Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eastern time warp

Still working on getting back to east coast time - not very successfully.  It is almost 2:am here and I am just thinking  I should get to bed because my body thinks it is 11:pm.

I could have sworn the sun was out by the time I finally woke up this morning, but it disappeared mid-morning under a tropical downpour that lasted for several hours.  So much for my intended food shopping expedition: I did not leave the house till my 4:pm trudge up to the mailbox.

BUT - just as well, because I was forced to continue cleaning off the dining room table for the whole day. Progress, sort of.

I've been throwing out pictures of scenery, people either I don't know or that my children (who will inherit this stuff) don't know, and all the blurry pictures of unidentifiable objects and persons.

I have been filling 9x12 envelopes for friends and relatives, of people whose faces they would like to have: ancestors; deceased parents, and the like. 

This past weekend in the East Bay, I handed my friend Michael pictures of his parents who were close friends of my own parents.  Tomorrow, I am having lunch with a friend I haven't seen in years so I can give her some photos of her late mother. I have tracked down the daughter of my mother's first cousin because I have pictures of her parents and her grandparents that I suspect she has never seen because they belonged to my grandmother and when she died, my mother took them.  But what about the people whose offspring have died or moved or married or live in foreign countries and I don't know who/what/where they are?  What do I do with the pictures of my grandfather's sister's grandchildren in Israel or Argentina, whose names I don't know - but whose parents(no doubt dead) I have pictures of?

All of this requires decision-making: there are duplicates and triplicates of photos I already own.  What do I do with them?  There are five billion pictures of baby Rayna (aren't there always of the first kid?) - Rayna in the carriage; in blonde curls, in braids as she grew, and then after the braids were cut off in 3rd grade.  Oh, yes - and what do I do with the braids, which are still in virgin condition, wrapped in tissue paper? And the curl from my first haircut?  REALLY!

The last straw was this photo. This vicious-looking creature was in our backyard at a picnic.  We never owned a dog; none of our guests owned a dog. What was this?

And why, when I turned the picture over, had my mother written "Decoration Day, 1959."
Why on earth would she keep a picture of a random animal?  But why not? She kept everything else. Trust me, I am not keeping it.

Sigh...I am off to bed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunday-Monday in the East Bay

Day off on Sunday to catch my breath between classes.  What a lovely idea!  Time to catch up with friends.  

Carol Larson and I got together for a lunch and gabfest, which was great.  We went to brunch at the elegant restaurant, Gather.  The bar was so beautiful that I couldn't resist taking this photo.  
Afterwards, we went our separate ways: Carol to an art opening, and I back to the house to rest up for an evening out with my childhood friend, Michael.
 This morning (Monday) , this is the scene from my host's window. If you look really hard you can see the Golden Gate Bridge -- but it's hard to see how red it looked.  Gorgeous!
Then it was back to class -- this time, a day of using those hard-to-use fabrics that have been sitting around because you couldn't figure out how to use them.  For the students who printed on Saturday, it as a chance to cut into their masterpieces and force themselves to be creative with them.

Remember the orange print from yesterday's post?  Here it is, in process.
There were lots of others in process, too - and I can't wait to see the pictures of the finished pieces.
My students did Show and Tell  with their in-progress pieces after I finished my talk.  And at the end of the evening, the requisite celebrity shot with Roberta Horton & Mary Mashuta. What fun!
Meantime, I'm flying home tomorrow and look forward to coming back here in the (relatively) near future.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

feet still up

Here I was yesterday, after a wonderful day of teaching surface design to a creative bunch of East Bay quilters.  Too tired to even charge my phone, I rested till it was time to go out to dinner.  Truthfully, this was a class that energized me; it just didn't energize my feet.

Being in Berkeley again after about five years is really a joy!  It is beautiful here and probably ties with Boulder as one of the places I'd love to live if I wanted to leave New Jersey.  But hey - too much beauty would make me feel deprived.

Of course, there was plenty of beauty in the printed fabrics that emerged at the end of yesterday's class, Can this Fabric be Saved?  Students brought in their ugly and/or blotchy fabrics, or ones they just didn't like any more and went to work on them.

These were just a few.  Tomorrow, we'll see how they will be used.  Meantime, I am still resting my feet, getting ready for a Sunday with two old friends (in succession).   Enjoy your own Sunday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mission District love

I arrived in San Francisco yesterday and spent the afternoon with my friend Rachel, who moved here two years ago from New Jersey.  I'll be at her house till Friday morning, when I head for Berkeley.

Today was her turn to gallery sit at CityArt on Valencia St, so this morning we walked over there and along the way, my camera was hard at work.  I told Rachel they could blindfold me and drop me and I would know immediately which city I was in.

Rachel  lives in a neighborhood adjacent to the famed Mission District, where we spent the rest of the afternoon.  While she sat in the gallery, I went out for a walk around the neighborhood - a vibrant urban section that is just the kind of place I love.
This gorgeous building was obviously once a movie palace; now a parking lot.  A parking lot??
As I walked, I looked for a place to have lunch -- there were a million choices.  But it wasn't till I saw this sign in an arcade on Mission Street that I knew I had found it. Pupusas!!!  Salvadoran - made to order, and simply fabulous.  Jessica and Tommy introduced me to pupusas, which they discovered in an outdoor foodmarket in Brooklyn some years ago.  There is a Salvadoran restaurant in my town which has good pupusas but I had not had them anywhere else (or in ages).  
It was a lunch counter and I was the only Anglo in the place: a good sign.
San Francisco (or at least this area) is an outdoor visual treat: murals everywhere and plenty of delicious graffiti.  Just seeing it all has made me want to get back to work!  Color!! Bold Graphics

As Rachel and I walked home, these murals below were only a few of the ones that decorated the fences and garage doors in an alley.  My phone was dying from using the camera, so I couldn't take pictures of all of them.  But this will give you an idea of the Mission beautification project.

Enough for today.  Tonight, out for a French dinner with another friend from New Jersey who just flew in to attend a wedding.  Have to go get pretty:-).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Getting up early tomorrow for a flight to San Francisco. Spent the week working on the dining room table's pile of family photos, trying to make order of chaos.  So far, no luck and I will have to throw everything into boxes and haul them into my sewing room when I get back.  Among the old photo albums, my parents' ration book from WWII, my father's draft notice (and his deferral, thank goodness), and lots of other goodies. I am putting them into a notebook.

My car was making terrible noises over the weekend so I took it into the dealer for service. It needed a 45,000 mi checkup anyway.  As I predicted, there were a few things that needed replacing and/or adjusting. All is well, but I did rack up a lot of miles on my credit card...

 The bright spot of the day was a visit from my friend Jennifer, her son, and her beautiful 3 month old daughter. They came for lunch. Ooooh - I loved holding that little bundle while she slept.  You forget how little and precious they are because they grow so fast.  Just look at the love on Jen's face as she holds her sleeping baby.
In the meantime, my formerly sleeping baby has morphed into this teeny bopper in training.  We face-timed tonight (she is in Wisconsin visiting her Nana) and compared our pedicures.  We both have blue polish on our toes:-)). 
That's my girl!
Short post - I need to hit the sack so I can make my plane tomorrow morning.  Next stop, the west coast!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I love my iPhone

 Um - originally, this was supposed to be a strictly art related blog. hahahahaha - so much for that.  Art and life are one -- although, since I haven't done any art lately I am beginning to wonder what is happening with my life. Ah, well. I have decided not to worry about it.  I have not been in the studio, have no idea what I am going to do next (besides revise my color class) and you know what? it's ok.  Life is too short.

This is a non-sequitor.  Who out there does not love his/her iPhone?    Pretty much forced into buying one several  years ago (2009?) in Houston, when I lost my charger (or rather, couldn't find it) on a trip -- it was the least expensive alternative at the AT&T store in Houston (my flip phone was so old they didn't make a charger for it any more, OF COURSE) -- I bought the iPhone 3, kicking and screaming, for $99.  After my husband died in 2011, I traded it for an iPhone 4, which I still have.  No need for Siri or a higher resolution camera - I am happy.  Not ready to trade up at this point, but you never know. I am rather wedded to the charger for my old iPhone and highly resent having to deal with the new one. Bah!

Last weekend at the farmer's market I spotted this odd looking vegetable. I forget what it was, but it doesn't matter because I didn't buy it.  Can anybody identify this?

Ok, now that I am past that -- on to this week.  I have been walking every day - sometimes more, sometimes less.  Watching what I eat (except today and I don't care) and we shall see whether I become 20 years younger and svelter in a few months.  Do not hold your breath, o dear readers.  I am not holding mine.  But exercise can't hurt.

Today started as an ordinary day.  Paid bills,went for a walk around the complex that burned enough calories for me to have a Ritz cracker and still come out even;spent 2 hours sorting out my mother's financial mess. As I was almost home, my daughter Hilary called to say she was at her friend (since 3rd grade) Jen's house and they invited me over to hang out in the driveway in lawn chairs. Since I hadn't seen Jennifer in a couple of decades, I hightailed it over there.  Meantime, Jennifer called her parents, whom I haven't seen in even longer and they came over to see me.
We sat in the drieway drinking Prosecco to celebrate, and had the best time!! 

Ya know - there are some people that it doesn't matter how many years go by, you pick up where you left off and it is wonderful.  Here we are in Jennifer's driveway, having the best time!  Jennifer's father took the photo.

l-R Lois (Jennifer's' mother), Jennifer, my daughter Hilary (in sunglasses)and her mother.  cheers!  It was great, even though I didn't have my makeup on and was slouching.
So now, here I am at home, late - awake, happy, relaxed, and looking forward to the weekend and whatever it will bring.  Tomorrow, another day at home dealing with THE STUFF, packing for my trip to San Francisco (yay!) and hoping the cool/dry/perfect walking weather will hold.  I love the tank of autumn in the air while the trees are still green.  Do you?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

staring into space

After dinner tonight I went to the park and walked a couple of miles in an effort to do my body some good.

I am actually so tired that I have not moved from my chair & ottoman in several hours (except to make some vanilla frozen yogurt in an effort to give myself some energy.  It failed to do so, but the yogurt was delicious. I put raspberries and mango on top.
While I was sitting here vegitating, I thought I'd check out Jessica's FB page and was delighted to see some pictures from Fire Island last weekend.  
I posted for the first time in eons and was deluged with messages. How nice!  I also discovered that two babies arrived while I was away from FB and I missed those events. Tsk tsk, bad me. Will have to be more diligent about checking Facebook. The world goes on without me.

I did admit that I've been spending so much time cleaning up the physical, financial, and legal messes my mother left for me that I have hardly had time to post here, never mind Facebook.   So please indulge my absences.

The weather here continues to be hot and muggy and rainy, but the other morning it was lovely and I looked out to see 3 bambis, very close, chomping away at the grass in the yard.  They stopped and stared at me, but the minute I raised my iPhone, they ran like the wind. This one didn't go too far, but he stood very still when he got to the edge of the woods, here.
                                The view from my deck as they scattered.  Cheesh, they are fast!

Today was a day of errands - bank, surrogate's office, blah bah blah.  I did stop at the wonderful Fairway Market that opened recently about 1/2 hour away to buy a couple of pounds more of the Santo Domingo dark coffee I love -- and oh, yes, I voted in the special primary election in New Jersey.   The polls have been closed for a while now, so I am going to check the news and get some rest.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Color, Color, Color

It is rare that I sit down to blog mid-afternoon, but I am taking a break.  It is also rare that I am home all day, spending time in my sewing room at the semi-cleaned off cut/iron table. This is no great sacrifice, since it rained for part of the day and is quite humid again.

I spent the day tweaking/fine-tuning/revising/revamping/redesigning my color wheel-less class, Fearless Color. Still not done, but it did give me the opportunity to fondle/feel/organize/play with a whole bunch of 5" squares of solid colors. Ahhh....

I also cut some skinny strips of neutrals, just for a change.  Each packet of squares has  1 each of ROYGBV.  But here's the challenge: since we are thinking in color families instead of color wheels, there is variation not only in value (light-dark just in case you've been on another planet) and in how pure or greyed-down a color is. 

I noticed something interesting in the color packets I bought for this class: there are lots of greens and almost no oranges -- true in every value and range and assortment. Hmmm...this did not make my life easy, but every packet is different and random and it should be interesting when we start to work with them.

Lots of people are interested in taking a color class, but everyone's needs and experience are different.  Because I work on a purely intuitive level I have never had trouble with color choices.  But as long as I am revising/revamping etc. this class, I would really be interested in what stumps you about color choices (if anything) and what your dream class on color would include.  Of course, there's not a lot we can do in a one-day class (which seems to be what most guilds want, sadly enough) - but as I edit the longer class, I'd love to have your input.

In the meantime, I have accumulated a huge bag of strips of various sizes and OMG, have to use/give away/ some of these before I do another thing.  This is only ONE bag. don't ask about the bins and boxes. 

Rosh Hashanah is coming up right after Labor Day: maybe I should think about starting the New Year with a relatively clean slate.  We'll see.

Finally, this sign was in the rest room in Greenwich Village's Caffé Reggio last weekend.
Meant to post it on wordless Wednesday but forgot I had taken the picture.  HUH??  I'd like to know what they had in mind.

Ok - that's it for now.  Feel free to comment about what you'd like in a color class -- I'd love to hear it.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

caffeine and sugar

A recipe for staying up late?  Well, so far the caffeine seems to be wearing off -- but it is quite late (or early, as the case may be).

To distract myself from all this estate stuff during the day, I have been treating myself to a re-org (for a change) of the sewing room.  I spent my nights emptying the rolling bins where everything  was buried under everything else; sorting, and then putting them neatly into 7 lovely stackable drawers.

 LOL - these were hand-me-ups from my grandsons, who have outgrown the Ninja Turtles and pajamas that previously occupied the containers.   What didn't fit there is going into the stackable rolling bns and other plastic boxes. 

Lo and behold, as I dug, I discovered an entire bin of my hand-printed fabrics.  I wondered where they were.
 A drawer for Handloom Batiks and a random other Indian batik or two.
 Wow! I actually have a drawer of black& whites and neutral prints.Who knew?
                 And a place for my non-Usha batiks and a miscellaneous fabric or three.

 Now, of course, the trick is to find the time to actually use some of these beauties. Before I can do that, however, I need to deal with the horizontal surface that purports to be my cutting/ironing space.
That remains for tomorrow.  Fortunately, I can sleep late because I don't have an appointment in the morning.

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...