Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If A Tree Falls in the Forest

and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well of course not, I would answer, qualifying the answer by including birds and other hearing critters among the absentees. The falling tree would create the vibrations that we and such critters would interpret as sound if we were there, I would add, while putting aside such matters as the transmission of these vibrations across great (or small) distances to other sentient beings who might or might not be hearing the sound
Soooooooooo if a tree falls in the backyard of a sentient being and said sentient being ignores it, what happens? It returns to the dirt that birthed it, I would say and I offer the photo at the left as proof. I would remiss if I failed to point out the caribiner and chain attached to the tree trunk about two thirds of the way up. This was not an unloved tree, though we did not hear it falling. It held up one end of one of our two (much loved hammocks).

All this is prelude to The Presentation of The Moss. I like my back yard look of winter. Instead of the white coldness of snow, I get the sometimes moist greenness of moss. It reminds me of a summer visit to Amsterdam

in my 20's; the moss remains my second most vivid memory of the
city. And so, more pictures of moss, all of them clickable because they are so cool. The last one shows the remaining

hammock which will soon be stored in deference to winter's fierceness, Northern California style.

On a totally other subject, Thursday will begin my 5th week of on-track eating. I have been writing about this in my newest blog, Onwards: 11/11/09 to 11/11/11. I had not planned to provide a link to this blog until I'd reached 185 pounds, the weight at which I started Onwards, Getting Rid of the Regain on September 29, 2005. My current weight is considerably higher, but I feel confident that the only thing that now stands between me and my size tens is time. I invite you to join me as I narrow the distance from here to there.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wisdom From A Friend

My friend, Lesley Wolfetwain, wrote this when reflecting upon the Solstice. It resonates with me and expresses my wishes for my friends and family and for all of us human inhabitants of this planet.

Tomorrow morning the sun rises at its lowest point. The day after, it begins to rise, to promise spring and summer. For our ancestors, a time to rejoice. We have forgotten that joy; that the cycle of the seasons means the crops will grow again and there will be life for another year.

So I wish you all the joy of that knowledge of life. Of those things that make life beautiful; the love of friends and family, the laughter of stories and tales from our personal histories, the memory of those gone on from this world, and the dreams and hopes for tomorrow. Remember also the glory of Earth herself, the amazing physical structure of the land and water and the myriad of life that lives with us on this small planet in the dark of space. We are so blessed with this world, this special place that somehow gave humankind the chance to be what we are. That we can live and love and treasure that life.

Tonight go out into the night, look to the sky but also feel the earth in your hands. Whatever your faith, send a thank-you to the universe for what you have.

And know I love all of you very much.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Joyful Creation

I had originally entitled this post "Liberation (from The Cosmos) Finally!!!" Then I preloaded the pictures that I intended to use with it and came away with unexpected feelings. I will start this post as I'd initially thought I would, with the whoa-is-me weariness of a project that grew and grew until it absorbed too much of my time and threatened to smother me. In true narcissistic fashion, I have installed the pictures that include me or my project at full power so that the detail is available with a click of your mouse, while reducing all the others.

These pictures show the pain that I am willing to endure for Art (spoken with a tongue-in-cheek pretentiousness). They also demonstrate a certain idiotic perseverance. I could have reduced the extent of the scratches on my hands and arms with the judicious and arms with the judicious use of masking tape. Though the amount of time that I spent working on The Cosmos since my last post exceeded 50 or 60 hours, I couldn't be bothered with spending less than an hour to make it safer.

One of the most satisfying parts of my project was the involvement of The Public. As I wrote in my December 3rd post, all objects except for the glass "stars" were made mostly by kidlets, but also by some adults, at the Sculpture Jammer week-end on October 3rd and 4th. I felt a strong commitment to include everything that they made in the finished Cosmos. Securing them to the window screen that I used to create "the fabric of The Cosmos," to use the title of Brian Greene's wonderful book on the subject, took eons of time. The attachment had to be strong enough to withstand my rugged handling as well as whatever nature will throw at it in its outdoor setting. Many pieces were complicated creations and had to be virtually sewn on to the screening. I spent about 3 1/2 hours trying to secure in a prominent position an "alien" that a woman spent at least 40 minutes making. The final position is indeed prominent, but the alien is irrevocably deformed. Were I ever to do a project like this again (which is to say "Were I ever to totally lose my mind"), I would know that the intended back should be secured first and the pieces in the front should go in last. There is a very good reason that I didn't plan to do this, yet the intended back (which is slightly smaller) ended up being the actual front. (Have I lost you all yet??) If I'd have known that this would happen, I would have had to spend significantly less time on the alien and the alien would not have gotten deformed. The (clickable) picture above and to the left is the intended front, while the (clickable) one to the right of it is what ended up being the front.

Another satisfying part of this experience is that my involvement was with the Sculpture Jammers, a group of other creative people who committed themselves to the larger project. What we intended to do was create a meditation space honoring "the elements." My idea in creating The Cosmos was not just to create the material aspect of stars and the like, but to also give a sense of unseen forces like gravitational and electromagnetic fields and the space-time continuum. The (clickable) picture is of Susandra, who helped me create the container (I'm sorry that I can't think of a better word) for The Cosmos. Susandra is a sculptress who works with welding metals; her knowledge and experience saved me numerous missteps. Other sculptures in the meditation space honor the sun, the moon, fire, and wind. The pictures are of these other pieces and of some of the artists who worked on them.

The meditation space came about through the brainstorming and work of the group as a whole. After I loaded these pictures, I began to think of the experience of the people who would come upon our creation with no expectations of seeing expectations of seeing anything there. I smiled as I imagined this. Before this, I was satisfied but disappointed with what I and what we had created. I saw many flaws in The Cosmos. The meditation space looked ordinary to me, a result most probably of working the nitty gritty of it over the course of many months. When I imagined how this would look to passersby or people just out for some fun in the park where the project is now installed, I saw it with new eyes. And I smiled and felt joy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bottom of the Barrel Thrift Shops

The pix this time are clickable, partly because I wanted viewers to be able to see the detail, partly because I'm feeling too lazy to reduce them.

I scored large on Thursday's excursion to the downest and dirtiest of the thrift shops. My friend, Linda, and I first set our sights on The Dump, literally. My prizes there, for 25 cents, were the stuffed mouse and the webbed something at the top left of the photo, not such a bargain when the cost of gas to get to this out-of-the-way disposal site is added in. My much larger prize was all of the other stuff on the table, some of it under other stuff, which I got at the bottom of the barrel Goodwill, the place where stuff that hasn't been sold at the regular Goodwill stores goes. My prizes included toys for Maddie and stuff that I'll use to make other stuff. Also some very nice placemats and a strainer (unseen). The purchase price for the whole pile was $4.

Did I mention the stones and glass? They, like the stuffed animals, are on the placemats that I found there. Linda had told me that the sales clerks often make a flat fee offer rather than pricing items individually so, when I saw the stones and glass, I just threw them into the box that I was using. I find it absolutely invigorating to discover these marvelous virtually free treasures. Perhaps it is the pirate in me that so enjoys these finds. I am a pirate and also a recycler.

After Linda and I parted, I scored this book at one of the nicer thrift shops. At $1.25, it certainly is a bargain. Compared to my $4 piracy though, it's outrageously over-priced. I purchased the hat on Wednesday at a rather pricey thrift/consignment shop. At $12, it cost more than twice as much as all these other purchases. The people who bring their stuff for this shop to sell get 40% of the proceeds and the shop gets 60%. I'll keep it in mind for the times when I need to get rid of clothes that have gotten too big for me. I've been on low cal track for a week and a half and am feeling resolutely optimistic. The biggest score of all, unbeatable I imagine, is the freebie that Rachael found for me at Deborah's semi-annual clothing exchange. The shawl/jacket (pictured at the beginning of this post) has a certain flair to it. It's not something I'd buy in a regular store at a regular price, but I like it a lot.

After thrift shopping on Thursday, I made a brief stop at Macy's. I bought the sleep socks and regular socks that were on my list and a warm sweater that was not. The socks were on sale with an additional $15 off for using my Macy's card. The sweater was 50% off with an additional 20% off for using my Macy's card. I did well, but was without the thrill of piracy. Aye, it's good to be a pirate.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Conversation With My (Wonderful) Hubby

It is now 1:05 p.m. I had planned to start working on The Cosmos at 10 a.m. I've been at the computer doing necessary stuff for the last couple of hours, but before then I was camped out on the family room couch, also known as "The Trap." Here is the conversation with my hubby as I finally got up to do something productive.

Me: I've just wasted the entire morning.

Matt: No you didn't

Me: I have so much to do and I've been just sitting here doing the crossword puzzle and playing sudoku.

Matt: Did you enjoy yourself?

Me: Yes

Matt: Then you didn't waste your time.

Gotta love love love him!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Empty Universe (and Power Tools)

If I ever get the idea to create the universe again, would someone please tell me that it has already been done?

The pictures are of :

the (so far) empty universe

the material objects of the cosmos against gravitational and electromagnetic fields, the space/time continuum, and other stuff that I don't understand

Stars, constellations, and forces that I don't understand

Studly me with a power drill that I actually used and a sawsall that I used the day before.

All objects except for the glass "stars" were made mostly by kidlets, but also by some adults, at the Sculpture Jammer week-end on October 3rd and 4th.


Only a fool would be sitting at the computer in a freezing room at 2:05 a.m. reading posts about snow. Back from a night at the San Francisco opera at shortly after midnight, I sat in the family room eating cereal and doing sudoku. Now I am freezing and still writing this. Tomorrow I will be sane again. Or not. Brrrrrrrrrr.