Friday, July 28, 2023

Bright Windows, in progress


This is the second stage of this painting, more to do.. especially the trio of blues in the top left corner - I think that has to change.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

keeping at it

 I felt like I got a lot of things done today.  Nothing big to brag about, just a lot of little things that came on a day after three or four days 'on' duty, and then a day off - and I know tomorrow is a day 'on' again... so today would have been so easy not to do the things.

But we got out and did them.

Went to the flea market in the morning, bought vegetables, and then picked up the few groceries on the way home.  Chopped up and put all the peppers I bought in the freezer, reorganized what is in there and planned tonight's dinner from the leftovers that needed to be used.  Fed chickens, and cats, and goats and dogs and us, of course.  Did laundry.  Watered the garden and checked a few of the peppers of our own and the tomatoes.  Read a little of my novel from the library (it's so 'standard' and 'silly' at the same time, but hey, it's a book), and did a little work on my next crochet market bag that is in the works.  And Esme and I worked on some of the adulting skills she needs to practice.

And I bopped around on languages, playing 'language roulette' spin the wheel and do one or two lessons of whatever came up out of the 24 languages.  So I've done Finnish, Catalan, Haitian Creole, Norwegian, Chinese, Japanese, Ukrainian, Romanian and German that I can remember at the is a great 'game' to make sure your brain is remembering everything, and to feel the 'slots click into place' each time you switch over. 


 I liked that the other day when doing the package route as well - it's one of the things I really like about postal delivery, feeling my brain work the invisible maps 'in real time' without GPS, finding my way between two points, I guess: taxi-cab brain?  The package route does not follow in order like the regular mail route does, it hops around in the computer's 'most efficient route' but has no directions between them (that's another set of paper sheets and hey, it's a lot of paper and trying to read small type that I *mostly* do not need, so I don't even have them print that one out for me).  I have noted to myself again that I really like that 'I am here, it wants me WHERE?... ok, wait, routing (in my brain only), routing... oh yes, I see it now, (image appears in brain like a little jagged line running across the world, orienting me in a direction and I 'feel' like swaying motion, the way I am going to need to go and what I will need to do to get there - see snippets of what I am knowing is on the way.. it's so hard to describe and very delicious to experience...

and that is enough waxing about that, but really, I enjoy that more than I should maybe.  If I drove an actual taxi-cab in rush hour traffic, it would probably lose it's shine.

speaking of shine

Wrote this little poem (or adapted it, at least) about Lyffan

(insert picture here when internet is cooperating)

Tiger in the Hallway


Tygre, Tygre, burning bright

in the hallway, in the night

stalking stealthy, claws so dear

around my ankle, to appear

She was mugging Esme so much tonight after we fed her some tuna.  She got up on her chest while she was reading and would not move - sat there saying 'yes, I approve human, stay right here, forever'... I went in to give Esme some laundry and she said 'rescue me, please!' and she really didn't want to leave - she had decided to park herself there and although she's not a large cat, she is one that you never know when she'll 'go explody' as Mark says...

Thursday, July 20, 2023



catch up on progress for year, by Duolingo Crowns 

# July 20 vs / #winter solstice 2022

French            464  / 417

Welsh            370  / 360

Spanish         294  / 243

Czech             169  / 160

Romanian     149  / 144

Portuguese     111  / 89

Italian             91  / 83

Japanese         77  / 65

Greek             72  / 61

German         79  / 60

Finnish         70  / 62

Norwegian     67  / 47

Swedish         43  / 43

Irish             51  /  51

Turkish         39  / 38

Catalan         34  / 23 * (learning via Spanish language)

Polish             30  / 30

Hungarian     26  / 21

Ukrainian     19   / 0 (began April)

Guarani         6  / 0 (began April) * (learning via Spanish language)

Chinese         4  / 0 (began July)


external : Latvian, working on just a little of it here and there

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

garlic thai eggplant stir fry


A little sketch I made while waiting for a vegetable vendor I had contacted to arrive at a place - I'm not sure is it a bear or a badger or?  Anyway, it is definitely enjoying some fruit.


The farm had advertised Thai eggplants, and I used to grow them as 'ichiban' variety, once upon a time - which I guess is more Japanese eggplant, but definitely not your regular grocery store type.  I got two of those more common round heavy eggplants as well, for use in another kind of recipe.


Garlic Thai Eggplant Stirfry :


1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into moderate chunks (smaller is better)

4 cloves of garlic, minced, or more to taste

1 large or 2 small green sweet banana peppers, cut into small shreds

1 medium sized ripe red tomato, chopped

2 long slender Thai eggplants, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced

You will need:

1 small lime

soy sauce - splash

Thai fish sauce - 2 tbsp.

brown sugar - 1 tbsp or a bit more

1/2 inch square piece of curry sauce block

ginger (fresh, or powdered)

black pepper

cayenne pepper or one small hot chile, diced fine

beef broth - maybe 3/4 cup - enough to cover bottom of pan well?

peanut oil - splash

2 large eggs

To cook : 

add the beef broth and peanut oil to a large skillet that you have a cover for

bring to a rolling boil, add garlic and both pepper types, chile and the fresh ginger if you are using it (powdered ginger, wait until you add fish sauce), fry, ensuring that the mixture does not go dry - add more broth if needed

add the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and juice of the lime in that order, add the curry block bit, powdered ginger and powdered cayenne now if you are using that, add a generous grind of black pepper, mix everything together to make sure sugar is entirely constituted into the sauce

When garlic and peppers have softened some, add the eggplant and the chopped tomato, coat the vegetables in the sauce, turn down the heat and put the cover on the pan to steam the eggplant, stirring every once in a while

when the eggplant has softened, crack two large eggs into one side of the mixture, wait for the whites to cook a little, and then mix the egg mixture throughout.  Make sure the eggs get well cooked, turn off the heat, and serve the eggplant stirfry up onto plates, perhaps alongside rice or pita type bread to soak up the sauce

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

stumbling along


 stumbling along, several days of work, truck needing to be repaired again, we stopped by the library today and I got another world cuisine book, lots to learn about new ingredients and preparations.  Esme and I made another good salad today, scrambled eggs with fried peppers, and cantaloupe.  She said it was good.    We've been trying the cotija crumbling cheese on salads, and she likes that.  She really hates several kinds of cheese, other than fresh mozzarella, and only recently has she decided to try more new things.

I got some parsnip seeds at the library as well (diolch yn fawr!) and started preparing again the new bed I made earlier this year for planting.  When I was poking around in another bed that had potatoes in it earlier this year I found two more purple potatoes!  Then it decided to rain very hard and have strong winds, so we came inside and made bacon, eggs and fried apples for dinner.

The new bed had hot fertilizer in it and needed to rest a while - but I saw pigweed growing in it now, so it's definitely ready.  It had sat for months with nothing growing in it at all, besides the occasional dog laying in it.  And that was another reason I had not planted in it, was that I needed to put a fence around it and just had not gotten to doing it.  I pulled a twelve foot length of fence out of the 'back forty' (tangled mess of weeds) of the garden and maneuvered it into place around that bed and the one next to it.  It will need more tying down but it was a monumental job for one person to do 'on the fly' - but I've been half-meaning to do it for months and would not buy more fence because of it.  I had intended that bed to be for carrots, but carrots and parsnips will do just as well. 

 I've been getting peppers, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries out of my gardens, as well as the occasional kale, mustard leaf and nasturtiums still. I got those radish pods out of the garden and had eaten the radish leaves but no radish roots.  The next round will hopefully be crowder peas and basil, beet greens and more mustard and then the carrots and parsnips later in the fall or next Spring.


We had a bit of a power outage during the storm - and instead of turning my computer back on I began (and finished, an hour later) this little 'japanese knot bag' market bag.  They are great for carrying produce, books and other not-too-small things.  I made several large ones a few years ago to carry beach towels and such - and have sold a few at shows and the gallery.  But this was just 'use some time' and I love the geometry of how the net comes together, as well.



 little sketches in Denoxii script


languages : been doing French, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish, with a little Czech

Friday, July 14, 2023


I put the edges on and signed this one today, so it's basically done.  I might fuss a bit more over it another day - I did for quite a while today, seeing a tiny bit out of line there, a single pixel pore in the canvas that was still bare (beyond all belief, of how much paint I've put on this) etc...  I even put it in 'timeout' for a little bit over in the mud entry, and then retrieved it again after looking at it across the room a few times.  I'll have to rearrange my art wall, which has looked the same for a year or so, and make room for it at the top of the stairs.

'Awake from Hibernation' 
I'm on the fence about going to the art show this year.  I know that is just my social anxiety speaking - I went the past few years, and it was both good for me and also terribly hard.  And I have not finished or even hardly worked on the book I wanted to have progress with... or reprinted my author copies of Time in December.  I sold quite a few signed copies of the book at the show, and sold almost all of the ones at the gallery - and am almost entirely sold out of my personal copies.

and a sketchbook page in Denoxii
EDS / hEDS - it's tough - I've been fighting sleep all day, get myself up and make myself do things.  I fussed with my painting this morning, then planted two packets of basil, and made some flatbread, and did laundry, drank two pots of coffee, sat with my arms elevated straight over my head for a while (I do that a lot, it helps) and when I brought them back down they both sounded like rubber bands going off in succession, took an hour nap, then got myself up and ready to go out to the flea market and came home, cut up zucchini for the freezer and made dinner... and of course I fed chickens and cats and looked at the garden and watered and harvested tiny things here and there and have been trying to do something with Esme every day that I'm off because she felt sort of stagnant in her learning lately. 
Add that up and it feels like a lot, but actually, tomorrow I will have to move mountains compared to today, with a postal route scheduled... it almost feels harder to not have to do anything (muscular especially), and have to distract myself and force myself to do lots of little things instead of having that responsibility that I must do these large difficult things for hours on end and at the end I will be able to rest...and fall over. (and usually get up halfway through the night and then do the 'must' things like laundry or etc for the next day and fall over asleep again if/when Fate smiles) I'm so much more used to operating on the former, to having to operate that way... The philosopher in me stares at the ceiling and wonders about the balance of it all.
flour in a bowl, add some salt, add some water, put oil on fingers, mix with more flour until it is a non-sticky dough, add a bit more oil here and there, put on cutting board, roll very thin, adding more flour to not stick.. brush pan with olive oil, cut into pan-sized pieces, fry on each side until resembles a tortilla, but thicker, brush with more olive oil and salt if desired, put in box in fridge and eat with cheese, peanut butter, olives etc, or use with a curry sauce dish and vegetables

And we made a special trip out to a tiny flea market that has been trying to get started in Paris.  As I have philosophy on several other things - if you want to see it thrive, you've got to participate when you can.  I'm trying to point at myself in the mirror about that one and the art show, but it's not as easy to agree with when it comes to putting my art out there for a whole market booth all day long compared to going and looking at wares and produce.
This is the second time I've bought squash from this farm booth - I think it has been the same one.  The first time she had patty pans and a nice big Grey Zucchini squash.  This time she had some smaller ones that were between Grey Zucchini and White Marrow, and some Zephyrs.  
I basted this cut zucchini with olive oil and put it in a pan with frozen chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning and fresh cherry tomatoes and added sliced frozen banana peppers after the rest had cooked for a while, then sprinkled Mexican cotija cheese on it after it was on the plate
I would like Esme to try that cheese over our next salad, and I put a little over her rice tonight.  She is an odd duck in that she likes fresh mozz. cheese but hates cheddar tasting cheeses.  She said this one wasn't bad.  She has eaten the pepperjack cheese cubed up very small on taco salad these past few weeks.

French, and Catalan - I've done some Spanish this week with Esme, as well, the back of my brain keeps bringing up words in Czech, so that will have to have a day soon

Thursday, July 13, 2023

top : 'The Bright Path' completed January 2023
bottom : 'Awake from Hibernation' July, 2023

maybe not entirely done yet, but getting closer - in natural light compared to above in the evening, 20x24 inch acrylic

The two paintings have a little bit of something to say to each other, the same elements of style, yet differences.  Hibernation has two sleeping figures in the cavern underneath the seaside city..

There is also a little bit of 'similar language' in this drawing 'Let's Go Home' from 2021

 and in this painting 'Time and Space #1' (now in a private collection)

//all paintings and drawing are my own

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

some drop in recipes

drop in recipe stuff that I posted elsewhere - I have been experimenting with food a bit more this summer, and some more weirder stuff is to come as I play with some of my new ingredients:

takes a bit more time to make, but really good with the additions
Esme said it was good and we should make it again
ramen lunch : 1 large specialty pack of ramen with vegetable and boullion pack, 4 soft-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled but not yet cut open, 1 large carrot, grated into long thin strips almost like noodles, chopped green onion tops and bottoms, fine cut banana peppers, shredded kale, frozen sweet peas - simmer the vegetables in the necessary water with the boullion and veggie pack from the ramen until the carrots are tender enough, break and add the noodles, cook until done, pour into bowls and slice the soft-boiled egg immediately before layering on top on one side of the bowl

for the taco salad I mixed our own taco seasoning, paprika, onion powder, garlic, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, cumin and a tiny bit of basil and the recipe I looked at said some cornstarch to keep the extra from clumping - I changed the quantities entirely from what they had put in the seasoning recipe, and it ended up pretty good at the end - now I just have to use it the next few times we make things! Esme says it's Taco Tuesday, so we should use some more of it tonight.  (we did, she asked for it two nights in a row!  The first night the meat got a bit more charred than we liked (but Mark likes it that way) and the second night we watched it more closely and it turned out perfect)
taco salad: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, chopped pepper jack cheese, hamburger fried with the above taco seasoning, all combined, lettuce/tomatoes/olives first, then the hamburger with grease stirred up, then the cheese, and then one final stir, and onto two plates
A brown rice flour, egg and banana bread:

2 whole eggs, 2 small overripe bananas, 1/4 cup or less? coconut milk, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, shred baking powder and salt, then added 2 tbsp melted butter, - baked in a ceramic dish at 350 degrees and brushed with more melted butter after it firmed up, baked until it turned just slightly brown on top and was quite browned at the edges - pretty good concoction, like a lighter, spongier banana bread, ate with a bit of maple syrup and peach jam 

Friday, July 07, 2023


 I published that one book, Time in December, several years ago now, and sort of just threw it out into the Universe and said 'here, no backsies'... nearly unedited, raw and full of emotion - some of it was my own, some belonging to others and borrowed in a cup of milk and sugar to wash the story together into one cohesive mess...

I said to someone today - or almost did, that I feel like I've been avoiding doing more because of imposter syndrome, and because well.. just to say it, I have five - yes FIVE - others that I know I need to do work on.  But it's an echo chamber that simply seems too unimportant in light of everything else that needs to be done.  But for admittance  - here they are.

The House of Sunlight, is a book of short stories, each with a twist that makes them not what they started as, but something else, something strange with a philosophical message almost Twilight-Zoney, some twenty to twenty-five stories, and it is about 80% done unless I look at it too hard, then it stretches out to Infinity. 

Unspoken Things, Made Words, is a book of mostly poetry and prose, very emotional, very with grief and identity and Time... and it is about 90% done, but I it's in the 'I don't wanna' stage, mostly, I don't want to throw open that curtain because there's really just a little man in there in a green suit pretending to be the Wizard etc...

Cat in the Forest - a young adult book, stalled about 1/2 way through, I have ideas to shake it together into a finished story, but have failed to get back into it.

Ruby's story (title redacted, because it tells a lot about the story) - I love this one too much, and I don't want to ruin it, because she is such a feisty little dachshund and I don't want to admit I like her more than anyone else will.  I've got about ten chapters written on this one?  And I'm laughing at my own jokes too much, because Ruby thinks she's funny, and so do I.

Sam the cat and his Stripes - illustration work.. did about twelve images, it deserves more... and yet, the story itself is something I am not sure others will approve of, that the cat gets in trouble for leaving so much of himself on everything he encounters, it is my own commentary on society and what it is like to be creative in a world that just wants to work nine to five, have dinner and go to bed sort of thing

Thursday, July 06, 2023



sketch, the room in Barcelona, with a view of St. Bartholomew's

I cannot do justice to the textiles, they are exquisite.  I want to dream of this room again just to feel the velvets and sateens, the lace eyelet on the pillowcases and look at the pattern of little garden and animals in the drapes.

It's July, and I have just gotten off nearly two weeks of running at work.  There was a day or so in there that I got off, but it felt very long and I need some recovery time.

School will be starting in just a few more weeks again, we will have clothes and many other things to prepare.  Found a few specialty foods I've been looking for lately, but hadn't really wanted to order - so now trying to work up a few recipes.  Also, got my pasta roller machine out, and made some fresh egg noodles.


egg noodles  

1 cup plus more of flour, salt, tad baking powder, 2 egg yolks, mix - add two more whole eggs, bit more flour and bit olive oil, bit of milk to round it out, knead on a board with more flour sprinkle until does not stick much anymore, cut 4 inch long rectangles and roll through pasta roller, slice into ribbons, dry, boil for 8 to 9 minutes in salted water

brown rice flour pancake with sesame seeds

1/2 cup plus more of rice flour, salt, tad baking powder, 2 whole eggs, bit of water, tad of coconut milk, sugar (need more next time) and flour a bit more to consistency of pancake mix, heat small pan up with butter, pour in 1/2 cup at a time, sprinkle sesame seeds (untoasted) on top of batter, flip when edges are finishing slipping a bit more butter underneath to make sure sesame seeds get well coated and toast in the pan

Languages: doing French, Japanese, a tiny bit of Guarani, Catalan and Chinese, and some Spanish, playing a game I know well in French and learning names for little things I never had the need to look up before.