Archive for the 'rambling' Category

Journal ponderings

Years ago, I kept journals, mostly working thru the processes of: getting through school, adjusting to a messy adulthood (my 20s were intense), and moving sideways into a career. Now, I have a mix of (1) sketch notebooks, (2) basic notebooks (for writing notes during meetings), and (3) notebooks where I jot down notes for short stories. I’m starting to think again about combining category 1 and 3.

My notebooks are motly for my eyes. They are not as amazing and beautiful as these notebooks by artist José Naranja. Check out these links:

…..and get inspired.

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Musical Interludes

piano-bench

“Piano Bench”, by Cory Holt. Benches by the Bay, Sturgeon Bay

I’m in between concert performances with the chorus, although there will be runouts to sing some of the same pieces. There were 2 lovely formal concerts, but I think we left every emotion and bit of energy onstage.

We managed to not weep along with the audience during Ryan Murphy’s “A Lullaby” (link to video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it is here). I managed not to tear up while singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (thinking about a family member who loved Kate Smith). We didn’t clash while singing the a capella “My Spirit Sang All Day” by Gerald Finzi (in practice it felt like we sometimes verbally collided or tripped over triplets).

Now, I need brain bleach to get the songs out of my head. Between listening to Big Band music, Ola Gjeilo’s beautiful work, and a Fountains of Wayne album (link is to an NPR tiny desk concert), I’m slowly getting out of performance mode and back to normal. I’ll take the tuxes to the cleaners and relax into a sort of post-performance melancholy. While we’re talking about music to kick away the blues, check out Jenny and the Mexicats in this NPR tiny desk concert.

Anyone else in a community chorus? Any ideas how to deal with the let-down blah feeling afterwards?

 

A Brief Dip into Interior Decoration

Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MDWhile it’s still too cold to go out and laze in the sunshine (brisk walks yes, but not sitting to sketch yet), I’m doing a bit of fantasy interior decoration. Current ideas: get taller bookshelves to take the place of the smaller shelving units crowding the floor space. I think (maybe) we could sneak the roll-top desk into the living room if there were fewer bits of furniture.

Unclutter, neaten, straighten. Go one step forward, and then regroup with the vacuum cleaner. Get out the graph paper, and work out where to move what we have.

So far, I’ve only begun vacuuming and laundry. Probably that’s as far as I will get today (beyond the graph paper). Once the gale is done, I will get outside again. In the meantime, sieze the day and grab a broom.

And when it gets too dark to see the dust, I suggest browsing the Ikea site, or daydreaming about scenes like this:

Book and Bed in Tokyo

https://inhabitat.com/book-and-bed-offers-a-novel-lodging-experience-for-readers-in-tokyo/

Beautiful University Libraries

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/stunning-university-libraries-slideshow

 

Planning for early 2018

It’s a cold, wintry day here on the east coast. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for today’s walk. While I delay on my errands, I’m drinking hot tea and making plans for February (and January too). It’s sort of a tale of more and less:

  1. The Great Backyard Bird Count is over President’s Day weekend. Maybe I could do some short road trips to look for raptors? If you’re interested in participating, it’s a worldwide effort. More details here: http://gbbc.birdcount.org/
  2. More exercise (thanks to gingerbread cookies, this is needed more than ever). I’m considering hiking trails nearby, as well as places with indoor pools. There might be a chance of spotting wildlife, due to the reduced green cover. If you want to explore winter wildlife, check out these ideas and bundle up.
  3. More art and creativity. Visits to museums; making space/time for more drawing/painting/printing; working on some short story ideas.
  4. More volunteering. Seriously thinking about ways to make the world a better place. It’s a nice chaser to the stress of last year.
  5. Reduce the stash of yarn. I sent some finished knits off as Christmas gifts in 2017 and I’m getting charity hats ready to send away (one needs blocking, one needs finishing). I’m matching well-marinated yarn to knit projects, and trying to figure out what yarn is unlikely to ever be knit into something by me ever (on the pile to donate). Sometime next week, I’ll probably post some of my photos of projects, with details about patterns.
  6. Less clutter. This is a tedious, ongoing project that involves going into the unheated attic to find things that are missing or things I want to remove from the house. Today I may recycle/sort a whole mess of paper in my toasty office while listening to my music collection over the wind’s roar.

What are you making space for in 2018? Any cool ideas you want to add to your life? Or are there things you need to let go?

Wishing you all the best this shiny new year. If you’re further north, in the Boston area, hope you have electricity and heat.

 

Sporadic like sunshine

Another beloved aunt passed while I was at a business conference, and so … much of July and part of August has been me settling my mood. The world seems unbalanced by losses of people I’ve known all my life, even though it was great to reconnect to their children and grandchildren.

Which is why I’m exploring changes — either reducing clutter or talking with the family about moving away from the land of government work. I couldn’t picture myself working as a lobbyist 2 years ago. I don’t think that will change now.

So, if you had to rethink your life, what would you do or where would you choose to go?

The family conversation has led to a lot of surprises. Sporadic changes have started breaking through like sunshine. We started to repaint the kitchen (which had been in a holding pattern, partly due to the heat and humidity and partly due to the unending tyranny of travel).

Due to the heat, I’ve been reading a lot more than knitting. Two books particularly broke through the gloom of impending thunderstorms and ever present humidity.

Paper Love: Searching for the Girl my Grandfather Left Behind” by Sarah Wildman. Thoughtful, somewhat devastating read about the author’s research into people her family left behind in Berlin. It’s fascinating and interesting to see the research connections and learn the choices that saved people (or didn’t).

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” by Winifred Watson. An enjoyable farce from 1938 (filled with glamorous 1930s nightclubs and some typecasting). I can’t remember if Dovegreyreader‘s site or Cornflower‘s site that recommended it, or if I read about it on the Persephone Books site, and remembered it when I saw it on the library shelves. Anyway, whoever told me about it, thank you.

Chaos

So… There’s been a lot happening. Which seems like the understatement of the century.  I’m heartsick: I love my country, and the best I can do here is focus on art. So, I’m going to review work I did in 2016, when I didn’t feel blocked by a wave of news items… It seems like now is the best time to get back in the writing habit. Working on a follow-up for “Bit by the Printer’s Devil“. Some camera downloads need to happen first, though.

Postcards

I have postcards all around my office. Some of them are antique, framed ones, showing photos of places that were near a camp I used to be a counselor at. Others are of bookish things from the British Isles. Still others are art postcards, bought when a local artist’s work delighted me, or a museum had a postcard of a particularly meaningful painting. I’m in the process of making more room in my office, and find that I’ll need to have a postcard framing and hanging afternoon, hopefully when it’s icky outside.

Artists whose postcards I’ve collected:

Martha Dougherty is a contemporary artist who does lovely watercolors set in Baltimore, Maryland — both interior views and external street scenes. Truly lovely. Here’s another one [Madison at Charles Street]. In some of the saturated street scenes, she’s the artist whose work is the closest reflections of the way I see color in landscapes. Very interesting. Linda Hall is another contemporary artist who does watercolors in Chestertown, Maryland.

So, have you collected postcards? If so, are they just mementos of places you’ve been, scenery you love, mail you received from loved ones, or affordable art?

 

 


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