Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pure Pleasure

Words don't come close to how beautiful it was here today. Wow! With the showers we had on Friday night and yesterday, today was bright, beautiful, warm and glorious. Annie, Bill and I went for a long hike out at Wilder Ranch (Yeah for Annie for walking for more than two hours!) to celebrate our wedding day twelve years ago. One thing that stood out for me that made today so pleasurable, was all the scents. The earth was damp and pungent, the spray off the ocean smelled musky and the acres and acres of rosemary farmed out there kept wafting past us as we wound around the ocean path. Heavenly! I'm being called downstairs right now because we are about to make a special dinner to continue the celebration (complete with a chocolate heart cake that Annie and I baked for Papa this morning to surprise him.) I'm hoping everyone had a pleasurable day, and that it continues on through your week!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hello Visitor!

Hello MakingPeace Visitors,

I noticed recently it was DeLurking Week in Blog world. It seemed like an attempt by some curious Bloggers to gently nudge Lurkers (those who enjoy reading blogs anonymously) to leave some message announcing themselves, even if it's just a simple "hello!" I didn't join in when I saw it going around. For me, my biggest pleasure in blogging comes from the writing and reflection it brings me. I'm also imagining someday Annie might like to have a copy of it as a way to remember our life together as a family and maybe "seeing" me as I am today.

I'm tickled and amazed that some of you are enjoying my blog too! Some of you comment, call or email me to let me know you are reading and I love knowing who you are! Thank you! Another way I know about visitors is a free blogging service I use called SiteMeter to meter who's looking in. It gives me a general idea of who and where and how long, etc. It's easy to identify certain friends and family by this information. I have to say though, I'm finding myself kind of curious about some of you! What keeps you coming back? Would you be willing to leave a comment or email me sometime? Just a hello or feedback about something you've enjoyed?

I hope to hear from you!
With much

Above Photo-Foyer of my dollhouse with terrier looking into the dining room.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Six Weird Things?

O.K. I'll play tag. Except I'll call the game
A Few Things I'm Not Sure Everyone Does or Thinks.

- For the past sixteen years I can't sleep without a hat on.

- I have never plucked a hair on my body. The idea seems upsetting and violent to me. I simply snip hairs that I don't want.

- I find myself daydreaming a lot about sculpting large works using cold mashed potatoes. O.K. I do think this one is weird.
And I've had these thought since I was a child.

- I refuse to turn upside down in water. No summersaults, no racing turns to push off the side of the pool. And I swam competitvely for two years in school.

- When I was about six or seven years old I actually saw the Easter Bunny walking on the sidewalk in front of our house. I can still picture him walking upright like a human, at least four feet high, with white fur and brown spots.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Seeing Red.

I really cannot imagine what was going through her mind as she filled the squirt bottle up with boysenberry juice and then proceeded to squirt her entire bedroom - walls, bookshelves, dresser, dollhouse, etc. - with it. Can anyone shed some light? Any guesses? I'm totally baffled! By the way, I won't be posting any pictures of the scene...I leapt into action and removed as much as I could quickly for two so I would keep from harming her, and two, so the juice didn't dry.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chinatown or Bust?

When I married Bill and moved into his house, we blended all of our belonging together, keeping some and letting go of some too. When we were "melding" I noticed an unusual doorstop in one of the rooms that caught my eye. It was a chalk ware bust of an Asian child that appeared to be sucking it's thumb. It was hard to tell because it was in really rough shape. He said it was originally his great grandmothers from Carmel, who's wedding ring I now wore, and that it had been through a house fire at his Grandpa Joe's house in the late '80's. I really enjoyed looking at it, and I even did a few small watercolors sketches of it. It wasn't until I stopped in an antique store in Paso Robles on my way to L.A. a few years later that I saw another like it and found out what it was. Yes, it was chalk ware, an Esther Hunt style chalk ware bust. The one I saw was expensive and beautiful! As you can imagine, chalk ware chips, peels and breaks easily so I'm guessing that many were destroyed, making them valuable and collectible.

Esther Hunt began making and selling chalk ware busts, and portraits of Asian women and children in the '20's in San Francisco, after studying art there and then with William Merritt Chase in Paris. She grew up and lived most of her life here in California. There were a handful of artist working in the same genre at the same time, and all of the work seem to be very collectible today. I was surprised that I had never seen one before! Being a long time thrifter/collector from California, and being from a family that loved most things Asian and all! Well, that original "doorstop" still sits on a bookshelf, and over the last twelve years we've been lucky enough to find a few. We love the hunt! I have even restored one just like the Child Sucking it's Thumb that started it all. None of ours are Esther Hunts, and none of ours were expensive. I'm writing this tonight because yesterday Billy and I had a rare few hours together, and we went antiquing in Moss Landing together. Well, we walked into a little store and boom! There she was! In all our years of looking together, we have never seen one in a store! I found a bust once by myself years ago in L.A that I bought, plus I've found a few small pieces that were probably carnival give-aways from the period that I got as well. Mostly we see them on-line, mainly on EBay. This bust is big! She's about 9 1/2" tall. She isn't in pristine shape, but she is in original condition. There are a few chips and dents plus some paint loss. I just love the tilt of her head, and the expression in her eyes. Next week is our anniversary, and so we got her in celebrate a dozen years of searching together.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sew Cold!

I've been hankerin' to get out in my studio and do some sewing, but it's been so cold! I was able to cut out and sew a new nightie for Annie, but I ran the heater for at least two hours before going out there. It's not only the temperature that is not conducive to work, but the aesthetics of the space. My studio needs help! I see all of these great work spaces on other blogs and I want to redo my space so that when I am in the process of working I can snap photos and enjoy how the space looks. I was fairly OK with everything until last summer when one whole wall was replaced, as well as the roof. Since then, the sheet rock hasn't been painted and the floors got so thrashed that they need a fresh coat of paint too. To accomplish these tasks, the whole space must be emptied (which would force me to evaluate what I have in there, which is good) re-paint, maybe install some shelves, then put it back together. Ugh! I just want to sew. And paint. And build. Anyway, I can't do anything until Spring. So for now, I'm just dreaming.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

Wow! I sat on the edge of my seat the whole movie. I went into this movie knowing nothing about it other than that I loved both actresses. Nothing new about the story line really. It was the portraits that were so engaging. Both women were remarkable, plus I thought the lighting and music were fantastic. Searing content though. For some reason I was able to stay with and appreciate the anxious unraveling of this movie, but I had to walk out of Little Children and Crash. I guess the difference is that whenever I think a child is about to be physically injured it becomes too much for me, and I have to leave the theater. Watching the Cate Blanchet character, in Notes on a Scandal, override her instincts over and over to protect a secret was agonizing. And as much as I disliked the Judy Dench character, I felt for her. O.K. there. I just had to share this tidbit.

Monday, January 8, 2007

12 Images from 2006

The Upside of Illness

Annie just got over the stomach flu. Mostly diarrhea though. Poor little thing. So for two days we sat at the table and made watercolor thank you notes, watched movies and stayed close to the bathroom. She had no appetite at all. By Saturday we though it was over so she and Bill walked Downtown where she vomited and had diarrhea at Palace Art store (she almost made it to the bathroom). Boy, we didn't see that coming!
Now I've got a head cold, which isn't so horrible except for major face/sinus pain. I've been putting a frozen chicken breast wrapped in a tea towel on my cheekbones to relieve the pain. The freezing cold seems to really reduce the pain. I'll just be thrilled if this cold doesn't go to my chest and make me cough like a maniac. The upside is that Annie and I were able to spend a lot of time painting! I love watercolors and I was able to show Annie a bunch of my tricks about paper, brushes, mixing, and washes, etc. She sure stuck with it. Maybe she was just too listless to move on to something else. Either way, I had fun!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Avoiding the Draft

This house is around 100 years old and yes, it is darling and wonderful, and it has no insulation at all. It's always freezing in the winter and this one is no exception. I've been trying to keep the room we sleep in warm so we can escape the cold without wasting a bunch of energy. Ugh! I hate contributing to global warming! And I had my electric bill down to under $19 a month this summer/fall! Now it's just under $80 a month with the use of electric heaters, and I'm still cold! (If we owned this house I would install a fireplace insert and insulate the whole thing.) O.K., on with my story. So I went to the hardware store and saw this window insulating plastic stuff and I brought it home and covered five of the six upstairs windows. All you need is a blow dryer. Once it's up and trimmed you can't see it at all. It's been a few days and it's really staying warmer and I'm not having to run the heater as long or as high! So I'm spreading the news. If you have a very drafty, energy inefficient house, this could work for you. And no, I'm not getting a kick-back from 3M. Click here to see what I bought.

Photo above -Daphne sitting in front of the wall heater with her wool sweater on.
And just above - See what the freezing temperature did to our guest? No, really it's Annie's new skeletal, organ/anatomy figure that she got for Christmas.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Once a Season, That's All I Ask

Finally, Annie has shampooed her hair! I think it's been at least two months. What can I say? She hates it and I'm not willing to force her. Besides, it has never looked or smelled bad. Has it? On our last mushroom hunt, I found three or four tiny little ticks on my sweater and I was worried she might have picked some up too. So she was totally up for it when I told her what I was worried about. She had so much fun lathering up this time that she kept getting out of the tub to look at herself in her mirror. Then I got out of the tub and grabbed my camera. Unfortunately, Annie still will not have water poured over her head, so I have to use a slightly wet washcloth and slowly pull the shampoo out. You should have seen it when it was dry and all brushed out! So glorious!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Winter Wonderland?

I love these beautiful and troubling snow globes. I've seen holiday, souvenir, even movie promo snow globes before...but I've never seen any showing such stark style and dark content. I couldn't find any information on them, so I don't know if they are real or not. My Aunt Pat and Annie love to collect snow globes. I think that's why I clicked to check them out in the first place. To see the whole exhibit, click here. Remember though, some are very unsettling.

Monday, January 1, 2007

A Completed Trip Around The Sun

We went for a long walk today in the hills looking for mushrooms and for owl pellets. We found a lot of both. I was amazed with my mushroom finds! I found bigger and more exotic one's than I've ever found before. Annie found a small rodent jaw bone and a part of a rodent spine in an owl pellet. (That's owl vomit.) I'm not as interested in the vomit, but Annie and Bill seem happy to hunt for it. We must have walked close to two miles and Annie didn't ask to be carried at all! Wow! Maybe we are once again a family that can hike together. Wouldn't that be great?

So now we are starting another trip around the sun, are we? Couldn't any day be the first day of a new trip around the sun though? I'm such a non-conformist. I'll decide when and how I want to mark my time, celebrate, feel renewed. So there.