Sunday, February 28, 2021

the not-so-secret code

 

At the time I was making these, they didn't mean a thing. Gibberish. Letterforms to be sure. Just not connected to any real meaning. 

I've spent the last two days re-immersed in editing HTML for the web. Unlike writing or stitching, precision comes first.
One < or / out of place and *JENGA!*

When I first learned (from a book!) years ago, I remember spending hours chasing down an extra SPACE that I couldn't even see my eyes were so tired.

I was barely literate when I stopped learning and now I'm trying to play catchup. I like not having to rely on someone else to do these things. 


Next, the taxes.





The second Pfizer didn't even register this time, but for a slightly sore arm. 

I do NOT feel invincible.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

revving up for color

 






Another peachy day in Georgia.

I got pretty crazy over at ProChem last season. Nothing missing here; a lot of warm weirdness on hand. 
Don't think I even got the chance to try Autumn or Valentine. They were on sale too late in the season. 

All the mindless winding is already done. Fingers crossed the warmth holds. If so, a dyefest this weekend with the focus on threads. No clue what cloth I have on hand. 



Scheduled for my 2nd Pfizer tomorrow.  Hoping it doesn't hit and echo as hard as the first one did. 

It's almost time for Louie, Mr. Wilson & Co. to go back outside on the deck. There will be no competition for my affections out there this year. Maybe I can get some hyacinth vines growing.. Jungleland!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

scrambled day


A poor placeholding picture for what was a glorious day. A windows wide, blue sky beauty. 70s easy. Sandal weather and I was too absorbed in work to appreciate it. 

I gave a minute to the thought that I need to do a color inventory. Dyeing weather will be on us soon.

I had to drive to the office of the company I work for to swap out some equipment. I haven't set foot in the place in two years. The drive there and back was no longer something I could do on autopilot. Too many changes along the route. 

My list of gottas went down by one and up by three. Big things are afoot, but I feel like I'm walking on a shrinking iceberg. 

I cleaned half a huge glass door today, inside and out. Seeing clearly everything else that needs attention around here gave me pause. 

A heart close to my own is hurting and I'm feeling it too. 😓

 







Sunday, February 21, 2021

mixing mediums


Musical brain candy. I've used this song in the book in a way that you'll never hear it again without thinking of that scene. 
 


My ace mechanic joined me in the studio for a few minutes yesterday and his unspoken comment was, "Ma. You need to get this stuff out into the world."


"Front Runner" 2009   72"x42"  


Digging around in the archives here, I'm recognizing that I have twenty+ years of work that has never been made public or marketed seriously. Was I waiting until I was dead? 

More dominos line up to make that satisfying clickety-clicks as they go down, all relaxed and grateful they are no longer standing at attention. You're welcome. 

There's a shitpot of admin stuff, taxes, and the like, that just got bumped for more fun stuff to be announced soon. 

More brain candy:






Friday, February 19, 2021

Wheels

 

Lordy, this row of dominos!

After months of putting it off, I brought my car back to the Good tire place. The driver's side front tire kept losing just a few pounds of pressure. The warning light would come on the dash almost weekly.  Jake said that at that slow rate it was not the tire, but most likely the valve itself. 

I'm seen promptly at the appointed time. I'm watching through the glass as the mechanic took off the tire and dismounted it from the rim. He frowned and rolled it to the manager who rolled it out to me. No excessive wear but there was a deep fissure in the sidewall that followed the curve of the wheel. Dry rot he said. Old age. No surprise, the front tires were 6 years old. I bought new ones for the rear just pre-Covid.  New front boots for baby, 256$. 

I took him out on the interstate to feel it. Magic Carpet time! There is nothing like the feel of driving on new tires. No more dipping into turns. Faster! I didn't even look at the dash, just drove as fast as I dared and ran out of road pretty quick. Took the exit ramp like Daytona and braked to sane and civilized for the merge. Cheap thrills are the best and hard to come by these days.

There was a muffled clunk from the rear as if I'd picked up a clod of mud that plastered itself up inside the wheel well. Didn't think much of it. A few miles down the road, I was hearing an odd rumble when I applied the brakes, which worked as accustomed, but the sound got louder as I got closer to home. Not a good sound. 

Jake came with Charlie after school to look into the trouble. There was plenty. I needed new brake pads, both rotors,  and a set of brake calipers (that was the clunk). All of this, about 400$ in parts, completely coincidental to the tire thing.  He won't have the two hours of daylight and time until tomorrow and I won't let him work if it's raining. Sunday should be sunny and 60 here, so here I am, nowhere to go and no way to get there, even if I was so inclined. 

There will be some miles come Sunday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

parking a project

 

"Undertow" 2020  (to be continued)

Tarot card of the day: Death. Change is here for the best. Difficult, but necessary.



This piece has been an exercise in self-indulgence from the beginning. From indiscriminate choices of cloth (each piece a treasure), to the repetition of favorite stitches, and worse, the unwillingness to see, even look at the whole because I already knew the design flaws were many.

It's very needy, but I'm not seeing any solutions, so I'm going to park it deep in the closet and attend to the other things that need my full attention. 

I remind myself that "Revisions"- now serving as the backdrop for my header- was a disaster when I nearly dismembered it and made it "go dark" into the depths of the closet for years.

All things in their own time.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Hearts and Stuff


On a happier note, Meet Cute Press took wing earlier today, Valentine's edition. Something light and fun. 

I have a short contribution. Maybe a couple of brand new troublemakers in  Pillow Talk

I feel like I'm sneaking up on my new, writer self. Baby steps, but steppin'.



The week that was

 

This is a fairly accurate representation of the mood of the entire week. Damp, cold, and strange. Deadlines and distractions.

Dr. Mudd, you may stand down. Infamy has a new name. trump.

The impeachment was cathartic, if unsuccessful. I couldn't help but wonder at the gentility of the process, and the great sincerity and skills brought by the House managers, Jamie Raskin in particular. 

Once again, the Senate showed itself to be in thrall to the well of poison presided over by the former and forever disgraced, president.

Now, we'll see what his Clown Car lawyers will do in a real court of law. Georgia and New York, draw straws. And the civil suits brought by the victims of the insurrection will pick what's left of his bones.

The only way the Republican party can save itself from this contamination is to repudiate him and his supporters. I plan on supporting anyone who runs against any of the cowardly scum who voted to acquit. Shame. 


In local news, THIS is not my cat, despite the fact that he nearly knocked me down the front steps when I got home from the doctors. He bolted OUT of the cat flap and flashed past me. 
I opened the door to find my entire feline trio in the living room, all big-eyed, going, "Me? I didn't invite him in, but he is pretty handsome, doncha think?"


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

day two

 I spent the better part of yesterday learning a new cell phone. Turns out there's a serious learning chasm between LG2 and LG6. I'm a long way from the finer points, especially with the camera, but time and practice will pay off.  The phone beeps and chirps for reasons still not clear and for no reason, Google chides me to be more specific about why I'm cursing. 


The impeachment proceedings have been riveting, compelling, and disturbing. I don't know if there was any defense presentation today. After yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that that clown car was last seen driving into the Potomac River. Chances are real good, he's going to stiff them. I would. But, in the face of the evidence presented (so far) by the prosecution, there is no defense. 

The disturbing part? There will be those who will vote to acquit him and millions of Americans who agree with that. Many of the faithful, those who have been arrested for their actions on January 6 are already realizing how they've been used and tossed aside. 

Are there enough decent men and women in the GOP to convict him? That remains to be seen. 



Later, I was relieved to turn off all devices and spend some good time with my copirate. I picked him up from school early and we took a picnic in the park. A fine day. Afterward, I returned to the horror show.


And now, I'm double-timing it to get the real work done. Two big check-offs on the list tonight. 

This is temporary, but a necessary start. Using WYSIWYG web builders (what you see is what you get) would be a whole lot easier if I was not inclined to tinker with the coding that I learned before such things existed.  It's much like Jenga - touch one thing wrong and CRASH!

I can feel my brain grooves flexing.



Monday, February 08, 2021

the lost nap

This Monday (which is really my Friday) churned into a flurry of mental activity early. Emails, phone calls, appointments, confirmations followed by a train of anxious "what ifs" and "what's that gonna cost?" 

I have one week to significantly overhaul my main website to let the world know I'm a writer, by the way. Promotional stuff is coming down the pipe.

And I have to write not one, but three back cover blurbs, one for each volume of the book. Silly me, I thought one was enough.

Good things, long-delayed got accomplished. Bailey will get to the vet for shots and worming. It's been so long since I've been there, I forgot the name of the damn placed and spent ten minutes worrying that the dear people might have retired. The best kitty docs!  I mapped the place and found them. Sheesh. 

Tomorrow, the dread phone replacement and Thursday, the ortho about my back - there's a big dread. 

So, at the appointed hour, I put my head on the pillow for the mandatory snooze that keeps me going until the end of my shift just after midnight. I closed my eyes and pretended I was sleeping. That usually works. Not today.  Instead, I lay there wondering:
Wouldn't it be smarter to hang a person up by their arms when you operated on their back? You know, stretch the spine out with gravity before you start putting in screws and shims or whatever. And how the heck do they get at the bones through the back? When all the bunged-up parts of the spine are on the bellybutton side? 

And how rife with Covid is the phone store going to be tomorrow? Shall I write my requirements on a slip of paper, leave it on the counter and wait outside? I can hold my breath for almost a minute. In the pool. 

And the chili cooking downstairs smells great but my eyeballs are sweating. Has he tinkered with my seasoning? And...and...

An hour went by and I never slept a wink. Coffee is my friend.

How's your Monday going?


 

Friday, February 05, 2021

Fauci's Ouchy -updated

 Every time I read or hear that, I laugh. The shot itself was tiny. A midge.  No turkey-basting needles needed. I fell into the well-oiled machinery of the county health department setup in an empty school. 

I brought stitching, but left it in the car. Just as well. I was distracted. People everywhere. Socially distanced, but there. 


On drive home my thighs started bothering me as if I'd been on the road for four hours. On real road trips, it's my signal to stop. Walk around, stretch, pee, have a snack and some water. The discomfort usually retreats. Not this time. I carried on with a busy day. By bedtime I was exhausted but unable to find a pain-free position to fall asleep. I rolled around like one of those forlorn hotdogs on the QT grill. Awake most of the night, led to the next day of more if the same plus a headache. That was the worst of it, all worth it for any measure of piece of mind.


My phone's camera is going out with panache. I have no idea what this is. Some internal self-examination?


Very Important addendum. As Grace so wonderfully described, beyond the aches there was a sensation of aliveness, as if my whole body was responding valiantly to a Call to Arms. She has a gloriously triumphant mantis. My inner warriors resemble Apis, the fearsome bull-headed Egyptian god complete with medieval broad and short swords. They take no prisoners.

For fun, if you can find it from 2001, go watch Osmosis Jones

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Won't throw away my shot!

 Prepping to get my first vaccination. It's a nice long ride and a pretty day. Taking something to spend time with, but don't anticipate long lines. 


What is stranger than going for a purposeful long drive is the frame of mind I'm left in after a long day of focusing on Writing. Getting words on the page. Finding equal footing for each character. 



Addendum.
The shot was a piece of cake. Left my stitch bag in the car and was bored in the post-vac observation "lounge" which really could have used a bar and a piano player.
+2 hours. My lower back, ass, and
 legs ache. Two ibuprofen and back in the car, heated seat on high.

+20 hours. Mild headache, jacked-up tinnitus and the same body aches. I feel post rock concert but there was no show. This too shall pass. General Tso is on the way!


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Working in the word yard


 Conducted a little experiment last night. Something along the lines of "write drunk, edit sober"

I'm still analyzing the results. I'd written four pages of a romantic short story (a first for me) a day ago. It was a mess. Lots of nuggets, but in deep shit. 

Last night I altered my chemistry significantly and had another run at the task. 

My usually spazzy scribbling became scrupulously semi-Palmer. The Lizard brain never forgets! The mechanical act of writing was entrancing. The results remind me of how we used to write in seventh grade, changing colored ballpoint pens every other line. Pink, light blue, apple green, and purple, flourishes abounding. 

Once I got over the sillys, I wrote four pages of dialogue without any tags. It has a Moonlighting feel, with all the tension and teasing. A phone conversation stemming from a wrong number. 
Ever do that? They sure did. 

Now I have to sit with these pages, shuffle the deck and see what blooms. 



Thursday, January 28, 2021

not 'playing' school

 

There was an unscripted homeschool day this week. It was supposed to be a distance learning day with the laptop connected to the teacher and his classmates, but something went wrong with the connection and we were on our own.

Over the course of the day, I believe he got more actual instruction than a whole week of laptop learning with its interminable delays, glitching, and the need to accommodate, one by one, a dozen or more other first graders.

A discussion about Harriet Tubman's likeness proposed for twenty-dollar bills lead to frank discussions about Andrew Jackson, the First People (of this entire continent) and closer to home, the Trail of Tears and yes, old people and babies died. Tears of grief.  Tough, but necessary lessons for a six-year-old. All of the truths. 

The anole above shocked both of us skittering around the kitchen floor. Once I captured it, we got a good close look, then let it outside where it belonged just as the sun warmed the back patio. Then some time looking them up on the web getting some details. Reptiles vs. Amphibians. Habitat and habits. The fun science stuff. 

There was reading, writing, math practice. Numbers of things as quantities and values are becoming clear beyond the (forced, in my opinion) mechanics of arithmetic. 
There were no frustrations, tears, or temper tantrums. All in all a good day. With a little bit of prep, I could do this for him all day, every day and we'd both be better off.


Detailed drawings came with a running monologue. I should have recorded them. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

rain song grace


Every once in a while my phone will deliver the perfect set of music for the moment. 

I didn't plan on taking a lot of time in the stitching chair today. Setting a timer for activities is a New Thing, but when Bailey stayed stretched across my lap for more than sixty seconds, I had to let sleeping cats lay.

I'd just finished working on a place in this piece that was annoying close to the point of coming under the scissors. Been pretty hasty with them recently. That expression "I'll cut a bitch" suits me perfectly. 

But today, the choosing of threads was more deliberate, the stitching slower. Contemplative rather than frantic. The passage smoothed out nicely. I wrapped up a few lines and knots careful not to disturb him while Led Zeppelin's "Rain Song" rolled out of the speaker like oil on troubled water. 

Relief.

I sure don't own this and I'm deeply grateful they made it.


 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

clear the decks for take off

 


Does anyone else feel the burning need to throw open the windows and gasp for air? 
Fresh clean air?

New beginnings. New directions. 
So much hope.

Have they heard us? 
Can they do what's needed?

Will I ever leave elected officials to their own devices again? 



Not fucking likely.


 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

distance learning redux


First thing this morning I had X-rays on my left hand and was given a big fat needle of cortisone and some other stuff in the tendon that is pulled so tight it has a knot in it. It will be a couple weeks before I know if this works. Day surgery is still on the table. Hopefully, by then, I'll have had a COVID vaccination.

Then it was off to Charlie's for distance learning again for the rest of this week. They say until enough staff comes off quarantine. 







The fun comes after classes are over. He's the brightest spot in my day. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

standstills, handholds and launches

 

Just clutching at stuff in the odd moment.  I stitch, then I cut away. Kind of aimless. Swirling. Still, something to hold on to when my mind needs a rest.

This reminds me of the Vigil cloth I did so many years ago for Jim. He's been very present in my thoughts lately. This time, I'm keeping vigil for my country.

I'm still editing my book. The manuscript feels like a plowed field in New England. Every time you turn around, new rocks come out of the furrows. A writer's best friend is an eagle-eyed proofreader. 

The cover designer has returned the first draft and I am joyously stupefied at how he's taken my flaky synopsis and turned it into ART. I wish I could show it but there is much marketing mumbo-jumbo about keeping covers on the down-low. I'm still learning this stuff, which is a lot harder than the actual writing.

If you want to be notified about the progress and when it will ultimately be available (Spring-ish?) email me and I promise to send no garbage. 







I found a small clutch of threads that should have gone into the store. I need some of these colors so the "misplacement" was surely a subconscious thing, Like an alligator lurking in the swamp.

And Happy News. A package that left Massachusetts mid December finally arrived!

The weary travelers, crafted by Dee Mallon,  will get tucked away in the Christmas box for next year. 

(I had to rescue them from Salem. She was going to lick them or eat them. I didn't wait to see which)


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

pangs


 First thing this morning, I got my COVID test results back. NEGATIVE. So that's out of the way.  This county is in deep shit according to some counts. Now, I'll start beating the bushes for the vaccine.

Then some quality time writing and interacting with distant friends. Gnashing my teeth over the shitshow in DC and the rest of the country with some. Heart to aching heart with others. 

Then I sat down to watch a Christmas gift to myself, "The Eagles Live at the Forum."  The audio discs on my car stereo system have been underwhelming. I can't tell whether it's the production, the stereo system, or my hearing which is getting worse by the day. Last night at work, I could hear the callers through my dual headset but my own voice sounded deep underwater. 

Colin cued up the DVD for me on the system in the living room and the first song was "Seven Bridges Road".  I was quite overcome and had to stop watching. There were errands to run, a day to get on with.  More about that another time.



Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Innocence




We were out doing errands. Small stuff: air up a soft tire, the cheap thrill of the rock & roll carwash, a soft pretzel and Gatorade from QT. Then a hour in the sunshine. He hung back from the playground. Only half the handful of kids wore masks. He took refuge in art. 

I was getting alerts on my phone about the riots in DC. When we got home, I put on the TV. 

"Nana, is this a movie?"

I did my best to explain. He was scandalized.

"I thought Warnoff and Ossock won and it was over! I'm so sick of politicals.

Us too, kiddo. 


 



Blue!

 For the first time since moving here in '93, I'm proud to say I'm from Georgia.


Monday, January 04, 2021

wayward thumbs

 

There it is. The offending digit. Why it's on strike is beyond me. Lefty really doesn't do a whole lot beyond. this holding move. There's a bit of space bar action when I'm working or writing, all of which has progressed from annoying to painful. 

Over the weekend it went from bad to worse.  So, 1/18 at 8:45am it's time to see a doc about this hand jive.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

time shift


 Everyone seems to be having image trouble.

My problem is not laying my eyes on something that I haven't already taken a picture of. Then there's the whim of my old phone/camera to deal with.

Anyone have an Android phone they love? Which and why? 

(I hate shopping for technology)

I have figured a way around buying DragonSpeak. 

Friday, January 01, 2021

The First

 

The barrage started around 11:30 and didn't let up until sometime after 1 a.m. . I guess the locals have been saving up their fireworks for a while, or their stimulus checks landed in the nick of time.

 The sad part is that there's never anything to see. They're all noise. Granted, the noises got bigger and louder as the evening wore on, but after midnight, I was well past caring.

I started this late in the day on the last day of 2020.  The new year dawned supremely shitty, weatherwise. Cold, rainy, dim. A perfect day to stay in pjs, stitch a bit, then some writing and gab via zoom. 

As fresh as the year is, I'm still waiting. A lot of people are. Waiting for test results. Waiting for the vaccine. Waiting for jobs, food. It's heartbreaking and appalling.

Waiting for the Georgia runoff election. Waiting to see what fresh hell oozes out of the White House. 

So, this. Something to hold onto while we wait.