Friday, October 31, 2008


I bought candy for the tricksters but I forgot to turn my porch light on, so I was bypassed, and now I have a bowl of Kitkats to keep me company this evening. I've put them out of reach in the kitchen, but I know where the step stool is. We'll see how I do.

We're still a couple hours shy of the midnight hour so I'm jumping the gun just a little but I can't wait any longer to wish my daughter a Happy 13th birthday. The cake is cooling on the rack (more chocolate!) and there will be pizza tomorrow. Tonight she's celebrating with her dad. When she comes home she'll be a teenager.

We colored her hair a vibrant red. If I'm lucky tomorrow she'll let me take her picture.

The image above is of a mask she created for me at this year's Live & Learn conference. I wore it to the Masquerade Ball on the last night of the conference, when we all gathered in the big hall to dance to Abba and the Village People.

I miss my unschooler buds. As the nights grow chilly I long for autumn bonfires and stargazing with my tribe. Some of them are gathering in Tennessee this weekend. We're there in spirit.

Tomorrow the BBPiT and I are up early to attend a campaign event with Joe and Jill Biden. Apparently the Democrats believe this traditionally Red State is still up for grabs. We haven't gone blue in these parts since 1964. I remember feeling hopeful on the eve of the '92 election, and silly me, I'm hopeful once more. We'll see.

Have a spirit-filled weekend.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Post-it Post

I've got a Holiday Art Sale coming up, along with two shows to hang in the next several weeks, so my work has involved more needle and thread these days than keyboard. But I've got a goal I'm bearing down on in the word-works department, a little book I hope to have finished by that Significant Birthday I mentioned in my last post. (There, now I've told you, so I really need to get it finished or I'll have you to answer to.)

Meanwhile I have a dear friend who has been in and out of the hospital for a month, another who is neck-deep in family issues, a third who is caught by a restlessness of spirit for which she can find no release. Send them your good thoughts, would you? We need to raise each other up right now. Today. Always.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Dreadful Selfish Crime

I am guilty of a dreadful, selfish crime.

I have wasted all my precious time.

Robert Earl Keen

On a recent weekend I wandered around the house with my tea mug in hand, looking for a place to alight and do nothing. I found several suitable locations: the comfy chair in the living room, the comfy chair in my bedroom, the comfy chair in front of the desktop computer. I spent considerable time in each of them.

I watched The West Wing on dvd. I re-read Artemis Fowl: the Opal Deception (a young-adult fantasy novel of great creativity and little depth. The perfect choice.) I played computer games. I browsed the web. I found Sheboygan, Wisconsin and decided I had to go there. They have a beautiful art center, which is a good enough reason to make the trip, but really, I just want to tell people I’m going to Sheboygan. I like saying the name. Sheboygan.

Anyway, I’m approaching a Significant Birthday. A milestone birthday. And I’m wondering if maybe I’ve allowed myself a few too many weekends like that one. It’s the kind of thing you wonder as birthdays like this roll around. Am I doing enough? Am I contributing enough? Have I accomplished anything? Am I making a difference? Or am I spinning my wheels, idling, wasting my (all of a sudden very) precious time?

Luckily for me, this past Friday I performed with my guitar at a local Peace with Justice event at a church across the river. I heard the hostess introduce me with words like “published poet” and “artist” and “unschooler.” None of those words applied to me ten years ago, when I first started performing. All of them took some work -- and some time -- to achieve. Now they're a part of who I am, and what I've done. What I do. So really, I have been busy. It just doesn’t seem that way – or feel that way – on a day-to-day basis.

On a day-to-day basis the grass doesn’t appear to grow, either.

Lots of people never have the good fortune of being introduced to an audience and hearing their accomplishments enumerated. But we can enumerate them ourselves. And we should. Even if you’re not staring down a Significant Birthday, you can still take stock. Maybe you’ll realize that you are indeed wasting your precious time -- and you'll get up and get going. And maybe you’ve done a lot more than you give yourself credit for, even as you know there’s so much more to do. If that's the case, maybe you can give yourself a wee bit of a break, already.

Consider: if I hadn’t been wasting time that weekend, I wouldn’t have discovered (here it comes again) Sheboygan. I’m thinking road trip. I hear it’s pretty there this time of year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

Jesus was a man who traveled through the land,
A hard-working man and brave.
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

Woody Guthrie

Today is Blog Action Day. This year's theme is Poverty. Given the focus of the news media and the world's governments these past few weeks, all I can think is, how ironic.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Okay, Now We're Awake

We were late. Rushing out the door to get downtown for an unscheduled appointment. Dragonstar wasn't even quite awake. Eyes at half-mast, bagel in hand. She ducked her head and climbed into the back seat of my little two-door compact car.

And shrieked. And flew back out of the car, pale, tripping over the seat belt in her frantic haste.

The eyes were wide now. Very wide. I thought a bee had gotten into the car. She is frightened of bees. No, it wasn't a bee.

"It's the spider."

Not a spider. The spider. This one, who has been sharing our back porch for weeks.

She is perhaps three inches long from tip to toe. Black body, striped and dotted with white and green and red. A garden spider. Her web is large, 18" across, with the characteristic zig-zag down the center. She had originally spun it between two tall bamboo sticks on the porch. But sometime during the night she had left the bamboo, crawled across the carport, climbed into my open car window and made a new web, suspended from the rear window, crossing to the headrest of the passenger seat in front.

Yeah. I would have backed out double time, too. And shrieked twice, just for good measure.

Dragonstar and I exchanged looks. We were late. We had to get the spider out. How was this going to happen?

I had no net handy, but I did have two badminton rackets nearby. Of all things. I grabbed them and was puzzling out how to put them to use when the BBPiT chose that moment (oh, happy day!) to come out on the porch to see what all the ruckus was about. I pointed into the car, handed him the badminton rackets, and prayed. He reached in and carefully caged the spider between the two rackets, brought her out and set her back in the bamboo.

"Roll up your window from now on," he said.

Will do, bucko.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's Done

Sometimes the Big Picture gets away from me. I lose my place in line, forget what the point was, digress into the minutia that is my daily life: the spilled ink, the stray bits of thread, the distraction of national drama and dishes piled in the sink. What is all this? I ask, and where did my Big Life go?

I had this Grand Idea a few weeks back, and it was Exciting and Important (well, to me, anyway), and I called upon the winds of Imagination and Visualization to fill my sails and get me out of harbor, and now, a few short weeks into it, I'm back to using my oars and feeling silly out here in the middle of the ocean, bobbing like a cork, no land in sight.

Artists don't dream of making great art, say the authors of Art & Fear, they dream of having made great art. Or, as Dorothy Parker put it, I hate to write. I love having written.

I visualize the end product, but not the daily process. That's my error. Because one page at a time, one sentence at a time, it's the doing that matters. What's done is just... done.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Truly Gifted Blogger

.... knows how to keep you coming back for more. Or is that Moore?

(Go ahead and click. I promise it's not the Moore that makes some of you crazy...)

Tip of the hat to Lisa Hoffman for the link.

Credit: sculpture by Kelly Moore