Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moon Viewing

Tonight the moon is 51% of full.

The past seven days I've watched a crescent, waxing, slung low in the western sky. Seen its cratered surface grow each night through my binoculars, on my 2nd story balcony, in the cold. I won't pretend to understand all the numbers on my small pair of binocs., but I do know that the 9x25 means that the moon, instead of appearing to be 238,857 miles away, appears a mere 26,539 miles away.

Pondering the notion of insignificance. It's good to get perspective on this when the irritations of daily living mount, growing to the elevation of Mt. Rainier: 14,411 feet, which I'm able to see when the omnipresent cloud cover dissipates.

When I view images like this cat's-eye nebula, on the Hubble site --

I wonder whether what I'm seeing is a jellyfish illuminated in moonlight or indeed an interstellar dust cloud. Does it matter? Probably not. Nature replicates itself over and over again.

Tonight while prepping dinner, I observed a cabbage-in-miniature when I sliced each Brussel's sprout in half. There seems to be nothing new under the sun -- except our ability to wonder, which waxes and wanes more often than la lune. When my focus becomes narrowed and claustrophobic, I benefit from nebula-viewing, and from standing outside late-winter with my binoculars, trying to fathom distances and the speed of light. My brain can't seem to take in that the light from a star has traveled so far and for so long that all I'm seeing is, essentially, a memory of light.

Ready -- more than ready -- to relegate the current winter to memory. There remain -- give or take a few -- 1,641,600 seconds until the advent of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

And then closer to the surface of things, there's my 16+ years cat at his end, rendered weak from seizures and attended to by my son who, years ago, suffered his own idiosyncratic cranial electrical storms. Moon-viewing may offer slim consolation, tonight, as we prepare to usher this old boy to his next state of consciousness. Won't help, I think, while I'm rummaging for a length of cloth in which to wrap him before he is layed-out, two feet down, into the garden.

At once -- a single particle of soil, and all of the heavens stretched away as far as the imagination dares.

Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
--from Auguries of Innocence, William Blake

Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the Practice of Blogging, Post #1738

Certain interactions of late have caused me to ponder just what it is I'm doing here, and why I do it. On a purely practical sense, I see this almost-daily activity as exercise to hone the muscles of my more serious craft, that of poetry. All my published work is poetry, and many a poem began as a thread of a blog post.

(And before continuing, I want to state just how much I abhor the word "blogging." It is a word much more suited to describe what one does on one's knees before a toilet after over-indulgence.)

My five-year blogiversary is quickly approaching. In May 2007, I posted my first entry, newly engaged with a diamond. My oldest son was in cooking school and my kitchen, for a few weeks at least, was alight with his newly-learned flambe skills. A close friend had just died. My circle of friends, on a global scale, was considerably smaller than it is today. I had no theme in mind except to not be predictable. Confessional to a point -- omission is as telling as inclusion. It was a little like setting off on a long train ride to an unknown destination, wearing a blindfold.

In the ensuing years, I got married, got divorced. One son graduated from college, another son went to college, dropped out, went back. I moved. I traveled to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, Texas, Los Angeles, Boston, Maine, Wyoming, Manhattan, and left a considerable portion of my heart in the West of Ireland. My oldest son was bound & gagged in a home-invasion robbery, a gun held to his head. He suffered a heart attack. There were breakdowns, tragic family secrets unveiled, near-suicides. There were deaths of people in my inner circle, and more deaths on top of those. Two cats were buried in the yard. I moved again, went to war with the banking industry. Adopted a kitten.

And through it all, my attempt at unpredictability grew increasingly difficult. As an audience developed, so did my blog persona. It's inevitable, I think. When we present our selves in this venue -- all we have is words (and photos), and our words become the persona. Is it the total of who I am? I certainly hope not. The inner sanctum is a closely guarded place, my own private tabernacle, as it were. Hands off!

But that's what blogging allows us -- complete freedom to create whatever it is we want on the screen. In my own blog-hopping through the universe, I am most inspired by blogs that allow us to peek into a window of another life. While confessional blogging is exhibitionist, reading confessional blogs is a form of acceptable voyeurism. You post, I read. Or, I post, you read. And every time I hit "publish", I ask myself if I'm willing to stand behind what it is I'm going public with -- yes, all 1,738 times.

It can get a bit heady. (Or one can get a "big heady", which is what I typed first and then corrected. Oops!) There's the frisson which happens often when reading comments, and I admit a certain addiction in relying on comments for ego nudges. But in a larger sense, this activity builds community. The edges of my ever-widening circle have stretched across the planet. During the fraught days of last spring, there was a posse of blogging friends who helped keep my head above the rapidly-rising waves of despair -- I'll be forever grateful to them.

And then there are stunning synchronicities that occur -- last Saturday I posted a short video of solar flares, and my friend Claire in New Zealand commented that she'd just been watching the same video. This morning I visited Scott at
The Dishwashers Tears, to see he'd posted this marvelous short film , which I'd just yesterday watched. There almost seems to be a magic afoot, or shared consciousness, created solely by this electronic presence. I am in awe of it all.

Predictable? Probably. When you get right down to it, a pattern of unpredictability is in itself predictable. And after five years, I guess it doesn't matter so much. I know that I can get up every morning and stop in for a quick visit with Cro in France, Tara in Sacramento, Polly in Albuquerque, Susan in Maine, Elizabeth in Los Angeles, John in Portland, Marguerite in Louisiana, Jacqueline in Canada, Mary in Eastbourne, C. in Manhattan.

I guess, in the end, I do this for the community I now share with the larger world - - with all of you out there -- even those who read and never comment. (And remember, not everything you read is true....)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I've been out searching under rocks, and have come home with the most amazing finds.....

We live in a universe of twisting pathways, arrows that point us in directions we'd previously never considered, and yet --

Once there, the riches are ours to gather, one precious detail after another.

Oh internet, how I do love thee!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Facebook, which I always refer to as Fishbowl....

Being somewhat of a social junkie, I'm the kind of person who takes her social networking seriously. Or, at least, as seriously humorously as possible. (Huh?) I mean, what I really need is my own club. I had it, in a sense, for a while, during my bakery days: a cookie and a floor-show for a buck; please leave a tip for the baker. Thank-you.

In the absence of a bricks-and-mortar setting, I am forced these days to settle for the NBT: the Next Best Thing, which, in my world at least, is Facebook.

Now I know there are those of you out there who wouldn't touch Facebook with a ten-foot keyboard, but I find it difficult to imagine life BFB (Before Facebook). This is how I see it: at any time, day or night (thanks to my handy handheld device), I can step into an on-going party, check in, exchange some social niceties (or not-niceties, whatever the case), and make a sly exit.

And what a party -- all the predictable types are present:

The guy who only talks about music videos, or the show he saw last week. He fakes modesty when a girl he hasn't seen in thirty years suddenly speaks up and declares him her guru! Golly!

There is the person who shouts the headlines, all bold-upper-case-caps.

There is someone telling cute pet stories and passing around pet photos. (Admission of guilt.)

Suddenly someone strides forth from the kitchen carrying a hot apple pie!

Two or three people stand around day after day promoting their latest book/film/song.

Baseball. Football. Basketball.

Someone limps in on crutches: broken ankle. (Sympathy, please. Thank-you.)

A group over in the corner are playing a game: What kind of dessert are you?

Someone drags out a box of black-and-white photos from their childhood, tacks them up to the wall, one at a time.

Someone else wanders in trailing everyone they went to high school with....

Someone drinks too much and slobbers and blathers.

And then there are those who come to the party but lurk in the shadows, silent and brooding, occasionally stepping out of their comfort zone to offer a thumbs-up: "like".

Private conversations occur, websites exchanged.

There are trails of information, clues, answers, insights, embedded secrets -- the A to Z of human behavior and experience.

And my facebook persona? I'm just trying to make someone laugh.
Yes -- you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Music again, with my friends T. and J. on guitar, and myself trailing behind on the melodica. Even as incompetent as I am, it's an amazing feeling being in the middle of that sound, and I felt a moment (several, actually), of complete and utter gratitude. And wondered, why haven't I been doing this my whole life?

My answer: because now is the right time.

Dare I say that the gift of this time, making music with friends, is a result of the uncoupling I slogged through these past eleven months? And now that this particular joy is becoming familiar, the suggestion that I might not have known it, ever, chills me. How close I came to enduring the rest of my years in an entirely other life --


The assignment for the three of us, who have been lazy and have not brought new songs to the group -- is to learn this perfect jewel of a tune, by Tom Waits:

I think we can manage it, with practice, in the here and now.

[Coda: I must add that my friend T. did play for us one of his own new songs -- J. and I are in awe of his talents.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still, Winter

Stepped outside this morning in my bathrobe to fill the birdfeeder and lingered among snowdrops and crocuses --

--as well as the one odd brick.

Lucky no neighbors were out.

And this seed pod, from a plant I purchased about 15 years ago, and from whom a seed unexpectedly germinated last spring, long dormant, as I haven't seen it for as many years. Plant names seem to be escaping me at the moment.[Cynthia? Any help?]

Here it is from last summer in full flower....

Listening obsessively to this --

...recalling an Irish afternoon driving around Connemara, listening to every version of Shenandoah on the iPod -- I think there were 13 variations. A day with the light blown in from the Atlantic, every color magnified, every blue more intense than I'd ever known, or known since.

A Brief Discourse

"You shouldn't have done that," he said. "You don't know who you're dealing with -- he's the kind of guy who'll break your legs with a baseball bat."

She took a moment to look out the window of the Starbucks where they sat across from each other, the cup of coffee in front of him on the table grown cold.

"Honey," she said, "there is probably someone walking by right this moment who'd do the same to you, if I gave them the go-ahead."

His already-pale skin blanched to the shade of a skinned & boiled potato.

"Oh now honey," she said, reaching across to pat his fingers, "settle yourself down. You know I'd never do any such thing --"

Monday, February 20, 2012

Last week the muse showed up -- without warning -- at my door in full-on party mode, complete with a 16-piece jazz band and costumes (feathers, frills), culminating in a dinner for eleven Saturday night, in the aftermath of which she declared herself frazzled to her last thread, and made a French exit.

(Funny, but I'm visualizing her as Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey with a purple barge-of-a-hat run aground on her head.)

I may attempt to lure her back this evening.

We'll see.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The antidote for this morning's chill:
Woke up cold, the kind of cold where you calculate how much colder you'll get, and how long it will take to recover your heat if you get out of bed for another blanket/sweater/earmuffs/ultra-loft-goose-down-mummy-bag. I swear, even my teeth were cold. So I did one of those wrap-myself-around-myself tricks, went all-pretzel on myself. Folded and refolded, trying to trap pockets of warmth. The rain lashing the roof on my attic room.


But waking up -- however chilled -- from a good dream, is worth whatever effort it takes to gather a unit of heat. I know -- other people's dream are the stuff of yawns, but bear with me, because it really is relevant (and I'll be brief):

I've been visited by variations on the same dream for 37 years: I'm in my vegetable garden in the yard of my childhood home, and with generally considerable alarm, realize that I've neglected it, and it's on the verge of drying up, wherein I frantically go to work watering, weeding, propping and tending. But last night, although I had indeed neglected it, it was bursting with life, overflowing its borders -- petal and leaf and fully-fleshed fruit abounded. (There was the odd detail of the coffee pot plugged into a fencepost but sometimes a coffee pot is just a coffee pot.)

At the back side of the garden was a slight slope where I'd planted rows of six varieties of corn, and each variety had a different color foliage, and there was a slight breeze, so there was this lovely sinuous silky movement as the breeze passed through, and I thought: I have to take a picture of this for my blog!

If only my iPhone had a Dream-Camera App.

Chattering teeth, and a chuckle upon waking.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heart, of Glass

When I first started in this glass work, five years ago, my level of calm around so many breakables in a small space was close to non-existent. On my first day I think I broke two pieces. (Don't know why M. let me stay!)

Since then, it's been an ever-increasing choreography of body and glass. In the home-factory as well as the studio, we manoeuvre unwieldy (and heavy) cases of raw material around dozens of martini glasses and vases large and small. (As well as around one very large cat who likes nothing better than to spread out in the middle of it all and sleep.) Going around corners has become a geometrical calculation, at which, surprisingly, I've become quite skilled.

Some days I feel awash in packing peanuts and the sharp edges of cardboard -- which can inflict a nasty slice on the hand. But the actual breaking of glass is a much more rare occasion these days.

Wherein I introduce the lingering theme of the heart, so present of late. Like glass, a heart is tempered by the fires of many years of living and loving. Left untouched on a shelf, the likelihood of breaking is next to nil. Introduce the metaphorical earthquake, and it shatters all to hell. Sometimes the impact shatters the shards to the next continent --

I walk with ease amongst the daily glass of my craft. But the human heart and all its vulnerabilities seems likely to shatter at any moment. Certainly the fires have blazed long enough, frequently enough and with sufficient heat to make mine seem able to bounce -- but then there's the fact of flesh, of tissue, of touch.

I will not let my heart become an untouchable objet on a shelf.

Therefore, subject to breaking, and gluing back together, and tempering. Repeat. This seems to be the practice of my living.

And so off I head to another day amidst the angles and sharp edges of not only glass, but life itself.
My Austin, Texas friend Nita Lou Bryant has a marvelous piece up at the online 'zine Drash Pit. Check it out here.

Go Nita!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Of The Essence

Stopped at the store tonight to pick up some tuna for my ancient (and wasting) kitty, and thought of my mom, decades ago, walking home from the store carrying a giant bag of dog food. While she was gone, the dog had been hit (killed) by a car, and I can still see Mom coming along the side of the road, past the hedge, arms-full with, what exists in my memory, a massive bag of kibble. I don't know which of my sisters rushed out to break the news, but there was a look on her face the moment before she found out, and a look after, and I can describe neither.

In the line at Safeway, I wondered if Tippy would greet me at the door -- his habit for 16 years. I've meant for weeks now to get him some tuna, his favorite food, and kept forgetting. I thought of the brevity of life, how sometimes we have only one chance to get something right. Wondered: am I getting this right?

Tip --scraggle-boned, his fur a miskempt scruff -- was on the couch, wide-eyed, very much alive. Relief from me. There is, apparently, still time.


What I found in the yard this morning when I went out to fill the bird feeder (lucky squirrels will relish the accidental spillage of black sunflower seeds I left for them):

I can't remember the name of this flower -- possibly in the primrose family? In any case, a snippet of them and a few sprigs of snowdrops now sit in a miniature beaker on the kitchen counter.

M. is off to Philadelphia for Wholesale Show #2...I'm staying behind to ramp up production. We are experiencing serious growing pains here at Studio Hijinx, and a ream of yet more new orders (a distinct possibility) shall prove to be a challenge and an adventure for which I feel ready and primed. At the eleventh hour, and after a month of attempts and setbacks, Melinda left for Phillly with three prototypes of the new line. And by eleventh hour, I mean that we were painting and repainting and rethinking on Tuesday up until about 4pm, when we declared the new incarnation good-to-go. Into the kitchen kiln they went (aka, the oven), and she departed early the next morning with them boxed-up and ready to be checked as baggage.

(Art/inspiration as baggage. Hmm.) Anyway, here's one of the pieces, amid the considerable chaos at my workspace:

I neglected to photograph the sides: black pinstripes. They remind us of old-fashioned hat boxes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At ten I knew the location of every bird's nest in the woods behind my house, at least every nest to which I was able to climb. I gave tours to whoever was interested -- suffice to say that my career as a youthful tour guide was short lived. My passion was a solitary one. But the thrill of finding a nest filled with blue eggs was unlike any other. I always wanted to tell the mother bird not to fret -- I was only after a glimpse. They were fearless and frantic, those maternal robins, diving perilously close to me, full of squawking and bluster.

Hours were spent slung over an alder limb, in the company of leaves and sky. I possessed an intimate knowledge of how a tree grew, could calculate the weight-bearing capabilities of a branch, how far the uppermost tip of a tree would sway once I climbed as high as I dared, and higher, often.

And the new leaves, that bright yellow-green in April.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Succuming to Temptation

After all that fancy talk last night about not making sugared hearts, I eventually gave in to temptation and did indeed break out the paraphernalia of baking. Without, though, checking first for all necessary ingredients. And when it came time to drizzle icing, there was only granulated sugar. And not the proper sprinx.

Undaunted, and not wanting to drive (suffer with me here) the two blocks to the store for powdered sugar, I told my son to google "how to make powdered sugar". Without googling, he said to just put some granulated in the food processor. "They add an anti-sticky ingredient to the commercial stuff, but you don't really need that." Mr. Science.

So I did that. After about thirty seconds, I removed the top of the Cuisinart: no change. Okay -- so I buzzed it again, this time for about a minute. When I removed the top clouds of sugar dust floated up. Briefly I considered all the things we breathe-in during a lifetime: pollen, smog, lint particles, hairspray, the swirled bouquet of a glass of wine, baby powder, dirt, what else? What other microscopic bits are, as I type, clinging to my alveoli? Ground black pepper? DDT? Polychlorinated dibenzoflurans? (Note to self: get back to the subject.)

Back to business. What I thought while lacking success in making my own powdered sugar was: I can't imagine a sweeter death than asphyxiation by sugar dust.

I complained to my son that his suggestion was failing and he said, "oh, you have to do it for a long time".

Me: "How long? Two, three minutes?"

R."No. Fifteen. At least."

Fifteen minutes?!! I don't think so. Fifteen minutes of continued metal-blading in my 30+ year Cuisinart (the original model) would surely hasten it to its impending death, sugar dust aside.

The results, made with granulated sugar, a tablespoon of butter, hot water, vanilla and two drops of red food coloring, were acceptable, but a bit odd texturely. Pretty, though, with the glistening of undissolved crystals.

And the sprinx (gawd I love that word), which have the shelf life of twinkies and pre-date my move back to B-Street by I-don't-know-how-long, were acceptable also. Let's be honest here: pretty much any homemade cookie, slightly warm, drizzled and sprinkled, at 11pm, is fabulous.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day of Hearts

I should get out measuring cups, the teaspoon and the mixer. The butter and vanilla, the sugar, the flour. If there was more inspiration, I'd mix a batter, set it to chill. Rummage for the heart-shaped cutter which broke once (and a welder-friend soldered it whole). (A broken heart cannot really be soldered, can it?)

I'd cut row upon row of delicate hearts, bake them on parchment upon aluminum sheets. Twelve minutes, maybe thirteen. Until browned at the edges.

(A neglected heart will burn.)

How long does it really take for a heart to be done?

Cooled, I'd line them up in neat rows, drizzle icing in jagged streaks, sprinkle with the smallest nonpareil.

I might even bring you a boxful -- if you ask.

The Bank

Being generally tired of the dark, I googled daylight savings time and discovered this site. The curious thing I discovered is that people all over our planet are saving daylight from March to November, EVERY YEAR!! I wonder how much is in the Daylight Savings Bank. Probably lots.

I think I need to open an account and make regular withdrawals from November through March.

Cuba saves daylight!
So does Estonia!!
The Holy See saves daylight! (Thank God.)
Namibia saves daylight!
Samoa saves daylight!!
The Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon saves daylight!
As does Uruguay.

Among those with no daylight saved are Bahrain, Belize & Benin; Gabon, Ghana & Granada; and Oman, Pakistan and Sudan.

The Tonganese save no daylight. Neither do Yemenites. Nor Singaporeans.

I suppose some countries are too busy saving endangered species or rainforests to spend much time thinking about saving daylight. All I can say is I can thank my lucky stars that I live in a country where attention is given to things that really matter. I mean, who has time to think about things like universal health care or war when we spend eight months out of the year saving daylight?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pleased to announce that Kathleen Flenniken -- a member of my writing group -- has been chosen as the new Washington State Poet Laureate.

Read the full story here.

Yay Kathleen!!


This is the time of year in Seattle when we seem perpetually stuck in grey, so I'm offering up to the gods of light and color these few objets, in the hopes that contrast and a polychromatic perspective to the day returns soon:

red vintage dress --

brown muscled horse --

pink salmon in shadow:

three small teacups --

an impossibly tiny feather (with cork for perspective) --

an equally-impossibly-tiny compass, with lichen --

Saturday, February 11, 2012


A young man with whom I'm acquainted -- J., a barista at the local coffee shop -- was recently, without provocation, stabbed sixteen times while out walking his dog. A clearly mentally-ill man knocked him to the ground and stabbed him in his face, neck and chest. The dog (a small one) barked and barked. My friend offered the assailant his wallet, but to no avail: the attacker was delusional and paranoid. J. was finally able to throw him off.

I don't know what happened next except that the police were called, the knife-wielder caught, and J. was rushed to emergency. I was at work when this happened, about a half mile from the scene, and both Melinda and I remarked on the number of emergency vehicles racing by the house, not knowing, at that time, what had happened.

The Seattle Times reported the incident briefly, and spoke of "superficial wounds."

I ran into J. this week on the light rail. He's perhaps thirty, studying to be an EMT, a tender-souled man with a quiet friendly manner. There's a genuineness, an honesty about him that is striking. (Wishing he were, oh, twenty-or-so-years-older....)

Sitting on the train, he pulled up his shirt to show one of the (healing) wounds on his chest, and another on his shoulder which came precariously close to nicking his lung. I pointed out that the gouge on his cheek will only make him more handsome, and he laughed. He seemed relaxed, at peace, but I can only imagine what the long-term effects of an act of violence such as this will have on his psyche. The knife-wounds will heal, the scars will fade with time, but my fear for J. is of the lingering effects of this incident.

J. was present at the man's arraignment, and said that he is clearly a disconnected person, undoubtedly mentally ill.

That this happened just blocks from my house increases the volume of the alarm I feel, on many levels. This attacker did not belong on the streets, but given the state of public health in this country, I know that he is one of many. But how many? Will this man be released back into the world at large? I feel tremendous compassion for J., but also for his assailant, who, with appropriate medical care and supervision, would probably not be posing a risk to the general population, and could very possibly be living a productive life.

There exists sadness and tragedy in every aspect of this.

And what to do?
Love those we love more fiercely.
Be mindful.
Rejoice in the ordinary day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

the hearts

I begin with 80# paper, and a hand-cut stencil.
Add layers of pastel, thick thick.
Use the tip of a utility knife to scritch a pattern.

Then: photograph.
Then: computer. And messing with the images.

(Suffering from a dearth of words.)
[Delmar, New York: who are you?]

(And to the rest of you, in case anyone is wondering: no, I have not lost my mind.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Breathing, as a Ninety-Nine Percenter

At the bar of the four-star hotel where we stayed in Manhattan (special rate for Gift Fair exhibitors), we sat down beside a man who, within minutes, announced that he was a one-percenter. Not knowing quite how to respond to him (other than vomiting, but hey -- how can you begrudge a guy his $3million dollar home, for which he paid cash?), I mentioned the economic reality of living at the bottom of the food chain. It didn't take long for the conversation to veer into politics, and for Mr. One-Percenter to complain that he had to pay a half-million dollars in taxes last year. I brought out my tiny violin and intoned a dirge. The poor fella!

And he really said this:
"Say you make $250,000 a year, have a house payment and a couple of kids, and you want to send both those kids to college. How are you gonna do it?"

My response:
"Say you make $30,000 a year, have a house payment and a couple of kids, and you want to send both those kids to college. How are you gonna do that?

He looked pensive for a moment, obviously pondering the question with great thought. And honest to god, he looked at me, considerably perplexed, and asked:
"Why are salaries so low in Seattle?"

I nearly spit my drink out.

Need I say anything more?

Further conversation brought to light the fact of his son's autism, for which he is not capable of purchasing the cure. If I was not so kind, I would have pointed out the thousands of dollars he'll save not sending this son to college. As it turned out, a conversation with a poet and an artist about his sense of helplessness in dealing with his son's health brought him to his knees: his eyes welled up. He cried.

This, of course, was after he told us about the 12,000 square foot house he's renting for a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. And the food & drink "budget", for five days, is $7500.


As he slid further and further down into his cups, his use of language diminished into half-words and slurs, and he said,
"I have an amusing antidote."

Holy crap. I began to laugh before he even began to tell his "antidote". I don't know why I attempted to suppress a growing out-of-control giggle-fit -- good manners, maybe? He didn't deserve it. (The giggles were erupting from me in powerful bursts, which I tried to hide by coughing. He was too drunk to notice.)

But the poor fella, indeed. All that cash, all those taxes handed over to a president he despises, and he doesn't know an antidote from an anecdote.

It occurred to me that nothing I said, nothing Melinda said, was going to sink into this guy's brain. He had the wherewithal to hire an entire string section of violinists to accompany his over-taxation lamention. He was one of the Bad Guys, a bond trader, a target of the Occupy Movement, on a bar stool in New York. In the flesh. (Alcohol-marinated flesh, but flesh nonethless.)

The next day I flew three thousand miles back to my real life, where one son (with health issues of his own) is unemployed and living with me, and the other son is "doing it" -- going to college, on loans and a part-time job loading and unloading UPS planes at the airport in the middle of the night.

I work for an artist -- for, well, um, considerably less than $250,000 a year.

According to Mr. One-Percenter's standards, I shouldn't be able to survive at all on anything less than $250k, much less even breathe.

How do we do it?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sunny and 62 in Seattle today -- and home from NYC, this "small town" seems so tame, so quiet, so roomy, so accessible! There's nothing like travel to expand one's perspective.

It's one of those clear, clean days with a brisk breeze where every visual detail of everything seems magnified. The Cascade Mountains, in the sunset, glow pink and lavender. I like to look at the mountains with my binoculars -- a bit surreal, those snow-cragged peaks which seem so close from my urban treetop perch.

A quick survey of the garden this morning showed violas in tentative bloom, buds on the clematis and a few early leaves on the honeysuckle. This is the annual tease -- winter is not finished with us quite yet, I fear. Nonetheless, a day like today is enough to make me forget the persistent grey of a Seattle winter. (And a reminder to myself that the color grey has an infinite number of shades!)

The Gift Show was a success, and well worth the time and effort. We picked up 30+ new accounts and enough orders to most likely guarantee a fruitful 2012.