Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Douglas Report Part 2: The Privy



Meredith laughed at my childish joy in brushing my teeth outside.

Put toothpaste on brush.
Fill cup with "safe" water.
Brush teeth.
Rinse and spit directly on PI (poison ivy)
Pour the rest of the water on brush to rinse out.
Done.

I did this at least three times a day.

The next joy was the bathing in the lake.

Put on teeny bikini (easier to wash with) usually after 11 am when sun is strong and water warmed up a bit.
Go in water, usually screaming (for no reason other than to scream)
Soap up, washing all places suspicious of harboring bacteria.
Jump back in water to rinse off.
Then go for long paddle boat ride, or noodle swim.

But the most interesting part of the hygiene routine was the outhouse, or, as Meredith called it, "the Privy".

There is something strangely exciting about being able to pee and poop on the ground, then throw your dirty tissues on top of it. It goes against everything I have ever been taught, and it is up there with "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's husband". I suspect that they ran out of room for this commandment: Thou shalt not soil the earth. (oh that explains EVERYTHING NOW).

I have come up with a few pros and cons for having a privy, as listed below:

Pros:
Cleaning is simple: sprinkle lime in the hole.
Two people can go at the same time. (if it is a two seater)
If you are alone, no one knows how loud or stinky your visit was.
It's not a place where your significant other will spend a lot of time reading.

Cons:
It sucks when it is raining, cold, or the middle of the night.
If you are sensitive to smells, you are in trouble.
If you don't like spiders or snakes, you are also in trouble.
If you are scared of the dark you are really in trouble.

When I got up this morning in my own home, I found it strange to walk a few feet and sit on a cool white porcelain odor free toilet. The shower also was rather foreign, and brushing my teeth was no fun at all.

Think I will head to the cabin before the snow falls, as well as the temperature, so that I can have peace, simplicity, and good laughs with my friend.

I must say REAL SIMPLE has no clue what they are talking about.

Patti Au Natural

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Douglas Report Part 1: Do Fish Bite



Part 1

I have just returned to "the Cradle of Civilization" (thanks Karen for being my Kingston pundit) after three days in a cabin on a reservoir in Douglas, Massachusetts, not too far from Worcester, and pretty much in the middle of nothing. The town is quaint, and there are no chain stores to be found.

The cabin was in the woods, with a driveway-width path that led to the reservoir, which had its own private dock and beach. The cabin was rustic and charming, replete with the biggest bathtub I have ever seen (the lake) and a fully functioning two seater privy. (oh so much more in the privy later)

I did not write one blog, (save for take a few notes), make one painting (OK I messed with a few photos in Photoshop) or even crack the binding of a book.

What did I do? Eat, drink, rest, sun, shop, and live languidly in a 75 year old cabin. Easy camping was what my girlfriend told me. And that it was.

As soon as we opened up the cabin, the initial whiff of mothballs sent me reeling back to my childhood, where for 19 years of my life I periodically vacationed in my father's family's cabin, a refurbished 1930's gas station. It however, did have running water. It was a small red cabin, a stones throw from the Esopus Creek.

I could write a book on my memories of that cabin, and perhaps someday I will write a short story, but memories came flooding with one whiff of moth balls.

There were many adventures and stories that I will eventually tell.

But to answer the question: Do fish bite?, the answer is MOST CERTAINLY.

The fish that nibbled on my feet, bumped into my legs, and then SNAPPED at the strings on my bikini top were from 3-12" or so long. I heard that they bit the nipple of one of the neighbors and for that very reason I did not go skinny dipping, and took to wrapping the string of my bathing suit back around my neck like a choker.

Do you blame me?

I have to work tomorrow, otherwise more stories would be told. A few pictures to back up my fish story.......and it is all true.

Patti O Lure

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recycled vs. Brand name


I am getting ready to pack the car and such for my trip.

Just a quick muse.

I have been buying post consumer waste/recycled paper towels because Larry is a paper towel nut, though he does reuse them till they fall apart.

He hates the recycled ones as he cannot recycle them much -they turn into a stiff crumbly mess after 1-2 uses.

Now Bounty and this other brand whose name eludes me, last for many hand wipings, as well as wiping down the stove/fridge etc. afterwards.

Is this one instance where being greener is not helping?

Just a thought for the day.

Patti O Wipes

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Off to the Cabin in the Woods



Tomorrow I head to a cabin on a lake with a good friend. There is no running water-the lake is where we bathe. I have not asked about the toileting facilities. I think there is an outhouse.

There is a fridge for the soups and salads I have made, and an oven to cook. To wash dishes we carry water from the reservoir, boil, and wash.

I am glad to be away from the phone (though I do have my cell w/me, but only family calls me on that) though I will go through some withdrawal not having internet access, unless I can steal a signal in town somewhere.

I am bringing books, paints, my laptop, and Ipod. Oh, and my Garmin is essential as I need to figure it out before I take off next month to Kentucky. This will be the first long time in my car, and it will be interesting to see 1)how comfy it is on a three hour trip and 2)what long distance gas mileage will be. The maximum I have gotten on a one hour trip was near 30 MPG. I am hoping I can squeeze out a bit more. I wonder if one gets better mileage with the top up or down?

Ok just got back from the research, which ranges from 5% less with top down,(more drag) to about the same top up or down. If I back off 5 mph I gain even better mileage, so I should stay at 65 vs. the 72 I like to do on the Turnpikes. I guess top up or down will depend upon the weather and traffic. Definitely top down however once I get there.

Here is one of my favorite poems, which is fitting for my trip by William Butler Yeats.

THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

A quick blog tomorrow, then I am off.

Patti O Adventurer
PS Small Sky Study--available for sale if anyone is interested.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Clean the House and other tales


Wow, I just realized that I did not blog at all yesterday.

I suppose there was very little time, and I was in no state of mind to write. Perhaps writing would have been good for me to "defrag" from the days events, but I had already taken myself to the pool, where sadly the sun never came out and I never swam, and then to Macy's to buy a hot plate on sale for my encaustic paints. And there was the shoes. I never meant to buy the shoes, but how can a girl resist a pair of Kenneth Cole 80.00 shoes for a mere 17.00 and change?

Funny thing is, when I looked at the style name in order to get a photo for my blog, I noticed that it was "CLEAN THE HOUSE". Now does this mean these look like maid shoes? Or did it mean they are comfortable enough to wear while cleaning the house. OR WAS THE UNIVERSE TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING.

I finished off the evening by going downtown on the water for a glass of wine with Karin at the Steel House, then uptown to Ugly Gus's for margaritas and appetizers.


I came home to Larry already in bed at 11. I was too tired to write.

Larry has been sick for days now, but the doc says it is probably a virus. The German word for the "trots" is "durchfall" which means to fall through. How apropos.I even slept in the spare room as I could not stand another night of his getting up and down, except that the old hormones kicked in, and I was wide awake at 3:30 am thinking about the previous day's events.

My brother and I had a meeting with the nursing home staff to go over my mother's wishes. Basically the only intervention she wants is drugs and IV, and non-invasive testing. She wants as natural a death as possible. We discussed her burial wishes.

I don't know what I am going to be facing these next months. She could rally and get better, or she could just fade away. We have determined kidney stones, and gall stones, except for one problem. She no longer has a gallbladder. So what are the shadows they are seeing?

I think I will go clean the house. In a little black dress and some fishnet stockings, and the shoes, and will report back on how they feel.

Patti O Shoe Addict

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Being a Geekess


Another night of poor sleep. If it isn't hormones, it is a severe thunderstorm, or major power surges and outages all night long. I had to get up early as I had a therapy appointment at 10 AM, and it was not a moment too soon.

It was a dark and stormy morning (envision Snoopy writing this) and I felt rather gloomy. Let's face it-its been a tough week. I am trying to prepare my self for a new life in the world, while I am looking at my elders preparing themselves to leave. And there are all the things that fall in between

I started crying in the car on the way to Peg's, and looked in the mirror.
I freaked myself out as the blue of my eyes had turned almost black, and the whites were bright red. Somewhere a little voice came to me telling me that I was so beautiful when I cry, (think that was Peg) and I talked back saying: "YOU MUST BE FUCKIN' NUTS!" I looked like something out of Dawn of the Dead.

I had the most soothing session, and met up w/Annie to go and look at cars. Her Acura is in bad shape, and she needed a friend to go with her on the car adventure. Having been there recently, she thought I was a good tag-a-long candidate. And, after feeling so heavy, what could be easier and more fun than to test drive a few cars. Save for the moments when we could not get the key out of the car she had borrowed, and then lost very same key (to be found later in Subaru that we test drove.)

She took me to lunch at the Terrapin Bistro, where we sat outside talking over the din of the traffic on Route 9.

In the midst of the 10,000 things that we talked about, we discussed how beautiful we were when we were young and how we thought we were ugly. Man, I wish I had the power and knowledge of now in the body of 20 plus years ago. What I could have done with that. Now we are older, we realize what we had, but also realize that we have to accept all that has happened as part of our journey, and how it is has molded us into what we are now, the person whom I am fairly comfortable with. And so be it.

In keeping with this theme, the other day I was swimming in the lake with Gabrielle, and I sighed and looked at my 50 year old body, bemoaning the fact that I will never again have the body of my youth. Gabrielle said "picture yourself in 20 years in a bikini, then go back to where you are now." TOUCHE I said. And I hugged myself and smiled, GLAD to be wearing my teeny bikini.

Oh and tonight's picture was one I just found while cleaning. I don't think I have seen it since it was taken, at the beginning of 7th grade. Gotta love those blue fairy glasses, and those short bangs. Ok, so I wasn't a beauty queen at 12 or 13, or even at 16...but eventually I did blossom.

Patti O Geekess

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Being a Lush



It is a bit after one, and I am sipping on a glass of a Beaujolais Nouveau from France. I purchased it at the local liquor store last week, where I bought 4 bottles of wine for 20.00.

Listen, I love a good 20.00 bottle of wine, but on this budget, I go for the cheap stuff, which is actually NOT THAT BAD. I have found a nice Cabernet/Merlot blend for 5.00, and a Pinot Noir for the same price. The creme De la creme was the Nouveau for 3.50.

For that much money, I figured I can cook with it, which was my intention when I was making salads for dinner. Lois is coming over with a chicken, and I made potato salad and 5 bean salad, from my FAVORITE cookbook (at least one of the top five), the original Moosewood Cookbook.

I needed a tablespoon of wine, so I opened up the Beaujolais as we had finished everything else up (lots of company...ok!) I had to have a sip...and my, it was decent drinking wine! It is light, as you would expect a Nouveau, but has enough body to make it nice to sip on.

So I am off between downpours to go to the PO, bank, and to see if there is any of this left as I have a guest for dinner, and I can afford that. Oh, and did I mention I have a discount card at that store too!!! But I could not resist a glass to sip on as I pay bills, season the salads, and sit back and watch the rain.

Megan called and said Dole is leaving on the 15th of August, so it looks like plans have changed again, and they won't be coming here, but we will go down instead and spend a week with her after he leaves. Then I may fly down, and drive up with her mid November so that she can spend the holidays with us.

SO..now that I am no longer hostage to her pregnancy etc., I have made plans for four days on the Cape with Larry, a possible mini side trip for a few days with a friend in a cabin in the woods (where you wash in the lake) Of course, my mother's illness could change everything, but I am going to deal with things as they happen.

Images are two cards I made recently. They are in my Etsy shop, and I have priced the Hedgehog haircut card for 5.00=====special price. And, along with this card I will put in an extra goody. And as an aside, I made my first sale at my new Etsy store, which contains ONLY cards and artwork at http://pagibbons.etsy.com, or go to the link on the left!

Patti O Artist

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In the Nursing Home




Remember the film IN THE BEDROOM...well, it has just morphed into IN THE NURSING HOME. The script is already percolating in my brain.

It has been a long day dealing with the stresses of family when a family member becomes ill. Tensions and tempers run high, egos take arms, and I am finding it difficult to keep things cohesive and C-A-L-M.

I talk to myself as I would counsel a friend or student, and constantly have to put things in perspective and decide what really matters.

I went to see my mom. She was pale, very depressed, and pathetic. I don't know if she isn't eating because she is depressed, or depressed because she can't eat. Since she can't talk, it is difficult at best to really know clearly what goes on in her dented damaged brain.

The visit to the nursing home is never fun. Since my mother never leaves her room, I am relegated to sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a room with far too much stuff in it for its size, staring at a TV set with either the news of all the disasters of the world, or an old movie on Turner Movie Network. On my walks about the place to find nurses and doctors to talk too, I see the elderly and infirm, staring empty down the hall, moaning, crying, and picking their noses while they look at you. One tries to bite the nurse whose attention I need for a moment. Then there is the ... odor.

I have been talking to friends, and we have all agreed that we are saving our pills to take in vast handfuls in case we start to lose our dignity. We were trying to figure out how we could do assisted suicides without anyone going to jail.

It made me very sad and depressed.

So to crazy up things a bit, I am giving you some photos of some of the new "stuff" in my kitchen. I wanted to jazz up the light switch plate, so I collaged it with antique seed catalog pages (1800's) and I found this great Mexican milagro folk art cross for a dollar. Perhaps I will use it in an art work, but for now it hangs in la cuchina, awaiting a group of like items to join it in a wall of mysticism and funk. I also bought a bizarre chalk ware Jesus. I still have not decided what to do with that. He is a little too strange. Look at all of those chains around him, WTF?!!
Hmm..someone on eBay might like him. Maybe some seriously religious people will do battle for it and bid some outrageous price, like they do for pretzels in the shape of Mary, or doors whose wood grain looks like the face of Jesus. I need the money, and prayin' ain't bringing any home!!!

Off to finish a movie, or read some.
Hmm..some mango sorbet calls to me..that might be a nice treat to end the day.

Patti O Junk

Monday, July 21, 2008

Finding Peace




I worked all day, but in between trains of thought I derailed a few times while talking to the nursing home and to my family.

I am getting better at being serene and clear headed in dealing with delicate issues such as proxies, family, and life and death, but I am only human, and a mini melt down in the office of a friend was in order.

After I left, I went for a very long swim, (ok, long for me) for a half hour in a lake with Karen. The fabulous Gabrielle was there, who is every bit as delightful as her name sounds. More on her at a later date. (geez, I do have a lot of stories that I have promised, don't I?)

I came home, created for a bit in the studio, and made dinner. Larry and I decided to take the wine and eggplant rollatini outside and eat in the glorious golden light of the evening.

A storm came through, right after I took the photos for tonight's blog. We ran inside, laughing and running, protecting only the wine and the camera. Who wants watered down wine, and the camera, it enables me to make a visual diary of my life!

Larry says that I have looked at Hudson River artists for so long that I have the landscape style etched in my mind, and that I have more sky pictures than anyone he knows. Someday I will paint them all.

So here's to you Mr. Cole and Mr. Church.

Patti O Sky

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sleepless in Kingston


I am off soon to go make some toast before yoga. At least in yoga I will find peace, and force my mind to be empty, and get some exercise. I have been lazy the past two days of extreme heat.

I did not sleep well last night; I drank red wine which clogged me up, my mind kept running with the remains of the emotions from the late night phone call I got from the nursing home about my mother. She has not been well, is refusing testing that needs to be done. She fell twice and complained of pain, so at 1 am they were taking her to the hospital. I have not heard as to whether she has been admitted, and I will deal with that after I get back. I may have slept all of four hours total, and my track record for this week has not been that great to start with.

I did spend the afternoon yesterday in my studio, and just picked up the paintbrush, got out a few paints, and finished a piece of work in an afternoon. It is a mixed media piece, called I'll be Watching You. I have a few things to do to finish it up, but it is complete in thought and images.

I also collaged a switch plate cover for my kitchen. I went online and looked for some on Etsy, but did not find any the suited my decor, so I made one using antique images from old seed catalogs. I will photo it later, but it is very very fun. I won't be making many of those as it took me a good hour and a half to make one, but for my own house it was well worth it. I also made a housewarming gift for a friend.

My friend Julie came over for the evening and stayed, thus the red wine and other sins. I lived with her twice, that story for another blog.

So off to make toast, tomorrow more images and stories.

Patti O Painter

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Blog Award!


Sorry for the constant switch of my look on Blogger. It is a free service, and I was bored with the layout, even though I changed from black to white.

I don't like most of the layouts, am having problems tweaking the html, so I am plodding around until I find one that I can settle into again for a while. Comments appreciated of course!

Yesterday I won my third blog award. I am honored that others appreciate my honesty in writing. If you were to describe me, it perhaps might include words like "zesty, funny, caring, zany, and honest". That can be good or bad, depending upon the situation. But it is honesty in the best of sense of the word. I am supposed to list five blogs that I admire, but I am going to have to do a bit more research before I can find another five that I enjoy reading. Actually, visit DLM to the World, I have just listed the link today, it is written by my co-worker who has taken a leave of absence after getting a divorce, and headed to Valencia, Spain, to live to a year. The blog is a great reflection of her adventures, misadventures, and her journey into a new life. Much in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love, which is a MUST READ. AND, in my prowling around, I just found a blogspot blog dedicated to news related to EAT PRAY LOVE, including photos of some of the main characters, what fun is that!!!!! So at the very least I have given you some fodder for reading! (off to write Dana and tell her I gave her an award!)

Sometimes I may offend some, but you don't have to buy everything I say. Like I have told my children when they have very heavy decisions to make: talk to lots of people, weed out what you think are the best tidbits of advice, and then go from there. And, when they ask me MY advice, all I ask them is to hear me out, and don't criticise advice when you ask for it. You can laugh and think mom is crazy, an ass, or whatever else might run through your mind, but when you ask me for advice, give me the courtesy to finish, and then do what you wish with it. (tricky navigation sometimes in situations like that) And parents, give the advice, and then let it go. They are individuals, not carbon copies of you. Be happy with the fact that they even cared enough to ask you in the first place!

Someone wrote me yesterday, and asked "so what did you do that was adventurous today?". I was a bit taken aback, because I thought, geez, do people really care what I do in my life? I sat with a cheesy smile on my face, so thanks for acknowledging my existence and adventures!

Well, truthfully, most of the day I worked. I am being offered 50.00 an hour for the use of my brain, and I am honored to be able to do that. The brain that is constantly churning is actually getting paid to do its work! Imagine that. I am working with some fellow staff in our alternative school to redesign it. It is exciting work, and I am highly motivated to make it a place that is truly alternative.

To reward myself for five hours of steady thinking, I went down to the local watering hole with my crew, did some staff bonding over a beer, and headed home to pick up a friend and take her for her first ride in a convertible, and for a swim.

Later some food from Kyoto. We have figured how to eat out at home spending less than 15.00. Two inexpensive sushi rolls, and a kani salad, and we are good to go.

I started watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Did not quite make it through the movie before I had to turn it off and sleep, but it is very well done. More on that later.

Off to do my Saturday routine!

patti o nomad

photo is a digitally altered photo of one of the views from Erika's NYC Wall Street Apt.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On Being A Sandwich

BROADWAY JOES: ELVIS AND MARILYN
FATIMA ON HER SCOOTER BUZZIN ABOUT TOWN.
DONNA,NEIL,MALCOLM,BETSY AND MEL, THE AMAZING DOG. THESE ARE SOME OF THE WRITERS, ENTREPRENEURS, MUSCISIANS , TEACHERS/PROFESSORS THAT I MET THIS MORNING ON MY WALK!
IN a nutshell the Sandwhich generation is referred to adults who are taking care of their aging parents while having to deal with the issues of their teenage or slightly older children.

In my case, my mother is having some serious health issues in the nursing home, while I have a child who though currently free of stomach cancer, has a severe hiatal hernia, disintegrating hips and spine, PTSD, and have I mentioned that she is having a difficult pregnancy? (thank you George Bush and Iraq for a few of these issues)

AS the eldest and health care proxy, I am dealing with my mother, who is refusing certain medical tests which ultimately COULD lead to her death. The question here is, do we override her decisions, get a court order to declare her incompetent, and force her to get the colonoscopy that she is refusing, with a possible feeding tube down the road, or give her the dignity to make her own decision knowing that she could ultimately die. And, as her health care proxy, where do I fit in with all of this? Her story is complex, but I am of the mind "it is what it is".

While this is going on, I am constantly on the phone w/my daughter who has been in and out of hospitals for two years now. Cancer, treatment, now pregnancy. I talk to her most every day, and travel as often as I can the 900 miles. With the price of gas and the airline situation, I don't know how often I will be able to do that.

How do I stay centered and sane and have clarity? I walk, I write, I paint, I do yoga, I go to therapy, I have good friends. And, my job lets me get lost in it so that I don't perseverate.

Notice that is is nearly 2 am, it is the fourth night I have not slept well, and I am sipping on Larrys Hangar One, and hopeing the crumb of Ambian I took kicks in. I NEED TO SLEEP.

I always thought a sandwich was some delightful form of sex play. Me between two delicious people of my choice. No one told me the real meaning behind it.

SIGH.

Hero anyone?

Patti O Proxy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I WAS RIGHT and a Change in Blog Name


First of all, I want to stand on the top of Overlook and yell down to my doctor (whom I love love love mind you) that I WAS RIGHT. Losing my water pills and not taking them HAS created a reaction in my body which has created tree stumps in place of my usual saplings, and made me feel like I could fill a pool with the water in my body.

How do I know this? I hijacked a pharmacist at my local 24 hours Walgreens.

It is early, and since I have been off my feet for 8 hours, all is back to normal. Plus, my friend who takes similar medication, gave me a few of her pills. I know, I am not supposed to do that, but geez, what is a girl to do? I have SOME ego...even after getting rid of most of it as per Mr. Tolle. And my clothes were not sized to fit the Pillsbury Dough Girl.

I have made a change in the title of my blog today, in a flash of inspiration from Sir Phil in Cottekill. I joked with him about my "slogging" around the Hudson Valley, and for the heck of it looked up the word "slog". Here ya go:
Pronunciation:\ˈsläg\
Function:verb
Inflected Form(s):slogged; slog·ging
Etymology: origin unknown
Date:1824
transitive verb 1 : to hit hard : beat 2 : to plod (one's way) perseveringly especially against difficulty
intransitive verb 1 : to plod heavily : tramp 2 : to work hard and steadily : plug
— slog·ger noun

HOW PERFECT IS THAT. A pre-Victorian word that fits me to a tee!

So todays sloggin' is scheduled as follows: a hilly walk downtown Kingston with friend Betsy Nosonwitz, daughter of the infamous retired dentist who did Larry's root canal,(Larry was so scared and the Doc worked miracles) and currently a garlic farmer, (at 84 mind you!), then off to visit my 83 year old friend in West Hurley, take her out to lunch in the convertible to the Reservoir Inn (a great fun eatery near the fab Ashokan Reservoir) and then to Saugerties to get my head shrunk.
We are going to rock the county!

After that? Who knows WHAT trouble will await me.

PS. Megan is in labor for a few days now, and the last time I talked to her late afternoon yesterday, she was heading to the hospital...

Patti O Slogger!!!

ps dark painting of the Ashokan!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ad NON Sense


I am dumping Ad Sense. I am a tolerant person, but over the past year I have found a few ads that were like a visit from a door to door salesman. You can't wait for them to go away. Besides, at the rate I am going, it will be four years before I MIGHT, and I say MIGHT get my 100.00 check.

I have dealt with ads for older men looking for love, for funeral homes, religious ads for the path to Jesus, and so forth, but todays ad for the book from the Christian right exposing the dangers behind Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, did it. I just went back there to double check it, and give you some quotes from the ad site, but instead another ad on GERD popped up.

I will leave ad sense on my art blog as I rarely get too personal on that. Todays oil paint ad there seemed innocuous enough. I will forfeit my 23.00 on my personal blog for sanity.

I am not surprised that Christians are up in arms about this book, because Tolle warns us of doctrines that promote superiority over others. He also teaches "self salvation" which is of course a threat to any religious organization that dictates their way is THE way.

I was raised to believe that the Catholic church was the ONLY church, and people of any other religion could not enter the pearly gates. It worried me that my best friend who was of another Christian persuasion might be left out of heaven. Ironically, she recently preached that if I don't follow Jesus, I am damed and won't see the pearly gates either. I used to call myself a Christian because I thought Christians helped one another, loved all living creatures, did not discriminate due to religion, color, or sexual preference. But in my 50 years of life experience, I have learned that only SOME Christians practice the word of Jesus, and others have bent the bible to suit their own agenda

Hogwash to all of it.

Instead I am posting blog links that I enjoy and read on a daily basis from artists and writers I admire-- Judy Vars in Alaska, who writes some pretty forthright musings and posts great photos of art and the Alaskan wilderness, Annie Kellerher from Connecticut who is a writer and a witch, and my latest super blog heroine, Stephanie Tara Klein, one of NYC top bloggers, who tells it all in a way I wish I had the guts and freedom to. Plus, she is a sister redhead. (thanks Judy for the heads up on that one!)

I wish I could be free here...I really have to censor my writing as a teacher.
So, you will have to wait 10 years to hear the real juicy stories and musings!

Patti O Jester

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

on 50 and H2O


I have not slept well in two days now. Funny thing is I am not tired, in fact, I feel rather manic!

I went to the doc yesterday with another list of complaints and again she said "welcome to the world of peri-menopause". I told her I was going to a specialist to see what SHE can do for me, at which point Lynne looked at me and basically said,"HRT, or grin and bear it". I am hoping that Helen will give me a magic pill and I will never have another period again......

Besides not sleeping, I have gained 6 pounds of water weight in a few days. Lynne insists that it too is due to my bodily changes, but I beg to differ and blame it on the fact that I am no longer taking a diuretic for my blood pressure. I eat well, work out several+ times a week, and refuse to ditch my smaller sized clothes. Maybe I will get parasites again, or have another gastro-intestinal virus or upset. It has NOTHING to do with the salt in those potato chips that I devoured at the barbecue the other night, right?

After the appointment I was disgusted and cranky, so I did my 2 mile hill walk, my arms, legs, and butt feeling like water balloons, slosh, slosh, slosh, thump.

I am going to end with a joke that my friend sent me this morning..

A woman is standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy
with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old,
fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.'

And then the fight started.....

Also thanks to my friend Stephen in Albany for today's photo. It illustrates PERFECTLY how I feel. Save the extra equipment.

Patti O Balloon

Monday, July 14, 2008

5:17 am


5:17 is when the first bird sang outside my window this morning. 5:34 is when the sun rises. By 5:34 I had already had my tart cherry juice, made my coffee, opened up the house to let out the stuffy humid air, and turned on my computer.

I went to bed early (10 pm) so that I could be up and alive by 7ish, but I did not bargain for being awake since 4 am.

I can't say that I don't mind the silence of the early morning. Larry is deep in slumber, the cats did get up with me and eat, and now Shiva is screaming to get back into bed with his favorite human.

It is a rainy day here, a good day to work in the studio, I do have a doc appointment mid day, and will perhaps go and buy a flat skillet for my encaustics on sale at Macy's, and maybe even wander into Barnes and Nobles to sit with a stack of art magazines.

I had been lazy most of yesterday, just taking care of myself. That is something that I have had a hard time learning - to love myself enough to do what I need to do or NOT do to nurture my body and soul. Quite often that means doing less and saying no.
I have lived most of my life going at a breakneck speed, running from the demons of my life, and now that those demons are dead, far away, or banished, I don't have to run as much. In fact, I quite like the leisurely stroll.

On Sundays I have a new ritual, and instead of going to church, I go to yoga. I joke about being a never recovered Catholic, and I have not gone to church on a steady basis since I was 19. I find yoga so much more satisfying, and besides, it is good for my body as well as my soul. And I have never left church feeling so totally stoned and at peace. Yoga means UNION in Hindu, the union with one's consciousness with that of the consciousness of the universe through exercise, breathing, and meditation. Church NEVER did that for me. Instead I would sit thinking about what bad things I had done that would never allow me into "kingdom of heaven". I felt alone, not part of a universal love, not part of the divine God.

Though I am a beginner student of yoga and meditation, I find much peace and joy in those moments that I try and carry on with me. I realize that I can make every moment my heaven on earth, and that each and every thing is part of the divine.

And it is good.

Patti O Light

Photo from a few months ago that I took at Mohonk/altered in Photoshop.
I just had to use it again for this blog!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A New Earth




If the weather is good, I go to my local farmer's market on Saturday morning. I say hi to the local farmers and merchants, and buy some of my food for the week.

This week for 23.00 I got four meals, which included crab cakes, eggplant rollitini, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Not bad for two of us. That, supplemented by fresh salads, and perhaps a few other things I have, will keep us very happy and well fed for the week.

I sampled some Cassis, had a glass of fresh current juice, and chatted with my many friends and neighbors along the way.

It is a pleasant time, a time of community and good vibes.

With the energy crunch, I see this style of living becoming more of a reality and necessity. By supporting local farming and merchants, we save on the consumption of gas by trucking, we eat fresher produce, we add to the local economy, and we build a social network and develop relationships which are sadly missing in today's society.

For a few hours I went to Karen's for a swim, and sat outside, surround by the woods and a large pool of crystal clean water, and read my new book, Eckhart Tolle's A NEW EARTH. I am relishing it thus far, absorbing his commentary on ego/religion/spirituality.

I was struck- but NOT surprised at the fact that the human race has killed more people in war and conflicts than all the natural disasters that we have experienced thus far. We are killing one another, we are killing the earth. In order to change this we have to change ourselves, transcend ego, greed, and power.

It is a lot to absorb.

Tonight's photos were taken Wednesday at Ground Zero. I had not dared to go there since 2001. It is only in the past two years that I have even ventured back to the city.

It was shocking to see the altered landscape, and to see the fences around it covered up with plastic so you could not see in. Heavy machinery was running, probably the same way it has done every day for the past 7 years. I though about the theory that the U.S. may have had a hand in it, or why other countries would hate us so much to do such a thing. But then I look at what we have done to many countries ourselves, and I am not surprised. When can mankind learn how to play nice? ALL of mankind?

I strolled in and about Trinity Church, always awed by the beauty of the stained glass and the quietude of a dark and silent space. I prayed to the universal God for peace and healing, and hope that we can shift our spirituality to a new level, one of forgiveness, healing, and hope.

Patti o Peace

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Many Adventures of...

Shot w/Top Down facing rear
Blueberries
Who's that Girl?
Not Picking These
And these REALLY scared me!
In the past 24 hours I have been all over the Hudson Valley. An appointment in Woodstock, then a pajama party in Hyde Park with girlfriends. We ate dinner on the deck of Lois' new condo, which is not far from the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club, AND the railroad, whose trains are louder than any subway I have heard!

We watched two movies, The Golden Compass (for the most part enjoyable, but disappointing ending) and the odd, sensuous and edgy FUR, a fictionalized biography (is that like a double negative?) about Diane Arbus starring Nicole Kidman. I was going to show that in my new upcoming film class, but after watching it, I decided that I want to keep my job.

I got to bed at 2:30 am, was up by 8:15, and headed home to get ready for my hike to The End of the World (sounds like a Wim Wenders film) which is really the far end of the Peterskill creek in the Shawangunk Mountains near Mohonk and Minnewaska.

We took a circuitous route, so that we could put on some miles for a good workout, hoping that no one was there for an afternoon of nude sunbathing, but alas, there were too many people there to strip, so I did the old bra and underwear swim. I did not actually intend to go all the way in the freezing stream, but I slipped on the moss, and went careening and screaming into the frigid water!

The hike was splendid. We picked a large container of wild blueberries, saw many kinds of wild (probably poisonous) mushrooms, and grooved on being in the great outdoors.

On the way home a stop at Chef's on Fire, which is party of the Depuy Canal House in High Falls, for a beer or two, then home for a nap, dinner at Kyoto with Larry, and for desert we headed to the local carnival for a firework display with the top down on the EOS.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my 24 hours in the fabulous Hudson Valley. I SO LOVE where I live, and in the words of Dorothy: "there's no place like home"

Patti O Flyer
PS more photos on my Catskillpaper blog!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Everything's Emptying into White....



Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis may have noticed that I changed my template from black into white. While black may be strong, powerful, and contrasts well with my artwork, it now is too dark for this summer and life so full of light, hope, and inspiration.

I flashed back to the Cat Stevens song "Into White". Some may think is was written while he was on an acid trip, others convert it into the beauty of simplicity, and peace. I prefer the latter. A snippet from a moment of observation or meditation.
It is my mantra for the day.

I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice
Tables of paper wood, windows of light
And everything emptying into White.

A simple garden, with acres of sky
A Brown-haired dogmouse
If one dropped by
Yellow Delanie would sleep well at night
With everything emptying into White.

A sad Blue eyed drummer rehearses outside
A Black spider dancing on top of his eye
Red legged chicken stands ready to strike
And everything emptying into White.

I built my house from barley rice
Green pepper walls and water ice...
And everything emptying into White

The two photos were taken in NYC yesterday. One is the view from my niece's apartment on Wall Street, the other is the top of the NY Stock Exchange, a few doors down from her. More NY stories and photos to follow.

Patti O Whitewash

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What I Learned Today


I am still up to my ears in trying to sort out my life in two rooms..my dining room, and my back room which houses my computer and my ebay/etsy stuff. I am starting in those two rooms because they are close to the refrigerator. (only kidding)No matter how much I sort and file, the piles don't go away. What is up with that?

I also decided to print up more of my blogs. I am not sure what I am going to do with over 700 entries over the past few years, but there are some good thoughts and lots of great art work, and when I went to see where I left off last summer, I realized that I had stopped printing them up in September of 2006! I was in shock! Where did all that time go? It drips like water through our hands....I finished '06, and figured that each day I am home I will do a month.

I read through some of the blogs, and felt some of the same pain that I felt when I -wrote them, especially the blogs when Megan was in the hospital,then when she was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, and the entries about her being in Iraq. They took my breath away, and I had to stop reading them because it made me sad, anxious and worried.

She had called today and cried as her husband told her that when the baby is born, he can only stay for a few days before he will be deployed back to Afghanistan. There was not much I could say. My political rantings are useless and hurtful here to them, all I could do was tell her to take it one day at a time.

In my futzing around with Microsoft Word, cutting and pasting the photos from my blogs and the texts, I figure out how to wrap the text around the photos, thus saving space and paper.

I have become a bit obsessive about how I can be less wasteful, and saving paper is one of the ways I can do it in my office. I print on two sides of the paper when I print out receipts of bills I pay online, I print out less. I would have saved the blog to disc except for the fact that I needed hard copy to make notes and write ideas down.

I also started getting my taxes together so that I can start the paperwork for the first 6 months of the year. What a novel idea!

So..I learned that
-YOU can't beat the paperwork monster
-TEMPUS FUGIT
-that the I before E rule of Grammar does not apply to the word Leiomyosarcoma......
-You CAN teach an old horse new tricks
-and there is SOMETHING to be learned every day.
-Oh, and yes, as the card says "Peace, be still"

Tomorrow I am heading to NYC, and I am sure I will have some tales to tell when I return!

Patti O Muser




I

Stars and Stripes Faux Paux


I received an email from a dear friend, resplendent with images of the flag, eagles, and pictures of soldiers.

It was wishing everyone a happy 4th of July, and she asked us to thank our soldiers for the job they have done, and for their sacrifices they have made.

I reacted a bit strongly, and wrote a response - rather a diatribe - about my disgust with Bush, our government, and how I was NOT proud to call myself an American, though I hope someday that I can be part of a culture which is not materialistic, selfish, and destructive. I cc'd this response to all the people who were on the forward.

This is not the first time I have done this, as I have received some pretty politically incorrect garbage in my mailbox, and I have been taken off many people's forward list, which is good if you saw some of the ultra conservative, bigoted garbage I have received. I mean, on one side of their mouth they tout being so "AMERICAN" while out the other they are degrading other races and religions? Is THAT the American way?

The problem is, both her son and my daughter served in this war. Both of them came home damaged. She only meant to do well, and to remind Americans about the sacrifice that the soldiers and veterans have made, but I have hurt her feelings I think...

I hope she understands that I too thank the soldiers for the sacrifices they made, many of them not knowing what they got themselves into when they signed up. (what comes to mind is the verse from Luke: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.)Our young people are turned into killing machines, then bought home, and many cannot handle the re-entry and living with what they have done and they have seen. (see today's news on the soldier who had severe PTSD and overdosed---one of MANY who have, or will self destruct)

I am angry about the mess that GW has gotten our country into, all the people that he has killed. I say to all those Christians out there who support this war--who would Jesus kill?

I know I have offended some, but I hope that it has made a few people think. We get blinded by nationalism, misled with lies and distracted by stupid shit that should not even be ON the news during a war.

America has gone to the dogs, and all the good that we do is tarnished and overshadowed by the dreck. I am hoping and PRAYING that somehow people learn how to play nicely, clean up after themselves, and work together to make America a place where we can be proud leaders in problem solving, taking care of its people, and in caring for the earth.

Till then, take me off the forwards.

patti o soapbox

PS..AND my SON IN LAW is serving in Afghanistan. He is home using up all of his leave time to take care of my daughter who is in and out of the hospital with her miracle pregnancy. Once he goes back he won't be able to come back to see his family for at least a year. In the meantime, my daughter will be raising two children, one a gift from Iraq who is 3 (we won't even GO into THAT story) one who is not born yet, while she fights the following disabilities----severe hiatal hernia (blown from a Humvee) which along with her pregnancy has eroded her esophagus which means bleeding and could kill her..., leiomyosarcoma (deadly form of cancer), and needs a hip replacement..disintegrating cartiledge in hip and spine, possibly from carrying 65 lbs ruck sacks in the desert. Oh and did I mention PTSD? The army has her listed as 80% disabled. She is only 24. SEND BUSH'S GIRLS TO WAR.

Artwork is an old collage...all that I could find late at night that remotely illustrated what I was feeling...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Arte y Pico: Blog Awards


After I came home from Nova Scotia, I found a lovely comment left on one of my blogs. I don't often get comments, it has to be a really funny/angry/heavy blog to usually get a response. People are busy, many don't have time to do more than a quick scan of what I am writing, and even fewer have the time to drop me a comment.

It isn't about responses, and it isn't about whether or not anyone reads my blog that I write (though if no one read it --- I would be sad ) but I do get a shit-eating grin when I get kind words from someone, or knowing that what I have written has inspired/touched some one's life.

Annie Kelleher is a writer and has a blog "writers and witches, and words...oh my!" who gave me a Arte y Pico award.

I am excerpting her explanation of the award: "This award, originally started by Esey, was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and their talents, be it writing or artwork in all medias. The Arte y Pico Award is meant to be paid forward to bloggers who are deserving of it."

I am to choose five blogs that I am going to forward the awards to. Now I don't read a lot of blogs on a regular basis as I have been so damn busy, but here are five that I have really enjoyed. One of them was already mentioned by Annie, but since it is one of my faves, I am listing it too!

Cabin Fever in Alaska
Carbon Copy: Life as an Artist in Woodstock
The Common Denominator: Exploring Life one Collage at a Time
New Paltz Classical Art Academy
Inventive Soul

All the people who have written these blogs have inspired me in many ways. I have met two of them, the others - I feel like I have known them forever. Please stop by and check out their blogs, and their energy and art work.

If you have been selected for the award, please pay it forward, following the steps below:

1) Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.

2) Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Please post these rules!

Thanks Annie, you made my day!

Off to read some before I crash. This new summer life seems to consist of going to bed very late, and getting up at 8. It is more my style, I don't like going to bed earlier and getting up when the sun is rising!

Patti O Blogger

PS Photo that Larry took tonight of Nate (our nephew) and his girlfriend Christina. Isn't youth fabulous? They are like porcelain dolls..sigh....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Quick Good Night

No photos tonight, and brief ruminations about the day.

I have much to say, but I am tired. I struggle to maintain my art, my peace, my stability.

Since I got back home, my daughter has gone into labor again, and once again, the miracles of modern medicine have stopped it. However, it is not without consequence, and she has been quite ill from the medication. She is in the hospital for at least several more days. The 900 miles that separates us is difficult.

I don't talk about it much. Her cancer, her pregnancy, her other ills. If I dwell on it I put myself into a tail spin.

I walked about the Farmer's Market today, greeting old friends. Then I came home and buried myself in my studio. I find it takes a bit of time in there before I can break out the serious work. In the meantime, I organize and make small objects d'art.

Tonight Larry and I escaped to Karen's house for a last minute party. The weather cooperated at the last moment for a gathering, complete with fireworks. I rode there with the top down, and back home, with the stars twinkling above. There is a peace to the open air which I take into the pores of my being on nights like this.

When I got home I found a note and a container of cookies from my son and my ex-mother-in-law. Snicker doodles, Larry's favorite cookies. My son lives with my ex's parents, but that story is for another time....

Gifts like these make me smile and be thankful for what I do have in life.

I also got a note that I got a blog award. I will write more about that tomorrow.
I am honored and again, I thank you all who read my musings....

Patti O Fireworks

Friday, July 04, 2008

Back Farmin' in Kingston

inside the ferry

From the Ferry Dock
Bridge in Maine
Anne and Pamela in Belfast
Out trip back was more fun than the trip going there I have to admit. The ride along the northern coast of Nova Scotia was lovely, with a stop in Digby for lunch. We stayed in Belfast, Maine for one night, and spent a few hours shopping in very cool shops and boutiques. Our last stop was at a pub in downtown Portland for drinks and lunch before we did the final leg home.

I advise taking the ferry at least ONE way, as the drive on the main roads is mostly populated with pine trees, with some scattered water here and there, unless you have time to take the coastal route. Then the drive might be worth it. It is only a 5 hour trip to drive to Portland from here, and a 3-4 hour ride across on the ferry. So your trip is 8 hours, instead of 12-16, depending upon where you go in Nova Scotia. It is pricey, as one way it was 130.00---- and we were sharing the car fee three ways AND we went to Bar Harbor, not Portland, as the ferries did not run to Portland that day.

The hairiest part was going through customs. I lied on every thing that they asked on the form. Was I on a farm? Did I touch farm animals? Did I have any seeds? Now I know about the mad cow thing. I did not wear my shoes in the fields, and washed thoroughly after touching the goats. I just did not want to tell the truth in fear that they would hold us all up and strip me down and sterilize me or some shit like that. I had it already covered. And the lupine seeds? Well, they grow all over Maine, so I saw no harm in putting a few in my vitamin bottle. Funny how they did not ask me if I bought back any drugs. One of the first things I did was buy 222's over the counter. Aspirin/caffeine/codeine for my cramps. 5.00 for 100 of them. The docs here want you to SUFFER...and I believe in better living through chemistry, so I snuck in a bottle of those, fearful that they would take them away. But they never even ASKED!!! HOWEVER, I DID GET YELLED AT FOR TAKING A PHOTO AS I NEARED CUSTOMS. Sheesh...the Canadian guy said "they don't like you taking photos of the customs area". I put the camera away.

I am home now, catching up on all the things that I left behind, like unpaid show fees, bills, and now I am pulling the weeds that took up residence in my garden while I was gone. The studio is calling me, I have work to do, money to make, and stories to tell.

Till tomorrow....Patti O Traveler

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sun Dog

It is early Wednesday, and I am getting ready to leave the lovely little town of Belfast, Maine. The coast of Maine is lovely, dotted with used book stores, antiques, and all kinds of things that we have not even begun to explore. I am heading home, and as soon as I pull into Kingston, I have to pick up my art work from the Cancer show. More work to hang in the house.

Today's photo is of a sun dog, a weather term that my friends told me about--according to wikipedia: it is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Only in Maine.

Off to the showers, and ,off find a cup of coffee.

Later Patti O Weather Station