Thursday, January 13, 2011

Freezing in Florida

I guess if you're going to make a NY's resolution about posting daily, you should make sure you have internet access where you're going.

For those who are wondering... I have quit coffee, and don't even seem to be craving it, in the sense that I don't slobber when I smell it brewing... But giving it up forever? We'll see.

I'm in Florida with my family. We're staying on a 300 acre ranch with a huge lake, groves of oranges, and hydroponic strawberries and blueberries. We haven't actually found the blueberries yet, but we have found the strawberries and the oranges are all around us. One of my stepsisters gets up ungodly early every morning and goes out and takes pictures of birds and wildlife. This morning she awoke us all just past the crack of dawn and told us we had to get up, not to change into our clothes, just to grab a blanket and come. Fortunately, I put some pants and shoes and a sweater on. It was FREEZING outside! She drove us to the road alongside the ranch and there we saw icicles all over up to about 3 feet. The lower oranges on the trees had them. The light was shining through them. It was beautiful, very beautiful.
Sprayer with oranges and icicles.

Cold Les and Ginger!
It was also bloody cold! The earth is sandy here. The irrigation lines lie on top of the ground, so they wouldn't be good for a hard freeze, but it's supposed to be in the upper 50s today, so that's fine. I'd love to be able to enjoy all this frozen orange juice, but oranges and grapefruits aren't on the elimination diet for some reason, so I watch others drinking it. Strawberries are on the diet, so I can eat them! There's a little park a couple of miles from here, Lakeland Highlands, it's called. 250,000 years ago it and a few other highlands were all there was of Florida, although 65,000 years ago there was apparently a lot more of it. Who knew?
Lovely longleaf pines grow there, and everything here is covered with spanish moss. There are lots of birds: ibis, egret, Sand Hill cranes, great blue herons, anhingas. I'm not good at taking pictures of birds; that's Pam's job.

Here's Ginger looking for what's making the little trails in the sand... Pam says it's worms... Leslie confirms it.

Are we having fun yet?

You betcha!

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's fixing to get loud... And weird...

I finished the first wax resist in my new journal, Red Lead. I started it on December 22nd, but had trouble completing it until this morning. It was bugging me, sitting there at the beginning of the journal, unfinished.

The problem I was having was with my crayon holder. I got one from Jerry's Artarama, stuffed my favorite deep blue crayon (Caran d'Ache NeoColor I Wax) into it, and couldn't get the crayon out when I was ready to switch colors. I did color with the other colors holding them by hand, but after I broke two of them - they're very brittle, these crayons - I gave up and went looking for my other crayon holder. It's the same kind, but I couldn't find it.

So there the page sat looking pale and unfinished. I needed to be able to color really hard on a hard surface so there were no uncovered bits of paper showing. Finally this morning I found the other crayon holder, went out to the studio and colored away.

Red Lead, pages 2 and 3.
The odd thing for me about wax resist is that it's unlike many other media that I use. When I get to the part where everything is blocked in and a preliminary coat of color is on the paper, I have to go back over the whole thing and 'color hard,' to fill in those spots. It's boring. I usually do it while listening to podcasts. You might not want to watch a movie, but something is needed to occupy the mind.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


In the picture I posted yesterday, you might notice a poster on the door beside me. That's what happens when you live in an 800 sf house and you have a lot of art; you run out of walls and start putting things on the doors and ceilings.

It's a poster I did back in 1992 for my friend/bandmate Brad Massengill who was part of or was allied with - he'll correct me on all this, I'm sure - the 100th Monkey Project.

It's one of my favorite posters that I've done, even though it doesn't really work too well as a poster; it's too intricate. Here's a detail from the lower left border...

See the monkeys? and the mushroom clouds? and little nuke symbols? Yep, you have to be pretty damn close up to this poster to see all this stuff, which is why I think it doesn't work so well as a poster.

Gall (Pizi in Lakota) was a war chief at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was in the area attacked by Major Reno. His two wives and several of his children were killed. "My heart was very bad that day," he said.

After the battle, many of the Indians fled to Canada and didn't come back for four or five years. Gall surrendered to the US government in 1881, and settled on what became the Standing Rock Reservation. He became a Christian and a man of peace. He turned away from the Ghost Dance movement, which Sitting Bull had become involved in. This is all much more complicated than I can tell here, but the Indian Agents were terrified of the Ghost Dancers and orders were sent out to arrest Sitting Bull. A shoot out followed and he was killed, along with seven of his followers. Other Ghost Dancers, led by Big Foot, fled through the snow to Wounded Knee Creek, on the Pine Ridge Res where they were massacred by US troops.

Why was the government so spooked by the Ghost Dance movement? Who knows... It's just one of those things that seem to inflame people. Valentine McGillycuddy (how's THAT for a name), a one-time Indian Agent on the Standing Rock Res, said "The "The coming of the troops has frightened the Indians. If the Seventh-Day Adventists prepare ascension robes for the Second Coming of the Savior, the Unites States Army is not put in motion to prevent them. Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come." 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

favorite things

I get on kicks where I eat the same thing for several days... Sometimes it's peanut butter - well, not now on the ED (elimination diet) - or onion soup, or squash soup, or raspberries. I am perfectly happy eating these things, but then, one day, I'll want something else, or, at least not want what it is that I've been eating avidly, and it's over. This week it's avocados... Avocados with lime juice, lemon pepper and pink Himalayan salt sprinkled on them. The ones I've been eating are the big ones, from Florida, and I only hope that I'm still on this kick when I'm in Florida next week.

It's the same with clothes. Last year I was into leggings with big shirts and a vest cinching it in. This year it's been blue jeans that are more like leggings with a couple of shirts... And my space boots.

I bought them from Zappo's a couple of years back. They're bronze metallic and they made me laugh when I saw them, so I bought them. Who knew they would be so comfortable? Just before Thanksgiving, I sprained my good knee. Within two days my bad knee was out as well. Strangely, these boots were the most comfortable footwear I had. It's not that I don't have other flat-heeled shoes, just that these worked the best. They're warm, too, but most of all they're shiny! I'm also wearing my favorite winter shawl, one that I got in Mitla, in the state of Oaxaca. It's wonderfully warm and cozy, and makes me think of Oaxaca...

When I was younger I used to say contemptuously "Oh, yeah, I'm shaking in my space boots."

It's nice to actually own a pair to shake in...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 3...

I am definitely affected by the weather. Today was one of those grey cold days - ok, it got up to 60, but, somehow it still felt cold - and I never seemed to really wake up. I suppose the decaffing is really catching up with me. I feel terrifically proud that I haven't bitten anyone's head off! Of course, I didn't see that many people today, so that may have something to do with it.

I did get up, make my pitiful allowance of coffee, and start writing in my journal, so at least the day started in a wonderful way. I wrote about one of the most wonderful winter things: the light... And the color the sky is, a deep pure blue.

Pages 10 and 11 from Red Lead.

I love to look at the sky and at clouds. I can still remember clouds I saw in my childhood. My Dad would pull over to the side of the road and stop the car every now and then and say "Look at that cloud!" and the two of us would sit there and admire it. He didn't usually do this with my Mom in the car; it was our thing. It wasn't that Mom didn't like clouds; she loved the house she had after my parents split up because the living room windows faced the west and she could watch the sunset at night.

You see a pair of glasses peeking out from the margin. I bought them - tiger print on a silvery-purple color - at Central Market yesterday. Somehow I have lost my other glasses, perhaps a symptom of the fuzzy thinking that comes with caffeine withdrawl. Hopefully at some point I'll start thinking straight again...

And writing about something other than coffee!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day two...

For the New Year, I started an elimination diet, one of those ones where you eliminate all the foods that are most likely to annoy your body: dairy, wheat, beef & pork & shellfish, most citrus, nightshades, alcohol, and caffeine, as well as assorted other items, processed foods, etc... The Usual Suspects as it were. I've done this before, but I never even tried to give up caffeine. I might cut down a bit... Up the ratio of decaf that I use, but QUIT caffeine? Not going to happen!

This year I figured, why not go whole hog? Why not give up caffeine, or die trying, which, I swear to the gods I don't believe in, is what giving up coffee - my form of caffeine - and the primary one they're talking about, feels like to me. There are the headaches, the lethargy, the sleepiness, the general fog that come with a serious coffee drinker giving up their drug of choice.

Pages 6 & 7 from Red Lead.

Now for those of you who may be thinking that this is a blog primarily about my journals, let me just say that an awful lot of coffee drinking goes on in my journals. An awful lot. There are coffee rings on pages of  journals, photos of coffee mugs, commentaries on coffee, shoot, there's a lot about coffee...

So quitting drinking coffee has serious repercussions, on top of the lethargy, fatigue, sleepiness, wooly thinking and all the other stuff. I'm losing something to write about!

Perhaps I'll start writing paeans to herbal tea.

Detail of really cute mug...
Perhaps not.

Now in case you're wondering about that mug... I saw it at the HEB (the large family-owned chain of grocery stores here in Texas) and it was $2. You can't tell it from the drawing, but it's H U G E! (Actually, it seems like an interesting approach to putting up Christmas lights...)

So, I've cut down daily for the last three days on my ratio of caffeine to decaf, and cut down on the amount I make, and, yup, the headaches - I never get headaches, for pete's sake - have come, and the lethargy, and the wooly thinking and the sleepiness. Last night I went into my bedroom around 8 thinking I would sit down on my bed for a bit and look at a magazine I'd gotten. I fell fast asleep immediately, with the lights and my clothes on, and didn't wake up until midnight. I sat up, and thot "Uh oh, I won't be able to go back to sleep now," changed into my pjs, lay down and woke up at 8 am. That's twelve hours almost of sleep. TWELVE HOURS! Teenagers sleep for twelve hours; adults do not.

Well, apparently caffeine-deprived ones do...

And thank you to all of you who posted encouraging words.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


My friend, Ricë, has once again been guilt tripping me about my blog, so I'm writing. I've just started a new journal, titled Red Lead. My last one was Mellow Yellow, so maybe I'm on some kind of a roll here, or maybe not. Red lead is a pigment that was used by scribes to make the initials in red. This morning I wrote 111 1, and it made me quite happy. I threw a bunch of gold in between them, and was even happier!


My friend, Roz, thinks that you should set your intent for the coming year by doing what you want to do in the year on that day. So today I'm writing on the blog, doing art in my journal, and eating healthy food. I may try to paint a bit, and, of course, I'll read.

My grandson, Arlo, came over for a bit this afternoon, and I take that as a good sign, as well.