Showing posts from April, 2009

Potty Talk

I don't think it is fair that you can take a car for a test ride, you can lay on the mattress before ou buy it, you can buy computer equipment and return it w/in two weeks if you don't like it at Staples, and you can sit on sofas before you buy them, but when it comes to toilets - well that is another story, at least in MY city. (at Home Depot and Lowes...)

When I went shopping for my new toilet not too long ago, I was hoping that the models were close to the ground so that --- you know--- I could sit on them, look at them closely. If I remember correctly, they used to be on the ground. But when I went to shop for one, they were about 12 or more feet up on a display, making it very difficult to even see them.

Larry said that this was because once someone took a dump inside of one, and that ended toilets on the floor. Heck, just because a drunk on a plane took a dump on a serving cart, did the airlines take off carts or stop serving drinks? NO.

So I have this toilet, which I re…

Ramp Soup

I have been having too much fun. With the warmth and light of spring, I am a different person.I glow. I am adventurous. I want to sing and dance and play.

Tonight after some chores I limed the beds of the garden, turned them over, raked them out, and then had an ad lib party with friends. I had a few bottles of wine---including the last bottle that I hauled back from Madrid.

In the midst of sipping wine and conversations that were mainly about the female reproductive system (I am now horrified about my visit to the doc for the "procedure" on Monday) I made ramp soup.

Ramps are like leaks, save for they grow wild and can only be found in mid spring. They usually proceed morel season, and I love celebrating spring by cooking with both morels and ramps.

Leah gave me a bunch of ramps in school today, with a promise from me that I would save her some soup. I fed my guests the soup (that was all they got for an ad lib dinner) and saved enough for her in school tomorrow.

I have …

On Being Great

A friend of mine posted a query on Facebook this morning on being great, and questioned as to whether location had any influence on his quest.

I thought about it for a bit over coffee, feeling a bit rushed by the need to shower AND wash my hair today, a bit greasy from a few days of hot temps, even here in the Hudson Valley. (one of the wonderful things about being over 50 is that I don't have oil wells in my scalp or perched on my face anymore...which equates to less hair washing and fewer pimples..)

I quickly responded that we can be great anywhere. Greatness has no geographic regions or boundaries, that just being thinking, living beings on this earth in and of itself makes us great.

Sure I joke about being over 50, or having a little belly, and a road map of veins on my legs, but I love and appreciate every moment I have on this earth, bearing witness to the greening of the leaves of another season, having eyes to see it, a nose to smell it, a car to drive through the mountains…

Laugh and the World Laughs with You...or to Err is Human

I had a splendid day. Hormones even keel. I did not have to teach as I spent the day with teens in a conference center on the top of a hill overlooking mountains discussing how they can be a force for change in the world. I look forward to going to the UN with them in June. I have never been there myself, and am as excited as they are.

I joked about how I was the only adult sitting with them eating lunch. The other teachers and adults were in the kitchen, but I have to say, I was much more comfortable with the kids. Their energy is so vibrant, and I love watching them interact, even as one on the sidelines. I told one of my students that I did that so that I cold suck out their youth , like something from a Stephen King novel (thinking of Insomnia) where I saw their little youth/energy balloons rise above them on little strings, and tapped into them. On some level I think they do keep me young.

Afterwards I met a friend and we went for a ride into Rhinebeck and ate a light dinner…

A Daffodil for You

Larry loaned me a Canon EOS from the Center the other day so that I could take some pictures of the Peter Sis workshop at the Woodstock Arts Asso./Museum. I forgot my camera, and he walked one over for me.

The camera is amazing, more than I can handle, but man, I could get easily spoiled. It is a heavy camera, but has a Macro lens, all kinds of bells and whistles, and took much better pics than my Powershot. But it is also 1,000.00 more, so I will stick to my simple little camera that has been very good to me and takes great shots for what it is.

Spring has been keeping me busy, and I don't like much typing on this laptop so I haven't been writing much. I have to get it together soon to buy the I-Mac from my friend, which then also means I am going to have to figure out how to hustle some money to pay off the loan I am going to have to give the business in order to buy it.

My bathroom is still being worked on, but the toilet and sink are in. I love my new toilet, which is a …

Why No Posts

The past few days have been very busy. An art workshop in Woodstock based upon the incredible work by illustrator/writer Peter Sims. Then immediately following that, a long afternoon of making raised beds for my gardening by my dear friends Ruben and Jesus.

Today was a beautiful day. Temps in the 80's. Larry was working so I was flying solo, but I did all of my chores with joy as I could put the top down and do them while riding under the sun. I came home to do some garden work, and Tom, another one of my fabulous male friends, graciously picked up 2 square yards of compost for me to put into my empty beds, and with his help and his son Nat, we filled those babies up!

It felt wonderful--the sun, the shovel, the weeding.

Then there was the party hosted by my friend Karin, introducing us to new people - all of whom were cool and interesting!

I feel a bit more even keel, though I was having some nasty hot flashes, and Karin's husband bought me a washcloth with ice. I did not rea…

Ignore that woman behind the curtain

I got up this morning with cramps and in a terrible state. I decided that since it was Parent Teacher Conference day from 11 on, and I hardly had anyone scheduled, that I was going to give myself a gift and go home by noon.

I did exactly that, and had full intentions to work on the studio, but instead I had a challenging morning and came home and went to bed for three hours. I am a bit concerned as I have had to come home and go to bed for the past three days. It is not something I usually do. As usual, I blame it on my hormones, and that they are making me depressed and tired. I don't like to think about the other options- that there is something physically wrong with me.

I can get myself quite upset about my health....the lump in my hand. Something wrong with my uterus (which there is..). My ankle is hurting a lot...perhaps one of the 12 screws holding it together is backing out. And then there are my allergies. And my stomach. Oh it can get so overwhelming....and I am usua…

Interesting Article..........

For those of you who may be interested, read this article by NPR on All Things Considered, about an imaginary world where pot was legalized. I found it quite interesting.

I plead the 5th.

Off to bed. I have not been well, but anticipate that I am on the road to recovery in all ways. Till the next round that is.

Patti O Plant (NOT)

Read the Label and do your HOMEWORK

I searched in vain for the old commerical where the wife says "read the label Leonard, read the label". I can't remember what it was for, probably a late 60's to 70's commercial. Any input is much appreciated as that was a lot of brain cells ago.

After my MOGO workshop with Zoe Weil, I am more aware of what I spend my money on. Do I want it or need it? If I buy it, how does it benefit the world. If I buy it, what negative impacts does it have on the world- environmentally, on people, animals, on human rights?

We often don't have time to do this research while shopping, though we do know that products made in China for instance, are not wise choices, as is shopping at stores such as Walmart.

I had to buy more makeup as my mascara is almost done for, which I had received as a birthday gift from my friend Karen. It was from the BODY SHOP. I went online and did a bit of research, and discovered as far as being "green" these were in the top 50, actually…

Self Portrait

I have spent most of the evening going through my Etsy and Ebay stuff, listing a few things, and trying to figure out how to make some money to pay my business bills. For the first time in 6 years, I have NO money in my account, just had the propane tank for the studio refilled, and need money for frames, a booth fee etc.

I am not freaking-yet.

But I am starting to list things to get a few bucks here and there which will hopefully add up to pay a bill or two.

Tonight's image is from a mixed media collage I did titled Water Witch. I was going to show her when as I was putting the finishing touches on the frame, I cracked it, making it garbage, and relegating her to the pile of unframed art. She is for sale for a mere 25.00....for anyone who will give her a loving home. You can get her through Etsy or though me. Made with hand made paste paper, antique marbled paper, hand water colored antique fish prints, and a vintage image of a character in a Greek Play from the 50's.



It has been a long day, but a fruitful one.

I did not want to go to a class today from 9:30-6:00 pm, but I knew it would be worthwhile and life altering. I had to sit for nearly nine hours, and keep a lid on the hormones. I was sitting in a room full of strangers, learning how to live my life "with the most good and least harm". A hormonal outburst might have given strangers a reason to cart me away, so I behaved for the most part in spite of a headache and cramps, a sign of things yet to come.

I attended the MOGO workshop by Zoe Weil, an impassioned advocate, educator, and founder of the school on Humane Education. Rather than post her doctrine here, I will post her website.

I have been trying to live my life in a mindful and ecological manner. I no longer buy wrapping paper for gifts. I try to cut down on the paper I use in my life, and I just installed a water saving toilet. I don't run water when I brush my teeth, I don't flush unless the w…

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Generally I am a nice woman. A little zany, but fair, friendly, honest, kind, and wanting to be a good person. Then the hormones kick in or out (I am not sure which it is) and the switch gets thrown. Purring sweet kitten morphs to mama lion, ready to tear your face off if you cross her path. (it can happen to inanimate objects too).

I sense that men don't understand this unless they are schizophrenic, psychotic or have a mood disorder. They have NO CLUE what it is like to live in a body of raging bull hormones. In fact, I wish that EVERY man could feel a serious change in their estrogen levels, but I am afraid that there would be murders, even more wars started and massive episodes of road rage and cave man-like behaviors. Perhaps nature knew to give such hormonal spikes to women, for if they were given to men, the race would have ended in one generation.

For several days now, the wiring has been cut somewhere deep within the pathways of my neurotransmitters. Signals cross, pa…

Diggin the Day

I started off today in a very rough manner. Let's just say, I feel like I could be a female black widow.

Though I work with such difficult kids who suck the energy out of me on a good day, they give me energy on a bad one. For such troubled kids, they manage to dig deeply withing themselves and give empathy and kindness when I need it most. For that I am most grateful.

I was lucky to have been able to take a small group of students out to a site along side the Hudson River to paint, not far from a spot that I took a haunting series of ice photographs when I was traveling to see my daughter during her chemo. The science teacher has a relative whose house sits up on a hill, not far from the river, and whose land is laden with Native American artifacts.

The students have been doing an archaeological dig, finding arrowheads, flints, knives, and fire cracked rock. It has been exciting for them, and I took a small group to paint along side of the dig.

Six students joined me in painting t…

Bathroom Obsession

Here are some photos of my bathroom under construction. I figured since I talk about it so much, I should put up some before and then after photos.

When I bought this house in 1991 the bathroom was hideous. I seem to remember lime green wallboard and some other color wall above it. The large claw foot tub was fabulous, except for the fact that they had cut the feet off, perhaps to get it into the bathroom?

I boxed in the tub with wainscoting, and topped it with dark green tiles, and put golden oak stained wainscoting around the entire bathroom. At that time I had wallpapered the walls above the wood with a lovely dark green patterned paper, but in retrospect I think it looked like Persian designed boxer shorts. Still it was cozy and much more attractive.

Several years ago we pulled off the paper as it was peeling from the unvented moisture, and painted the room a lovely melon, with dark green trimmed woodwork. I had a wood medicine cabinet made, and installed new lights. It was b…

On Tipping

Typically I am a good tipper. If you have worked hard, done a good job, and provided me with a service I like, I will tip 20%.

I figure that it is best to be generous, I do it willingly, and perhaps this is selfish, but I hope that it puts good karma into the world and promotes abundance in some small way for me .But even if it didn't, I would tip well.

I even tip when I go to the tanning salon. (I go a few times before a vacation so that I don't fry to a crisp in places with strong sun). I leave a dollar on the bed as I know the girls in the health club are probably not getting paid big bucks to keep the rooms squeaky clean.

Then there was Spain. Dana, as well as others, told me that one does not tip in Spain, and if you do, it is very little. Out of the few discomforts I had on the trip (like not being able to speak the language) that was the most awkward for me to accept.

I tipped everywhere. When I gave the girl at the train station in Atoche a Euro for a few glasses of w…

A Very Bad Combo

What do you get when you cross jet lag with PMS and a day of very cranky kids? One hell of a pissy-assed scorpio woman. (fyi--spell check wanted to change pissy to pussy...almost fell off my chair).

I was so mellow when I returned to work today. Smiling, inspired, rested. I thought that the kids would be tired from partying for 10 days. I know I was. But no, they were wild, irascible monsters and retirement, selling everything, and going on the road was looking very appealing.

I came home, planning to take a nap. On the way home I realized that Tom was going to be there working on the bathroom. My bedroom is one door away, and I knew I would get no sleep. So I took a sheet out from the closet to cover the cat hair couch and did my best to close my eyes and dream of paella, strong coffee, and cathedrals in between strange noises coming from the bathroom. (construction noises that is)

After dinner I started ripping apart my old computer system in order to lay it to rest and install a…

Back in the States

I was excited to go back home, yet wished I had another week in Spain. A week where I could sit for hours in a Cafe, sketching, writing, thinking. Don't get me wrong, I had a BLAST with my friends, but I also would have liked to have had solitary time doing my art and another week there being on my own part of the day and meeting up with friends for dinner. Not everyone wants to sit for two hours and meditate on a ruin or landscape, lol, though I bet I could get Dana to do that with me :)

I was glad that I was traveling with Annie as it made it so much fun to have someone to go and share the experience with. We traveled well together, and Dana and Daniel were great hosts and this has given our friendship an even more exotic spin.

The trip helped me lose some of my travel fears. Thought it is hard to be in a country where you don't speak the language, and they don't speak much English, my questions eventually got answered by someone somewhere. As a fiercely independent…

Last Night in Valencia

A few pictures from our busy day. The Museum of Arts and Sciences and a mid-afternoon Churro.

Daniel played for us on our last evening here, a mix of traditional Chile folk music, his own compositions and contemporary picks. He was trained in classical guitar for 6 years; his fingers are magic. ( I know one of you wise-asses are going to say something...)

We have to wake up fairly early to pack and catch the train to Madrid.

Not sure when I will have any more communication before I land.

Buenas Noches


Getting to the Ocean

Chris, Dana's friend from Manchester, England, took all of us for a ride south outside of the city. We poured 5 of us into a four-seat Citroen.

I am very glad that we decided NOT to rent a car as the roads here are narrow, parking is a bear, people park bumper to bumper with little room to spare, and if you double park on the street, it is expected that you leave the car unlocked so that the car can be put into neutral and be pushed out of the way.

Most of the cards are small; VW's, Toyotas, Fords, Mercedes, Renaults, Fiats, and other small cars. Having a big car is not practical.

We walked along the ocean, watching the locals surf cast. We had a lovely 2-3 hour lunch where I had paella for the first time.

The food here is very different and I have entrusted our hosts and their friends to order for us. We have eaten foods much out of our normal palette. Meats, especially ham, plates of snails, blood sausage, cheese, squid, muscles, fried fish, complete with heads. Lot…


I am heading out for some drinks and dinner so I have to be quick, but the photos tonight are from the ruins of a medieval castle in Sagunto, about 1/2 hour train ride from Valencia.

The pictures speak 1000 words, and my legs are feeling like I walked 1000 miles.

We hiked up from the village, and back down, and all around the ruins. You can see the village in the background of the second photo.

It was smashing.

But off to get a taste of the nightlife.

Here's your Easter Rabbit

Annie and I have come back for a little siesta. We had a rough morning after several days of staying up way too late, drinking too much, and eating things we have never had before. We had "rice of the oven" last night, and i even ate and LIKED the blood sausage. Needless to say our bodies are still in shock and we need a rest before going out to shop for dinner.

We have entered a very different world here in Valencia.
Some things of note:

They are very into recycling and water conservation, but dogs poop anywhere they want and there appears to be no leash laws.

People throw things in the street instead of the garbage, but the street cleaners come very morning to clean, as witnessed by the very LOUD sound of the machinery at some ungodly time in the morning that scared me half to death.

People love Obama, and the women love Michelle even more, and are thrilled that we have him as a new president.

Cars here, for the most part are very small, and some of the crossings only give you…

Reporting from Valencia

We have arrived and are settled in at Dana's in Valencia. I would have written sooner but after traveling for 24 hours straight without sleep, and then going out to the local wine festival till 11 pm and drinking lots of Vino Blanco among other things for the same amount of time that we traveled, it was better that I sleep. Besides, I don't think I would have made much sense, lol.

The trip was great. The flight to Amsterdam was without event. We made the connecting flight with a few moments to spare, then once in Madrid decided to brave the metro and figure out the three trains it took to get to the train station in the heart of the city. 2.00 Euros vs a 40.00 Euro taxi ride.

The worst part was waiting for the next available train to Valencia, which was either a 2 hour wait for a first class ticket, or if we wanted to travel cheaper, it was a 5 hour wait. There was no perseverating on the decision. First class it was.

On the 3.5 hour ride on the train, we met up with a gentlema…

Mostly Ready to Go

I never sleep well the night before a trip. I stay up late packing, and then I must set aside some quality time to be with my man, no matter how neurotic and rushed I feel.

I am pretty much packed, having to take far less than I thought I can due to the small suitcase I am bringing with me plus one carry on. I do have things for Dana in it which will free up some room for gifts on my return. I hope to find my favorite Spanish soap, perhaps a lovely scarf or piece of jewelry as a memento of my time in Spain. Mostly the experiences, the photos, and the sketches will be what is most important to bring back with me.

I won't go into the rant about how I only got 1,400.00 back from my taxes, having to pay 250.00 to an accountant, and the state about 350.00. Hours and hours of work to get my own 800.00 back. I can't tell you how many thousands of dollars I paid in taxes as I slip lower and lower on the rung of middle class. This trip could be one of the last for a while.


Tears and Chuckles

It is with a great sigh of relief that I am writing this blog. After two very long days, I feel like I can take a brief break to write, sleep, and start it all over again for the final day.

Amidst all of this I had another visit to the doc, getting my throat swabbed (negative for strep!) and discussion about my inner workings and their fate, as well as a lump in my hand that bears attention from a hand surgeon. I am not too fond of all of this and it made for some more stress.

I started the day in tears. I don't know if it is my hormones which are off the charts, or the pressure of the past week, and I ended the day in tears after an intensive session with my therapist.

I have buried some traumas which I thought were long forgotten, but they rear their ugly head to pop up at the most inopportune moments, forcing me to do the reveal, deal, and heal. I have skated around these issues for years, but some things have necessitated my facing it in order to move on in the last part of …