Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To My Grandbug

Dearest Sweet-pea,

Since we met, my life hasn't been the same. Stars shine brighter now; colors sing sweeter. And for the first time in forever I have a sense of hope. I bless the day that you came into my life. And today is the anniversary of that day.

Happy second birthday, beautiful girl. I love you so much my heart sparkles.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Good Day

Boo at my bedroom window

So much needs doing around here; little time is left for writing. So in lieu of a proper blogpost, I'll simply share a list of five magical things about my day, and here they are:

1. Discovering a drift of tiny blue Scilla under a mat of last autumn's leaves.

2. Medjool dates and Greek yogurt.

3. My favorite work gloves, molded to the shape of my hands.

4. Coming in from the garden for a cup of Earl Grey sweetened with stevia syrup.

5. My cat Boo perched on the pile of books that litter my headboard and monitoring the progress of a pair of purple finches as they carefully consider the nesting-site potential of the hinge of my window.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Poem

Bunnies are brown,
Bunnies are white.
Bunnies are always
An Easter delight.

Bunnies are cuddly,
The large and the small.
But I like the chocolate ones
Best of them all. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. 

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. 

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. 

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. 

The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. 

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. 

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. 

     ~ Mother Teresa (via Dr. Kent M. Keith)

(Me here: Do yourself a favor and check out Kent Keith's Paradoxical Commandments, of which the above is a version.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My First Tattoo, Perhaps?

I learned something big recently. BIG big. Big like an a-ha moment, only all in caps and exclamation marks -- A-HA!!! -- with clouds parting and sunbeams piercing down like swords. Oh, and choirs singing, too. And pointing their fingers.

Wait a minute... At me?

But in hindsight I see now that I deserved it.

What happened was this. My friend Sue and I went to a theatre performance one evening together recently, and I stayed in her guest room afterwards and tagged along to work with her the next day where I stayed until James could fetch me. (Why I did this is because I'm currently without wheels, but that's beside the point.) Sue is a librarian. And we all know about me and books. Being 'forced' to spend an entire day in a quiet building surrounded by floor-to-ceiling shelves full of awesomey awesomeness is about as close to heaven as I can imagine....

During the course of the day, Sue walked some of her co-workers back to meet me. One was her best bud at the library, an artist named Maren who is married and raising a family. Since Maren seemed to have the time, I invited her to sit at my table, and the two of us talked about art. I learned that she attended art school and that her mother is an accomplished artist. And I learned that although Maren knew of her mother's talent, she hadn't seen much of her work until recent years. Impressed with what she saw, she asked her 80+-year-old mother (who apparently has never worked outside the home during her marriage) why she hadn't continued with her art after Maren and her siblings were all grown and gone. And her mom's response was, "But who would've cared for the house?"


This was choir-and-cloud-parting Moment #1.

Apparently I was a little shaken by her mom's statement and wasn't entirely focused when Maren continued talking, because I recall her asking me questions and me answering them apologetically. As in Maren asking, "So you do art full-time?" And me answering, "Haha, yeah! But I wouldn't recommend it unless you wanted to be really, really poor." Maren said, "When I get home from work at night, the last thing I want to do is try to get in the Creative Zone. You're so lucky to have your entire day for art."


You know that THX surround-sound bit at the movie theatre where a crazy loud musical chord narrows itself down to its essence and focuses like an ice-pick of tone right in your sternum? Only it's painful in a sweet and harmonic way, like you're not sure you can bear it but if it's gonna kill you then what a way to go?

Behold choir-and-cloud-parting Moment #2.

I don't even think I said anything more to Maren after that. If I did, I was just going through the verbal motions. Because it'd occurred to me moments earlier that Maren and others like her -- creative folks all wishing years of their lives away to that day in the future when they can do what they dream -- all trusted me to be using my time wisely. And in my head I'd already fast-forwarded to the end of my own personal movie to the scene where my daughters ask me why I didn't do much with my art after they both grew up and left home, and my old self answering with something totally banal like, "But who would've cared for the house?"

I was Maren once. I knew women who spent their days making art. I hated them and worshipped them and would've sold my soul to be them, and in my head I imagined them happily living my dream and reveling in it, wringing their hands in creative glee behind my back while I paid my workin' girl dues. Those chicks owed it to me to be making the most of their amazing good fortune! And if I'd even suspected that they were spending their days folding clothes or polishing silver, I'd have called the Time Police and had all those blessed creative hours revoked.

So, wow.

In the space of just a few weeks I've met two strangers who've both looked me square in the eye and challenged me to not disappoint them. I'm sure that wasn't really what they were doing, but that's definitely the message I got. And now I think of that message often.

"Disappoint none. For in great freedom lies great responsibility."

Yikes. And I'm serious when I say that those words are something I should write on my bathroom mirror in chapstick, or spend a year creating a needlepoint sampler out of, or tattoo backwards onto my forehead just so I have to read them every day, especially when a dust bunny taunts me and makes me go hunting for my broom.

Because it's not about the housework or the fill-in-the-blank. And it's not about how poor I am, but how LUCKY I am. And it's all about the art and about the complete freedom I have to pursue it. And it's about remembering my young self who spent countless hours wishing the years away until she could be where I am now.... So you might say there's a third person begging me not to disappoint her.

And she's the most important one.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Isn't it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool's Day and ends with cries of 'May Day!'?

     ~Rob Knauerhase

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Weekend Eve!

I do wish I could tell you my age but it's impossible. It keeps changing all the time.
     ~ Greer Garson

Thursday, April 14, 2011


"An optimist is the human personification of spring."

   ~ Susan J. Bissonette

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


"April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go."

   ~Christopher Morley

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Character Remembered

My Gram
My Gram passed away last September. If she'd lived, she'd be 100 years old today. I, for one, thought she'd live forever and would not have been surprised at all if she'd done just that.

At her memorial service, my cousins stood up and recounted fun (and funny) Gram memories, and during that time I felt the eyes of my own daughter and my brothers upon me as they good-naturedly reminded me of how similar Gram and I are. Or were. Cut from the same cloth. This pleases me. My Gram was a character! And if I'm at all like her, I'm proud of it.

Getting through Gram's memorial service and burial was do-able. But it wasn't long after I was home alone again that I had a total cry-fest meltdown of titanic proportions. I slept the day away, got up for a few hours, melted down Big Time, and slept for another twelve. And afterwards I felt so fragile that wearing clothes was like being dressed in sandpaper....

Gram and I weren't close -- ours wasn't the kind of grandchild/grandmother relationship that I secretly imagined my other cousins enjoyed -- so my only explanation for this meltdown is this: I think I realized that this interesting character who had always been in my life was now really truly gone, and that my window of opportunity to learn from her was closed now forever.

I'm a grandmother now. Since the birth of my own grandbug two years ago I've been hyperfocused on grandparenting in all its forms; I want to be the best I can be. My maternal Grandma was the doily-crocheting, mitten-knitting, breadbaking type who smelled like face powder and always wore a dress with an apron and wouldn't leave home without a hat and carried bus tokens in her patent leather purse. My paternal Gram wore jodhpurs and boots and woolen shirts, worked a farm and drove a hard bargain, and could shoot a bear and dress it too (and did, in fact)....

City Mouse. Country Mouse. Two extremes. Two powerful role models.

I want to be like them both, maybe somewhere in the middle. When I admitted this to a friend recently, she said, "This whole granny thing isn't YOU. You have to reinvent the role!"

That got me thinking.... About becoming a bread-knitting, mitten-baking (that's right), granny oddmother who wears leather work gloves and smells like a cosmetics counter, keeps theatre stubs in her Carhartts and dresses bears in dresses. The whole idea appeals to me like crazy, and I've since decided it's high time I claim my inheritance proper and become the character I was meant to be.

It's the right thing to do after all. :)
(Miss you, Gram. Happy birthday. Love, Punky.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day One

“Sitting quietly,
doing nothing,
spring comes,
and the grass grows by itself.”

    ~Zen proverb

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some Local Inspiration

Art copyright Nancy Carlson
As James and I waited in line to order our lunch today at the corner fast food place, I noticed on the front page of the day's crumpled Variety section a photo of local kids' book author and illustrator Nancy Carlson, seated at her drawing table (a table that looks a lot like mine, what with all the notes written on its surface; and just how cool is it anyway that there are clots of pens in plastic bins and papers stacked in the background!?) and showing off her doodles to Strib photog Tom Wallace.

Seeing Nancy's face and her familiar drawing style filled my head with memories. Her books first began appearing back when my own girls were small, and they grew up reading her stories about Harriet the dog and Harriet's friends Loudmouth George and Louanne Pig. But I admit that since their childhood I've lost track of Nancy and her works and had no idea that she's created over 60 books over the years. (Go, Nancy, go!)

The body of the article informed me that over a year ago Nancy's editor suggested she post something online regularly 'as a way of keeping her name in the public eye' and so she decided to draw a doodle a day and share it on her blog. And as soon as I got home again after eating that turkey burger, I checked out her site and signed up to receive her cheerful daily updates. (Guess what? Her birthday is the day after mine! And she hates airplanes and scary rides, too! A kindred spirit....)

Since reading the article I can't help thinking about what a great exercise it must be to create and post a Little Something daily. And so I've decided to follow her example. (Or TRY to, at least; those are some amazing shoes to fill.) Doing so will give me something to share when I'm feeling too quiet for words. Plus, it'll make this 'art blog' look like it means business.

So thank you in advance, Nancy Carlson, for this great suggestion. It's so nice to 'reconnect' with you and your wonderful characters again after all these years! And I hope you don't mind if I follow your impressive example and pray for a fraction of your productivity.

It'll do me a world of good. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An A-Ha Moment of Sorts

Well, duh....
All day yesterday I wrestled with the whinefest I'd just written about the Social Networking clique and how 'none of the cool kids know I'm alive (sniff!),' and about how small and childish I felt inside when I thought about navigating the World Weird Web.

Embarrassingly pathetic. But like I said, I thought about it all dang day. Only this time I accompanied all the thinking with a bunch of doing, which was surprisingly effective.

The studio overhaul I'd begun in January has come to a frustrating stand-still, so in anger I pushed a bunch of boxes aside, set up my table, and hooked up the lights. I plugged in an old boom box. I set up an ancient TV. I realized afterwards that I had no idea where the box of paper was or the box of drawing utensils, and I was not about to start digging again.... So I said screw it, and decided to employ sketchbook paper and rescued pencils that I've found on my walks.

The setup is ugly. Nothing about it is inviting -- nothing! -- except perhaps the fact that there's a door to it that can be closed to reality (and if that's the only glint of silver I can find in the lining of this particular cloud, I'm going for it). So today I've unearthed an adjustable stool and a little taboret of sorts to safely support my coffee cup, and now I think I'm ready.

But my real point: All the while I was making these angry preparations I was far away in my head. And when it occurred to me that Facebook and the like make me feel as though I'm back in high school, I remember thinking: "Hmmmm. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and talk to your high school self, Delayne, what helpful advice would you give her about this so-called In Crowd?" Easy-peasy. I'd tell her to ignore those bitches and just be herself.

Sounds like a plan.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Am I Missing?

James's birthday was on a Sunday recently so we made a whole weekend of it, and during that time I yearned to share our doings by posting some status updates on Facebook, things like: "'Sucker Punch' + vintage books + Mongolian BBQ = a great day!" But I was nowhere near a computer and my phone was low on battery.

And then a funny thing happened. I began to experience a little social networking withdrawal. Who knew??

Although I may be wrong, I don't think I spend a lot of time on social networking; however, I will admit it's on my mind a lot. My whole reason for even getting involved was to promote my art. And then it just sorta snowballed. Perhaps because I suspect I have the kind of personality that turns everything into an addiction.

Anyway, by the end of Day One of the birthday weekend just the thought of Facebook seemed a bit overwhelming to me. And a quick check on my iPhone told me that no one was even aware of my absence. Why did I care??

Day Two was more of the same. And by the time we returned home that evening I was in somewhat of a funk; just the sight of the computer was enough to make me anxious. In my mind I saw the amount of time I'd been devoting to establishing my little spot online, and how in a matter of hours that big world I'd been trying to orbit had leapt miles ahead of me. I didn't have the energy now to catch up. And it wouldn't matter anyway. Even a couple of the new Twitter followers I'd recently welcomed had already lost interest in me and 'unfollowed.' After a matter of hours.... Sheesh....

I can't blame Social Networking as the reason why the following week was such a downer for me. In the grand scheme of All Things That Depress Me, it doesn't make a blip. I'd begun to sense a deep darkness on my periphery before the weekend had even gotten underway, and with the deep darkness there comes a deeper aloneness. I know this. And for me, Social Networking provides a different kind of aloneness, and it didn't help.

When things returned to their normal routine on Monday, I made the online comment that I was stepping away for a while and would return to the world of Social Networking again when I could do so with a smile. And then I gave the computer a wide berth. The few who cared took the time to say they cared, and for that I'm grateful.

And since that post I've returned, but not fully. I look at the phenomenon and see a high school clique that is impossible for me to infiltrate, and just knowing that a little bitty part of me yearns to do so makes me unhappy with myself. I want the balls to cut my ties to it! But dang if I don't see its potential for someone like me who is trying to run a business on a dime.

Maybe it's my age. Or maybe I just don't understand it. Or maybe I just don't have the time for it. But Facebook and Twitter and the like just brush my fur backwards. Trying to employ them for the sake of Mayfaire takes time I hardly have and skills I don't possess. Since I care (and am careful) about what I post and how I post it, each sentence is handcrafted and honed. Not perfectly, I understand. Not even well, I suspect! But you wouldn't guess that from the amount of time and attention I give them. And does it matter? That's the big question. Am I wasting my time? Does it all work out for the best?

I haven't a clue. But those 'in the know' say it does. We'll see.... But for now it feels kind of nice to take a big step back and let it all run on ahead, gossiping and giggling like schoolgirls trying to catch the eye of the In Crowd.

While I read a book and plant peas. And draw. And dream.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Note to You

Dear friend,

If I haven't said this to you yet, BIG thankyous for following me. I'm grateful that you're here, and that you continue to BE here, even after my icky absences. You are the best, and I mean it.

I'm slowly climbing out of the rabbit hole into daylight again. And today has already seen a smile. With any luck I hope to be my annoyingly wordy self soon.

Hugs to you,