Thursday, July 29, 2010

Annual Awards Time -- The Dollies

About this time last year I awarded the Lizzies, a bunch of awards consisting of being thanked in here (big reward!) for having contributed to the quality of life around the Adams household, and since the heatwave of July slowed down my brain cells to an occasional clickety click instead of the usual high speed action, I'm a bit late this year with the Awards.

This year, they're named for the Dollivers, who have taken over around here, so they're the Dollies! and a little doll shall lead them...speaking of which, my pic today is not the Dollivers, but the group of miniature dolls who've lived here forever, not yet joined by the porcelain rescued mini who still needs surgery, and made firm representations that they too should serve..stories about them for another time.

First Dollie, for Courage and Cheerfulness to Boot, goes to Ari, who, at a truly hard time in her own life, with difficulties most of us can hardly imagine, let alone battle with, still stops in here now and then with a wry and funny and very much to the point comment. This is heroic. Take a bow, Ari! and a pat to Buddha.

Second Dollie, for Terrific Work and Reliability, keeping the Adams household really ticking nicely over, clean and organized and happy, goes to wonderful cleaning team Petra and Libor, who show up bang on time, every time, on schedule, are as thorough now as they were at the beginning, always cheerful, kind to both of us. And they leave our house just beautiful every time they come. Thanks so much Petra and Libor!

Third Dollie for Moral Support of the First Water Based on Knowing How It Is, goes to Ruth L. who despite her own heavy workload, never fails to encourage and send me friendly emails when we can't see each other, with new thoughts and ideas, and who totally gets it about knitting and how it is a meditative experience, like her skillful embroidery. I'm planning to be her when I grow up.

Fourth Dollie for Remembering that I Have a Track Record, goes to Heather C., who invited me to write support material earlier this year, for her proposed writerly residency at a prestigious retreat place, making me feel all included, significant and connected. And she did get the residency, but credit for that goes to her own talent.

Penultimate Dollie for this year goes to some anonymous person, whoever invented the Carpet of Seeds that I planted in containers which has given me a whole array of wild and tame flowers and joy, has attracted goldfinches, a first, to the front yard, also butterflies and about ten kinds of dragonflies, and Carolina wrens. Don't know who it was but they deserve a bunch of dollies...

Then the Ultimate Dollie goes to all you faithful blogistas and blogistos, who read and enjoy and keep this bloggerly artform valid and interesting to pursue, and run your own blogs, too. Thank you all.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dollivers and the Art of Dabbling

The Dollivers, confined to the house by the heatwave and getting a bit stir-crazy, decided to go on a Tour of the House and the Arts.

Top floor, the studio, what to do, what to do? paint? draw? crayon? all of the above?

when in doubt do everything.

Then down one floor to where the music lives, and a stab at Corelli.

Astute observers will notice that the trio is playing a duet, but heck, when the instrument's as big as you are, you need a little help.

Folk flute, sopranino and soprano are the instruments in the experiment. This is HARD!

So down to the ground floor, where the domestic arts reign, and a spot of knitting, like a return to their origins in a way....

OMG, she's knitting a, a, a.....LEG!!!! aaaaaaghghghghghgh. No wonder my hat's blowing off..

But all this exposure to the arts will no doubt make us broader, better, deeper dolls.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HP, Highly Powerful Handsome Partner, checks in

Several inquiries lately into the situation and progress of HP, about whom I haven't posted much lately. Largely because we haven't had any big dramatic issues, just more daily maintenance sorts of things, which is actually good news.

Physically he's doing well in that he's not deteriorating, which is what you hope for at this point, constant care and attention to his skin and general health and hygiene yielding good results. Mentally, not such a good picture. He's getting toward 80, and his mental faculties tend to waver, memory failing rapidly, and difficulty in focusing on conversation and keeping track of it, or of discussions on radio and tv.

He still sort of reads the newspapers, and history books, listens to favorite radio programs of discussions, watches favorite news programs and sports events on tv. Some of his misperceptions are comic, as when he assured me, after watching the Newshour on PBS, that Mark Twain's autobiography was withheld for 100 years because he wrote that we sent child troops into Somalia. Thereby neatly conflating two different news stories into one.

It reminded me of the Friends episode where Rachel turns two pages in the recipe book and ends up with hamburger in the middle of the English trifle!

But other times it's piercingly sad to have lost my debate partner, the person I've argued and debated with endlessly over many many years, and who now is unable to follow a long sentence, let along formulate an answer. He loves to watch tennis, soccer and golf on tv,

here he is watching Geezer Golf, aka Senior Men's Open from Carnoustie, but even there, when he starts to tire, he loses track and asks me who these people are, what are they doing, how will they know when they're finished, that sort of baffled question.

And he tends to forget that I'm not in charge of what programs are put on, that I don't actually arrange the whole world! like a little kid who believes his mother arranges what happens everywhere.

Big adjustments for me. But overall he's happy, doing well, and thrilled to continue to be at home. And I am too, oddly enough. It seems amazing that a person in my situation can still be happy, but, most of the time, with some screaming jags when it all goes wrong, I really am.

I miss getting out and about with ease, though I really value my respite time -- you'd be amazed how much you can do in a couple of hours, and enjoy it totally, when that's all you have! -- but when I see how much better he's doing than he would in other circumstances such as a nursing home, how peaceful and happy our household really is, it's so worth it.

I know this may not go on forever, and I'm aware that I have to be alert for signs that it's too much for me. But, for now, we're managing okay.

And thank you all for asking about him, and me, and us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Too rich or too thin?

This remark, "a woman can never be too thin or too rich" or variants thereof, has been attributed to the Duchess of Windsor, to Jackie Kennedy, to Diana Vreeland, and to a socialite I'd never heard of, a Mrs. Douglas. All of them wealthy and thin women, but I wonder which of them would have been so crude as to say such a thing. All I know for certain is that I didn't say it.

I surmise that dress designers probably sign up for the belief at the start of their careers, catering to their own image of clothes as expensive and looking best on a tall thin body. Fashion is not about actual women, and certainly not about making them feel good in their clothes. It's an art form in a way, that bears no relevance to the person, only to their bodies, which are simply warm dress forms, especially desirable if they have broad shoulders from which clothes hang best.

Which brings me to "The Thoughtful Dresser" by Linda Grant, a series of essays examining the role of clothing and women's attitudes to it. At first I thought I'd never read anything written in such an angry defensive crouch: I love and need clothes, they're important to me, don't dare diss me on account of it, and if you don't agree with me you're either a baby who isn't aware of clothes, or you're a fool. And so on.

But after she describes herself, in painful detail, as a plain woman with fat ankles and a broad square body, you start to see that it's the cry of a plain woman wanting to be seen as lovely, as beautiful, as fine just as she is, and needing her clothes to wave that magic wand to this end.

And you start to see what a powerful writer she is, even if you don't agree with her, which I often don't, and you are carried along on the surge of her prose, together with moving accounts of women who survived the holocaust and terrible suffering which is hard even to read about, and yet kept their vanity and their need to look elegant. The magic power of clothes to make the woman.

Her own mother was a serious shopper and dresser and believed that the bag makes the outfit. To me that's deep down, profoundly shallow as a mantra for life, but to her it was a central belief. Because I think a lot of this is based on the need to accede to other people's opinions about how you look, that you could cringe on being caught with last year's handbag, or be unable to wear a favorite pair of shoes which are now totally out of fashion, and out of your decade in life.

Now and then she does acknowledge that there's fun and joy in clothes, too, but she does it with such frantic insistence that I think the lady doth protest too much.

Nonetheless this book is so well worth looking at and considering. Until I read this I had no idea that people outside of the fashion world to whom it's a living, cared this much about clothes and outfits and colors and shapes and fit. So I learned a lot.

As a woman who has never been what Heyer would call a diamond of the first water, nor yet plain, I've been largely more on the acceptable to nice side in looks, not too heavy, not too tiny, not too tall, curly hair I like a lot, letting its color change with age, that kind of thing. So I've never had to grapple with the reality that clothes are designed for someone I can never be. I've just worn what I liked when I liked to, within quite large boundaries of acceptable. Admiring elegance, but never wanting it for myself.

The fact that according to Grant, I shop like a man -- know exactly what I'm looking for, find it in a store, pay for it, get out of there --probably says something about me! she loves shopping even without buying, loves to see what's there, spend time in stores, admiring the colors and what's new this year. To me that is as exciting as watching white paint dry on a white wall.

What puzzles me is her insistence that her obsession ought to be everyone's obsession, at least that's how it reads to me. To me, it's okay to like what you like, no need to insist the world join you in it in order to validate your choices.

All in all, this is a terrific read in the sense of anthropology, if you're of my frame of mind, but would probably be a terrific read of validation if you do share her outlook.

Anyway, either way, it's a five star piece of writing. And I'd love to hear from blogistas and blogistos who have read it, or have opinions on this whole idea even if you haven't.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Caution: Dollivers at Work

Despite the dolls' claims that the pillow front

and back

are in fact doll blankets,they have now been assembled into their true destiny, as a pillow to join the multitude on the sofa. The pillow form I rescued from the dumpster, and the yarns are from my thrift store finds and donations. Front of the pillow

is the log cabin design I showed you earlier, and the back is knitted diagonally,

one of my favorite approaches for practically anything that can't be fixed with aspirin or pachysandra.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reba, guitar and synaesthesia!

Now and then I get off on the subject of synaesthesia, which I now discover I always spell the britspeak way, with the extra a in the second syllable, oh well, and there's a terrific new book out, on experiments of discovery in this area, with a lot of subjects. "Wednesday is Indigo Blue."

It's the phenomenon of having more than one sense triggered at one time: some of us have it vividly when we hear sounds, colors appear in the mind's eye, or somewhere like that, or shapes, or movement. Similarly for some people colors evoke literal taste in the mouth. Or sounds.

My first violin teacher used her powers of synaesthesia to help me tune my violin. When I had the strings tuned properly, the "colors" she could literally see in her mind's eye, were the right shades. And when she checked against an electronic tuner, she was always right.

I have this to a marked extent, always have had. Most of mine involves the images evoked by sounds, names, words, that sort of thing. And they don't change throughout life.

This book might be more information than most of us want to know about the subject, but it's worth dipping into. And one terrific discovery they made, which vindicates me, is that a lot of us synaesthetes have little to no sense of direction. One of their subjects in fact described exactly my own experience: I can visualize place A and place B, could draw them in detail for you. What I can't do is fathom how to get from one to the other. I can follow maps and directions just fine, but have no innate sense of whether I'm going in the right direction, or whether I need to veer across in order to get to place B, that kind of thing. And kind friends pointing out that if I study the position of the sun, all will be fine, don't quite grasp that the sun may know where it is, but I sure don't!

But this study shows that people like me are not clowns nor dumb, and that direction is simply not something you can learn, any more than if you do not have synaesthesia, you can learn to have it. It would be interesting to know from you, dear blogistas and blogistos, if you have synaes. or if you have a skilled sense of direction, or even both if you are amazingly lucky!

There's still a lot of debate over how synaesthetes come to be that way. The belief is currently that all babies start out with it, then as they learn more skills, particularly reading and writing, they focus on fewer of the senses and the crossover tends to fade away. With some of us it doesn't fade, and we are very fortunate, since it's a huge enrichment to life. Most artists have it to a marked extent.

This current study also confirms that it was for many years thought to be very rare, since people who have it assume that everyone else does, just a normal part of everyday life, as I did for years and years. I was stunned to discover as a teen that other people had no idea what I was talking about, were even quite rude about it, as if it were an attention-seeking device. Other people fear being considered odd and keep quiet about it after encountering this sort of response, or they think nobody else has this capacity.

But once the research was under way, it was found that a huge segment of the population has it in some form, and mostly love it as a precious part of life. I had the great privilege of having some of my own experiences used in the second edition of Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia, as a result of an interesting email exchange I had with him after reading the first edition. He had not heard about some of my perceptions before and was interested, particularly in the notion of seeing colors in my head or somewhere, which are not in the normal spectrum. Now you will often be told that is not possible, that the spectrum we are familiar with is the only one you can perceive, but some of us say, nope, there are other whole worlds of colors that we can't reproduce nor find in materials, but they exist for us somewhere!

Names are very evocative of color for me, and I thought you, dear blogistas, might be interested in seeing if yours appears here. Not all names bring out color or shape or movement, so don't feel omitted if yours doesn't.

Irene is a white, smooth area, with slightly ragged edges, very pleasant to see.

West is gray and slightly grainy, while Gabriella is a moving flounce of white satin, like the flourish of a flamenco dancer's skirt. Ruth is slightly indented reddish, rough surface. Annie is a downward curve, bluish. Mary-Carol, the Mary part doesn't do anything to me, but the Carol part is an orangy paper, with a single fold, the bottom part curving away. Avril is not a color, but it's a shape, a double peak, the right slope less abrupt than the left. Paula is an interesting amorphous shape of dark green and black tweedy material, like knitting (intriguing, since this has been my image from years and years before I came across knitting designer Paula). Paul, though, is different: greyish slope, declining to the right side.

So there you have a little of what I see all the time, everywhere, when I hear names and other sounds. Do any of you do likewise? I know Stefi does, since she salivates when she sees certain delicious colors!

And I was listening to Reba'a Greatest Hits and to Flamenco Guitar while I read the book, quite a mixture, terrific stuff. The book was very left brained, the music very right brained, and they worked together just fine. Except I had to keep stopping to marvel at Reba's vocal technique. I'm not much for country music, but her voice is an amazing instrument, and she knows exactly how to play it. She really could have had an operatic career, I think, with those pipes, but she knows what she likes to sing, and write, and this is it.

I wonder if she has synaesthesia, too, come to think of it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day and knitting

It just seemed appropriate to show some knitting in honor of Bastille Day. Madame Defarge checking in here...this is a Log Cabin piece, technique swiped from Mason Dixon Knitters, it's all their fault.

It's also a new addiction. I made a nice lap robe for HP using various cotton yarns, good for summer, and now I'm using part of a wonderful stash of pure wool I got at the local thrift recently. Great haul, mostly very good quality, very fresh smelling, unused, labels still in place and all that.

This green is so old that it's still called ombre! not self striping, and the label is that of a department store that was defunct about thirty years ago. The prices on some of the yarns are hilarious, too, definitely nostalgic. A nice find, and it saves a ton of harvesting, too.

About Log Cabin: it's one of those things that you get into while you're wondering what to knit next. Once you get going, you do it however you want to -- this time I did a diagonal square for the center and went from there, the yarn being busy enough not to need much more in the way of fancy steps. Not sure what it is going to be yet. It might be a blanket. Or an afghan. Or pillow cover. Or possibly a hot dish holder thing. It all depends on how I feel and how my hands hold up.

Honestly speaking, I'm probably doing this as a delaying tactic before getting back to my Hard Knitting, the Cardi Cover, which is not as hard as I thought at first, but it is still big..I need to have the heatwave firmly behind us before I proceed with it. And I bravely undid half a mat thing which I was liking less and less as I went along, decided life was too short, and there were other uses for the yarn.

Knitting simpler stuff is a great tranquillizer and there are days when that's just what I need around here.

But, on the subject of Getting Out and Doing Stuff: Yesterday Corelli was the target of the Dynamic Duo recorder players, as I seized the chance to get over to Stefi's and play duets. It is such a high point to do that, great fun, she is the best company, aside from being a pretty good musician into the bargain.

Poor Corelli survived our onslaughts more or less. We played a few earlier pieces, too, Elizabethan and Restoration, including a few I played on the flute in the recent past, and I had to womanfully avoid playing flute fingering out of force of habit. This is either very good for your brain or it makes it smoke with effort, one of the two. I believe there are people who think that the smoking-with-effort is itself good, but I dunno.

And the stephanotis finally woke up and has been putting out a ton of new foliage and buds galore, a little group of which have opened up, after I wondered if was ever going to do anything.

I had tended it all winter, no movement in any direction, not growing, not wilting, just sitting there as if it was waiting for a bus to come along.

I read that it's not easy to get it to flower again a second year, so I feel quite obnoxiously happy that it is doing so.

I also read that it grows like a weed and you have to contain it with a framework, which I'm not in too much danger of just yet.

And I wondered, while wandering around the patio, three steps in each direction, how come my wildflower containers, while very pretty, all kinds of colors, were only blossoming for a single day. I'd admire something and next day it was gone. Not withered, just gone. Until now I looked out and there was a squirrel sitting on the rim of a pot, holding a flowerhead like a pizza in his paws, munching straight through it. I seem to have planted a squirrel cafeteria.

One of the things I like about the flower carpet deal is that it's largely wildflowers and old fashioned seeds in the mix. I don't think gardening is about novelty, but about preserving as much as growing. Evidently the squirrels share my taste, since they have never bothered eating the other flowers at all, just the traditionally flavored ones.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dolliver's Travels Part the First

While our newest addition to the Dolliver family guards the tomatoes in the hanging basket from raiding squirrels,

the Knitted Girls, the Noodle Sisters, took to the road yesterday. First they thought it would be nice trespass in a friend's office and take over her desk while she wasn't there to defend it

and then to visit my paintings and sign in

then sit and rest their knitted toes on the sofa in the gallery.

This sofa looks exactly like a sculpture, to the point where I've been asked if it's really to sit on! but it's a marvelous idea, recycled wild grasses harvested in some part of the world, forget where, where they are a terrible nuisance, choking waterways. This is a great way to recycle them, not just to use them but to make something beautiful. The library has several versions of these chairs, all comfortable, relaxing, perfect for the human body.

And the Bookmark Cafe was a doll magnet,

complete with green tea and summer program schedule, and some plastic doohickeys donated by lovely libe lady Christina, for future art works in my studio.

Then on to more adventures on the road.

Dolliver's Travels Part the Second

Then off to the nearest historical village, Cranbury, whose main street was a main street before the Revolution, and still is.

The Inn was an inn then, too, serving people on the long trip by carriage and coach from Philadelphia. It even has the first traffic casualty known in these parts, a Scotsman returning from Philly after a good day of trading, which I suspect involved alcohol, since he fell out of his carriage. He's buried in the cemetery opposite the Inn, along with a lot of other history.

The dolls honored our predecessors in these parts by posing,

one in front of a sandstone gravestone, dated 1792, and which I found, after I'd done the pic, was that of a baby girl, aged seven days. So she got her dolly, a bit late, but I did say a prayer for her while I was there.

Then the other end of the spectrum, a marble modern stone (behind it is the original limestone one which has weathered to illegibility) honoring a man who fought in the Revolutionary War, but lived to what was then a ripe old age.

There were in fact skirmishes of the war right here on the street you see. I have an odd link of a connection with one: before HS was born, when I was eight months' pregnant, about this time of year several decades ago (!), I was visiting the cemetery in the course of researching NJ history, which was a big interest of mine at the time, and doing gravestone rubbings.

I came across a very very old man, who said he was still the custodian of the graveyard and showed me some of the most historical markers, since I was interested, and told me the story about the Scot who fell out of the carriage. Now, the custodian was in his very late 80s, and told me that his grandmother used to tell him how when she was a very small girl, she'd heard firing in the street, now Main Street Cranbury, and ran out to see what was what. Her mother was furious with her, yelled at her in a panic, dragged her back home, she never forgot it. And later they found that they had been in the middle of the skirmish.

So here was a link all that way from my unborn baby, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. A couple of weeks later, right after son's birth, I saw the old man's obituary in the local paper. So we caught a fragile link, just in time.

Cranbury is full of original early houses, the tiny ones, then later styles that were built in the 19th century and later.

The Bookworm is a beloved local secondhand bookstores whose owners I knew for years and years, so the Noodle Sisters paid their respects there, too, sneaking onto the back stairs

where people are not allowed any more, it being a bit ancient now. And admiring the views from the upstairs rooms

It's full of nooks and crannies where you can sit and browse among thousands of great books. They have an online business now, too, but people still love to visit the house itself.

And so home, to snooze in the knitting bag.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Swingin' on a star

The heatwave broke, and we are in the mere low 90s rather than the hundreds, and it feels positively pleasant out of doors. The container plants bore up pretty well, being watered twice daily, but some of the other ground growing plants got sunburned and may need to be taken out, oh well.

So the Gardeners got to work, checking on the baby's breath and the peppers sharing a stack of pots

and the bachelors' buttons and other wildflowers from the carpet o'flowers experiment

and just swingin' on a star because it looked like fun,

one on a spider plant and the other on a succulent I was given and if anyone can identify it for me, please do.

The Girls plan other expeditions now that the weather is okay for getting about outside. Watch this space!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Credit where it's due and other books

To note the official holiday, not that I actually get one (!) it's time for what I've read and what I'm about to read. Since the weather is heatwaving, these are not so much patio and beach books as cool living room books.

The dolls are posing with their book of origin, which I got from the library, but am now buying in order to give the writer her due for this lovely book. I didn't follow her patterns very closely, made Icord for the arms and legs, changed the way of doing the face, altered the stitching -- doll two is in garter stitch -- but used her basic recipes and had a great time doing it. More dolls will follow, I think, and I have a notion where they might go after they've had a good time at my house.

Doll two is completely made with harvested yarn. The underwear which she didn't want to show, is the lacy deal doll one has, knitted from cotton yarn from a sweater, and her dress is a piece of the sweater which I cut and adapted without unraveling it. The hair is black chenille yarn, since she didn't like her first do, as seen in the Bad Food picture, and requested dreads instead. So she got her dreads.

Then there's Rita Mae Brown's book on Animal Magnetism. She's a magnetic writer herself, and this one is touching and full of terrific wisdom and some sly humor, as well as her own biases -- she's a southerner through and through, still refers to the War Between the States. But like a quirky relative you ignore the bits that annoy and look at the great writing and lovely home photos of her with various of her animals, horses, about which she knows a lot, dogs, cats, she knows her wildlife, too, and cares for it, and understands the social lives of the creatures she shares her life with.

It seems to be Southern Women time, since Bailey White has cropped up again. She's from the deep South, stories of people who are most probably very much like her real relatives, very very funny and respectful at the same time. She used to do the occasional feature on public radio, in a massive deep contralto voice, wonderful broadcast sound, and I always thought she was some old lady, judging from her pace and opinions, and was stunned to see this pretty young woman on her book covers. She is so worth reading.

Neither of these writers require that you be a card carrying US resident, since their writing is simply so good it doesn't need footnotes. Just as the dollbook lady who is a Brit doesn't need translation either.

Then there's future writing, lying in wait for me: two Brits, Fay Weldon, who is unfailingly brilliant and incisive even at her most irritating (!) and a new writer to me, writing about her childhood with birds and learning falconry, the sort of highly specialized life I have no other way of knowing about unless people like Emma Ford tell me about them.

So that's the reading front.

Speaking of credit where it's due: thank you so much for the outpouring of emails and other communications about my recent post on caregiving. Just wonderful stuff. It helps more than you can know! and I hope nobody is now gunshy about saying the wrong thing to caregivers. Even if you think you've done it in the past, now you know and you will figure out other ways of saying stuff. And life's too short for a caregiver to go on being annoyed forever.

When in doubt, ask. If you want to help and don't know how, ask how you can help. Most of us have found ways of responding even people like me who are terrible at asking for help. Or offer to do a specific thing and ask if that would work. Like the neighbor who tells me when she's going to a great farmers' market I can't get to, and asks what I would like while she's there. That kind of thing. It doesn't add to her tasks, since she just buys a bit more than she would, then figures out how much I owe her, which is usually a laughably small sum.

Or a snailmail card or letter, just wonderful in these days when the mail typically brings bills and advertising material. We have a collage on a downstairs door that HP can easily see, of all kinds of cards and photos friends have sent us over the last year. It is enjoyed for ages.

That kind of thing. Just ways of keeping us both connected with the world, doesn't have to be elaborate.

So now it's the second Day of Bad Food, which is in fact the rest of the Bad Food which comes in packages too big for us for one meal. Hotdogs and rolls again, with the usual pickles, relish, ketchup, mustard, beans, potato chips....etc. must dash. Or, in view of the temp climbing to nearly 100, must proceed...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July to us all

Every country has a Fourth of July, but we don't all celebrate it, heh.

Anyway, the dolls, note the new sister, set up the Bad Food scene for the family's Fourth of July Independence Day celebration.

Wishing you Bad Food and a Good Day! and fireworks for all...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sleepless night, but art rules!

Every now and then I have one of those nights where sleep is a fantasy, and all the reading and making tea and chatting with kitties and that don't quite do it for resting purposes. Usually it's followed by a wonderful night's sleep, so this is not in the nature of a complaint.

Anyway, day before yesterday, I was pretty much watching the western sky through the drapes most of the night and when dawn began to break, I had the most wonderful reward for not being able to sleep -- the images I instantly shot, having searched for my camera in the dark, not wanting to wake the house, but this was too good to miss.

I wanted to share the visual experience with you. This is a mixture of the dawn's early light (sorry, we're near the Fourth, it just slipped out) and the street lights and the low level ambient light in the bedroom, coming through and bouncing off the drapes. The only adjustment I made to the pix was to brighten them a little bit so that your monitor would show them up better,and a small crop on one, the last one in this post. Couldn't resist putting in a bit of tilt here and there, too! Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, this is what I got.

This light effect lasted only a few minutes before the dawn got cracking and the birds started up and day really began. Magic time between night and day, always.

I've always been big on visual experiences, from being a tiny kid. I remember being given a little set of watercolors, one of those kid things, about six colors in a little tin box, and spending hours mixing them in glasses of water, just mixing colors in water and looking through them. And ignoring the sibs' loud complaints that I was WASTING that stuff, heh. Little did they know they were seeing my early art life.

And I had nutty little games like where I cut out a cardboard box to make a kind of house with doors and windows, and set it on a tray on my lap, and rolled marbles endlessly around, back and forward, tilting the tray, just to see how they moved and rolled and collided, as if they were crowds of hurrying people. I imagine there was some eyerolling about this game, too!

You can't explain art games to people who don't instinctively get what you're doing, but they are wonderful to a little kid. It's like the game where you study the clouds to see what they're doing and what they look like.

Yesterday we had a Georgia O'Keeffe sky, like a flock of little sheep all over a blue sky. One of her later and larger paintings is about exactly that, so it influenced how I see that kind of sky forever. Just as Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem about dappled things influenced permanently the way I see the cloud formation known as a mackerel sky.

Even the name of it is a poem, as you'd know right away if you'd see a live mackerel hooked into a fishing boat, as I did as a kid at Staithes, old fishing village on the northeast coast of England. Years before I got over it, actually, not being interested in killing anything, but the beauty of that dappled, rainbow colored leaping fish stays still, about 65 years later.

I think that kind of experience goes right to the limbic brain, just as scents do, to take up residence forever.