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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On This Day

On this day last year, The Amazing Bob, Oni and I went in for an appointment with TAB’s cancer doc. It was the beginning of the end. Actually, on that day – one year ago – we did have a temp ending. The brill ER team brought him back from death's nasty-ass grip – I had one final week with my amazing, wonderful soul mate.

I’ve been in pieces – a zillion of them. They’re all sharp edged and wet with tears.

I said to Jen last night, this is it – he’s really not coming back, is he? Makes no sense but, on some subatomic level – beneath consciousness – I always thought I’d see him again. This first anniversary of Insane Trauma Day puts paid to that silly, not so veiled hope.

I’d plans for this morning – Felicity and I would visit the ICA and then the Society of Arts and Crafts. I had an appointment with Janis set for this afternoon. Driving into town, being social or at all coherent feels well beyond me now. I believe I’ll spend today, here at home, with my gorgeous old kitten, watching Star Trek and Star Wars, snarfing popcorn and remembering some of our good times  (and there were a TON of those).
Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I'd see you again.

~ James Tayor

Monday, June 26, 2017


Yes, yezzzzzzz, I know.  Sunrise pics are spectacularly cliché. They can also be wonderfully beautiful which, I suppose, is how they became Oh-I've-seen-this-before-this-is-SO-nothing-new-zzzzzzzz. Does beauty, if seen enough, if overexposed like so many Marylins, always become cliché?

Long, dawn walks on the beach – another cliché. I don’t care. They’re restorative, peace imbuing and meditative PLUS I get some damn exercise. What’s not to love? I don’t need to be creatively imaginative – groundbreaking – in all that I do. Yes, doubtless there are zillions of new, as yet undiscovered ways to meditate. Why not go with something that solidly, every-damn-time works for me though?

For that matter, it’s bloody unlikely that I’ll ever be blindingly unique in anything I do. Yes, I am, in general, rather sui generis-y but let’s not forget the wise words of good ol’ Pablo honey – Good artists copy, great artists steal. Me, I steal the dawn.

I got my computer back from Mister Wizard yesterday. Sadly, file recovery is not some magical, miraculous deal. I've got thousands of individual Illustrator, InDesign and image files, all without names (just extensions), not organized in their original folders and these aren't just my work files either. Every damn pic, every blessed doc that I've ever tossed, it seems, has come back to me. OOOF! Most of what I've waded through so far is not what I need either. *sigh* These babies were trashed for a reason.

So, ya see, it's a damn good thing I took that dawn stroll on Nantasket. I've at least a couple days of astoundingly frustrating hunting and cleaning ahead of me. Gotta say, this is one hell of a way to get me to organize my poor overworked computer!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Brand New Day

Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play

I've always loved this song. One of my childhood tormenters had this name though. The bullying was so intense and painful that this gorgeous tune was nearly unlistenable.-- ruined. But it wasn't. Takes a lot to kill beauty.
There's always a story. It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.
 ~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Yeah, tell it Terry! Every little thing has a tale to tell and I wanna hear 'em all.
That time of day when the sun hasn’t come up yet, but you can already feel it coming. It’s an elusive warmth, like a subtle promise whispered in your ear and you can go on with your day knowing you’ve been given another chance to get it right.
 ~ Cassia Leo, Relentle

"another chance to get it right." If I get "it" right, will The Amazing Bob live again? That right there'd be enough motivation for me to, every single goddamned day, make sure I got each little detail precisely perfect.

There are thousands of ragas, and they are all connected with different times of the day, like sunrise or night or sunset. It is all based on 72 of what we call 'mela' or scales. And we have principally nine moods, ranging from peacefulness to praying, or the feeling of emptiness you get by sitting by the ocean
~. Ravi Shankar

Oh to hear his stunningly luscious music again! About one and a half zillion years ago, I was a drum festival in Amsterdam. There was a tabla player, accompanied by a dude on sitar. Mein GOTT, this was some seriously transformational, healing, cleansing music!

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
Only darkness every day
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home

Bill Withers

The sun still comes up. Beauty still exists. I can still crack wise and even laugh sometimes but TAB's gone and won't be walking though that door again. This makes no fucking sense at all.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Surf school!
Carnival on the beach! Awesome spot to work.
So then, what'd I do with my big, enforced work-free day? Nantasket, of course. I got there well past sunrise so there were actual people, HUMANS, everywhere! OK it wasn't bad. It was still early, relatively cool and overcast. I got in a brill, long walk and some snaps which I hope turn out to be ethereally moody telling stories of a beach days that are sad, a little bit tawdry yet beautiful and absorbing.You know, Raymond Carver-sque.

Yeah, I want an awful damn lot from my pics. True.

I took myself out to lunch, ate too much, had an I-just-know-I-shouldn't mid-day glass 'o' the grape, came home and cleaned. Thrilling, no? No. I was desperately trying to duck my fears and anxieties vis-à-vis my erroneously tossed (by ME! DOH!!!) work files. Mister Wizard gave me an update at around 5PM. Yes, there were in fact files being recovered BUT he wouldn't know for another few hours whether they were readable. *sigh*

Thankfully, helpfully, I've got a good, fun, distracting book that I'm reading. Tom Holt's The Management Style of the Supreme Beings. Holt's stories always take me out of whatever sorry-ass, moody patch I'm in, making me smile and think, even if just while I'm buried in the pages. I thought I was all de-stressified when I shut the lights off for the night but my dreams told me otherwise. Yup. I spent the whole night, theoretically asleep, rebuilding my work folders, laying out letterhead jobs, putting brochures together and designing table top art. Busy night.

How early is TOO early to check in with Mister Wizard? It's 6 AM but they've got a four year old so they'd be up now, right? Maybe I should wait -- it is Saturday after all. *sigh* Maybe I should hit the gym, run some errands and then send my 1,001 freaked out-did-you-recover-my-files?-Can-I-have-my-computer-back-NOW!? texts. Yeah, that's a solid plan.

Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Friday and Yet...

Queen of the Spazoids here. How did your faithful putz fuck up this time? Yesterday morning, whilst attempting to free up disk space on my poor beleaguered laptop, I accidentally deleted ALL of my work files. Yes, including the very ones I was working on.

I didn't discover this until afternoon when I went to make edits on the brochure job. PANIC!

I immediately texted my wonderful IT wizard, PJ.
An aside -- last time I had a major crap out was a winter solstice. Yesterday was the summer solstice. Mebbe my machines are telling me that these are HOLIDAYS DAMMIT and I should be doing nada but watching the sunrise, drinking in the light/the scents of the seasons and otherwise communing with nature (or, if you're from these pahts, natcha).
Mister Wizard instructed me to turn off the computer immediately in order to avoid overwriting the data. OK. I don't need to understand how all this shit works -- the whys and wherefores of it all, I just need the damn files to live again. He's working on it and will give me a status update later today.

In the meantime, while my previously under appreciated Mac is under the knife, I've got this vile Windows machine. Frankly, my elderly iPad is less annoying/easier to maneuver around on. Grumble, grumble, kvetch.

So then, today is an unexpected day off (to be feverishly made up on Sunday and Monday -- I've got deadlines DAMMIT!). I believe I'll hit Nantasket -- breathe deep, chat with the seagulls and see if me and my Samsung NX3000 can capture some gorgeous waves.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Renaissance Gigging

Lavinia Fontana – Minerva Dressing
I don’t see as many of those silly Who would you be/Who are you quizzes. They’re either not showing up in my feed or maybe I’ve just tuned them out. After all, I’m not terribly interested in knowing the answers to:
  • What color is your love?
  • Which Disney Princess Are You Based on Your Harry Potter Preferences?
  • This Food Test Will Reveal If Your Ex Secretly Misses You
  • Put Together Your Own Box Of Crayola Crayons And We'll Guess Your Favorite Disney Princess
  • Assemble An Outfit, And We'll Tell You Which "Sex And The City" Woman You Are
I did however feel compelled to play
If You Can Make It Through This Quiz, You Might Just Survive The Apocalypse
How’d I do? You get lost and never make it to the settlement. Yeah, shocking, I know!

And then this one popped up:
What Would Your Renaissance Profession Be?
I got Painter. No surprise but is this in any way realistic? Were there any chick painters back then? This was a severely oppressive time (1300 – 1700) when women were no more than chattel, property of their husbands and fathers.

Time to fire up the Google-fu.

Catherine of Bologna
As it turns out, YES, there actually were women painters back then. There were the wealthy babes (who always have more choices than us peasants) and convent dwellers. Sometimes both, like Catherine of Bologna.

She’s the patron saint of artists and against temptations, (I ask you – what good are temptations if I have to resist them, hmmm?). Born to money she still joined a convent. Why? I imagine it was because, she could paint here, play her viola and be free (relative to the outside, tyrannical, male dominated world). 

Fontana – Selfie at the Spinet
Bologna, it seems, was a happening place for women artists. Lavinia Fontana was born here, 89 years after Catherine. She wasn’t from the big dough but her father had serious connections. He was the painter Prospero (LOVE that name!) Fontana. Daddy was buds with Michelangelo who introduced him to Pope Julius III. Popey gave him a gig as court portrait painter. Sweet.

Lavinia’s Da trained her in the Mannerist school. What is Mannerism? It’s said to involve an indulgence in the bizarre – queerly elongated limbs, small heads, funky poses and such. They don't look so bizarre to me but I'm probably missing something or I have a high threshold for bizarro-ness.

Lavinia was one of the first women to snag impressive, publicly commissioned figure paintings, including nudes. Way cool!
Fede Galizia

Did you  know? Most women during the Renaissance were not paid in cash money. Nope, they were given gifts. Ya know, flowers and candy are nice but they don't pay the damn rent...fer Bast's sake! Lavinia was different though – she got real paydays.

Fede Galizia
She ended up marrying, her choice, the minor painter Gian Paolo Zappi. He was cool and down with her being the main deal and, in fact, gave up painting, became her agent and managed their household (including 11 kiddles!). Wow!

Fede Galizia, also a Mannerist, was 22 years younger than Lavinia and from Milan, a little over 200 miles away. Her old man, Nunzio Galizia, a miniaturist, taught her how to wield a brush – she became a painter of still lifes and portraits. I can’t find much about her personal life apart from the fact that she never married. She was a big going concern though and didn’t have a man (or a convent) fronting for her. AWESOME! I wonder how she managed that, given the restrictions of the time. She must have been amazing.

If I had a time machine (I KNOW! How come none of my big-brained chums have invented this yet!?), I'd zip back and spend a day with Lavinia and Fede. I wanna know what their days were like, what they dreamt of, how they managed in such a crazy-ass world. Life tips, I want TIPS!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It’s Picture Day!

No, rilly it is but first a little kvetch.

I’m sad about that Georgia race. Of course. I’m also angry at the DNC – they certainly publicized the Hell out of Ossoff but I don’t think they actually helped him any. In fact, I think the DNC, in their guilt trippy, whiny, THE-SKY-IS-FALLING emails shot themselves, Ossoff and us in the foot.

Steve M. illustrates this over at No More Mister Nice Blog.
Parnell has also been declared a loser of his race -- but he lost by only 3.2 points in a deep-red district. Right now, Ossoff is trailing Republican Karen Handel by 5.2 points in a district that's also solidly red, but where Hillary Clinton made it a squeaker last November.
Yeah, there was a whole other special election going on over in South Carolina. Did you know about that? Me neither.

Could someone please slap the DNC around for me? Maybe get the Obamas to educate them on how to play eleventy dimensional political chess. PLEASE!

Enough crabbing and carping let’s have some soothing and silly pics. Della's introduced me to the wonders of SnapChat. FUN!
Fun with bunny ears and glasses
And then we went supernatural – Vampire Bunny and Evil Secretary by way of Harley Quinn
Finally, a solstice sunrise

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Carry That Weight

On Sunday, Jen and I visited her Uncle Bob at Brigham and Women’s. He was ambulanced in two weeks ago when cancer revved up the nasty ass kicking. The docs (and us!) thought he’d be all set to go to rehab today at the latest. Nope. His white blood count decided to crater and, so far, has refused to come back up. Nae good.

This time last year The Amazing Bob and I were at the beginning of our final battle with that diseased ratfucker, Mantle Cell Lymphoma. My beautiful man was offed by marauding motherfucker, ARDS, not cancer, but it was all too eagerly waiting in the bloody wings.

Being in the hospital with Uncle Bob dials up the monster stress, near overwhelming fear and pain that I’m now reliving – it's anniversary time, don’cha know. My upbeat, this-is-no-big-and-we’re-gonna-get-through-this-shit-one-way-or-another cheerleader is, happily, also on deck though. Jen prompted me tell him stories. I can make him smile and laugh with my doofusosity. Yea!

This whole shebang is harder for Jen than me, of course. She's caring for Uncle Bob and, at the same time, slogging through this heart-stabby TAB anniversary with me. He was more than one of her BFFs. We've shared digs for a very long time – 18 years. It ain't just me missing his magnificent self.

I keep looking for distracting, contextualizing wisps of beauty and funny. They really do exist.

The funny: There’s the sign on a hallway door near Unle Bob's room. Air Lock Exit Door. Air Lock? We’re on the Enterprise? We can eject miscreants into airless space just by opening this door? Awesome! Can somebody get CorruptoTurtle McConnell and Granny Starver Ryan here? Please?!

As for beauty, the Brigham doesn’t have much art on the walls – at least, not on this floor. It’s not an ugly place by any means – just very plain. Unadorned. I actually thought about asking one of the nurses if they’d be interested in a donation of my framed prints. You know, peace the place up with some soothing water shots. I didn’t. In a rare fit of social awareness, I twigged that this was not an appropriate interior decorating moment. Yeah, shocking – me being all socially savvy and shit.

I asked Uncle Bob if he’d like some music. We could bring in a little boom box with anything he’d like to listen to. Nope, not interested. We’d brought a lot of tune-age in for TAB. It helped him through those horrible last days and, I gotta believe, helped ferry him, peacefully to Avalon. Uncle Bob is not TAB.  I want to find something, anything, that’ll bring Uncle Bob some hope, energy and peace. If not music, what?

Carry That Weight is playing in my head right now.