I Am Color

IMG_0841I am currently taking an online writing course. The latest assignment was to become a color and write from that perspective. Here is my piece:

Taut strands of warp swallow soft fibers of weft as the shuttle makes its way through to create me. I am carefully removed from the wooden frame and then boiled in a mixture of roots and tubers, plants, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits, and then beaten against rocks to assure my hue. It is a labor of love and one of humility. I trek the far reaches of the Himalayas on the body of a holy man who carries only a walking stick and a bowl for sustenance. Vibrations of Sanskrit chants are absorbed into my substance. I bathe in pristine water and sit cross-legged on the top of a mountain. I feel the cold, crisp air, but my soul is warm. I behold beauty in every direction.

The pendulum swings. Industrial looms ran by disgruntled workers formed me. I’m utilitarian and serve a lone purpose. My fibers are stiff. I feel the chaffed skin and smell the stench of sweat of the man I cover. Self-loathing and anger penetrate my fibers. I sense the condemnation and mocking from the man pushing the metal rod against my backside as it clangs against the metal cuffs. Hollywood tries to add romance to my situation and calls me the new black. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a small village I am yet again handled with care. I am the earth, a rich vein of clay. I am rolled out flat and baked in the sun. I love the name I have been given, Terracotta. It flows on the tongue. I am trodden upon, but I don’t mind, except for possibly spiked heels. Bare feet are my favorite. But, also I love the bare hands. I am massaged into shape in the form of adobe bricks. I am placed one by one on the Terracotta. I make a home, the home of an artist, a potter. He molds me and sits me spinning atop a wheel. The motion makes me ecstatic. I am a Whirling Dervish. I become a beautiful pot, admired by many.

For a brief time I am followed by the paparazzi. Yet I evoke reverence and respect. Awes and oohs can be heard with the snap of Cannons, Nikons and Hasselblad’s. I am sublime. They call me autumn. I fade and fall, as all things do.

I am transformed. You can find me crackling and popping inside a hearth. I look out to see a family playing a board game, drinking hot chocolate. Outside it is snowing. In another instance I look out and blush. In the distance I blaze against the backdrop of stars, comforting a lone hiker on the Appalachian Trail.

My progeny of tints and shades are many, apricot, peach, amber, burnt sienna, vermilion, salmon, tangerine, pumpkin…the list goes on. Simply put a child calls me orange, the color of juice, or the fruit, or a carrot. Bugs Bunny likes carrots. I am a pumpkin pie with whipped cream. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am a scary jack-o-lantern. I am both yin and yang. I am the ten thousand straws of The Tao.

At my root I am the sacral chakra, second up the ladder, between red and yellow. I am both sensual and sexual. When I’m balanced I give grace to movement and pleasure without guilt.

Short Story Book Cover


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Along with the novel, “Jessica Lost Her Wobble,” I am also working on a book of short stories. This is my attempt at drawing my own cover.

“The Missing Butler” is the opening story. It is an expansion of the shorter story that I had entered into the NYC Midnight writing competition. I only did one round of the contest, but did receive Honorable Mention on the story.

Now, if only I can master the technical skills of Scrivener in order to get these two items published. Then on with the third novel, which is nearly completed.

Any suggestions on any of the above is most appreciated.

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Another Birthday

11813344_10205230658591342_7851279700848925198_nI’m not sure when I last posted, but, it’s been a while. Yesterday was my birthday. I’m officially social security age. My husband took off work, and we traveled to one of my favorite restaurants, Roots, 2 1/2 hours away, for lunch. We were the first to arrive. The hostess said sit where ever you want. I chose the cushioned seats, kind of like a sunken tub, a little hard to maneuver. Luckily, I was still able to maneuver them. Some pictures of the food. Just the other day I saw a video of a woman 92 years of age. She was incredible. She had started yoga in her 80’s, among other things. I’m reminded it is never too late. After lunch, we shopped, and then stopped at another favorite restaurant, Pies and Pints, coming home. And, today, I’m tired. 11201915_10205230658151331_9186327587146195451_n 11846591_10205230659911375_4070484036762197949_n 11796455_10205230660991402_5044962300857726606_n 11204925_10205230665111505_2680264303906654410_n 11235043_10205230667471564_8533312863388894005_n 11813344_10205230658591342_7851279700848925198_n

Adventures of the Pond

IMG_1286We actually have two ponds, well, four, if you count the two in different fields for cows that are no longer there. I’m sure the deer benefit. There are two in our yard, a front one and a back one. We put a few goldfish, tiny ones from Wal-Mart, several years ago, in the back one. We never fed them. There was plenty of natural stuff going on back there. In a couple of years those goldfish turned into about seventy. That number would fluctuate over the years.

Then we decided to get Koi. We put those in the front pond, only last year. Almost immediately, a huge snapping turtle appeared. There was one of our new Koi, might I add, what I considered the prettiest one, floating on the water, with a bloody hole in its side. Isn’t it always the prettiest one? Out of five Koi, one was dead; two appeared to be going strong and growing like crazy. The other two we couldn’t figure what happened to them. Maybe the turtle ate them whole.

The front pond was a work in progress, year after year. We had never intended in using it for fish. It was just supposed to be a relaxing waterfall, one to do yoga beside. But, each year we would make it a little bigger. It was a natural pond, clay based, no need for a pond liner. Koi love these kinds of pond. But, by the same token, when we did decide to put Koi in the pond, they whipped up so much mud; we couldn’t really see them, unless they surfaced. Nor, did they appear to need the food we threw at them.

It was last year that we decided to expand the pond one last time. We worked around the Koi. We dug on the outside of the pond and finally broke the barrier. All looked okay for a while. But we had dug beyond the clay into dirt. Water kept leaking. We gave up trying to find the leak. It was just too much work. At times we did think we had the leak under control. So, we purchased seven more Koi. Mind you, these were baby Koi, and only cost around $4 to $7 each. There still was enough water in the pond that the remaining fish (we only thought two at the time) found places to hibernate. We said we would deal with it next year, which is now this year.

A liner for that size pond was going to be super expensive, but we sprung for it. These projects always take on a life of there on and become more expensive. So, this spring we began the work, lining it, and building a rock walkway around it. All the rock we use comes from the farm we live on. While doing the work, we moved the two larger Koi and the others to the backyard pond. In the meantime, while draining the remaining water we found the original other two Koi that we thought Mr. Snapper had gotten. They were alive and doing well in the mud.

When the front pond was ready, it was not so easy to move them back. They resisted. Like who wouldn’t when you see someone coming after you with a net. I tried to reason with them, saying, “You are going to a better place.” They obviously thought, “What, we will be reincarnated as these pesky frogs that invade our space?”

Anyway, we basically had to semi drain the back pond to get them out. After we did, we could see they were much happier. They were basically doing dolphin tricks to show us their appreciation. We decided to just move all fish to the new pond, in other words, the goldfish, too. We hadn’t even intended to put any fish in the back pond either. We just intended it as a meditation pond. But after a couple of years, like I said, we thought we would get a bag of small ones, approximately eight, from Wal-Mart and would just see what happened.

When we did move all the fish, there were much fewer goldfish than I had counted at peak times. Perhaps, when they all thought they were going to their death, they partook of what they thought was their last meal. There had been tons of baby goldfish.

Right after the move, I was sitting near the pond, and spied a strange-looking head peering out of the water. It neither looked like Mo or Jo, our two biggest Koi, over a foot long now. Yes, that is how much they grew in a year’s time. I went over to look, but didn’t see what I thought was a miniature Lock Ness Monster creeping out of the front pond. A week later, my husband discovered it was a new snapping turtle. We had purposely built this pond with steep sides to prevent such a thing from happening. This was the third year that a snapping turtle had made its way to the front pond. Maybe telepathy or some type of radar from past turtles drew him or her here. It obviously couldn’t get out. And, luckily, the fish were of a sufficient size and swam too fast for him or her. My husband scooped it out and placed it in the back pond. We fed it for a about a week, thinking about possibly making the back pond into a haven for turtles, but it moved on. Hopefully it sent out telepathic vibes to his fellow comrades that the pond had steep sides, “Don’t go there.” We can hope.

Then within a week of the move, we saw strange things happening in the water. We had just bought three new baby Koi. I hadn’t intended to, but they were just too cute. We only went to the fish place/greenhouse to get some pond plants.

It was only a couple of days before I spied one of the new ones floating atop the water. I scooped it out. This time the other fish all scurried to my net at the same time. I could have easily taken a few more out. Maybe they thought there was a better place even beyond this pond. Maybe they weren’t as happy as I thought they were. Maybe it was just their irrational behavior during spawning season. After some research we found this was what was happening in the water. They reaped havoc on the new water plants, and more than likely killed the new fish.

We did put a bunch of the eggs in a bucket. The man at the fish store said if we did this they would be safe from their parents and might possibly hatch. We will see what happens.

As far as predators besides the turtles, we have both dogs and cats. They seem to take care of most things. Our dogs even chase the shadows of birds across the lawn. The man at the fish store said the raccoons got all of his prize Koi. And, while there we ran into someone who told us that her backyard had flooded during the heavy rains we just had. Her Koi floated down the creek. I wondered if they said, “Free at last!”

Just when we thought the turtle adventures were over, I noticed one day that the waterfall had stopped. When my husband got home he put on his rubber boots and stepped down into the pond. Upon pulling out the pump, he jerked back with a startle. The backside of a turtle was hanging out of the pump enclosure. His head had been sucked in. Luckily after removing him (yes, he or she was dead), the pump started back up without a hitch.

So, this is my big fish story for the day. Honestly, I would have never thought I would be this into fish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMC3Vd3lCg0

The Cookie Jar

IMG_1263The round green object sat atop a pink counter that I was too short to reach. I eyed it, particularly the ceramic lid three white cats that shot up acting as its handle. It always held a reward, usually store brand chocolate chip cookies.

Although my mother was big on cooking, baking cookies was not her forte. She did bake – cakes, usually blackberry or red velvet, or the laborious stack cake, that no other stack cake in our small Mayberry-like town could touch. Despite all of this, homemade rolls were her culinary excellence. Butter wasn’t even necessary. To this day, a half a century later, I can still smell the rolls coming from the oven. They had her in them. The cookies, dull and lifeless, didn’t. The cookie jar did. Other than pink, green was one of her most favorite colors.

The words “Three Little Kittens” are now faded. Only a dab of red paint remains, at the beginning, “Three.” Only the ears of the first kitten remain intact. The others are chipped off. I imagine this worn and torn area of the cookie jar still holds the essence of my mom as she removed the lid with a smile and handed me a cookie for a drawing well done. I was always drawing.

The cookie jar was in a pile of stuff that my sister was throwing out. I asked, “Could I have that?”

She said, “I don’t want it. It’s junk.”

Her words stung. I said nothing. Maybe she had no memories of the cookie jar.

(Note: This was synchronicity. I wrote this yesterday. But first, I emptied a box that had been in the closet for several years. I pulled out the cookie jar and started cleaning it up. Then I opened a writing course that I had recently signed up for and began my first lesson. The assignment was to write about an object from our past, one that evoked memories.I looked up this particular cookie jar up on line and found several images. It had McCoy Pottery written on the bottom. I found it was manufactured 1954-55. Yes, that was about write, as I was born in 1953.)

 

 

 

Koi and Goldfish Pond

This is one of the things that has been taking up a lot of our time, and will conIMG_1261tinue to do so as there is always work to be done. It’s like doing laundry and mowing the lawn. And, last night the pump went out. Perhaps we expanded the pond so much it couldn’t carry the water load. I have hopes that the pump will be okay and work in the smaller pond in the back.

We wanted to get everything finished before our grandson arrived. Luckily, the pump was fine then. This is our grandson with me sitting on the upper part of the lawn over IMG_3144the pond. There are still some flowers starting to bloom, and we’ve added some more plants. The grasses will grow much taller. I would like to get it natural looking with various shades of green, with next to no maintenance. People have told me that isn’t possible, but anything is possible. Below are pictures from various angles. The building in the background is the building we also finished rocking. All of the rock for these projects come from our woods. One year we went to the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. It was a great inspiration for all of this. I’m thinking a tea house would be nice in the back, but then finishing the greenhouse is more important.

Tractor at Edge of Field

While I wasn’t posting I somehow achieved over 500 followers. I think that may be a mere drop in the bucket for most, but for me it is quite amazing.

 

The reasons for my absence have mostly been good weather and the opportunity to work on outside things. I practiced my art of concrete mixing to make rocking a building go faster. My husband piled stone upon stone, while my job was to keep the concrete coming and advise him on which rocks to place. The project required two trips out into the woods to acquire the rocks. That is always one of my favorite things to do. The building exterior finally got completed. But I always find rock projects to do. I’m thinking of a rock patio at this point. A dream is to rock the barn, but that would be massive.

 

Another thing we worked on was finishing the pond area. That is always an ongoing project, but the major stuff is now done. This past weekend we added some water plants and a couple of new fish, which I couldn’t resist, even though the fish we now have, Koi and Goldfish, are presently spawning, as far as we can tell.

 

Mostly, we wanted to get done with certain projects before our three-year-old grandson came to visit. We acquainted him with farm life while he was here. We visited my uncle’s farm, where he petted the horses. Then we took him to an Old MacDonald’s type farm. There were cows, goats, sheep, chicken, guineas, llamas, and dogs.

 

After he left, we spied a snapping turtle in the pond, not as big as the ones that had found their way there the previous years. They must have some telepathic communiqué that lets them know the fish are spawning. We had built to pond with steep sides to prevent this. We were fairly certain he or she couldn’t get out. My husband scooped him up in the net and moved him to the back pond where we hope he or she will stay. We have started feeding him or her the fish food.

 

While rocking the building I sat in the grass between concrete mixings. I gazed off into the distance at the field and saw some trees I wanted to draw. I didn’t get them the way I wanted. Instead, it somehow ended up being all about the tractor in the foreground. We use the tractor to haul rocks from the woods.

 

Later, more on the pond and the koi and goldfish.

Vegetarian Hot Brown

Originally posted on athursdayschild:

Before going vegetarian, hot brown, made famous in Kentucky, by the The Brown Hotel in Louisville, was always an okay dish with me, but not to be listed among my favorites.  I had never thought that hot brown could possibly be vegetarian considering its main ingredients were ham, turkey, and bacon, but the vegetarian version is definitely one of my favorites.

photoA friend told me about a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, called Stella’s, and how the vegetarian hot brown was her favorite dish there.  So, I tried it.  It was great.  Therefore, as I usually do, I did my best to come up with my own version at home, down to making my own sprouts.  The hot brown pictured above is my own version.  It is always a little different depending on the veggies on hand.  The tomatoes in the picture came out of our garden.

Ingredients:

Various vegetables

View original 288 more words

The Continuing Saga of the Pond

Once upon a time, there was this troubling spot right in the middle of our front lawn. It was a pesky patch of hill that just dropped off. It defied mowing. It was the sore spot of the lawn, like a giant pimple that wouldn’t go away. In my opinion it was troublesome for children, in that I felt it was dangerous.

One day I watched a little boy. Having a little girl, I wasn’t used to little boys. I had to keep telling him to quit jumping off “sore spot.” The whole situation was making me nervous. I told his father when he came to get him. He just laughed, saying he did much more dangerous stuff at home on his bicycle.

So, when my now husband came along, we dug up the rough patch of ground and planted a hillside garden. It was mostly clay, not that clay was a bad thing. I’ve heard that the Amish love clay gardens. Maybe I heard wrong.

But, we moved the garden later to another spot, another clay area. It did great there. Still, yet again, we moved it to richer soil. It didn’t do bad there, but there was not enough sun where we moved it. So, what do they say, the fourth time is a charm? We moved it again. We are in the process of building a greenhouse next to the garden, another continuing saga. Our projects are all continuing sagas.

Back to the eyesore patch of ground that was now a dug up piece of clay has been garden….well, we decided to put a pond there. I’ve lost track of all many years ago that was. If you scroll down my blog, you will see some pictures.

Last year, we finally thought we got it the way we wanted it, but we had dug beyond the clay, and there was a slow leak. So, this year, a complete overhaul was in order. We lined it. It took a mighty big liner. We’ve had to redo most of the rock work around it, and redo the waterfall.

Last night we worked until dark on the waterfall. The rocks are bigger than they look in the picture. I can’t believe my husband can lift them, but I’m thankful he can. Actually, some of the rocks on the pond were set in place by the tractor. I don’t know what the contraption is called that hooks on the back of the tractor, but there is a chain you can tie around rocks and carry them back. We make regular excursions into the woods for rocks. We have nearly rocked our entire house doing that.

There is obviously still more work to do on the pond. The black liner has to be covered. The walkway around the pond has to be finished. The things we’ve planted over the years are slowly blooming and should fill up the area behind the pond. We are working on just differing shades of green, easy and natural. We may add another waterfall between the grasses, which haven’t taken off this year yet.

This morning I saw the iris’s in bloom, and said hello. They said hello back with a spurt of their fragrance. 

IMG_1206Yesterday, it was warm enough to have lunch on the deck. I had a spiralized English cucumber with a dressing consisting of an avocado, sea salt, pepper, lemon juice, dill, and garlic.  

 

Waterfall and Pond

IMG_1176The pond in our front yard as been an ongoing project for many years. It started out small. Each year we kept expanding, saying this is it. Last year we thought we had it. But we got carried away and dug it out to far, beyond the clay. It kept losing water. We decided we had to break down and buy a liner. So, now redoing the pond is in the forefront again.

Last night I did a sketch on my iPad to give my husband some idea of how I thought the waterfall should look. This will require hauling more rock from the woods. I hope it ends up looking better than the picture.

The pond from the past:

The rock wall minus capping stones.

The rock wall minus capping stones.

Slow and Steady

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Yesterday I treated myself to a pair of new hiking shoes. Well, the old ones were pretty shot. Plus, they weren’t waterproof. Since the winter it has been almost constantly wet. I have been wading across a lot of creeks.

 

Also, today marks the beginning of something for me, something I’m taking one day at a time. Maybe seeing five turtles on the trail this morning was a sign.

 

Early on into the trail I passed one turtle. I didn’t take a picture. I passed another turtle. Still, I didn’t take a picture. Shortly, thereafter, I came upon two turtles together. A sign. Take a picture.

 

Then yet another turtle about half way into the two-mile trek.

 

When I got back I looked up the meaning or omen of seeing a turtle. I already new it meant longevity. The main thing I read was slow and steady. I concluded that is what it would take in what I am beginning today. There would be no easy route. The turtle is also persistent and sure. In the long run it is the turtle that wins the race. I am determined to win this one.

 

As for seeing five turtles, I look to the meaning of the number five in numerology. I used to dabble a bit in numerology. I see the number five as meaning change. It is also constructive freedom.

I do feel a time of change, and I hope it is constructive.

 

Yesterday, as we were taking our groceries out to the car, my husband spied a duck buried in the grass next to our car. It appeared to be nesting there. It was my husband who first saw the duck, so I think the sign was more for him. In looking up the meaning of a duck, two words popped out – transition and honesty.

 

 

Pyramids and Ultrasounds

This morning one of the first things that came to my mind was an ultrasound. It was mostly the shape and how it resembled a pyramid. Maybe I am stretching this a bit.

I am one of those who believe that the pyramids are much older than history records them as being. Edgar Cayce put them at around 10,000 years old, the Great Pyramid in Egypt, that is.

 

Why an image of an ultrasound came up in my mind this morning I don’t know. For some reason I’m associating birth with the pyramids. Pyramids are said to give off certain frequencies or harmonics. I equate vibration with creation. In the beginning there was the “word.” Word is sound.

Edgar Cayce also said that levitation was used in the building of the pyramids. Certain vibrations can nullify the force of gravitation. Legends exist that Tibetan monks are still able to use vibration for the purpose  of levitation.

http://healingtones.org/2012/09/10/pyramid-power-part-3-acoustical-levitation/

 

I think that sound can both create and cure. For the last couple of months my husband and I have been chanting AUM. Whether I am doing it exactly right I don’t know. But, I have noticed differences – good differences.

images-1imagesOne such difference was that one day I walked into a department store seeing this pair of boots on sale. The boots had a bent toe and heels. For a couple of decades I’ve been confined to flat duck-like shoes, because of a toe injury. My right toe has been beyond bendable. Why I even bothered to try them on is a mystery. Unbelievable! My toe bent into them. I wore them with no pain. Okay, there was just a touch of pain, but it dissolved. I was so thrilled. I got to be a little taller. I’m short. Afterward, my husband told me that he had noticed more flexibility in my foot over the past month. He rubs my feet a lot. As an experiment when we first started the AUM, I tried to direct it towards my toe.

I have also noticed an improvement in digestion. Maybe I should be knocking on wood at this point.

So, while I can’t say for certain this is what happened, I don’t dare miss chanting AUM or meditating on a daily basis. I would feel lost without either, or that somehow my day was not complete. It sort of falls into the category of brushing my teeth. I would feel yucky if I didn’t.

There are many theories on what the pyramids were used for. One theory is an energy system. They were scattered all over the earth at certain places on the grid. Possibly they were a more sophisticated version of our cell towers. They could have emitted vibrations that kept both the planet and its inhabitants in perfect health and harmony. In that case, cell towers may be a bad analogy.

So, these are the bizarre thoughts that go through my mind.

 

 

Another Face – Possible Book Cover

This was done last night. I’ve been thinking about a book cover for what I wrote in NaNoWriMo. This could be a possibility. I would have to change the eyes to umber, since that is the way I describe the main character in the book. Since it is about an innkeeper, I have thought about attempting to draw an inn. I guess I could try to merge in a small inn where I have my signature. Thinking out loud – but then I guess that is basically the definition of blogging.

More thinking out loud – Maybe I should change the character’s eyes to blue. Her love interest has sapphire eyes.
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Works on Red Bubble

I’m thrilled that I had some of my digital art printed this past weekend. It turned out well. My uncle who is pictured here was pleased. I was trying to do prints for him for his 83rd birthday.

Thanks to Janette Art and Words who gave me a lot of useful information and told me about Red Bubble. I now have works up their site: http://www.redbubble.com/people/jerrischlenker

I will be adding more.

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Spring is the Elixir

Yesterday, I got a much-needed dose of spring tonic. I awoke with clogged sinuses. I didn’t feel well the preceding day. It had rained all day. The good thing is that the rain melted off the snow.

My husband encouraged me to use the neti pot. That along with several vitamin C tablets did the trick, or started to do the trick. I started to come out of my lethargy. I prepared split pea soup in the crock-pot. I went out into the woods. The woods were the final cure. The streams swelled. There are waterfalls where there were none before.

 

The only snow that was left was in a cave like area. I say cave like because we have never ventured in there to see if it is an actual cave. The opening gets smaller and smaller. Once we asked my father if there were any caves on the property. He said, “No.” We told him about the two openings we saw. He said, “Don’t go in there.” Well, that leads me to believe….

I started listening to an audio book, “A World Lost,” by Wendell Berry. I’m sorry to say this is the first time I’ve read his works, a shame, since he is a Kentucky author. His phrases are brilliant. I plan on devouring all of his works.

The weather was great. We got out the umbrella for our table and ate dinner on the deck – split pea soup, Caesar salad, and wine. We love eating on the deck. We could hear the roar of the stream from the deck.

We rolled back the netting on the fish pond and fed the fish. The netting had been place on it during the late fall to catch the falling leaves. I’m happy to say both the gold fish and koi came out of hibernation in good shape.

My husband also put the hammock back up. Yes!

I still had loads of energy. I made some banana bread, knitted, and worked on some art. A snow picture, of all things. Later I prepared some juice for next morning’s breakfast. I’m not used to having so much energy. My husband, on the other hand, seems to never stop.

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All of this was a joy after the hard winter and the previous couple of weeks when we had experienced the dreaded three. I won’t go into them. They say things happen in threes. One, a leaky roof, did get fixed. The other two will be much easier to deal with in the spring weather.

Still, having energy, I stayed up late, painting on my iPad. I was going for a watercolor style.

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Last Winter Walk

IMG_2978Yesterday, I hiked on our property. According to Map My Hike, the trek was 3.68 miles. The snow is melting. Still there were stretches of ground where I was ankle deep in it. The sound of the streams were a joy. Crossing them, not so much. Rain has been continuous today.

I took this small movie of one of the waterfalls. It will be flowing even harder today, but considering the downpour, I will save my next hike for tomorrow.

I look forward to moving my office outdoors. This picture was taken on Friday. It’s only wet today. A temperature of 60 is expected tomorrow. Won’t be long.

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The Life of a Wanna Be Writer

redmugwithchailatteI’m a stay-at-home mom. Never mind the fact that my child is now in her mid-thirties and left the nest a long time ago. Never mind me not staying at home until she graduated college. That’s not technically true. I worked from home when she became a teenager. Sometimes I traveled for work. If there were parties while I was gone she was an expert at hiding the evidence.

Sometimes I tell people I’m retired. They, who appear to be older than me, raise their eyebrows in doubt. I want to tell them I’m seventy-five, but in truth I’m just shy of sixty-two. I dye my possible gray hair blonde. I only assume it is gray, not that I’ve seen its true color since my late thirties. Telling them I’m older than I am would only make them hate me more.

People ask, “What did you do?”

I tell them I was a weaver. Chances are I will have to explain what a weaver is. They confuse it with quilting or needlework. I tell them weaving is making the cloth. I explain I can’t sew a lick. I don’t even like sewing. I don’t hem. I don’t sew buttons on that fall off. There is a pile of clothes that my husband has asked me to mend. That was years ago. I hid them away. Hopefully, he has forgotten about them.

Sometimes I don’t feel bad about saying I’m retired. Teachers retire early. If anyone has a right to retire early, it’s teachers. For several years I substituted. If anyone has paid his or her dues to society, it’s a substitute teacher.

My husband wants me to make something of my life, like Grandma Moses. He doesn’t express it in that way. I just feel an underlying pressure. He comes home and asks, “What did you do today?” It’s like asking kids what they learned in school. They rarely ever have an answer.

Today he won’t have to ask. I cleaned the house. When I do clean it is so rare, one can’t help but notice.

He will come home today and ask, “Did you write something today?”

I will respond, “No, I cleaned the house.”

He wants me to be a writer. I’m not even sure how that came about. I’ve been dabbling in it for several years now. I once showed him poems I had written in high school. That’s when this new phase of my life began.

I told him I would try my hand at writing. He was excited. I think he hopes I will be a best selling author and make us rich. He is delusional. I heard the other day that a book is uploaded every five minutes on to Amazon. In his enthusiasm on starting me on the writing path, I did get a lap top computer out of it. Not bad.

I don’t know what writers do. So I acquainted myself with some. It was easy to do. I’ve come to the conclusion there are more writers than there are actual books in the world. I question them about their methods. The whole scenario is still vague to me. The only think I have really established is that they drink a lot of coffee. Talk about a buzz kill. I don’t like coffee. I suppose I could move to England. I don’t know any English writers. But, I assume they drink tea. I like tea. To be more specific, I like chai lattes more than I like tea. If I do become a writer, I will be a fat one. Writing one page makes me want to reward myself with one.

To further encourage me my husband said it was okay if I got one of those whipped cream canisters like they have at Starbucks. Soon I won’t be able to fit in my writing chair. I won’t be able to keep up this charade.

When I first started this several years ago, I racked my brain for something worthwhile to write about. Someone I met when I was eight years old popped into my mind. I had met a slave, well someone who had been born into slavery. I would write about her life. If someone asks me about being retired, I can tell him or her I actually knew someone who was born into slavery. After that statement they shouldn’t question me on being old enough to retire.

For three years I researched her life. I waited too late. Most people who had known her were dead. Maybe instead of writing I should have set my sites on detective work. I still managed to dig up a lot. It was mostly stuff that people wouldn’t want me to write about. When it dawned on them I was writing this down, they denied that they had said it. I stored my research away.

Then I heard of something called NaNoWriMo. I dug my research back out. I aimed for the top of the mountain, that 50,000-word peak. I planted my flag, but the whole path to the summit was zigzag. The route I took to get there made no sense. I boxed my research back up.

During my couch potato virtual climb to the top I sat for hours on end in a slumped position. I finally came up for air but my back didn’t. Can one get disability benefits from a month stint at writing? My writing acquaintances were vague on this as well.

My back got better. I learned to sit erect while writing. What did you learn in writing school today? I learned to sit erect.

In the meantime, while I was lollygagging around, not really taking this whole thing seriously, someone wrote “The Help.” While walking on a New York City street, my husband and I did one of those zigzags to avoid running into someone crossing a busy intersection full speed ahead. He had that particular book stuck up in his face. Later we went on a retreat to find a friend had brought that same book along for their nightly reading. “The Help” was everywhere, like the universe laughing at me. My husband didn’t say anything out loud, but telepathically I was getting the vibe, “You missed the boat on that one.”

I let the writing thing rest for a while. I took up painting. My husband came home from work, “Did you do any art today?” The chais came in handy for the artwork as well.

A couple of years passed. I found out some of my vague writing friends were doing NaNoWriMo. I joined them. This time I meant business. I began writing before my husband went off to work. The next thing I knew he was opening the same door he had left through that morning. I said, “You know how to fix dinner, right?” He stumbled around in the kitchen, asking me where things were, and how do you do this. It was impossible to keep my train of thought. I haven’t mentioned until now that the kitchen snack bar also is my writing desk. Teapots and vitamins are lined up in front of me.

Anyway, after all the questions, I caved. “Okay, I’ll fix dinner. You sit here and read what I wrote.” He obeyed. That became the scene every night until I actually surpassed the 50,000 mark and made it to the less oxygenated height of 80,000 words. This time I went in a straight line. I don’t know if his taste in literature isn’t that refined, or the fact that he is just blindly in love with me, makes him like everything I write. He is an avid reader, and his favorite authors are some of the most respected. Still I know it’s because he is blindly in love.

If you write about Paris, can you deduct a trip to Paris from your taxes? I gleaned no information from my writing friends.

I don’t know how long this writing gig will last, or even if it will amount to anything. I am thinking about giving up the chai habit. Does giving up chais mean giving up writing? Will learning to like coffee make me a better writer? I have so many questions about what it takes to be a writer.

After reading that 80,000-word draft of a novel, night after night, my husband found a contest he thought I should enter. He was more elated than me that I made the short list of finalists. It was one of those religious experiences. Now what? My writing friends were once again close lipped. I once met a swami. He said that the real work begins after one has a religious experience.

I plan on getting my loom out of storage. Maybe inspiration will come while making cloth.

 

 

 

 

 

Ending the Affair

IMG_1082I have tried to end the affair several times, but I always lose my nerve and get sucked back in by my uncontrollable lustful desires. Last night, I made the resolve to go cold turkey.

My husband supports me, but he also practices detachment. It is his Buddha nature. I was honest up front. He came into the marriage with open eyes and promised to love me in spite of my ups and downs and struggles with these insatiable longings. I know there are groups for this type of behavior, but shame and embarrassment won’t let me seek them out.

It was only yesterday that I endeavored to end temptation. I felt the cold rush of air envelope me one last time as I slammed the door saying, “Farewell, No more!”

My seducer lives too close. Due to our close proximity it will be hard to avoid further encounters, but I am adamant in my resolve to end this affair.

I am ending it for my own well-being, not because I’m married. My marriage is on solid ground. My husband is truly a Superman, who unequivocally meant for better or worse.

It’s been twenty-four hours now. Making it to this point has been quite an accomplishment for me. I awoke at three am suffering from withdrawal symptoms. There was this incredible hunger and thirst gnawing at me from deep within. I won’t go into fifty shades of detail. Suffice to say it was a sensual dream. My lips were so close. No. I said I wouldn’t go there.

I put on a facade of normalcy and packed my husband’s healthy lunch. For breakfast, I handed him a plate of blueberry pancakes. I lavish him with savory treats like this often. It’s my guilt leaking through. He asked me why I wasn’t eating. I avoided the question and handed him whipped cream to go on his pancakes.

I watched him out the window as he left for work. I quickly showered, and took extra pains with my make-up. My car keys were missing. In desperation, I called him at work. He had them. It was just a mistake I told myself. He drove my car last. Did he think I was going to cave and have a rendezvous at Starbucks?

As I said, it’s been twenty-four hours now. Once I lasted seven days. Another time I lasted four days. I think there is hope. I’m taking it one day at a time

So, there you have it. I have resolved to end this affair I have with food. I slam the refrigerator door shut one last time. I just hope I don’t fall, totally, madly head over heels again once Valentine’s Day rolls around and my husband places roses and dark chocolates in front of me. Who am I kidding? I hope he reads this. Forget the flowers and just make it a double portion of chocolates. After all, dark chocolate is one of the new health foods, right?

Snow Walk

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2015/02/img_1078.jpgInspired by reading “Wild,” both yesterday and today I trekked out on our farm trail. I was disheartened by some of the reviews on the book. One reviewer stated how easy she had it. I couldn’t believe this. This woman hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Oregon, carrying an enormously heavy backpack, sleeping outside, not to mention, she was a woman by herself.

Yesterday I hardly got one mile. That is counting both directions as I turned around and came back home before I passed out. I was walking mostly uphill. The snow was anywhere from four inches to a foot deep. It was that crusty hard snow. Each step was like walking in cement.

Today, my goal was to make it a bit further. I did, close to two miles. The snow today started off much softer. Yesterday the temperature was in the twenties. Today it was in the thirties, and the sun had been shining earlier. But, as I got further along, the snow became crusty again. This was the part not touched by the sun. I ended up getting off the trail and walking down our half mile drive-way. My wobbly legs felt like they were walking on clouds at that point.

I hope to attempt it again tomorrow. On both days I was dripping wet with sweat, under my layered clothes. Hopefully, I burned a few calories.

Wild

2015/02/img_1073.jpgThis morning I finished reading “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed. Maybe it’s because I love hiking, that I thought this book was so marvelous. I checked out the e-book version from the library, but now I want a hard copy, or at least to have it on my Ipad for further reference.

Maybe this is the year that my husband and I might hike just a small section of the Appalachian Trail. I have backpacked only once, with him, at the Red River Gorge, and only then for a couple of nights. Perhaps we might just do that again.

I was inspired to do this picture this morning. This is a section of our small six mile trail that we have forged out on our farm. Our small farm is sixty percent woods. We like it that way.

I have done easy hikes where I walked fifteen miles in one day. I know that I have walked that much per day while visiting New York City (mostly Central Park) and Paris, France. My husband and I once walked a small section of the Lewis and Clark Trail in Oregon. I will never forget that trail. It was astounding.

At this point, I am so out of shape. We have been snowed in for over a week with freezing and below freezing temperatures. But Spring is coming (I hope?), and time to start walking again.

Hiking Boot 1This is a pencil drawing I did in 2006. I can’t remember the brand, but these were probably the best hiking boots I ever had. They eventually fell apart.

 

 

Barn in Autumn

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Beyond the 3o Day Painting Challenge. I am still only using my Ipad. There is a lot to be said for digital. For the last week we have been organizing photographs before the digital age. I date back to black and white. That gives you some indication of how many pictures there are. Still, we have more in the short span we have taken digital pictures. We have a closet shelf of art supplies and past work. That also dates back. The closet needs to be cleaned out. I think I will stick with the digital format for art for awhile. I already have enough clutter with my yarn and weaving supplies.

Hiker

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I wanted to keep up the practice of drawing, even if it is only on my Ipad. I love experimenting with the different things you can do, or in my case, attempt to do. It seems odd, after thirty days, not adding the link that started it all. I will anyway, because I’m grateful that she started this habit. http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/