Friday, January 28, 2022

sketchbook - postal route humor

So Cold!
Now don't take either of these as complaining - but I've been told I should try to express some of these things in sketches so that they are relatable for others


Turn Right!  Turn Left!  Oops, Arms fell off!

I've been training on a new postal route :) which I'm happy for, because I've been wanting to get more training and be able to get extra hours running more routes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022



The last few years have been hard, even harder than the decade before.  The store I worked at started cutting and pressuring staff to 'perform' a full year before the pandemic hit.  And not just 'perform' - but compete, scoundrel and get higher sales every week consistently or face consequences (anyone who knows math knows that doesn't work - you can only rise so much for so long until the whole thing collapses.. yes?)  I don't know if it was related to what was coming down the pipeline, or not - everyone is still processing what has happened with Covid and when things really started and where it was seen etc....  And my dad was dying at the time - right when work was being it's very most inflexible.  And a major infection hit my teeth and I had an EDS flare.  It was a triple whammy.

I found out more about EDS - ehler danlos syndrome, and have still been trying, three years later, to manage it so it doesn't manage me sort of thing.  With  watching inflammation and eating the right things (and avoiding some other foods) and trying not to overdo it when things are not out of place or grinding - I've managed to avoid things like my knee that swelled so large in June of 2019 that it barely fit into my jeans.  That was the beginning of the flare, with my teeth infecting in August, and my resignation to the store coming in September because I had to take care of myself, my family, and my father died in October.  Covid came to our area in early 2020.. it was a ball of yarn and thorns.

So after I resigned from the store, (13 of us resigned or were fired, actually, to scatter to the winds), I tried to start my own business remodeling bathrooms.  I had to hire out the heaviest work to local contractors, and did the product location, delivery and smaller work myself.  Less than six months later, in the middle of a job, the Covid crisis began.  My contractor became scared to come work at my client's house.  He was so afraid - he and his family got the flu and then he thought they would get worse coming out in public and communications began to break down.  I was trying to do the work alone - pulling twelve hour days sometimes, and the contractor decided I wasn't doing it 'well enough'.. as well.  He made excuses and stopped coming to work at all.  I joined the post office because I could see by then - February, 2020, that things were not going to get any better trying to run my own business.

There is a 'ladder' of hierarchy and seniority you have to climb at the post office, and I've been trying.  I'm still 'part time'.. and some people work part time for years and years before they get a chance at anything more.  But if you quit before that point - you have to climb it all again.  With the pandemic, increasing prices and car repairs (we maintain our own vehicles, fun!) things have just gotten harder and harder.

I often feel like the picture above, juggling Mark's illness, raising a teenager, working as a mom... and just trying to take care of myself as well because otherwise I'll end up having another flare and then where will we be?  

 Going to go talk to my postmaster today about a different route I have been invited to.  I don't know if it will be better, but if I don't try to get something different and maybe better it will never happen.  This other route is closer to home and will give me more experience - different is scary, but you can't stay stuck in a rut and hope to be pulled out.  Especially in this economy right now.  

They say 'everyone is hiring' ... oh, right.  Everyone is hiring for minimum wage or very specialized experience (nurse, CDL, CEO) - there isn't a lot of in between.  And think about this - 20 dollars an hour and 8 to 16 hours a week is still more takehome money than 8 dollars and hour and 20 hours a week.  Everything I see in the market seems to be either 'low pay / part time' and give us all your time (don't work elsewhere) which still doesn't pay the bills or the location is somewhere I cannot commute to every day and still take care of my family and sleep and renting an apartment there costs as much as our mortgage here.  This economy is just insane.  Living in a rural area has that disadvantage, too - but there are many reasons we live out here and if you run the numbers it is actually much cheaper than living in the city - not to mention we've been here for so many years moving is no small task at all.

Little sketches in my sketchbook, to break up the tedium.

 radish rabbits

" Daddy has the propane heater on" - our animals enjoying the propane heat in Mark's room that keeps him warm enough in this extra cold winter.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

yellow grass bits

 I went up to stand in the yellow grasses on Yellow Hill, which is North of our house.  In the fall these grasses are reddish, but right now, after the bleaching of winter, they are golden.  I stood there as the wind whipped them back and forth in a mathematical wave.  I haven't been at the ocean but the once, and it was not for long, but I imagine this must be what the tide feels like.  I have seen boat wakes come in at the lake while standing chest-deep in the water.  It was almost like that, but with tall feathers that bounced in the shadows back and forth around you.


our cat Loki smooshed into a blanket on the bed

I thought I would go stand in the world 'as it is' for a bit today, while the sun was nice, and the temperature had reached fifty.  I put on my big heavy boots and trudged up there, and confused the dogs terribly by going into the grass instead of walking down the long road to the other mailbox and back as usual.

Those moments when no one is watching and you can smile and feel the golden light enter and linger.. the gift from the Universe for participating.  That thing.  Just for a moment.  When the wind came over me like a tide, bounced against the edge where the grasses end, and then reverberated backwards around me again the other direction.  Just a little bit, I can see the wind - the infra-red changes like mirage in the air - but this was so clear anyone could have seen it if they were in the right place to look and stood still.  The wind was swirling and I was in it and in the grasses which were showing it all in real time / space when most people cannot see the wind at all but it is still there.  That golden feeling comes in lots of other places, too - but sometimes it is this other flavor of 'found you hiding there' / 'amused in the simplicity of it all'.  I don't have words for that.  I'll think more about it.

sketch : me and Charlotte and Daphne at Yellow Hill

And when I had laughed at the world with me in it, in this unlikely place at this time, when moments before I was sitting where I am now, drinking coffee in a technical environment - I walked back briskly wondering about ancestors and growing cycles, grinding lentils into flour with the touch of a button, or knitting a sock with every stitch small in wool yarn with needles by hand.  It is a strange world we find ourselves in.  But I still try to pry my head up out of the routine once in a while and feel my place in it, because I know it is always changing, the world, and the me.

I picked up a rock on my way home, one of those red ochre sandstone bits with the waves in it of white and red.  I felt the rock all the way home with the rhythm of those big boots on the gravel.  And I thought about being in the world.  Before I climbed my stairs to the house I set the rock in a garden brick, face-up, as I had met it, and left it as just one more bit in my human altered landscape of seeds, plants, rocks and dirt.


I've been hoping I can do more in the garden this year, continue on that path I had been working with on this land.  I am grateful I can see better now.  But the seeds will never grow unless planted.  And it takes more than a day for seeds to germinate, thoughts as well.  You just have to keep giving it water and sunshine and pulling out the weeds and knowing where you are and where you would like to be.



HEAT OVEN to 375 degrees

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

what was probably 1/4 plus a bit of salt

perhaps 1/3 cup of quick oats?

1 store single-serve container of unsweetened applesauce

dash of saigon cinnamon (the strong stuff)

1 egg

probably 1/3 cup of whole milk

About 1/3 of a stick of butter, melted

mixed the flour and baking powder and salt together

in my little blender, put the oats and the applesauce together (freehand)

removed the blender from it's base - mixed the egg in with a spoon

filled the blender the rest of the way up to the overflow with milk

melted the butter in a little bowl in the microwave

put it all together into the flour mixture and mixed

spooned the milky oatmeal mixture into six cups of my deep muffin pan

baked in oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, 350 degrees for probably 30-35 minutes - the butter was glistening up in the little pores in the muffins and the edges looked brown.. just the slightest hint of brown was beginning to show on the peaks of the muffins.

They may have, to most people, benefited from brown sugar and vanilla.

I just smeared peanut butter on mine after breaking it open and it was good.

might try the 'cake' version next time but it will change the texture, too


I've had this yoga mat for years.  Once in a while I get it out and try to crack my back out and work out something that has hitched.  Of course, anyone who has had a yoga mat and a dog at the same time will identify perfectly with these two sketches.  Hi, can I help you *SLURP* and I love doing what you're doing (sit on you)

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

handcrafted meditation


I do a lot of handcrafts, still, even now.  My hands often hate me for it now, but still - I press on, although sometimes a project will sit until I can take the 'balancing point' again between I have to do 'other things' (like driving, etc) with my hands that are more pressing than this.

 That sounds a bit depressing, but it's not -really.  It's a nice thing to have 'in my back pocket' to do in the middle of the night or when I need to think something over.  I'm not solving deep math problems or physics or etc.. but I do let my mind wander far and deep and wide and sometimes that 'doing nothing while doing something' is valuable beyond compare.

 I do tend to use these things - washcloths, and bags, and baskets, hats and scarves and mittens.  They always get used somewhere.  And I do like the 'encapsulated time' effect I also have with items I have made.  I can remember where I was, some of what I was thinking - maybe a movie that was on, by looking at the work.

 A handful of washcloths in different cotton and linen yarns - and a crochet hamper basket, because FB keeps advertising one to me and I scoff and say 'if I wanted to - I could make something as useful, maybe not as 'chic' as that one - but it would be mine.


Tuesday, January 04, 2022


Marie Lynn Lamb

Acrylic 16x20" The Yellow Light : An Absorbing Tale by Lamplight

expressionist painting, comp. Jan 4, 2022 

yellow, titanium white, cyan, ultramarine, yellow ochre, a bit of sap green but other greens were mixed

cat on roof and bookracks at 'le magasin dans la rue' (the shop in the street)

taking a look at the book by lamplight  - can't even wait to get home

I feel that one down deep sometimes

a bicycle in a puddle outside a vestibule -  there are little bits here that could be improved but it was all the colors here and there, building it as I went until suddenly it was a bike (le vĂ©lo) - so I am scared to get back into it and mess up what was 'created out of the mist' here...

What it looked like last night at 'stage one' - when I put it up because everything was too wet and I just kept dragging the colors around instead of helping

Sunday, January 02, 2022

'Jungle Cats in Grass' - acrylic painting, 2022, Marie Lynn Lamb  
recent artworks on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Happy New Year and safe travels


The Almost Black Flowers 


Where the Lovelights Shine, drawing 


"Near Atwoood" (Tennessee), ink drawing


 Pets Help with Art


Rabbit-like creature


The Journey

 Il Tournee