worked out that I like James Bond films a whole lot. I like each of them in and for their own era. Roger Moore's James Bond inhabited the grown-up world I was partial witness to. Pierce Brosnan's Bond inhabited the grown-up world in which my view was expanded. Daniel Craig's Bond exists between all that and a somewhat better world we're all trying to say we belong in.

On Saturday, the ION channels had a marathon of Bond films from GoldenEye through Quantum of Solace. Four Pierce Brosnans and two Daniel Craigs. The Judy Dench Years. I had them on while I did stuff, because I was oddly and pleasantly alone for much of the day. I fell asleep during Casino Royale, but of course I've seen it a billion times. Yesterday evening I watched the recording of Quantum of Solace, and then went straight to Netflix for Skyfall. It was not there.

It wasn't there? Now I know why (more on that in a minute,) but yesterday that was annoying, because it was on there for a long time.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I miss my blog. I have some ideas for refreshing it all, going to get to that, but in the meantime I wanted to type things and tell people stuff.

Last night I looked on Amazon. Various configurations of Skyfall were between 13-16 dollars. I didn't really want just a digital copy, and it wasn't even available to rent for $2.99. (In a minute.)

Today we looked it up at the library and both blu-rays were checked out. One DVD was lost, the other damaged. I went up to Target, because I felt suddenly as though this was an imperative. No copies. No Bond at all, actually.

The phone doesn't work very well at Target, but I looked at No results. Desperate, I went to Their copies all said September 15 pre-order, except one for $23. But that wouldn't be available til Friday. also said September pre-order, so I decided they were repackaging it before Spectre, and now I know it's being re-released in special steel boxes. Pre-order at Best Buy, a place I didn't think to call. Meijer, Walmart, and Best Buy are all together in a dreadful area for traffic known as Eastgate; big nonsensical highway project been going on forever. But also in that area is the mall, and my son suggested we call a store there called FYE. And they had a used DVD for $9.99. So I seriously went to the mall to get it. The store is near an entrance, so no actual malling had to be done. Mission accomplished.


Netflix and others would be made to pull it before a new release so that people will, you know, buy it instead. I just had bad timing. But I don't buy much new or for full price (this is my heritage) unless it's extra special, so this is okay by me.

I'll be honest. A whole lot of why I'm into it lately is for the Tom Ford of it all, et all, and also etcetera. I'm shallow like that. But also, spies and stuff. I saw two spy movies at the theater this summer: Spy and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I love spy movies.

I'm gonna go watch my new used movie now. I have plans to do more with this page, that I hope will be enjoyable to others.


PS: No. I said I buy things used or at a discount. I don't pay nothing for something still easily available other ways. This is how we keep having nice things.

Inundating Hunger

There are just seven posts here from this year, on a smattering of subjects. I haven't really been at peace for awhile, and have had little energy to expend on it, is the largest part of the truth. The rest is that the immediacy of places like Google Plus creates a need for less effort. But I like the effort, and of all the things I do on the web, this remains my favorite. I wish it could be more interactive, but other people prefer the immediate routes these days, and I certainly can't fault them for it.

This month, however, I plan to just blitz this space with all manner of sense and nonsense. Perhaps a few people will follow along. I'm also in a tricky spot; I pay for extras here, which I might probably need to let go. But if I do, I am not certain I will be given back the free plus a bonus version I had before. The bonus bit really mattered to me. We will see.

Here's some stuff I've collected in Ulysses; a neat writing and organizing application I use on this computer. It isn't actually very well organized, though. That takes mental energy, which is currently in short supply.

Stuff strangers said today that made me laugh:

"If you want actual black tea you'll have to use a British brand"

“fisher run you fat bastard hey you think Putin is paying obama clinton fisher back Italy did say terrorism will hit usa”

Stuff I wanted to say at various times, but didn't:

Here's the plain truth,
Mr. Monkey McBean,
what you do is what counts
and not what is seen.

A person is a person. I’ve never thought otherwise, or readily assumed others thought otherwise; assumptions are dangerous tools in the hands of the self-righteous and paranoic extremists of the world, divisively soundbiting their way through life.

You might do well to remove the filter from your lens. I’m not the appurtenant focus of either your judgment or your concern.

Stuff other people said in a comment section about a really lame article trashing Alfred Hitchcock:

View the films with their cultural/ historical context in mind; realise they're thrillers, so extraordinary people and behaviour are to be expected, and marvel at their technical brilliance.

Don't insult our intelligence as an audience.
I don't watch his films to get a balanced picture of humanity. I watch them to see stories told by someone who understands guilt, jealousy, rage and who knows how to put them together cinematically.

Bits of thing I might turn into a poem sometime:

You felt it in waves
pulsing energy
hydronic force

Tip to tip
Our fingers shocked by vibration
Quivering, we pull apart
Distance regained
Sadly, safely, in silent relief.

Oppressive heat so thick you could see it
He applied and wore
like a suit
Or a glamour
drawing me to him like a blossom to sunshine

The steam from his pores
Clouded my vision
Blindly I followed his lead
Coaxed by the scent of fervid nectar
and a mouth that tasted sweet like sin

More than you want to know about how I feel these days:

Before this (past) autumn, I simply reacted to mold, cold, and ammonia, beginning after being laid up in bed for several weeks in 2002 above a very old leaky moldy basement. For the first couple of years, breathing trouble was intermittent, but year-round, in rain or old places. That was in Central New Jersey. After that, it became strictly a winter problem, unless I encountered cat urine, or mold. Late spring to mid-autumn, I feel good by comparison. Cold damp air bothers me most these days. For the past four years, I have been half laid up all winter; it's gotten worse since moving to Ohio in 2011. But instead of building up through late autumn, this (past) year it started all in an instant, at the end of September. I was out of breath on the stairs, exhausted at every turn, heart palpitating. Singulair and Flovent, which I began taking in November, one or both have helped with that, but I still become short of breath often, and cough several times a day. Finally, seemingly because of this problem, I have gained nearly 20 lbs over the past three winters.

I have had bronchitis half a dozen times since age eleven. And I cannot take penicillin, opiates, or narcotics. They all come back swiftly and violently. In 2009, I used Advair for several months, but it made my heart race.

Partial diagnosis:

(I want to point out I wrote the above several months ago. Circumstances leading to current understanding were somewhat changed and more clearly defined.) Severe Vitamins B12 and D deficiency. But the reason for that is still in question. I'm having B12 shots and sunshine, at least, I'm having the shots and if the sun comes back, I'll have some of that, too.

Quotation from the first Nero Wolfe book, Fer-De-Lance, 1934:

“You know, Mr. Townsend, it is our good fortune that the exigencies of birth and training furnish all of us with opportunities for snobbery. My ignorance of this special nomenclature provided yours; your innocence of the elementary mental processes provides mine.”

Cosi fan tutte, Act One, with Batman and Superman:

Batman and Superman are hanging out on the boardwalk having some sushi, when Vickie Vale and Lois Lane walk by on their way to…meet a crooked politician they plan to expose. Anyway. They all meet and are instantly in love and engaged to be married. Because it’s an opera. But then Batman and Superman have to go fight evil in…Shanghai, and so Vickie brings Lois back to her penthouse and they are bummed and drink Cosmos while Barbara Gordon, who lives in the other penthouse for no suitable reason says they should just live it up while those guys are gone.

Meanwhile, Batman and Superman are now chilling in the Batcave waiting for the Batplane to be serviced so they can leave, and Alfred’s all, “You guys. They’re totally not going to be faithful to you. And you can prove it by pretending you aren’t you and forcing them to be attracted to your alter egos instead.” Only how an old British man would say that. But Batman and Superman aren’t so into that, until Alfred Skypes with Barbara and talks her into helping him set up the fiancees. And then Batman and Superman skip saving Shanghai and go out as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent to seduce Vickie and Lois, who have each had three Cosmos by this time.

Baubles, Bangles, and Beads

I went into Hancock Fabrics this morning because although I want to collect some vintage fabric to sew with, I thought I might find some in a vintage style for my new crazy quilt project. I hit the jackpot; there were many bolts of clearance prints, and they reminded me of what old people wore when I was little, so then I thought, hey, there's my crazy quilt theme: Throwback to 70s Childhood.

And so I bought ten 1/4 yard pieces plus fourteen skeins of embroidery floss for just about $11 after all the discounts and coupons. DSC_0759This allowed me to indulge in some sale buttons, as well. Anyway. That’s not the thing.

When I walked in, these clearance bolts were right in the front, and I saw one I just loved. I remarked to the woman straightening them that I found it beautiful but knew I had no use for it. If my sewing machine hadn’t declared war on me, I could have done something with it, but it wasn’t a hand sewing kind of fabric and design. Anyway, she saw me slinging bolts into a cart and told me where I’d find more. I’m sure it worried her I was going to mess up her neat reorganization, but I know just how that feels and so I trod lightly along the path.

I’d sent Aaron over to Kroger to pick up a few things while I was in the fabric store, because it’s a final exam day so his schedule is not really one, and then he came in to watch me sorting through buttons. Because of him I chose owls rather than dragonflies, which apparently menace him, and then I sent him to the cutting table with the cart full of fabric bolts, so I could finish looking around. He will be a superb shopping husband someday. The same woman was cutting the fabric when I got there, and listened to me chatter on to Aaron about silly things. I told him Livvy said the newer sewing machines adjust tension themselves, “with wizardry or witchcraft, magical workings, I dunno,” and she stopped cutting and said, “It’s a computer chip.”

I laughed and carried on in my slightly demented mood. I told her my sewing machine and I are warring, and then mentioned to him I hate to buy a new one because mine could kill someone if I picked it up and hurled it at them. He wondered just how far you could hurl it if it weighs so much, and I said, “The point is, I am just old enough to think things should weigh a lot or they aren’t any good.”

Then I pointed out a very fancy machine which does everything and said, “I can bowl.” He laughed. “And I dig in dirt. This is not for me. But I used to be such an early adopter of technology, I don’t know what happened.”

And I knew she was still listening, cutting ten things, so I told him about the town in West Virginia where there is no wifi, and how Time magazine says people are addicted to their iPhones in a peculiar way, and we talked about how we use our phones. I’d be uncomfortable without mine, sure that someone would have an accident if they couldn’t call to tell me they’re fine. But otherwise, meh. I’m over this stuff.

As we were checking out, the woman asked if I had the latest flyer, and I hadn’t seen it, so she found three coupons in it for me to use, and explained over and over again how I need to keep an eye out for those, and I realized, “she thinks I am truly an idiot after all she’s heard.” This amused me. She went over it all again, patiently, but in a very neutral tone; one type of coupon has changed. And I shouldn’t worry about bringing in more than I can use, because the computer recognizes dumb things and won’t allow them to make mistakes. “Not that we’re what’s dumb,” she added with no expression, realizing she was speaking aloud to a human being. I smiled and nodded and thanked her at each appropriate turn, COMPLETELY RELATING to how she felt trying to help a clearly witless person save money and do things the right way.

I mentioned that to Aaron as we walked to the car, and all he could say was, "I had to walk away because she kept saying "cyoo-pon."

But I am now thinking of her fondly, an ISTJ who is probably exhausted by the end of each day, rearranging things, sighing over the inefficiency of her boss, and helping people press the red X on the card pad because it doesn’t do debit, but all in all, it’s probably a pretty good job to have most days in your 60s, and I hope she has a rewarding time of it.


Explaining Me

I woke up with “Elmer’s Tune” in my head on this terrifically bright day. Not Kansas City winter bright, but certainly Cincinnati winter bright. My bedroom and “atelier” windows face east, so it’s warm and cheery in here for now. The light warm blue walls are so much more comfortable than the umber color I put up with for three years.

DSC_0672the young one agrees

So, time to get out my picnic blanket quilt project I started last winter. I’d cut muslin and many fabric triangles, and sewed 1/4 of the triangles before gardening beckoned. But today, the summery blues and reds seemed dissatisfying. I have another piece of muslin that is 36x54, and wondered what I might do with it. But I couldn’t do nothing with the other project; that felt too fickle. I laid out the triangles and began pinning them to the muslin with tiny pieces of fusible web. You iron this between fabrics and they stick together. DSC_0678(1)
While placing and ironing, I thought about a book I might listen to. Or maybe an old movie or TV show in the background. I continued on in silence, though. I thought maybe I’m in a “homefront” mood, or maybe up for Wodehouse. Suddenly I had a vision in my head of being near the escalator of Montgomery Ward at the Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City. This happens as you start advancing in years. I cannot remember the last time I was there, probably 1987 or so, but I saw it perfectly.

I seem to know all the words to “Elmer’s Tune,” and I enjoy it rolling through my head, but I haven’t turned it on because I’m having some sort of ear/sinus trouble, the tinnitus is worse than usual, and nothing sounds right. “What makes a lady of eighty go out on the loose, what makes a gander meander in search of a goose, what puts the kick in a chicken, the magic in June, it’s just Elmer’s tune.”

Nobody writes like that anymore. They haven’t since before I was born. The words were just part of the music, of course, not intended to mean anything that mattered.

Back in the 70s, Mom sewed calico chickens, in various sizes. She’d found a pattern in a magazine and went bonkers for it, making them from tiny to quite large, and giving them away. It wasn’t much longer until we saw them for sale, not as attractive as hers, for quite a bit of money. Mom’s life went that way, and mine tends to, as well. I had this great idea about a decade ago after we first got Netflix, for all kinds of monthly subscriptions people could sign up for, that would be mailed to them, like little craft kits or gift baskets, toiletry samples, that kind of thing. I couldn’t get anyone else interested in the idea. They sure are now, though.

I’m doing most of my sewing by hand, because I like the slow quiet nature of it. I’ve spent too much of my life in a hurry, and even though I might have to again soon, I just don’t want to anymore. When you’re in a hurry, things don’t taste or smell or feel as good. Our huge array of conveniences have begun to bore me. I quite like contemporary plumbing, paying bills online, and having books I want to read appear on my Kindle Fire. I love having the Met Opera streamed to my movie theater. There’s just too much of everything else, though, and it all comes too easily. I am continually seeking balance between ease and effort.

I remembered that of course I can work on an old and new project at once, and I gave myself permission to do so. I used to worry about being the sort of person who would start things and not finish them. Well, that was about deadlines, which are not good friends of mine. I don't have any deadlines for these things; I do them wholly for myself. It's exciting to start something new. It feels rewarding to finish. And the middle, while sometimes monotonous, is more often a kind of reward of its own; meditative and rhythmic. It's fun, therefore, to start and finish small projects while working through the middle of a larger one. That's the best way for me.

PS: I was looking for pictures of Wards and it got kind of depressing kind of quickly. And then seeing a photo of The Landing, and a King Louie Bowl ad, I grew too nostalgic to carry on. But here are a couple little things.

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Post PS: Here's the song.

Then I just shouldn't have named him Jack, is the thing.

I never meant for my ongoing story character Jack D’Abruzzo to become my Lord Peter. I inserted deliberate flaws from the beginning, eight or nine years ago. He never used his broadcast degree; he lives with his mother and owns a donut shop. He’s previously always dated women who are way too young for him. He started out goofy and kind of manic. But I let him be the theatre director and then I let him buy the building, and then I let him grow interested in Violet, who is not that much like me, but is something like I’d probably be if I never had children.

But now he’s stuck in my head all the time, and since I made him up, well, that’s super awkward. I thought he could be handsome like Russ Columbo, but I didn’t want him compared to an idiot, plus, he wouldn’t be because no one knows who that is and I probably already use too many arcane references. Maybe like Jerry Vale, but with less face in his face. But more like one of those guys who is just perfectly pleasant and ordinary-looking until he hits the late 30s and suddenly has a strength to his face that nobody saw coming except maybe his mother, because she married the guy he resembles an awful lot. Maybe kind of like Perry Como only four inches taller, because I really don’t feel like overthinking this.

Although, I have to wonder at myself for thinking only of singers. His mother’s maiden name was Cassotto, so I guess it turns out like if Alan Alda and Bobby Darin had a baby, and that doesn’t really bear consideration, does it? It doesn’t matter. I describe him only as over 45, about 5’ 10”, black hair with threads of silver, and reasonably fit. That’s good enough, enough.

Anyway. I’ve resisted just handing him over to Violet, but it isn’t quite reasonable that all these characters in their late 40s all stay single. They can’t just up and get married, though. His mother still needs him, but there’s no way she could live in Violet’s old Victorian mansion. And why would I make Violet leave that place? I would not do that to her.

Maybe my personal ideal is that sort of relationship. They’re firmly together, but drift in and out of each other’s houses as they like. If I had my own house all those years, I might resent someone else taking up permanent space in it. And that house has been in her family since it was built in the 1860s, so it has to be lived in. If you don’t live in a house, Nature tries to claim it for its own. So I think Violet can have Jack in her own way and Jack can have Violet in what I have masterfully deemed pretty much the same way, and bits of me will find rest in that, for now.  

Well, I guess I’ve worked a couple things out so that I can carry on. But I want the computer to just shut right down if I start having him quote Wilde for his own.

Okay, Jack can look like Matteo Garrone, only I’ve let him keep his hairline for now. He's pointlessly vain about it. 

Redefining the Middle: a tale of before and after

That's what I'm calling this painting. And yes, I am aware I do this "blogging" thing out of order. I hope you like to check in, anyway. You will like the next sets of trip photos, as they involve interesting things.

I first painted this canvas about five years ago. It could even have been six. Definitely more than four. And I never used black paint again, until yesterday. It had been going along well, then turned all mooshy and flat on me, and I set it aside. (Unfortunately, this photo makes it look even flatter than it is; it actually did have some depth and texture going for it.) Insidebefore

But when we were in Princeton, we checked out an abstract and expressionist art exhibit, and I was reminded of it. The Person With Art Degree had a look and told me it needed definition in the flat black, and he's been also encouraging me to be more bold with the textures I like to add in. So yesterday I bought a little tube of heavy body Mars Black, got out my modeling stuff and the high gloss varnish, and went for it. Outsideafters(My philosophy, if I can be said to have one, is that another touch of vermillion never did any harm.)

And then there was a conversation this morning as he wandered by:

Him: ::enter::
Me: ::holding up thing:: Look! It's better now, right?
Him: Yes, you have the shiny and flat surfaces now, the contrast it needed.
Me: Well, I think maybe it's actually good. I mean, I quite like it.
Him: Then it is. That's the only thing that matters.
Me: Well, no, I don't know that. What if I wanted to show a group of them because I thought so, but actually, people would be like, are you kidding me with this?
Him: You're ridiculous.
Me: No, you've just always been a real artist and you don't understand.
Him: It's like Christopher Columbus, when told the world was flat.
Me: What? No. They thought the world was much smaller, not flat.
Him: Still, he knew he was right.
Me: Are you comparing me to him? Because first of all, not proving it wasn't flat, and second, he was just a truly terrible person. He did horrible things. I don't know how that relates to my paintings at all.
Him: If you like them, they're good. ::Exit::

So, you know, I could be wholly delusional, but that's fine. My delusions are all that matter. I hang them only on my own walls, after all, like a child's drawings on a refrigerator: no harm done to others.