Monday, February 20, 2023


Loki and Minion checking out the spiderwebs by the sewing machine
and enjoying the sunbeams.  On the wall is the acrylic painting 'The Yellow Light' from 2022

 I've been cleaning up the studio a little, it's been years since I did much more than a drawing or painting here or there.  contemplating checking out if the sewing machine can work again, or if it needs to be replaced entirely. 


a little shawl project to use up time in between things, one row here and there at a time


found some old supplies that worked fairly well for drawing still - I was impressed the pen refills still worked well - the paints did not fare as well but were still usable with some persuasion

went through lots of sewing materials and patterns and threw some things out, and planned what I need to start working on my large marshland painting setup that I dreamed up last fall

 Year of the water Rabbit, a year for growth, mixed media sketch

playing with the Niji watercolors, some acrylic gold paint and ink


 Moon Dreamer

gel pens and colored pencils, sketchbook

Languages : French and Portuguese

some : Japanese and Ukrainian

Friday, January 27, 2023


painting above : Les Preoccupees
Quand ils mettents leurs mots
en sommes graciosas
ecrire au futur
en les murmures
en des ailes d'encre
ils restee au pointe


still working on languages, but I have a few other goals in mind for this year - advance my writing efforts that I had shelved for a bit, work on the math concepts I was working on before, practice art more often because I so often get stalled by a blank page or stopping in the middle of something and then not doing anything else either for a good while 

languages lately:

did a lot of :

Ukranian, Spanish, Welsh

did a little of : 

Greek, Japanese, German, French, Polish

Monday, January 16, 2023

The New Year

It is 2023

a bit of a self-portrait from a week or so ago, but really, the portrait lies in the poetry and the art, and the pressing on through the fog



January Afternoon

sleep came down like little bubbles

and stayed for a little while

holding me in that in-between place

grabbing an icy grip upon my knees

hurting from many stairs

many heavy things, carried places

but now it felt good to fold them even

tucked in, soft against the blankets

the sunlight red against the inside of my eyelids

a Spanish poem filtering through my mind

of mariposa, and verdant, and a word that did not mean wings


it is the opening of the year

the music has quieted

soft and harmonious

– melodious patterns of geometry

– beautiful in the background

– like ephemera

--||-- watercolor tinged newspapers and stanzas

–||-- a feathered bird rising

--||-- pinks and blue tips and the paper yellowed with time

and the light it shines

through clerestory windows

thoughts that nest vibrating as sparrows


Lyffan, and Loki, and Minerva

'The Man and His Flying Machine'
drawing play with compass

The Language Project
This was my project from last January 14th, to this one.  I started out with only French, Welsh, some German from high school, some Japanese in the can from a year or so back and had started working with Romanian.  I wasn't sure where I was going to go - but the main goal was to explore all languages as much as I wanted, and gain some connectivity and proficiency in listening to tv and radio, and reading books and news sites.

So four languages (five if you count the German) turned into nearly twenty.  I read that article about the carpet cleaner who was a polyglot.  I knew that with my type of memory, and the fact that I've 'dumped' a lot of it into the faded-out realm from my job where I kept tens of thousands of item locations in my head (hardware store) that I was very capable of doing something similar.  I've always been 'good' but not fluent with languages.  But then, I've always shied away from them when people said I wasn't capable of becoming fluent, because I'd never use it, because I'm dyslexic.. who knows.. and I decided who cares.  I took off after whatever language looked interesting.  

There was Spanish, which my daughter will take next year in school - but OH BOY was that incongruent!  More on that later.  There was Swedish, which seemed to fit my brain, but then someone said Norwegian was more useful.  And then I just segued into Czech and that fit my brain very well (but it is SO hard so many say, but I went with the fact that other people's logic doesn't always work for me, and kept going and enjoying it). 
I added Portuguese and Catalan in an attempt to reach Italian - which several friends were studying.  Italian is 'ok' but I found I liked Portuguese even better than almost any of the others.  Little point - when I was in middle school I spent weeks listening to a course in Portuguese on tape from the library.  I was convinced by a friend it would never be useful, and that I didn't really know what I was doing even after weeks of checking it out... but I think some of it was still in the brain files... it was like drinking a familiar tea or soda you can't quite remember the name of to ask for it, but you know it when you taste it.  I added Hungarian, Polish, Finnish, Irish and Greek because of different people who posted in languages and also because of a Comparative Linguistics course I took.

That was fun - I took a Comparative Linguistics course on audit from the Leiden University in the Netherlands.  And I really enjoyed it.  There was a lot I knew - but then a lot I had never heard of, like Lapontic.  I was amazed at how easy the Greek alphabet came to me - the Japanese is still 'in there' from years ago, as well, it's just like remembering how to divide fractions.

The Spanish is still hard but in the 'middle' lessons it was so much harder than ANY other language.  It's supposed to be an 'easier language' to learn?  Not for me.  It was like it was sorting into the holes the French was in and the French was pushing it out and there was no where for it to 'stick' except clinging to the French.  As I learned the Portuguese and Catalan, it seemed to come through those a lot better.  The Catalan course was IN Spanish, so I had to answer and type in Spanish to translate the Catalan.  That made my brain smoke!  And then the middle-level Spanish finally started to repeat sentences and concepts (like past tense) that the Portuguese had covered very early.. and it was like the glue was finally there.  I began to understand and pick up Spanish in many places where I saw it online, and understand it when I heard it without looking at the screen.

So now I'm headed into 2023 without such lofty goals (although, I'm proud to have achieved level 25 on DuoLingo in French) and the Spanish has opened up a little.  I'm working on reading more books, including Spanish poetry and my Czech novel, and a few German things as well.  I've added a few other languages - Latvian and trying the very beginning of Russian and Ukranian which seems to sort next to the Czech and Polish nicely.
the results:
((fairly fluent, second language, third and fourth))
French - level 25 radio, some tv and books/news
German - level 12 but not 'trying', just using it as filler space, reading books
Welsh - level 23 (second time around)  tv, radio and books/news

 ((some fluency)
Spanish - level 21 - reading books but with a dictionary
Czech - level 18  - reading books but with a dictionary

((Still learning))
Japanese - level 13  - recognizing words and grammar, remembering symbols
Portuguese - level 14 - reading recipe websites
Italian - level 14 - not sure, but it's not hard either
Greek - level 14 - very interested in continuing
Catalan - level 9 - very interested
Romanian - level 16 
Finnish - level 13
Norwegian - level 10
Swedish - level 10
Irish - level 9
Polish - level 9
Hungarian - level 8 

Latvian - playing on children's game sites, reading news (badly), watching kids shows (lost but enjoying it)


knitting with dinosaur

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Tuesday, October 04, 2022


 I started on a linguistic journey this year in January, it's October and I've made a lot of progress.  I started out with only about four or five of these languages - and then added them in twos and threes until well, here I am with about twenty.  I read the story about Vaughn Smith in the Washington Post earlier this year (about April, when I added Czech to my list) and was very inspired.  Also, I think, since quitting retail a few years ago my brain has opened up thousands of slots that I used to keep all the product in at work.. I've added five postal routes to my brain since then but it's not quite the same as keeping thousands of plumbing parts and many more thousands of other items in the store in your brainspaces, as well as catalog items and websites to order from.  I described it to someone a week or so ago as 'getting the keys back to my brain'.  I'm also auditing a free college course in comparative linguistics.

Anyway, long story short... here is the chart I made tonight of the progress.

expressed in DuoLingo crowns

French is my L2, from my grandmother and I could probably hold a good beginner's conversation in it and/or Welsh with someone.  I like to listen to French music on RadioGarden, and try reading books and news articles in French.  For many years I've had French 'going through my brain' as an undercurrent, not always understandable except in bits and pieces.  I've tested out to A1 in French, but that is because I'm not actively studying it as grammar and tests like to be so specific.

started learning German in high school but I'm not that fond of it

started learning Welsh in 2017 with SSIW and DuoLingo, really like it, it pulls on the French structure already in my brain, I'd like to do the Mynediad, I have watched TV, cartoons and listened to radio and podcasts in Welsh and really enjoy it.  I belong to a Welsh group online that always has something to read every day and little conversations

studied Japanese a little here and there in the past for anime, but did not study hard - but it's something I could pick up better if I focused.  The hiragana characters were easy but of course kanji is harder if you don't do it enough to retain.

don't like Spanish, but it's getting better.  It's much harder for me than it should be.  It's like someone is wiring around the backside of my circuit board to make Spanish work at all ... but it got better when I mixed it with French, then Portuguese.  Now, learning Catalan 'through' Spanish I'm cementing the Spanish a bit more, too.

found affinity with Romanian, also speaks back to the French bit in my brain, this is a hard one to pick up and put down, though.  When I started trying Greek I found a crosswise reference in my brain to the Romanian - so studying them together might help

Czech seemed to occupy a space between the Romanian the French and the German, I've started reading some in Czech, paper book and websites

Someone suggested I try Swedish, then Norwegian - both are okay, but not prime interests

learned some Portuguese to try to get the Spanish to set straight, and to prepare for Italian

tried Turkish because it was on the other side of the 'linguistic map', liked it

someone showed me a news article in Catalan and I saw it was available only through the Spanish learner site on DuoLingo, tried it anyway, it is between French and Portuguese and Spanish, very interesting, will continue

picked up some Polish because it was similar to Czech

Zulu because it as new, Korean to take a look at the script for something

tried Irish and Finnish to compare Celtic to Uralic language groups

picked up Greek recently to try to understand the Greek-Sanskrit-English comparisons that were being made in my course, the Greek alphabet wasn't too hard to learn again as my daughter tried Greek in homeschool and we learned it then - soundwise, it sounds like Romanian mixed with some Spanish and/or Portuguese

summary - My goal at being a polyglot may be coming true, I am retaining most of what I learn and by switching off and on between the languages in 'rounds' and 'spirals' I find what I'm needing reinforcing on and love feeling that 'switch gears' feeling between one langauge and another.  I will study four or five languages a day, sometimes - but stick largely to three or four intensive choices for the week that I want to make progress in

January 14th will be one year - will see where I am then!

Tuesday, August 02, 2022