Monday, March 31, 2008

Bon appetit

My first post from my new tablet computer!
Here's a delicious piece of art to celebrate.

Blog alternative:
120. Enjoy a tasty piece of art. Bonus points if it's one you created.

Conspiracy theories & orchid sex

Here is a stone wall seen through an arched window in another stone wall at a ruin in Ireland, September 2005. Rocks rock.

I had my first cello lesson, as reported in my last post. Don't ask me how the practicing has gone. Grin. Okay, I'll tell you anyway. I did practice this morning, for the first time. I won't be playing with a symphony--or even on a street corner--any time soon at this rate.

The high today in Asheville is supposed to be 50 degrees. It still seems like spring now, with all the flowers. Nothing like the scene inside at the Arboretum this weekend though--Orchids, orchids everywhere. Exotic & fragrant & lovely. They were--well, I'm just going to spit it out--they were like sex personified. Life lusting after itself. The universe making love to itself. My eyes & nose thought so, & if I'd dared touch any of the delicate beauties I bet my fingers would have agreed. Holy flower show, Batman.

I'm at a coffee shop now, about to start playing with receipts & Quicken. Amazing how a little task like that can make blogging so attractive. (Behold the positive aspects of procrastination...)

Ooh, almost forgot. I looked at a couple houses on Friday, a for-sale-by-owner which was bigger than I need & a cute little (overpriced) house that the first guy (the owner/builder of the bigger house) told me about. I called the realty company on the sign & the (I just love the universe!) realtor who came out to meet me was someone I knew from this one time when I went to get goat milk & yogurt & eggs from my computer guy & he & this friend of his were working on a fence. At the time, I was signed up for a condo downtown, so I didn't pay that much attention when my computer guy's friend gave me his realty card. But, the condo prices changed (by about $60K) from when I signed up, so I got back my deposit & started looking around & now, here's a great realtor I get a good vibe from just handed to me. (I'd just looked at this to-do list that included "Realtor" & later that afternoon, voila!)

It's funny, once again, how the universe works. The woman at the table behind me at the coffee shop is trying to tell someone about being proactive--saying the person has responsibilities, whether the person is acknowledging them or not. She's had several loud phone conversations in here already, & I've been a little bit judgmental about that, but now I'm choosing to take advantage of the lesson she's giving her phone client.

Ahem! I am acknowledging my need/desire to get these receipts corralled & branded (us Montana girls can only masquerade as Southern belles for so long) in a timely fashion.

Now she's talking about transitions & paranoia. I don't have to listen to the paranoia part. I actually do have a conspiracy theory--I believe the universe is conspiring for me.

Are you still here? Don't you have anything better to do than read about me overhearing some woman in a coffee shop? I bet you do...

Blog alternative:
119. Come up with a conspiracy theory--how someone is out to gift you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How the cello acquired me

What a week it has been since last I posted. Humming & sparkly & chocolaty good. GeeWhizBang & all that. I'd take it apart & give you all the details, but then it might stop working. (Who am I kidding? That's just an excuse to give you the highlights & get on to the rest of the beauty of the here & now.)

(I started off doing highlights, but then I got into this looong story, so that's what the blog became.)

I just had my first cello lesson, kinda sorta. I called the guy who I'd met playing on the street last week & it turned out he was going to be there again. I'd just made my first attempt at tuning the cello & the A string would instantly slip back into relaxed mode, so Martin was going to see if he could get it fixed up for me. Alas, the A string broke--I guess it was serious about being on vacation. But, he did get me going on some wristy, elbowy exercises & we're going to get together after I once more have 4 strings. Perhaps we'll try for some location other than a bench on a sidewalk in downtown Asheville.

Plus, by virtue of this very blog, I now have a new friend, a young cellist from Arizona. (Hi Chris!) I promised him I would tell the tale of how a woman who's about to celebrate her 49th birthday (coming up on Earthday) had acquired a cello.

So there I was, visiting some poet friends in Mankato. I spent the night & headed out bright & early the next morning so I could make it to a meeting in Wanamingo. I should say cloudy & early, for such it was. Plenty early, though. As I approached Faribault, a town I had never entered, I decided I had time to stop for a latte or somesuch. There was a music store between my car & the coffee place & I was curiously drawn to it, but it wasn't open yet. I thought perhaps I'd have my java jolt & then pop in before I left town.

By then the sky was looking green & dark & menacing. I love thunderstorms, but not necessarily for driving in, so I dashed for my car, reluctantly running past the music store. Just as I reached the car, the clouds let loose. I almost took off, but common sense prevailed, so I ran back to the coffee shop. What a storm! The town--or at least the part that I was in--lost power. I lent my flashlight to a woman who worked across the street at Subway, because she needed to go into the windowless back room & ice the ingredients. (Yes, this is that kind of story, long & subplotty. I won't be in the slightest offended if your thought is, okay, so this chick acquired a cello--next & skip to the blog alternative. I promise the flashlight is relevant.) So, I & the owners & another wet person or two--for I had been completely drenched on my return dash--waited out the storm. By then I was late for my meeting, which wasn't a big deal, but it did mean I had to bypass the music store yet again.

Anyway, went to my meeting (this is Wednesday, 19 July 2006, if I'm remembering correctly) & only after I'd returned home did I realize I'd left my flashlight behind. Oh, well, I thought. On Saturday, though, I was going to (yet another!) concert at the Crossings Gallery in Zumbrota, a mere 30 minutes or so from Faribault. Hmm, I thought, I could go back & get my flashlight & go to the music store! The thought gave me a little shiver.

You may think from this that music stores are a major hang-out of mine, & that I am a musician. Welllll...I have a guitar, which I bought my first semester of college (Sir Robin, named after the minstrel in Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail) which I have sporadically played around with over the ensuing 3 decades but never enough to keep a really good crop of calluses. I have a harmonica, with which I took a community ed class, but never really mastered. I like music & come from an extremely musical extended family, but I was never what anyone would really call "a musician." (I have mostly thought of myself as someone who wasn't really a musician, but in the past couple years I've really changed the way I think, so I am ready to say that I am a musician--as is anyone who has the desire to be so.)

Anyway, to make a long story long, I drove to Faribault & walked into the music store & told the man that I'd been mystically drawn there on Wednesday, but forestalled by the storm. "I have a strange to desire to purchase a musical instrument," I told him. "What I'd really like is a cello, but since I don't know how to play the cello, I should probably get a harmonica." I looked around a little bit & decided I'd go have another latte & cogitate on my harmonica. When I returned to the music store--with my flashlight--it was 15 minutes before closing & the guy was doing his end-of-day paperworky stuff, so I began to wander around the store & discovered, in a back corner, a cello! I went up to the desk & stammered, "There's a cello." He said he'd forgotten about that & asked me if I'd like to look at it. Omigosh yes, I wanted to, so I did, & I cogitated for, oh, about a minute, & bought it. Now there's an impulse buy for you.

So, why did I want a cello? Because I love the resonance, the long, low sounds that make my body part of the instrument, even when someone else is playing. Have I always wanted one? Honestly, the thought hadn't really occurred to me to own my own until shortly before I actually did.

I made happy cello-y sounds on it a few times in Rochester, & it was one of the things I stuffed in my Pontiac Vibe to come to Asheville to pet-sit for six months. There wasn't a good place for me to use it that would have been safe from cats with claws & a dog that really likes to chew things up, so I left it safely in its case. However, I've been in my apartment for just over a year, & it has hardly been touched. Until today.

& not only did I have a cello lesson, but I got my guitar out & played a few John Denver songs. The fingertips on my left hand are feeling the tingle of unaccustomed use. My soul is beaming at me, for claiming musicianship.

& I am going to finish this off & get on with the rest of my evening.

Blog alternative:
118. Become a musician for a few minutes. If you don't have an instrument handy, there's always a table & a couple of pens or pencils to use as drumsticks. Or use your voice.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Polka dot high heels, cello lessons & 4 glass blocks

A few random sentences:

I just found someone to give me cello lessons.

My son got his entrepreneurial grant.

Mary Oliver has a new poetry book out. Red Bird. I didn't even open it yet--just bought it!

I love my life.

I wandered through Lowes--every aisle, inside & out--when I decided to actually build one of my furniture designs. Decided I was still refining the design, so I haven't actually purchased the materials yet. I did buy 4 glass blocks (nothing to do with the project) just cuz I love glass block & surely I can figure out something to do with them. I already gave one of them to my executive assistant. She & I went shoe-shopping the other day although we had planned on working. I got great slippers that fit me as if they were made for me (black lambswool, with leather soles) & she got polka dotted high heels.

Went down to Greenville, South Carolina, for an Eileen Ivers concert on St. Paddy's day. Great city!

My battery is at 19%. no time to hunt for a cool picture...

Blog alternative:
117. Go to a building supplies store & buy some cool thing you've always wanted or just now saw for the very first thing & think it's cool. One glass block. A 6-foot dowel with 1" diameter. Or, just pick up some paint chips for an imaginary project.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The 12-hour cold

A little drawing/watercolor which was one of my first forays into painting, & a bouquet of roses I bought to celebrate moving out of my first apartment in Rochester & into my 5 months of addresslessness. (2005)

Okay, so I am still composing this on my old computer. I have my new computer--& a thing of beauty it is!--but it seems to have less, rather than more as I had hoped, of a wi-fi range. I can only pick up networks that are unavailable to me, being encrypted & all that. (I don't blame people for encrypting, for the record. Fine with me.) I just haven't been out coffee-shopping much lately, so I haven't gotten the new email/internet thing going with the tablet. Maybe I should name the new computer. Hmmm, will have to give that some thought.

Anyway, I've made some beauteous artworks on it, which I will send you sometime when wi-fi permits. I may not have the very best programs to fully utilize my talents & proclivities--which means mixing handwritten notes (some but not all converted to text) & pictures.

Asheville has continued to be all over the calendar in terms of weather--sun, snow, rain, warm, cold. No meatballs. (As in Cloudy with a Chance of...) No dancing girls. (As in hot & cold running...) But, heck, it's springtime in the southern mountains--this is exactly what it's "sposed" to be like. I like it.

I did have a 12-hour cold, potentially brought on by the rapid shifts in temperature. Sneezed around 8 p.m. so I sprayed my nose with this stuff that usually knocks out colds or sinus problems. (Nutrabiotic Nasal Spray & XClear both work great.) Woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. Got up & sprayed my nose again & drank some water & some fizzy vitamin C drink (Emergen-C) & then got back in bed &--in my estimation--added the most important component: lay there intentionally & enthusiastically & in great detail appreciating the many fantastic details of my life, starting with my children. Woke up the next morning with a teeny-tiny sore throat residue & repeated all of the above & voila! Symptom-free. Or, should I say, symptomatic of health & well-being.

So now I'm off to get some more things done. Blessings upon you.

Blog alternative:
116. Lie there--or sit there--or walk there--& appreciate. Appreciate the way silk feels against your skin, & the taste of (insert favorite food here), & your best friend's laugh, & on & on & on &