Shameless promotion

By way of introduction:

  1. I’m a mom, and it is my duty to shamelessly tell you about all the wonderful, amazing, creative, and sometimes even awe-inspiring things that my 3 adult children do.
  2. I have the cheapest (meaning FREE) WordPress plan. I cannot download audio files with this plan so I apologize because obviously it would make this entire post much more relevant and perhaps also inspire more folks to listen without having to go to extra steps.
  3.  My son, who works in the analytics industry by day, just produced this album:

https://sayspeaker.bandcamp.com/releases

This is where I am cursing lightly under my breath, because you will now have to possibly copy and paste this url into another window to hear it. Again, I am sorry for my cheapness frugal options when it comes to working with WordPress. Most of you should be able to simply click the link obviously, but the impact with the album art IN the post would have been spectacular.

Please take a moment to listen. And please feel free, if you enjoy what you hear, to also take a moment to help me shamelessly promote this site/album on any and all social media that you might have at your disposal.

I might be rather biased, but I think it’s pretty good.

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I got nothin…

I really have nothing to say. I’m just sitting here, in the room without the TV, trying to avoid the non-stop football playoffs. It’s days like this that I regret my insistence that a second TV was unnecessary, and the subsequent passing on of that TV to someone else.

I don’t really even want to watch TV so much. It is Saturday and there’s really nothing on. And, to be honest, I have a variety of shows in my watch list so I could just click on over to my Amazon account, pull a blanket over my legs and settle in with this computer on my lap. It’s not easy to concentrate though with the play by play from the other room. It’s also distracting because my spouse has that nasty habit of turning the channel every time a commercial comes on, then flipping it back to football, and on and on and on.

So, I suppose I could tell you all that I went to the museum yesterday. I had just two days left to see an exhibit that has been here for months. Somehow, even with so much time off from the grandma duties, I lost track of time and suddenly realized that I needed to scoot my rear end into gear.

The exhibit showcased how the AIDS epidemic changed the face of American art during the 1980’s into today. If you feel inclined, you can click through some of the links/pages here.

Some of the art was disturbing and graphic. The images of wasted bodies, flesh covered with the lesions associated with Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Some of the pieces were not necessarily obvious in their relationship to HIV or AIDS, but served as metaphors for, and social commentary on the religious/social/cultural reactions to the disease. There was a section of the AIDS Memorial quilt that featured local names of those who lost their lives. There was art made from human blood, both HIV + and HIV – blood. There was a simple but clear message in the 4 or 5 cases of Trojan condoms, stacked in the middle of the floor, unopened. There was graphic sexual references in some of the art, like the small painting of a man – penis erect – ready to literally f**k a forward leaning, skeletal figure representing death. There were faces, so many faces – all living with and dying from AIDS. Some were clear, in color and still healthy looking, while others were shrouded in a mist, or blurred and blended into the background canvas. All were asking not to be forgotten.

Missing from this exhibit: women, black individuals, straight men.

There was a very large canvas holding a depiction of babies who had contracted AIDS, along with some statistics, yet there was no mention of the children, or other loved ones for that matter, growing up or trying to live without a loved one lost to AIDS.

This exhibition was created to show the artistic response to the AIDS epidemic, but it clearly chose to focus on how this disease was associated with gay men. In some ways it felt as if the exhibit was perpetuating a stereotype that I thought society had moved away from. I’ve thought about this since yesterday and now wonder if my reaction was naive. Perhaps the gay community was/is the only part of society that will speak out, speak up, and share the way AIDS took so many lives, or how HIV still infects 1 person every 10 minutes.

I guess maybe I did have something to say.

Doing Non-Beachy Things While At the Beach

The bikers are mostly gone, Alison is back to work, and today was my first day alone.

My day consisted of:

*Tossing frozen, uncooked eggs because my cottage refrigerator cannot make up it’s mind about what constitutes a moderate temperature setting. As of this writing I believe I have finally found the optimum set point, but we’ll see if my lettuce is frozen again before I go to bed.

*Visiting the one and only shop in town that I haven’t been to before. Alison and I passed it by accident last night after her farewell fish & chip dinner, but it was closed. Basically it’s a little flea market, but she noted the ‘Used Books’ sign in the window and was regretting that we hadn’t realized earlier that this little place was just around the corner from us. I gave it a go for her today, but the not so extensive book department held 60% religious tomes, a few cookbooks, some biographies, and tons of kids books.

*An early morning visit from the local wildlife, who stopped by yesterday for both Alison and I to enjoy.

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The second fawn was hiding at this point, but just as cute. These cottages are surrounded by tall, thick forest and shrubs so it’s my best guest that this doe is raising her young somewhere in there. They seem to favor some of the greenery that surrounds the homes and really aren’t skittish at all.

*Putting some gas in my car, although I stopped at $10 for now as the towns one gas station monopoly allows for higher prices than I’m happy with.

*Fiddling around with some art. This is a color/black variation of the basic design called “4 Corners.”

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*Creating a stir fry for dinner using baby yams, onion, broccoli, and red pepper purchased from an organic farm stand up the coast about 12 miles. I’ve passed this stand many times and never stopped before, which I now regret greatly after finding some of the nicest, freshest veggies being sold at amazingly low prices. The farmer/owner had some lovely corn, as you can see, and she shared some history of her home/farm and the area as well.

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Now-

The dinner dishes are clean. The sun is headed into the ocean. The sea breezes are coming up so my patio door won’t be open much longer. I’ve had my dessert cookie. Perhaps I’ll attempt a bit more art, then a little TV before sleep.

Lines on Paper

I had lots of free time last week, and while words seem to be MIA, I did find myself creating some designs that I’m happy with.

This first picture is actually my name in Zentangle. It seems that there are as many ways to create a finished design as there are individual patterns themselves. One suggestion was to randomly pick a pattern for each letter of your name and create a complete design. Here I am, first and last name.

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Next in line are two with random themes.

On the left I used a water theme. Mixed into the design are patterns such as River, Riverstones, Lilypond and Tadpole. The design on the right was inspired by a pillow on my couch.

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The last two have no central plan to them at all. I do most of these designs on white tiles, which is what the squares are called. While good quality paper, they are not the original tiles used by the creators of this art form. Those tiles are pricey, and for now I limit my use of them. I did use one for the bottom design. I think you can see that the edges are not as neatly finished. They don’t look like they were stamped from a press machine like the less expensive version. They aren’t white, but a slightly creamy-yellow to tan color. They also have a rougher texture, which I like, and which picks up the ink nicely. The originals are also great for shading, which is a technique that is still challenging to me.

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A Day at the Museum

I finally got to Georgia O’Keeffe yesterday. The local art museum has had about 25 of her paintings as part of a Western art exhibit for over two months now and as the exhibit closes in one week, I figured I better get there. Who knew that going on Saturday, at noon, on Memorial Day weekend would mean encountering half of the cities senior population. I sort of thought that all those older folks would have packed up their RV’s and headed to some warmer outdoorsy spot in the REAL west, such as Arizona, or New Mexico, or Palm Springs.

It was jam-packed though, and trying to appreciate art isn’t easy when you are moving and standing among wandering hoards of art onlookers, just as puzzled as yourself over some of the pieces. Side conversations however, told me that a lot of these people knew a lot more than I did about Western art and the artists featured.

This was my first trip to the museum since they opened a new wing, which is large, and impressive and makes this small city museum seem now somehow a bit more grand, and citified. The O’Keeffe link above also provides access for you to glimpse a few of the pieces we found throughout the new space.

I have to be honest. Western art isn’t exactly my thing. There was a lot of oil on canvas depicting prairies, and mountains, and Native American tribes, and soldiers. There was quite a lot of bronze. Bison, and cowboys on horseback, and oddly enough a pair of squirrels. Alison was with me. We had our private comments of course. She is not terribly appreciative of contemporary or abstract art. She found that she could relate to the landscapes though, and actually came across a few of places that she has visited. As to the O’Keeffe pieces, I have mixed feelings. There were a few of the less suggestive floral paintings, and none of the landscapes that show deep, late day sun stroked mountain clefts, because this museum is decidedly conservative when it comes to any real or imagined erotically charged art. They played it pretty safe, which I suppose I should have expected. Her pieces were mixed into the gallery housing our northwest artists interpretations of Western art. This area is where I really lost Alison since their interpretations seem to be highly stylized.

We moved on, found ourselves to be starving and had every intention of having a late lunch in the museum cafe. It is small, and was packed with yet more of those seniors out for the day. I was all set for some Thai soup and a panini, but that wasn’t going to happen. Fortunately Alison suggested a small eatery close to her office. The city itself was deserted. I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to drive through those quiet streets that are normally loud and crowded.

So we ate at Happy Belly. They have almost as many smoothie and juice choices on their menu as food items. I think that we ended up quite happy, our bellies included, after a large cup of chai tea, roasted red pepper/kale soup, and a slightly spicy, creamy and veggie filled sandwich on toasted english muffin. Alison and I talked long about her job hunt. Some of it disappointing, like internal government jobs that she apparently CANNOT apply for, as well as her willingness to go back to her roots of archaeology**, or any science related field that would have her actually. We ventured into the area of college education benefits versus cost versus outcome and concluded that above all else, very few twenty-two year old people are realistically well prepared to begin a career, and that more doors seem to remain closed rather than swinging wide and welcoming.

I think that some of my angst and disappointment over her current search for a real job comes because it wasn’t all that difficult when I was searching for my very first job and I want it to be easy for her. My chosen profession at the time was very specific though. Time will tell in this case and life will go on, as it is destined to do.

**Dear feline friend Carol, if by chance you come across this post I mentioned LOUD mom some time ago to Alison, who would be very interested in any and all ideas LM might have on moving back to, and forward with, her original archaeology goals. Her trowels, brushes and picks stand ready.

Needed: The Ability to Hold Still When Taking a Picture

I did a little color practice with the art this weekend.

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I happen to have a kit that not only had the black pens typically used for these drawings, but also a few other colors so I thought that I’d pull them out. I don’t think that I’d use them often. For these sorts of swatches I actually like the black on white best. Color is great if you are doing mandala’s or purposefully trying to create drama. I’ve developed a significant library of designs so now I feel that I have great choices to draw from, but I don’t feel as if I have the knowledge to use color well at this point. I think I’ll stick with what I know for now.

These last two were fun, yet again I have to apologize for the blurry picture. It’ also really easy to tell when I’ve been working too long. My lines get wavy and my end points get sloppy, but sometimes it’s hard to stop once you get started.

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