Thursday, May 26, 2005

may 26

Today is, unofficially, the beginning of a long weekend. At my house, this means that Michael and sam will head to our mountain acreage this afternoon, tomorrow morning or as soon as Michael is organized. This will be the first weekend up there since last Fall. It's still too early for me [i like to be warm at night. The place sits at 6200 feet elevation. Spring comes late in the high country.] I will have 3-4 days of uninterupted time.

Yesterday i finished planting the pots and containers, set the remaining seedlings out and put in sunflower seeds. Today the morning glories and nastursiums go in and that's all the planting until Fall. Still lots of grass to pull out of the flower beds, a few weeds here and there but it is shaping up. Well, I might need some new herbs... grin.
Beads, fabric, paper, threads, nice pens, plants, how many obsessions can one person have???
I have begun stitching on the new piece and will spend the morning in studio, then clean the house, ugh, and then the garden for a while. it's good to have a plan, we'll see what comes along.
enjoy your day, however you are spending it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

may 24

already??? i got home from Cedar Lakes Friday night. My luggage arrived Saturday. My brain is still in transit. Alas, no tracking number. If you want a quiet, affordable retreat, Cedar Lakes is great. They have a year round program with various offerings, everything from blacksmithing to felting to painting, quilting of course, and much more. It's a state owned facility, non-profit, in a lovely location. It was exactly what I needed last week. The people in my workshop were wonderful and did great work. No photographs though, either the camera got left in my room or I chose not to carry it due to the weather.
Since getting home I have been planting, weeding and slowly catching up. The remaining work from Dreaming the Garden shipped back to the artists Monday. Today I began selecting for the COLOR show I am curating for Mary McCrae's gallery. There's a piece in process on the work wall. It is at an awkward adolescent phase and isn't sure what it wants to be when it grows up.
Our snow on the 11th didn't do much damage. Some broken branches in the lilacs and that's about it. Michael has begun cutting those tall ancient bushes back by a third. It looks awful.
and that's all i can think of right now.
There's a new blog on the ring, I think the writer's name is Caitie and she lives down under. It is witty and intelligent writing. great fun.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

may 15

Cedar Lakes Retreat Center, West Virginia
This is such a quiet peaceful place. It is a lush landscape, very different from where I live. The trees are in full leaf but I think I missed the flowering dogwood and other early bloomers. These are old hills, soft, rounded. The country has a closed-in feeling. When I was in grad school in SE Ohio, not far from here, really, this closed-in feeling was bothersome. I never knew quite where I was on the planet. Having grown up on tidewater and then living in the open West [Big Sky!] for the past 30+ years, I am most at home in a landscape that has a wide view.
Today the isolation these hills create is welcome.
This will be a retreat week for me, even though I am here to work. There's no internet access in my room (this is a borrowed office, how much access i will have this week is not known), no studio needing to be cleaned and organized, no paperwork i can possibly get done.
My job is to be here, now, in this moment and only that. My workshop begins tomorrow. It will be good. It always is a treat to meet new people and share days of working with color and cloth, sharing ideas, tools and information. People are wonderful. My "off time" however, will be dedicated to personal restoration. [Sorta sounds like a building in need of repair, eh? not a bad metaphor. In this case, it's the foundation that needs repair.] This is almost a summer camp environment. Although i cannot control the menu, i can walk a lot, watch birds and weather, relearn this landscape, soak up whatever there is for me to learn here. It's going to be a great week.
Next week i will be back in my own studio and office. there will be photos to share and whatever insights gained as well.
have a great week.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

May 12

We did indeed have 6 inches of snow. It is still falling but is lighter and drier now. Today will be a good day for staying in and getting my "do list" handled. I am behind on a number of things, including writing, have come to a stalled point with the new piece on the work wall and must finish packing for the week at Cedar Lakes. I am looking forward to this trip.

enjoy the day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

may 11

may 11
Originally uploaded by lauracw.
may 11, billings MT.
what else is there to say?


Originally uploaded by lauracw.

grape hyacinths

grape hyacinths
Originally uploaded by lauracw.

more lilacs

more lilacs
Originally uploaded by lauracw.


Originally uploaded by lauracw.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

may 10

It's a gray, drippy morning. I walked along the Yellowstone earlier with Sam, the golden wonder pup. The river is running high and muddy now. All the moisture in the high country two weeks ago, followed by a few warm days, has the Spring melt-off started. Yesterday we walked along the river a short ways then circled a pond. The yellowhead blackbirds are back and nesting. Redwings get here earlier. The two species share habitat. Each male stakes out his territory and prepares for nesting. The females show up later. Right now the air is full of song and territorial calls. The musical variety is amazing.
There were little yellow fluffball goslings and the adults, a few ducklings with parents, a large heron with its prehistoric caw.

Today we watched a family of geese cross the river. The adults bracket the clutch of young ones, keeping everyone together and I assume, navigating the currents. Sam is very interested in the waterfowl (he should be, it's his job) but he is well mannered and knows he's not to chase them, or deer. Squirrels are another story altogether. He can't help himself, they need to be chased. He knows which trees they hang out in and near. When we walk in squirrel neighborhoods, he's looking up into the trees; a dog just never knows and he has to watch. It's a hoot. Have you ever seen a 96 pound dog try to climb a tree? If you talk to him about "squirrels", instant whiplash, his head goes up and he's looking for them.
ah well, I'll take my humor where I find it.

Today is for clearing up loose ends and preparing for next week. i need to pack my class supplies and figure out a minimal wardrobe. I am looking forward to seeing mid-may in West Virginia. Much as I love it here in the West, I miss the lushness of Eastern Spring.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

may 7

This morning I have been catching up with correspondence (still a long way to go!) and working on an email newletter, "Idea to Image". It's a permission based set up, so if you are interested, sign up to the right.

Yesterday I planted the pots and containers that flank the steps and add color spots here and there. Also put in some replacement perennials (lungwort and pincushion flowers). Today it is raining softly, and cool, perfect for getting new plants off to a good start. After this is written and I update my website (the server is busy) it will be time to get into the studio. finally. There's a lot of work to do, spreading the energy around gets to be a trick.
enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

may 4

and the day has dissolved. Spent the morning at the clinic (more on that later), have been working on the new piece, now it's lunch break.
Our weather is warming up, clear and sunny and dry again. I will need to get water on the perennials before i leave for Cedar Lakes late next week. The tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, and vinca are still holding their flowers. Lilacs about to open. Crab apple blossoms dropping but the air is still fragrant. We didn't lose anything to the freezes last week, but did have some branches broken by the heavy snow.
the piece in process began as rock strata and is built of layers of hand dyes (from Helene Davis, she's wonderful) gelatin prints (moi, it's addictive), and patchwork pieced silk ties (a therapeutic process: cutting, sewing, cutting ad infintum). Today when i got home at noon, i wasn't happy with how the thing looked, turned it on its side and liked it more, especially after slicing it in thirds. i don't know what it is about how i work but this need to white out paint, cut up and rearrange sections of fabric add, subtract, add subtract seem essential to me. so on it goes.

as for the clinic, i have once again strained muscles and ligaments. This time it's a result of heavy luggage and too much lifting of same. (The first time it was a result of 8 weeks on crutches plus one week in an oversized wheel chair on carpeted floors). All my luggage piggy-back and has wheels and none of it is heavier than i can lift. However this last trip i had airports with trams to take the passenger to/from the rental car areas and those trams do not have ramps. Plus they have racks where the luggage is supposed to go = lifting of several bags all about 40 pounds, repeatedly. I'm not quite 5'2", travel alone and have this need to "do it myself". i'm gonna have to modify my behaviour.

I thought that muscle strain was the problem and wanted advice on how to treat it since this is going on three weeks now and it hurts to breathe. Off to the walk-in branch of our clinic. All my vitals were fine, my whole history is right there on the computer but since the pain is *chest pain* they have to rule out every nasty possibility. *My symptoms are/were very much like those of heart attack in women.*

Good news: i have a heart! it works very well. I am, as the PA said "disgustingly healthy". [i knew that] the blood work was clean, heart lungs, liver kidneys, all systems just fine. A very long history of low low blood pressure, low low cholesterol, reasonably active, reasonably fit.
Diagnoses: inflamation around the sternum. Prescription for serious anti-inflamatory, a pain med (i won't take it), rest, relax (HAH), *!ask for help!* with the heavy stuff. yeah right. Check with my primary care Doc before traveling again (next week).

So, why am i telling you all of this? It is way too much information. The thing is that symptoms of heart trouble in women are very different from symptoms of heart troubles in men, and many people do not know this. The PA told me this morning that they often see women over 50, with no risk factors and "feeling not quite right" symptoms who turn out to be either in the middle of an episode or recovering from a recent "silent" attack.

yes it's expensive and a nuisance to keep our medical care up to date and we don't want to be paranoid or hyperchondriacal, but we do need to be well informed. I felt very foolish having all those tests, but admit to a sense of reassurance that i am indeed as healthy as i like to think i am. grin.
I am also taking this as a wake-up call to be less of a super woman and learn to ask for help instead of taking on too much. wish me luck with that one. i have a long history of independence.
it's time to go back to work.
enjoy this lovely day!
p.s. a different sort of caution: there are several new computer virii/worms out there. Some of them spoof sender addresses, some look like they are coming from a real place, they might say "password attached" or "account information" or "here it is!" Be careful if you use Windows, make sure your virus definitions are up to date. Do not open these .zip attachments.