Sunday, April 27, 2008

SF Aquarium Visit

Originally uploaded by suzipaw
It was an exhausting week, but I'm home now. And it started off wonderfully: M spent last Sunday afternoon and evening with me in the City and we took in the Aquarium.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

San Francisco Moments

Today is the last day of my conference. It was mobbed yesterday, but I bet it will be much quieter today. It's been a very interesting experience being just a regular attendee and not one of the organizers. I've gotten some good ideas, but not a lot of practical info, unfortunately--ideally I'd like to get both. It's been hard being indoors all day, it feels like I'm in a casino (and there were some similarly scantily clad booth babes wandering around, adding to that feeling--where was the booth beef, I wonder?) and the weather has been spectacular, what little I've seen walking to and from the convention center. It's also a little frustrating trying to keep up with my work while paying attention to something else all day, particularly since part of our group is onsite at one of our events, so logistics are complicated. I've been emailing late into the night, which is never a good idea.

Enough about work. My first night in town, I met up with a friend and we took BART to Dosa, which did indeed serve incredible dosa. I did a little relaxation shopping at H&M the night before last (OK Thai food--very fresh and cheap but no atmosphere). Last night I stopped by Crate & Barrel to purchase an Eva Zeisel tea kettle (pleasant Japanese restaurant, soba noodle soup which is hard to come by in Sonoma County for some reason, I actually spoke to others sitting at the sushi bar, usually I'm mum when I dine alone). The kettle is not part of our china pattern, but I wanted it anyway. There was just one left in the store and I'm glad I grabbed it since apparently it's being discontinued.

I'm very much looking to going home tonight. I miss my little pack very much.

I caught this while walking to my convention yesterday morning. A justification for always keeping a camera with me! I was surprised to see that the whole process was still a manual operation, but that's a good idea--green before it was cool.

I'm trying out Flickr video--any comments?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Summer Sunday

At least it feels that way, it's so warm. I'm puttering, trying to get a few household chores done before my travels. I'm in Santa Clara on Monday, then in the City for a show Tuesday through Thursday; home Friday and Saturday, then back in SF Sunday through Friday. I'm glad I won't be spending much time actually in transit, but it's hard being away so much, particularly since I've really enjoyed being home yesterday and today--our "Shut UP!" neighbors have been away much of the time, and so I've been able to sit on the deck in peace. Now they're all back and of course he's running some sort of machine and the kids are screaming (happily, at least)…

Fused glass vase
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
I picked up this vase and a couple of pendants in glass class yesterday. I think it came out pretty well. I finished a couple of dishes and more jewelry for firing while in class yesterday. Not much more time--I found out that the last class is just for picking up projects from next week's class, so I'm kind of sad that I have only one more scheduled creative class. Though I found out that our local "paint your own pottery place" will also fire glass, so I do have an outlet if the glass earring urge continues.

So, as some of you already know, my sonnet was *not* one of the 4,000+ chosen to be read on A Prairie Home Companion this weekend. I'm terribly disappointed, though obviously there was a lot of competition, and I didn't spend as much time perfecting it as I should have. But at least I had fun working on it. Here it is for your reading (hopefully) pleasure--please keep in mind that the prize was a bed from Select Comfort:

Being your slave, I answer Phoebe's call.
Somnambulist of highest caliber,
I am chain'd to your horizontal thrall,
Captured willingly by coverlet's purr.
Night: a quilt of stars the insulation
That enrobes me. Oh Life's Companion,
'Neath moonly beaming we find elation,
Then part at Aurora's broadcast clarion.
Half this woman's life is spent courting sand
So a princess' pea never wider spread
Than when I fall, nightgown'd, into Nodland
'Pon high-stack'd air chambers, fantasy-fed.
Sheep rise, sheep fall, in infinite number--
Only your embrace ensures sweet slumber.

M's home from studying, and I should shower off this garden sweat and pack for tomorrow…

Friday, April 11, 2008

It Is National Poetry Month, After All

(Cue the violins) I took 20 minutes from my 11-hour work day today to submit a piece to Prairie Home Companion's sonnet contest . The deadline is still a couple of hours away if you're so inclined. I imagine rows and rows of members of the Professional Organization of English Majors reading sonnets all night, culling the best of the best. Will I (sigh, gasp) be among them? There are thousands upon thousands of submissions, so I know that my chances of being recognized are slim to none, but I'm still going to be listening tomorrow night, just in case.


Axtell Cattle Brand
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
My uncle sent me this photo of our family brand, pointing out that it's not just the Flying Triangle that distinguishes our chattel, but a left ear slit (eew) as well. I don't think I'll be able to rise to his challenge of incorporating it into the graphic identity of this blog, however I love the admonition to "carry the card in a safe place." Heaven forfend errant cattle or their owners are caught without the proper documentation!


Happy Birthday, Don!


I wore sandals for the first time this year yesterday. This evening, we ate dinner on the deck. I know we need rain, but these next few weeks are going to be glorious.


I leave you with one of my favorite poems ever, Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas:

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Twisty Paths of Giving and Creativity

Holy Well-filling, Batman: I've had some dreams and others have too. Checking my email at work today I received a message from a friend of a friend who had dreamed about me over the weekend, asking if I'd like to take her place at a workshop led by Julia Cameron in Sedona, AZ…this coming weekend. I couldn't peel myself away from the commitments I have in order to accept such a generous and unexpected gift (and remember, it's on my horoscopian to-do list to let myself accept more gifts this year, so that weighed on me a bit) but the gesture alone has just transformed my outlook today. It's been too long since I've reminded myself of how lucky I am with my life and the people around me.

One of my dreams over the weekend concerned a former colleague who returned to the office bearing gifts, which I was able to accept in the spirit in which the dream-person offered--she was just being nice, and I was grateful for her kindness. (We'll just forget that part later in the dream when I remembered to my horror that gifts were not condoned by my company, and the growing suspicion that it was Former Colleague's plan all along to try to undermine my credibility…) Again, Fortune smiles at me in many mysterious ways.

All in all it was a fine, longish weekend. I took Friday off, and though I worked a little in the morning, that effort actually allowed me mentally to run a few errands workplace-niggling-free, including fruitless visits to two glass stores for creative fodder for the glass class. (I'm sure making the 6:00 a.m. gym class that day helped the positive outlook, particularly this one, which ended with me and a classmate in the parking lot talking about how good life is, even during the supposedly crappy parts).

On Saturday, I did manage to make more if slow progress on a couple of other projects, and picked up my first attempt at glass fusing, which came out pretty well.

nightlight slumped
Originally uploaded by suzipaw

After glass class, I stopped off at the local drug store to buy Elmers Glue and walked out with colorful new patio chair pads, inspiring me to clean up some of the outdoor spaces including liberating the lounge chairs from their garage hibernation, thereby ensuring that rain will be coming soon.

Movie recommendations: with finals looming, M chose to watch "Nancy Drew" over "No Country for Old Men," and we both actually very much enjoyed the wholesome "she does it herself" message, particularly with minimal hi-tech gadgetry supporting her sleuthing. We also watched "I Am Legend" last night, which mysteriously kept me up late last night, hovering between memories of New York and that summer in grade school I spent escaping the heat by watching "Omega Man" over and over and over again, in rotation with "The Posidon Adventure."

I'm off to San Francisco next week, and have already laid in plans for a South Indian meal with a friend on Monday night, which I'm sure will cushion the blow of coming home over the weekend only to return to the City the following week. Another thing to look forward to*: a friend stopped by last night to show off his fine new truck (M had been ogling a similar model just the evening before), purchased to haul his fine water craft hither and yon, and which hopefully will be hauling us along for the ride to Lake Sonoma during that weekend interstitial.

And now, I really should work on that love sonnet for A Prairie Home Companion…(how's yours coming along, Rebecca?)

*Did I mention a part of the Lamott-Gilbert discussion about living in the moment? Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about how difficult it still is for her to live in the moment, but was heartened by a writer whose name now escapes me who posited that happiness is rooted mostly in fond memories and looking forward to new adventures. So her advice, which I take to heart, is: take lots of pictures and make lots of plans.