Friday, February 22, 2008

Since it's not a great time of year for photos (except for snow), I've been playing with old ones. This one's called 'Dream Machine'.

Please tell me spring will come. Please.
Don't buy or sell anything on eBay until the 26th! Click here for details.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even mowing is better than February

So, it seems that my new medication is making me depressed.

February's not helping. But I dug out this image from last summer, called "Time to Mow", and it's got me thinking about the green that should start to show up here in New England in about, oh, five or six weeks.

That makes me feel a little better.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

A few more pictures




THE TWO OF SWORDS (tarot card)

See previous blog for explanation.

May ;-)

Some of my pictures

I've been nominated by the eBay Artists Choice Awards group in the categories of Favorite Overall - Digital Image Manipulation (e.g., an altered photo, a manipulated fractal) and Digital Best (can be any type of digital art).

We can only post two small photos in the eBay group, and link to one non-retail site (so that lets out that I've ever sold anything there). So I'm putting up a few pieces here to refer people to. Also, please click HERE for MORE PICS!






Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well, before I forget...

...I should make a note that my kidney function tests were perfectly normal this time--low normal, in fact, which is good. I hope they stay there.

Well, predictably I looked at the 101 list today and felt totally overwhelmed, not to mention guilty that I haven't completed them all yet. Geez. I've got nearly three years, and I bet most people would be happy to complete half of them.

Unlike some people, I didn't fill the list up with all the things I'm going to buy. For one thing, I have no money. For another, that sort of didn't seem to be the point to me. The only item I put on the list that involves expending money is replacing my pillow. I read a little blurb on dust mites recently, and it kind of freaked me out.

Snowy and icy here. February's a bitch. Hurry up, spring!

Monday, February 11, 2008

May's 101 in 1001

Every now and then I like to click on "next blog" at the top of my blog page and surf for a while.

Today I was doing this, and came across this post.

So I decided to do the same thing that all those people were doing! I figure it'll keep me focused. Here I go...

From the website:

Those in progress will be green. Those completed will be blue.

1. Eat lobster (okay, so I started with the easiest).
2. List something on Etsy and one other non-eBay auction site.
3. Learn to use my new Canon Digital Rebel XTi!
4. Donate to a nature/ecology/environmental organization (donated to The Nature Conservancy 2.12.08).
5. Write to my oldest brother.
6. Make an altered book.
7. Write down what I'd like to happen at my memorial service.
8. Write my obit. (Wow! I did it. That was weird.2.13.08)
9. Donate to a social service organization (donated a mixed media piece today to Alliance for Living, an AIDS service agency 2.11.08; also, at the beginning of May, gave money to my friend Maura for doing the NAMI walk).
10. Get my concertina repaired.
11. Actually play it again!
12. Write a short story, just to see if I can do it.
13. Make a Thai meal for John and me.
14. Make a recording or write a letter for Bizzy, for after I'm gone.
15. Write a similar letter for Adam.
16. Make at least five more pieces of jewelry, for myself or someone else.
17. Go somewhere where I can see a live bobcat.
18. Create a book or chapbook of my poetry.
19. Take a picture a day for a month.
20. Get halfway decent on the pennywhistle again.
21. Attend a meeting of a sangha (Buddhist community).
22. Invite someone to have dinner with us (we are such hermits!). (We had Bea, a friend from France, stay over for a couple of days, and fed her not one, but two dinners! It was nice.)
23. Give away at least 25 of the things I own (1. Gave my daughter my grandmother's jewelry box).
24. Go to a theater to watch a play (it's been ages).
25. Make at least one needle-felted ACEO (baseball-card-size artwork).
26. Walk all the way to the Portland reservoir and back.
27. Have at least one more pagan ritual that I invite a lot of people to.
28. Start a healing art journal. (Purchased it 2.15.08, and actually did a couple of pages. So I guess I'm on my way!)
30. Complete an advance directive.
31. Go to a live classical concert (it's been ages for that one too).
32. Get a massage.
33. Send someone a surprise gift.
34. Back up all my photos to a flash drive.
35. Buy a package of sunflower seeds and go around planting them randomly on roadsides.
36. Set an Irish or Scottish song to four-part harmony.
37. Take an in-person or online calligraphy course.
38. Do one pastel ACEO and list it on eBay or Etsy.
39. Do one colored pencil ACEO and list it on eBay or Etsy.
40. Teach someone the basics of beading.
41. Meet at least one new person from one of my breast cancer lists.
42. Show John Block Island.
43. Make him show me Nantucket.
44. Write a tanka. (Well, it's Mother's Day, May 11, and I've finally written my tanka. If you'd like to read it, click here.)
45. Be a truly informed voter by the '08 presidential election.
46. Meditate a half hour a day for a week.
47. Try five foods I've never tried before.
48. Wash a couple of my many canvas bags and put them in the car, then use them for groceries (well, they're in the wash, so I'm on my way!). (Ended up buying a Stop & Shop reusable insulated bag. They're big, and really great for bringing frozen foods home in hot weather. 3.18.08)
49. Make up a few herb tea samplers from the thousand bags we have in our cabinets, and give to friends. (Ta da! 2.14.08)
50. Buy John a surprise subscription to a magazine or a book (he never buys himself anything).(Bought Noam Chomsky's 'Hegemony or Survival'. John was surprised and pleased. 3.22.08)
51. Make a new gratitude list (it's been a while). (Did this and put it in my healing journal 2.25.08)
52. Build a backyard labyrinth. (I started this in mid-April, and yesterday, on a walk down the road, I finally asked a neighbor if I could have the slice of a tree I've seen sitting in her yard for many months. It was on it's side, so it's in good condition, and I'm going to use it for the center of my labyrinth. 4.28.08)
53. Give someone (not the same person) a compliment every day for a week.
54. Use my antique shuttle in an assemblage piece.
55. Go seven days without spending any money. (Well, surprisingly enough, I've done this several times without even trying. I'm not as much of a spendthrift as I'd thought!)
56. Draw something at least once a week for 3 months.
57. Learn ten new songs all the way through (a challenge, given my chemo-brain).
58. Research body donation, make a decision about it, and document it. (Well, this turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. I had read the book "Stiff" by Mary Roach, which describes what's involved in donating one's body to "Science", and had thought at the time that it would be a viable option for me. However, as it turns out, there are two problems. The first is that what's left of one's body ends up being cremated, which is polluting--the only thing about cremation that bothers me. Secondly, I am attached emotionally in a way that surprises me to the idea of having bits of my ashes spread in places that are sacred, holy, or just important to me. So for now, I feel the case is closed, and I am destined to return to the earth. I'll let you know if for some reason I change my mind. 3.16.08)
59. Unpack at least ten of the still-packed boxes from our move!
60. Say no to one important thing that you're really too fatigued from chemo to do (I'm not going to testify at the budget hearings, though I feel guilty. They're held late at night, and I run out of steam before they're usually halfway through. Said no to Maura [sorry, honey] - regarding testifying this Friday 2.13.08)
61. Leave a free piece of art in a public place.
62. Get my 12-year AA medallion. (Well, got my 12 years on 2.19.08...guess I'll just pick up a medallion at some point).
63. Get my 13-year AA medallion.
64. Replace my pillow and allergen barrier cover. (Done, last weekend in February)
65. Visit one of the local Unitarian Universalist churches.
66. Make some calendula lip balm to give away.
67. Take an in-person or online class in Buddhism.
68. Reread one of my basic paganism books.
69. Plant a tree that'll still be knee-high to a grasshopper when breast cancer takes me. (Well, I took a look around this spring and realized that baby trees is not something we're short of. However, John asked for an apple tree for his birthday, so there you go!)
70. Visit the Museum of American Art in New Britain.
71. Spend a day in silence.
72. Read a book on something with which I'm completely unfamiliar.
73. Juice fast for a day (carefully monitoring blood sugar).
74. Learn to play my lyre.
75. Visit the Roger Williams Zoo.
76. Resubscribe to Utne Reader or another magazine that will keep me focused on the important issues of the day. (Did it, this June. I forgot how much I enjoyed Utne, though it's not as good as it used to be. I also resubscribed to Funny Times, which is an absolute blast.)
77. See Cirque du Soleil in person.
78. Make friends with a donkey. (Was driving down a country road in my home state, Connecticut, when what should I see...golly, they are cute, not to mention friendly. I can honestly say this is one I didn't expect to accomplish! 10.11.09)
79. Write a genuine song, as opposed to a poem.
80. Stop biting my cuticles! (The nails are no big deal.) (I can honestly say that I've pretty well succeeded with this, though it's mostly because I've become a much bigger germ-phobe than I used to be. Whatever it takes! 8.3.08)
81. Create an indoor herb garden and figure out how to keep the cats from eating it all up.
82. Do a grave rubbing at the Enfield St. cemetery, which is full of dead Terrys.
83. Straighten out the art studio. (7.14.08)
84. Detach.
85. Go gluten-free for six weeks to see how you feel.
86. Create a small butterfly and hummingbird garden. (Started on April 12 with a purplish blue ornamental salvia and a pale blue and cream columbine. Adam and his girlfriend Stacy had come up on the ninth to do some work, and they tilled both the vegetable garden and the flower garden. ...As of the beginning of May, I've added several more flowers to the garden, including catmint, an unusual salmon-colored heather, bee balm, and a lupine. ...And as of today, 8.3.08, I can say it's completed!)
87. Attend the Durham Fair.
88. Read Alice in Wonderland. That's right--I've never read it. (What fun! 3.22.08)
89. If the funding comes through, go to New Orleans and present on the prison project I was involved in when I was chair of the advisory council to Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness. (Couldn't actually do this one--way too exhausted to even think about it. Oh, well.)
90. Attend Mystic Seaport's Sea Music Festival just one more time.
91. Make sure the kids understand how much I love them.
92. Spoil the cats, because it's relatively harmless.
93. Read a book on comparative religion.
94. Have a long conversation with whatever birds happen to be hanging around when I decide to do this. Other animals are allowed to comment as well. (Actually, I didn't "decide" to do this at all. One day in the first week of May, I happened to be sitting on our porch when a bunch of small birds arrived. They seemed quite communicative, so I communicated back. It was fun. It wasn't until a few days later that I remembered this was on my list!)
95. Drive around and get lost.
96. Play in puddles.
97. Decorate the walls with art, art, art.
98. Read at least 20 of the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA)-recommended books. Here they are:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot (7.5.08)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

I wouldn't normally set myself up for this, but as you can see, I'm pretty well ahead already.

99. Be kind and loving to a fat child. I was one once myself, and I know what misery it is.
100. Learn to practice Tonglen and become as adept as possible at the end of the 1001 days.
101. If I survive my breast cancer this 1001 days, I will write another list.

and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid.

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

---Audre Lorde

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are cats ever really happy?

This is Zen. I've seen him satisfied, content, excited, frustrated, annoyed, angry, and enraged. I've seen him placid, uncaring, careful, embarrassed, impatient, jealous, envious, and depressed. I've seen him seductive, yearning, curious, startled, scared, cautious, distrustful, gleeful, impulsive, loving, naughty, hurtful, and playful...grateful, nervous, puzzled, dumbfounded, jumpy, dazed, spacy, and out-of-it...self-assured, self-conscious, doubtful, sorry, sweet, enthusiastic, sympathetic, caring, worried, disgusted, and ashamed...guilt-ridden, innocent, selfish, careless, self-centered, unbelieving, sure, confident, analytical, bored, greedy, generous, and blissed out...

I'm just not sure I've ever seen him happy.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This is the photo I referred to of Jim Stidfole, one of the Hygienic Art Gallery's directors, along with his papier mache likeness. I think it's wonderful. If I were Jim, I'd buy it (the sculpture, not John's photo).

On the way out, we passed the "crime scene" below on the sidewalk. My kind of humor.

I found out at my chemo on Thursday that my BUN and creatinine, which are kidney function tests, are elevated. My oncologist was talking of possibly having to stop my Zometa, but I don't see why my diabetes meds can't be changed instead. I've decided to call Dr. Schauer (the oncologist) this week and mention that to him. Unfortunately, since I'm being seen at the Brownstone Clinic for my diabetes treatment, I doubt that there'll be any coordinated decision between the onc and the endocrinologists. I may fool with the meds myself, which I'll discuss with Dr. Schauer. I can cut the metformin, which strains the kidneys, in half, and up the insulin. That will probably prevent me from having to go off the Zometa.

I'm enjoying my online study of Buddhism, which can be very complicated but in essence is very simple. I'm trying to practice my meditation without judgment (as in, oh, damn, there I go again, thinking). It all fits very well with my endeavor to live every day.