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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New residents, new opportunities

Yeah, okay, this has nothing to do with my creative endeavors, but everything to do with beauty, so...

Our housing addition has a pond. I don't know how far I can go to call it a habitat, since they mow down to the water's edge and treat the water to counteract all the lawn chemicals that wash in and cause algae blooms, but still. Pond, fish, frogs, and drop-in visits from ducks, geese, and about every other year a family of muskrats takes up residence in one of the culverts and starts undermining the bank.

Well, we also get great blue herons, one of my favorite birds. Last year a really HUGE one got his foot caught in a muskrat trap - I know this because I was the one who noticed he'd been in the same spot all day, and got close enough to confirm how badly he was stuck.

This year it's either a different heron, or he was immature last year and has come into his full color this year, because he is spectacular. All the pictures you see with the shiny white head, black streak across the eye, kind of shaggy feathers on the throat and chest?... This particular bird looks like he has a sideline modeling for the Audobon calendar.

Yesterday and today, for the first time, I've seen a kingfisher in the area. Yesterday he was on a wire about a mile off, along the route I drive to take the kiddo to preschool. This morning he was sitting on the culvert at the pond. Yes, the same one that the muskrats like so well.

I'm going to miss the house swallows this year, though; they were living in a mailbox just across the street from the pond, and for some reason the homeowner wasn't too happy about that. Barn swallows are this really rich midnight blue with orange chest and bellies; house swallows are an equally rich deep teal-green, with white chest and bellies. I'd never seen them before last year, but in the fall the guy took down his mailbox and replaced it with something harder for birds to set up housekeeping in.

***

At the event where I taught the henna class, I also proved once again that I needed a chaperone anytime there is colored thread around. But they were five skeins for a dollar, and how can you pass up a deal like that?

Things are actually progressing with the embroidery thing. I'm outlining the lady's wimple and veil right now. You might recall a griffin I mentioned doing in Bayeux stitch; I gave it to a friend of mine whose "kingdom" emblem is a gryphon, and she said it would probably end up being part of the front panel for an early-period gown. Cool. Probably I should ask her to send me a picture of it, since I never thought to take one.

***

When you're clinically depressed, it's too easy to fall into the trap of struggling to be "happy" as the opposite of "sad." Thing is, happiness comes in moments and snippets. A guy I know describes it as the butterfly landing on your shoulder - beautiful, but impossible to try and keep around. What is better, according to my counselor and my college memories, is the idea of "peace" as the opposite of "suffering". So I've been checking in with myself yesterday and today, asking what feels peaceful to me, what brings me contentment, that kind of thing.

Or, as a great many sources of wisdom like to say, "Pain is; suffering is optional." Another way it gets phrased is, of course, "shit happens"... it's how you handle the shit that determines, oh, pretty much everything.

***

Had an email out of the blue (heh - out of the ether (I'm so clever)) from a guy who wants to host a web domain and site for me, for free, simply because he likes to assist artists and the arts. Sadly, I keep finding myself trying to examine the horse's teeth, just because it's been awhile since something like this has dropped into my lap without conscious effort on my part. All I did was leave some business cards somewhere and the guy found one.

Also, I have no freaking idea what domain name to pick. Just my name isn't very catchy, nor does it describe what I do... but like this blog, I do a lot more than just henna, even if that's the only art I'm making money with at the moment.

Hmmmm... suggestions welcome, both serious and otherwise.

***

Anyone know how to repair a stepping stone that has cracked into four pieces, just from having a three-year-old walk on it? This was the one I discovered had poorly mixed concrete, and was crumbling around the edges and all that.

I'd really rather not redo the mosaic from scratch, nor "recycle" the thing by chipping each piece of glass out of the broken sections to rebuild into another stone. Even though that probably would be both faster and the wiser course to take. That damn thing took me about a year to finally finish; I really don't want to dork with it anymore if I can help it.

***

I think I'm on an upswing emotionally; I can tell I'm improving when my brain starts providing me with song lyrics without my asking. Today it was "Beer Run" while at the cashier, paying with a $10 and getting back a $5. If you've never heard the song, try to imagine a nice hillbilly twang and someone going "yee-ha" in the background. It doesn't have a banjo, but it should.

B, double-E, double-R-U-N, Beer Run,
B, double-E, double-R-U-N, Beeeer, Ru-un,
All we need is a ten and a fiver
A car and a key and a so-ber dri-ver
B, double-E, double-R-U-N, Beer Runnnn.

Not sure who wrote it, but it plays on Bob and Tom every now and again, so I guess it qualifies as their contribution to American culture.

I will continue to agree with Steve Martin's (very old) assertion that it is impossible to remain unhappy when a banjo is playing. 'Course, at the time I'm sure he'd never heard Bela Fleck playing BACH on banjo... which would only serve to confirm, reinforce, and utterly and competely prove the point.

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