Thursday, May 18, 2023


 just a little rant on language - crawling nearly nonsensical notes for myself, to compare over time

had been working on Romanian last year, before I attempted Italian or Spanish - and I am very glad that I did it in that direction (although, honestly, I had Latin, Spanish and Italian books from my father as a child I did not get far, nowhere near as far as I did last year in understanding)...

I do love the language, the structure, the way I 'intuit' so many of the words that I know have relatives alive in English today.   I'm hearing and reading and making 'undercurrent' connections that slip away into the stream almost as quickly as they come.. this word is that word, pop-up 'windows' in my brain of oh- that means 'this' in Welsh, Italian, Greek... this is the 'finally given the keys to the car' I was talking about once upon a time, when I finally could use all that space that was previously used for store inventory and ordering stuff - rub the dry erase board eraser all over it and start reorganizing it to do something else...

What put me off continuing to learn Romanian for a bit (I even bought a very good book!)..  was all of the harder longer political and nationality words that I couldn't remember the spelling of to save my life... although I've gotten a bit better at that in Welsh this last year (I can rip of cyfrifriadau and gwyddoniaeth pretty easily now) I'm not sure where that skill was picked up and if it is helping with this or just coincidence...

Anyway, here is the progress on DuoLingo I've made in the 20-some languages I've been working on over the past two years (more, for French and Welsh, and one year extra for Romanian)

current crowns /vs. March 2nd, the last entry into my current journal), and current 'level'  I write this down again because I feel that it shows how slowly I'm going in most but then I go set the hammer down on a few others here and there, and jump to the nearest one that feels 'related' to me.. like Guarani and Japanese at the moment, while merging to Romanian while ignoring Spanish.... *blinks at self, because the Guarani is being translated FROM Spanish to learn it... and yet, it isn't exactly learning Spanish, just practicing using it as a medium*  but in any given week I'll touch at least half of these.  

real world : beyond some random books lying about - I actually do immerse myself in languages in novel ways this last year than before -- I have artist 'friends' I follow that post in Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and Latvian, and I switch back and forth on their translations to check my ability.  I also follow French and Welsh facebook groups.  My feed is so mixed up some days, the 'algorithm' has no idea what language to show things to me, ads show up in multiple languages, and the other day it started showing me chemistry stuff from a group in the Philippines that has a language I have not went looking for exactly yet, but it has piqued my interest.  I listen to podcasts in Welsh, French, Portuguese and Spanish, and radio stations and music in French and Welsh, and have several newsfeeds in French that pop up with headlines from France that I have to go 'wait, what did I just half-translate?'... so yes, I do love languages.  Much better than when I got my Google stuck in Welsh mode for a month from clicking something odd on S4C 'Chwilio, anyone?', and my phone has been stuck in Japanese but only for a few hours - I fixed that one pretty quick!

French - 455 crowns vs. 432 in March, currently at level 25+ 

(French is my 'goto' when I'm tired, but the grammar level is really high at this level and long sentences, so sometimes that is the annoying bit to remember and I'll avoid it for something 'easier' (shorter sentences, simpler grammar in another language))

Welsh -  371 vs 367, level 24

Spanish - 285 vs 278, level 22

Czech - 168 vs 166, level 18

Romanian - 144 vs 144, level 16 (currently working on updating)

Portuguese - 111 vs 98, level 16

Greek - 72 vs 69 - level 14

Italian, 89 vs 85 - level 14

Japanese, 72 vs 72, level 14 (been working on this one, too)

German - 79 vs 76, level 13 (always a bit of a lie, since it was my high school minor, I just don't dive into it unless I'm really bored/tired etc.)

Finnish - 62, level 11

Norwegian - 67, level 11

Swedish - 43, level 10

Hungarian - 26 vs 24, level 10

Catalan - 33 vs 25, level 10 (from Spanish)

Irish - 53 vs 52, level 9

Ukranian - 19 vs 13, level 9

Turkish  - 39, level 9

Polish - 30, level 9

Dutch and Zulu at level 6, Haitian Creole at level 5

Guarani just started last week, level 5 (from Spanish)

and I still go play around on a Latvian children's game site, work with my flash cards and read their news or children's book synopsis site at their online bookstore when I am feeling 'tetchy' about it not being on DuoLingo and something reminds me of it.


I recently started working on Quazel microphone AI chat site but there is some 'avoidance factor' on the speaking as well - but it's excellent 'production' practice.. I just have to kick myself hard to go do it like making a phone call, it is the same sort of an 'interaction/rejection' get it wrong instinct like talking to a person would be.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

9th grade wildlife team

 2nd place at Regionals!  Congrats!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Language progress


I was trying not to strain a wrist today, so did some speaking practice on another site, and a little bit each of Guarani, Japanese, Catalan, Spanish and French on DuoLingo.

At the beginning of 2021 I was only studying French, Welsh and Romanian on DuoLingo.  By the end of the year I had added up to about twenty languages, and was making good progress in cross-connecting many things in my head.  I took a Comparative Linguistics course online through the Leiden University and enjoyed it a lot.

This past week I added Guarani to my list, and was seeing connections between it and Japanese. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Mid May

 working a lot

keeping up only here and there with languages

French, Welsh, Catalan, Spanish, Czech, Hungarian  - a day that I spun through so many things, Indonesian, Finnish, Irish, Greek, Japanese and all of the above like Wheel of Fortune not even realizing what language I was on half the time - then I'm back to picking apart higher grammar on French again...

not drawing a lot, reading a bit here and there

Finished 'Limits' by Larry Niven, read some of the Harlan Ellison multi-author anthology Medea : Harlan's World, working through 'A Study in Charlotte' again  I have several chemistry and physics books that I am interested in but cannot bring myself to dive, because there isn't enough time to 'swim' in those thoughts

some days I want to draw every leaf on every tree, take a swath of grass and weave a mat from it, spend frivolous hours making thousands of small marks on paper - and others (well, sometimes the same days) I can't even bring myself to bring up a pencil to paper... my anxiety perhaps has taken on a 'futile inertia' bit this year... those aren't quite the words, but I am 'spinning' in my head but not actually anxious, always busy on something and never getting anything 'done'.. and yet, the next day rolls in just like the last.. and again, we do the things before us in reality and a million other things but only in virtual.. it's too philosophical.

as the little card says : sing softly little one for life is sweet but tomorrow is marching

a lot of that in the feels lately
I render sumac trees and roses and clematis in French Grey and Venetian Red and Steel Blue all day long but only in my head, while driving postal route.  And I feel I have no sketchbooks to show for it, and that I am not progressing as an artist, and that it is just too difficult to do that anyway in this world.  I'm constantly, while working feeling the memory calculations and spreadsheets of what I have and when I'll be done - the numbers of it - the mathematical points and connections and some big picture that forms over time - (that undercurrent layer of thought I have that is always churning gets to be useful for that task, and that is nice), And honestly, in between stops and waiting for cars to turn etc, I think often what I am going to eat when I'm finished being busy... and it is getting into the time of year where I have to be more careful to actually drink enough, because I don't normally, and now I'm out in the hot and sweating and 'en train' not wanting to take a break until I'm finished etc...  which doesn't work in truth.

made some excellent banana cake with apple on the bottom yesterday, freehand, with no recipe - which I am always pleasantly amused at - even though I should use a recipe, I don't, and it turns out, and I eat it all... and for some reason that amuses me in a pleasure on a plane higher than the food so I keep doing it that way

listened to a few podcasts in Welsh and French
got out the Pitt pigment colors in blues, sanguine and sepia and sketched this photo while I was listening

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Mid April


drawing : Come Dream with Me



winged elm tree

art finds at the flea market
including a Commodore A. W. Faber red copying ink pencil

Martian desert, in stages... probably will do more to it

Sumerian Lion in gold paint pen

Languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Welsh, Irish, a little Dutch

Monday, April 03, 2023

Artist Showcase April 2nd at W.G. Rhea Library, Paris, TN


The 37th annual art show opened yesterday at the W.G. Rhea Public Library, in Paris, TN.  It is sponsored by the Paris Henry Arts Council (PHAC).  I put in a large painting 'The Concerned / Les Preoccupees' and a small colored pencil drawing of a fox 'Squeak'.  I should have put in my weaving but I always forget about the fiber category.  The community has been making large leaps and bounds with the glass and pottery categories in the past years that I have watched it. 

A drawing I made yesterday, with both hands, very much in the same style that created the painting of fish and rabbits shown above in the art show.
I told Esme I have to keep grabbing the nettle and putting my things in these shows just to get them 'out' there - because my biggest issue isn't what I do - I love what I do, and am going to keep doing it exactly as I feel the urges to make art - but that I don't take the extra energy to finish things, to put them out where people can see them, and I work in spurts, sometimes not doing anything for a few weeks and then doing a flurry of hardly connected things before dropping the line again.  That's just how life is, though, especially when you do so much else to survive day to day - like post office, and all the little tasks of the household - sometimes the art gets lost for a while, sometimes it gets loud and you really want to do more than you have time for... 

I have been experimenting with the twelve-second delay on the camera, as well, and finding a place to set the camera up where it can see me and yet still focus.  These are a few pictures I took of my hands working on the drawing above in the very first stages.

and in the first stage of drawing, before we went to go see the art show - I picked it back up (doesn't always happen) later that night and the light had changed, but still, put on Beethoven and let it walk me back into the colors and lines until it was something I could call done.  Then I counted the pencils and there were 42 different ones on the table, counting the charcoal pencil.  I'll put a layer of fixative over this one and maybe get back into drawing something else later - I've knocked out my Portuguese lessons for the day, and the Post Office hasn't called yet, so I might cook something and do some French, and then see if I feel like drawing again.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

You always see these staged pictures of a pretty dressed-up and smiling artist in front of their work - but I wasn't really going for that.  I was going more for a real documentary image of well.. this is me, now, and this moment will be gone before I know it as time keeps passing by so quickly.  So, this is me, not dressed up, just after running 8 hours worth of mail and packages, putting the glaze on my painting so I can bring it to a show submittal tomorrow.  This is my natural hair color, sunburn, no makeup, hat-hair even as I just took off my ballcap from the route and chased a chicken around in the yard until we got it back in the fence.  Also, I've been running nearly two weeks without much of a break - because things need to get done.  But I took a picture anyway, and I posted it, because this is real, and I have this painting and I hope someone will enjoy looking at it.

 And the first drawing here - is one of my scribble and see something drawings.  But it looked like the tiger thing had killed another creature and was eating it -so I abandoned the drawing and left it on my board unfinished.  My daughter said I should try the character again, though, so I did.  It might be something to keep working on, it's kind of cute, and you can definitely see where I used to design stuffed animals and sew them coming through on the second one... but it's a start


Monday, March 27, 2023



thought board 3-27

Oh, it's been a month.  It's been a month that has felt like three.  There have been weeks I've been working the entire week, running postal routes (9 days straight this time, actually) - and I have just not had much time for anything, and there have been days I've worked towards goals, and very few days staring into space.  Had a few very good conversations this month.  E and I have cooked some interesting things and talked about things, as well.  
Had some lovely notable 'flow' times sorting and interleaving postal routes to get multiple package routes done at once.  That uses the best parts of my visual spatial brain to the best effect.. but it's also, few and far between that I get to 'play' at that high of RPM and have it actually be useful.

Did French mostly (you can tell it's been busy when I say that), and then threw in some Spanish, German, Italian and Hungarian as side dishes at times.  I completely forgot about Portuguese - even though I just got that big thick textbook - why do I do that to myself?  Finally put the repair parts together on the basketball hoop.  My truck's transmission continues to wheedle down - but last time the mechanic said 'it'll do' and I disliked that comment, when I know it is failing.. *sigh*

Simon and His Boat, collage

Tried several new types of pencils - Derwent Chromaflow and CastleArts - liked both of them, they add a lot to the drawings.  Also tried tan and blue toned papers, and am experimenting more with them.  Added four or five colors of paint to my mix, and a gold paint pen.  I know I have to work more on the big project for the gallery but it has fallen to the side -BUT - I did get the pieces entered and ready for the Artist Showcase that starts April 2nd at the Paris, TN public library.  I just have to drop those things off now.

I did a little more work on the Sam the Cat book, about intensity and synesthesia, using my new story board easel to tape up mini paintings and try to organize so I can tell the entire story the way I want to.  I got some great ideas when I played with DALL-E last fall for adding Rosa in as more of a character, with her own gifts as well - and I'm enjoying imagining that and the richness that adds.


this hoop had been thrown away, and the person said that their son didn't want to fix it - so I found the repair parts online, and ordered them, and put it up in our yard.  It was heavy - and Mark had to help a lot moving it - but I hope we can get a lot of use out of it.  I used to love to shoot hoops with my brother when I was a kid.  E has a remarkable long-arm shot I didn't know she had.  I was so impressed!


A discussion about how I see the mind working - this sketch took about an hour to make and is on 16x20 paper.  I then ran it through DALL-E myself and came out with these, that I liked:

 Another artist / author David Wakeham had done his own AI version of the concept and I really liked what he had come up with, as well:

did a few of the little mini paintings of places I zoom by on the postal route - this one is sort of a house out on Bells Store Road, but the more I look at it in real life I feel I've smashed two places together, and it requires a bit more work.  But then I keep looking at Paris Pike and saying that place is so beautiful as well.  I want to go to the downtowns and spend an afternoon sketching buildings - but there is never enough time, good weather, and vehicles I am always worrying about 'using it up' which ties strings around me... I know it shouldn't.  It still does.  So I end up drawing and writing things at 3 am, instead.

experimenting with different paints, pencils and so forth

thought board 3-16

This is inspired 'Für Elise' by Beethoven, in four or five colors of paint

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