Wednesday, August 16, 2017

National Calligraphy Day

Will there ever be simple have-it-your-way-noncelebratory-day days anymore? Wait. Maybe after International Toilet Paper Day? If every day is a celebration won't there be celebration burn-out? The average person works five days a week, has Saturday off, and Sunday as a day or rest/worship. We have a weekend 'cause we're too tired from the week, so I say, Give us a break with the National and International holidays.

There are e-mails aplenty to alert me several days in advance like I'm going to rush out and buy crap for people who already have more than enough crap. Check the amounts of garbage your neighbor puts on the curb twice a week and you'll see what I mean. "There's more room out than in" is still true of stuff as it is about farts. And which is worse? Methane or landfills of crappy stuff? 

I long for the day when we'll imagine in whatever it is we want. Can't you see yourself imagining a house full of everything you need from the day you move in to the home you imagined. Then, when you want to change say . . . the living room furniture, you simply imagine it gone; it goes, and you imagine in a whole new room of furnishings. No, you cannot do it with spouses, children, pets, or debt. It'll only work with stuff.

But as I was saying . . . John Neal Bookseller wants us to know there's a John Neal Books World Calligraphy Day Sale going on in celebration of World Calligraphy Day. I sent a good friend a lovely calligraphy set ahead of time 'cause I'm psychic that way. Uh huh, sure am. I hoped she'd like it because I have one too, and want to imagine how diligently we will both practice until we're so proficient we'll bedazzle our envelopes so-o-o well the post person will be jealous. Okay, not really, but let us practice until we are good enough. 

World Calligraphy Day UK has a holler post about the day as well. I have a handful of Manuscript pens and they're as fun as any pen can be, and there's pleasure in their novelty. There's a template to download, use, and post your calligraphy talents on social media. I don't show my face on FB, I don't Tweet, Holler . . . Maybe I do holler a lot, but only from the comforts of here. Did I ever tell you how I'm banned from FB? Uh huh, for real. 

Couldn't make it to the UK events? Well, there's no place like home. A good place to start is here: Calligraphy Stars on Instagram. It's from 2015 but it's still good writing. I recently cancelled my subscription to The New Yorker because they'd begun to form themselves into pile. Stockpiles. They'd slide off their perches and fall onto me or before me barring my way. My e-mails ranneth over with New Yorker news, previews of what was to come in my mail box; the piles shoved against each other in the trash file, I felt overwhelmed by the pushy New Yorker. I grew tired of reading too-long stories. This is coming from me, the woman who whined about too-short stories and articles . . . The New Yorker wore me out. It won.

Okay. The best part of that piece is the Albert Einstein font, but ask yourself, "Why would I want to write like Albert Einstein?" Then move on to do something to celebrate National Calligraphy Day by just writing it your way, only legibly. And be done with it 'cause you'd better believe your bootees there'll be something else to celebrate before the ink is dry.

But wait! If Calligraphy isn't your cup of coffee, substitute it with this: National Handwriting Day Be informed: This is post is four years old. National Handwriting Day is officially on January 23, but who wants to wait that long? If you start your practice now imagine how well you'll write come January! 

I discovered this is a recent purchase of ephemera. It's interesting to see what schools deemed important back in that day:  Deportment, effort, penmanship . . . Ah, penmanship! Anonymous Student's penning was average. Is that below "good enough?" Good enough to read? Hmm. Said student improved in Art. Wow. He drew better than he spoke? Interesting. We had citizenship classes! We were not immigrants! It was brainwashing. Pure and simple. Is a good thing I was the only one in our class who paid attention. 

Student Eleanor did very well at the beginning of each semester. Why did she miss thirty-five days in the third quarter, and manage to do well in those twelve days she managed to attend? She had good penmanship though.

I can use a remedial course in Penmanship for Oldish Girls. In my defense I used a new Macron marker that needed breaking in . . . Okay, okay. I need to take better care forming letters and words. I even forgot to dot an I. Darla, JC dubbed her Darla, doesn't seem to mind that it's missing. She's just waiting for the eclipse. What? You too? I'm waiting for this flareup of fibromyalgia to douse itself. First asthma, now this. Can a sister get break??? Perhaps this sister is simply reaping. Hmm. Reap on. 

Am interviewing for assistants. What do you think? Goodness knows I need one. I had a weeks worth of outgoing mail hiding between the very low part of the mattress and the footboard. Then I had the nerve to wonder why friends X, Y, and Z hadn't hollered back to let me know the packages had arrived. Duh, doh, dumb. Minuet has an annoying habit of knocking things down-over-and-off when she's annoyed. I forget to look on the floor below the footboard. Duh, doh, dumber?

But just like Jello, there's always time for art. I drew in bed propped against a flotilla of pills  with two hot water bottles on both sides of my spine, and fell asleep mid-draw. I awoke around 4 AM and picked up where I'd left off. Somehow the drawing was slept on too. It's only a little wrinkled so it goes out to recipient on the morrow. My blue bird somehow manages to leave a lovely blue tint that forever enhance my cloud's silver lining. I hope yours tints too. Be well, tell the devil to stay the hell in Hell, then watch as all goes well.  *grin*

Happy World Calligraphy Day!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Another Saturday Evening Post

I'm watching "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." I missed maybe the first forty minutes or so, so I have roughly an hour and a half to sit and be mesmerized, stymied, tempted to watch the next showing the moment it starts, and . . . I want a wand too! But since I'm usually the last one to hop on to a growing trend, everyone else would have one first, and then it wouldn't be so special. Unless! Unless we could conjure our very own original one-of-a-kind conjuring. Can you imagine how we'd wreck the world trying to outdo each other? We'd end up in a whole mess of trouble for sure, huh?

But anyway. I'm good and tired, almost worn out, and my wallet is thinner by five or ten pounds worth of ducats. I drove again for the fifth time this year. Yea hey! The body never forgets. It holds on to aches like a sore loser holds on to the sourness of losing too. I hefted heavy bags of things like bird seed and potting soil. The potting soils weren't all that heavy since they'e made up mostly of peat and perlite; it's the muscles that were at fault. Being rusty is no excuse for the sorry state of my hefters, but I enjoyed every moment of independence. I love being in a nursery. There's always so much to see and I get a kick out of imagining such good stuff growing in my own yards. 

Truth is it's still too hot here for growing things that aren't already growing. I left the lavender in the bag as long as I dared. Keeping it company on the patio today s what propelled me out into the world; it needed a bigger home and more soil. The smaller buds were limp. What if it's root bound? What if it's dying from lack of nurturing, deeper/wider space, lime, attention?

Having never owned the lovelies before meant a Google on its anatomy and care were required. So it happened. Three pinched pieces made me happier all day. Had I known and remembered lavender had such amazing properties, I'd have never taken a single antidepressant. The scent is a drug. A natural antidepressant. And it doesn't give you a case of "munchies by proxy." *grin* 

I'll dissect one of the specimens I tucked inside here for safe keeping, but I wore one and a tiny fingerling of leaves, nested inside my bra. I smelled good, I felt good all day, and that's why I spent so much money on gifts for people who probably have too much stuff anyway! That's a true story and I'm sticking to the why and how of it! 

Now. How to draw lavender is a question I intend to solve any day now. It's such a complex plant though. It has layers and layers of secrets that need discovering; one lavender web site offers a free cross stitch pattern for a more sharper-eyed dreamer than this one, along with all the information one might need--and it's easy to understand, plus it's chocked with lovely links. Besides, my cross stitching days are over. Maybe, and probably for sure. But seriously. Have you ever inspected lavender? I love those little flowers I'd never seen before; when they die they turn an interesting brown once they wither, while the large scooped leaves (?) turn brown too they yet refuse to give up their heady scent. The greenery turns as well, which is natural but the oil infused "plaits" are too rich to toss even after they've winked off.  

Tomorrow you'll find me uprooting and repotting and inhaling lungsful of bliss. After a body roll of Biofreeze you might find me in an easy chair with my feet up, Minuet on my lap under a sketch pad, and a cup of tea within reach while I pencil in the anatomy of a little flower and all that comes with it . . . except the scent.

Speaking of drawing . . . 

There's a whole lot of fun going on in my journals lately.

Coloring is a whole other story with a sad ending. I cannot lay down good color under certain specific conditions. It's not unusual but it's annoying as heck when a great drawing ends up ruined.  You'd think I'd know better by now, huh? 

We find fun where we find it, right? Drawing when I cannot sleep is nothing new but I still tend to forget things I've done the next day or week or whenever it is that I discover the fun by accident. 

I need new markers. Already. I seem to go through them faster than I realize. Copic is hard to find now, and what a shame that is. Companies that copied their brand and sell their schlock at a lower price aren't doing me any favors. Cheap is wasteful! And it put Sears and Montgomery Ward under. I'm still saying!

And then there's this. Art that makes you go . . . Fill in the blank. I used to buy a magazine that featured such art in an attempt to understand the genre and the creators behind it. Is this a new genre or is it just new to me? Still. After all these years. I've seen the likes for at least a decade in underground magazines. Some of it is unsettling to say the least, but it's mesmerizing. The scary parts are the stories I conjure when I simply look. 

What would da Vinci and his sort think? Dahli? Picasso? Well maybe not Picasso. But Vermeer and Rembrandt? I think they'd be as intrigued as the poor limner. That doesn't mean I'll share my personal drawings that reveal so much of me. That's for journals since I'm not really the brave sort. Knowing my use of "I" labels me as being neurotic is more than enough psychoanalysis than seems necessary. Know what I mean?

No matter. Romulus and Remus had siblings from another mother/father! This is so cool I shiver just a little every time I look, and I've looked and looked and looked for a long while now. 

I am so old school I sneeze eraser dust. My one dream was to draw so well people would see it and cry. Okay, sorry for punning on "Fame," but that song used to be my secret, half-way anthem--all the while knowing I could never stand up to the scrutiny that came with fame. Class critiques did me in so no way would I ever fly across the sky like a flame, or hold the moon in my hand. Let someone else do it.  Yes, I'm old school but this is new school/old school. This is where talent meets vision-meets patience in the details-meets a new story in every personal translation-meets self and someone you know discovered in a peer.

"I Am."

Thank you, Carroll Davies. I look forward to seeing your work in books and magazines. You should have your own comic book. Greeting cards. It should be on the side of buildings, and I am so anti graffiti, but yes to a wall inside an art museum! I hope you don't mind me sharing your work here. It's been within reach since the day it arrived. Yours is a powerful voice. I am honored.

Yes, I've managed to write a few letters between being awed, drawing silly, getting to know lavender, and making store clerks duck ducats. I'm breathing and thriving and keeping an eye on the prize. Summer's almost over. I'm happy. I'm seriously thriving. I thrived through the hottest days and intend to thrive some more. Life is good. 

P.S.  Is Abby really dead? Or is Ray Donovan and everyone imagining how life would be if she died? Bunchy wants to wrestle? Poor old thing? And is Danerys dumb? Smarter than we give her credit for? What's going to happen in GoT tomorrow night? Can I stand it?  

I almost forgot to tell you about this funny. A father had the older daughter keep watch while he took younger daughter inside the port-a-potty for a bathroom break. Seriously.  They went inside the larger side-by-side version but it must not have been set up for action because they came out and went inside this one. Where they stayed. And stayed. Eventually daddy came out, shut the door, and waited with older daughter. Seriously. My how we have fallen as humans. Some poor minimum wage earner has to clean up after them. I might have laughed, but I'm glad I'm not the one. I'd quit first.

Oh! And another thing! I went to the post office! I went in, got my mail, read one letter in the parking lot 'cause it was just that good. Okay, I couldn't tell how good it was until after I'd read it, but the Honda was cool by the time I finished. *grin*

I wish you happy mail. I like to imagine it's like an adult Happy Meal.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Pathway to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

There are rare days when life bears the truth that the pathway to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. There are other days when it feels like it's a freeway and I'm a driver without a steering wheel, whereas sometimes I'm the passenger on the interstate to hell and have no seat belt. All in all, I'm along for the ride simply 'cause I've got a ticket. 

In this lovely photo, the next street sign meets another street sign at an intersection. They should read Pathway to Hell Avenue/Good Intentions Boulevard. No kidding. When I see the two I know I'll be home directly. I won't want to get out of the truck, JC will turn off the a/c to force me out, I'll whine, gather my Klean Kanteen, my bag and anything new I've picked up during our outing, and slide down off the cold leather seats, hit the driveway concrete, sigh, pull down the hem of my top, pull up my pants, shut the truck door, turn and head indoors. 

I haven't done any of that since the day I took this photo. It's simply too hot to be messing around in all the concrete, MacAdam, waves of heat and exhaust fumes and my own . . . I tend to run hot. JC can accidentally touch my hand and declare "You're so hot!" I know I was a babe in my day but to have him still see me that way . . . He always ruins it when he reaches up to check my forehead temp, see the look on my face, and reassure me that, no, he didn't mean that kind of hot. *sigh* 

I'd never make it in Africa. Knowing it is one of the best reasons you never hear me whining about visiting the Motherland. Another is due to the fact that my foster Motherland is pretty much all I know this time around, hence this major disconnect. Once the umbilical cord is severed there's no reconnecting. Most of all, I have no desire to seek out my true tribe; that's why I have one of my own making. 

O-Bird is in Africa, what she calls her continent, and it pissed me off royally when she claimed it as such seeing as how it's really and truly not. That's like being adopted into a family whose country is not your own or calling yourself white just because you've been adopted by an Anglo family when you come from the Congo. People need to stop messing with other people's minds and DNA.  

See? I told you this pathway leads to a hellish end . . . A cul-de-sac? I'll try to explain. I'm reading two books that suck me in so deeply I cannot deny their pull. When that happens, the words I read affect me. It's like watching a movie that's so good you forget self and punch the air, scream when the hand reaches out of the dark, or you cry 'cause you think Will Smith's character just died, and it really feels real enough to make you cry. A good book makes a fool out of me.

This book hurts my heart. I remember the first transexual I met. It was after I'd read Christine Jorgensen's story and was so caught up in the very idea that for days it was all I could think of. Fast forward two years into the future and I met the parents of a hermaphrodite in the waiting room of Texas Children's Hospital. Those parents needed to share their child's story with someone--with anyone--so they told it to strangers. These years later I understand how it can be easier to share such uncertainty with people you're never likely to see again, or with someone who cannot judge you to your face . . . But I still wonder about the child whose parents chose a girl over a boy or even an intersected child. Couldn't they have waited until she could choose for herself?

The first adult transexual to be "liberated" at the Texas Medical Center just happened to move into an apartment below ours. She tried to be friends by doting on Erin when she saw us at the pool. I was too introverted to respond in a warm or welcoming way. I watched her settling into her new body and teeny-tiny string bikinis that were at odds with her too-large-to-be-a-woman's mannish hands and hip bones. I felt sad for her. 

One day I heard a nurse tell the story of her reassignment to Tommy, the clerk and part owner of the convenience store across the street from the apartment complex. I felt betrayed for "her." She and her husband moved away soon after. A year later I was an employee at the hospital where she'd been reassigned. Dr. G performed her surgery. I used to watch him and wonder. Why did he choose to liberate . . . What made him decide . . . Were that many mis-gendered souls crying for freedom?

It was the same hospital where the good and talented other Dr. G (Surnames spelled slightly different.) invented the first penile implant. Methodist Hospital was the cutting edge hospital back in the day. The answer to why I chose Methodist over Hermann was all about the laying of stones in my pathway. 

Fast forward a handful of years as you find me in the same medical center when HIV presented itself among Houston's population, but hadn't yet been identified. I worked on the leukemia pod at MD Anderson by then and was struck by the sudden influx of adult males on our unit. I remember the night I saw the first lesions on a patient's back and wondered why patients with skin cancer were on our unit. It was in that hospital that the first warnings were whispered into my ear . . . "Abstinence makes the heart live longer." And just like the man said, I replied, "You don't have to tell me twice." 

Everything happens for a reason. Experiences are paving stones. Sex reassignment surgery. That's what it was called back then. Someone is assigned a new sex. One definition of "assignment" means to make over. I cannot imagine how it might feel to be locked inside a body that identifies as a whole other self. I cannot imagine loving someone of the same gender and being denied . . . 

I finally watched "Moonlight" recently, and I cried. I finally got it. I got it where it counts. I got it as hard as I got "Loving" the first time I read their story. It's like the wise man once said, 

Birthing is hard, 
and living is mean
so get yourself 
a little loving 
in between.” 

I must disagree with Langston. We need a whole lot of loving--a continuous stream of loving--in between all the hell and good intentions.

“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That's the way I stay alive.
My motto, 
as I live and learn, 
Dig and be dug
In return.” 

“Oh, God of Dust and Rainbows,
Help us to see
That without the dust 
the rainbow
Would not be.” 

I wish you just enough dust to make a hell of a lot of rainbows. And that's what mail is. Sometimes. 

Can you tell by this how my hand has gotten better? It has, so I wrote a little letter.

Did I ever tell you how I wanted to be an occupational therapist once upon a time? I figured my mama might see art as a legitimate career if it could help people. It didn't happen. I didn't sell out, but here's proof that doodling sure strengthens your drawing muscles. *grin* 

One sardine in a can beats Prince Albert in one hands down. Wait. There's more! Aw, go on, I'll smell you later. 

Did you know Lincoln was an extrovert???

I gotta tell you! GoT had me on the edge of my chair this weekend! Some of the best characters were killed off but I had no time to grieve because . . . Oooh! Because there were so many surprises and plots to try to figure out! That George R. R. Martin had my underskirts all twisted in knots, and the show's creators yanked them up hard enough to give me waistband burn. Dany worked everyone's last nerve, the little heifer, but Ser Jorah will save her bacon, and my favorite old woman drank the poison. I'd have told Jamie to go kiss his sister, but Old Woman got the last word. *hard grin* And that Cersei Lannister got no compassion from me. You can't pretty up or feel sorry for ugly, mean and nasty . . . Not when it's in one bag of skin and bones and with venom for blood. Why have writers created women who fight and murder and plot and . . . I know, I know. They pave pathways to hell with deliberation.

No way could I have written all this in a single letter, just as there's no way the story of "The Dark Tower" can be told . . . Dang it! Just when I'd sworn off believing any Stephen King story can be told on a screen. That's a little hell in itself, yes?

Write on and on and on . . . I forgot to mail last night's letters today. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Saturday Night Post

Laughing here. The latest hot water bottle burns are mere scabs. Or so JC says. I should tape a copy of this to both bottles to remind me of what might happen. Thank you, Jean. Is it from a stamp or is it a jpeg? 

The stamp looks better on an envelope than online. I touched--thinking hoping it's embossed. You changed my mind about these.

What an interesting souvenir for Pedestrian Day. Dodson, D., do people really walk the length of the Golden Gate Bridge? There's an actual bridge-walking  fiesta? I'd walk it! What a cool way to cross over. The ticket number is depressed. Tres cool, dude! Thanks for giving me such a teachable postcard. I learn something new every day.

I like the elk. They follow each other nose-to-tail on all the nature shows they're in. And their call isn't what one would expect of such a strong, strikingly "masculine-looking" animal. They bleat. They're beautiful. Thanks for the double dip, Dodson. What a view, too.

Cynthia, where do you find your stamps? Lovely stationery, too. I saw the collective bargaining postage on Mystic. I think. I added them to my cart, the phone rang, there was a long-long-long conversation. I wonder . . .  Nice placement. Such balance! Thank you.

This is . . . Pardon me while I check the thesaurus for something that better than amazing.    Okay. This is a mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, stupefying postcard from Mim's the Word. Why can't I see the world this way? I am too pedestrian, that's why. Thank goodness the world has a need for people like me. Thanks Mim. Both sides are amazing to me. You have serious scissors skills too. 

Sweet Piglet! Thank you, Anna. Purple and gold. Colors of royals and the J. H. Rowe Tigers.

Write more letters, indeed. And I will. 

Write more letters! Postcards are good. Notecards have more room. 

"Downton Abbey's" Lady Mary is now Letty in "Good Behavior." What do you think? Rose went on to fight vampires while wearing sheer dresses with Empire waists. Which reminds me. Have you seen "The Royal Tailor?" 

I finished this a little while ago. It ended on a note of hope. 

I found my little seed on the floor. The second is missing. I will plant my little seed and fertilize it with hope before I cover it will soil. It looks like a crowder pea, huh?

I clung to enough hope to fuel my desire to pick up pen, and ink, and another practice sheet. The day will come when I'll be good enough to address an entire envelope calligraphically. My problem is still believing I can master anything I set my mind to. With a little whole lot practice. You know? Great expectations are simply Hope with a longer name. Truth is, I read this: Ink Flourishes, and it turned a little house of hope a towering mansion. Thank you, Heather.

Until then . . . this'll have to do. My hand is steadier-stronger-surer. So I'll write on. And hope. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pretty Is As Pretty Don't

A funny card from Phonelady. The kind that keeps on giving, 'cause I laugh every time I look. Thank you, PL.

9:30 PM  I promise you that I do try for brevity and succinctness and clarity and transparency, but it I'm seldom successful. I enjoy reading your posts, your photos, your thoughts . . . all the things you share. I do declare it so. Susan Branch has been a favorite since before I knew she even had a blog. Discovering Letterwriting 101 was like getting a hit of morphine before post-op pain wipes you out ahead of the god-awful pain. You never forget the feeling.

So here I am again, trying to be brief with Phonelady's lovely card, failing after falling under the onslaught of delight that comes with discovering SB's newest post. Wait. I just had a thought. What if all the rib pain, the shoulder and other bone pain isn't caused by my right side trying to twist itself into a perfect C, but what if . . . It's a big 'un, but what if all this physical angst comes from my body righting itself? Reversing itself? What if the C is being turned into an L, and . . . "One never knows, do one?" asked Fats Waller. But here's the link I came to share:  Beatrix Potter's Birthday from Susan Branch.

Dodson, D. gave me a copy of the same book! Hugs to you some more, D.D.! Gentle hugs though. Anna made me a Beatrix Potter book! I'd planned to post all the photos,--lots and lots of photos, along with sotto voce comments today, but the lovely bones refused to come on board. 

Here's a single whet. Okay, two!  

Can you make out the delicate silver letters to the left?

I should take better photos in better light, but these are all resized and waiting in their own little Peter Rabbit file. But who knows? Oooh, I am so excited! There are new chickens too! And so much more mail that needs scanning and sharing . . . I must return to SB's for now though. I paused in the reading to come shout out a holler to alert y'all to the good goings on over there. Hurry up and follow me!

. . . to be continued

Oh my goodness! Beatrix's Secret Code

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Whole Lot of Show n a Little Bit of Tell

How did this make it through the mail safely?

From the Dodson, D's. Family Vacation. That 3-D is such a toy.

Whimsey gets me every time.

Babushka birds, eh! Both pieces are fromPatty.

As are these! Thank you, my friend. I'll be handy capable soon, and I'll art 'em up like it's nobody's business.

From Anna.

More from Patty, the real Wonder Woman.

Dodson didn't lie. There's always a little bit of this-that-n-the-other inside each envelope, and I do declare dog saliva was used to wet the glue on a flap two letters ago. Ahem. That's the bee I freed. 

Goodies from Anke in Germany. Thank you. I am crazy for the envelope, the lovely stamps, the ephemera, the note . . . Simply everything.

These are the chicken's knees. I remember seeing these on Flynn's blog and drooling. 

I cannot tell you what it meant to see these here in Texas. I won't even try.

And this? This is a bird I coveted unlike anything else. It's egg yolks, a tequila sunrise, sunrise itself, happiness, warmth from sunlight, a mystery . . . It brightens the room. Thank you, Finn. Wow.

And then there were three. Proof that the French finally learned how to be funny. *grin* 

These two will never cease being funny. I'd share the punch line but . . . It's private. Please note:  Aged people have a brand of comedy that's all their own. *grin* And the older I grow the less stodgy and stuffed I become. *grinning with both cheeks stuffed with laughter*

. . . to be continued