Category Archives: winter, spring, summer, fall

Still life, figures, and Matisse

The Matisse show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts takes a novel approach by displaying objects the artist collected along with some of the paintings they appear in. It’s fascinating.


Naturally, I especially enjoyed the textiles but even to see chairs, vases, and pewter coffee pots alongside the paintings they inspired was interesting.

I was shocked to discover, standing in front of the well-known ‘Purple Robe’ portrait below, that early on Matisse was ‘afraid he would never do figures’.

Lucky for us, at some point the artist figured out how to transfer the confidence he felt giving life to inanimate objects to the human figure.

With that and my unpopulated quilts in mind, take a look at the right margin of this slightly wonky tower I’ve been working on. Doesn’t that dark grain suggest a female form — staring up at a butterfly, perhaps? She reminds me of one of Grace’s drawings in its early phases. Mightn’t the nascent figure be saying something — Come on — stitch me into an empty structure! Let me enliven the yard or a room or even the attic!

Somehow this quiet and solitary day felt full. Almost too full.

Our morning walk was replete with scenes like these, peaceful and lush, but riddled with thoughts about aggression, primarily about the differences between aggression expressed from and for power and reactive aggression. They might appear alike from the outside but are worlds apart. Working with Finn has been a real lesson in this, inspiring me to quip from time to time, “Dog training’s taught me that I may be a mouthy bitch, but I’m no alpha.”

Sad, but true. Finn had a set-to right before this yard. Bark, bark, bark. My sister and I are having set-tos all the time, but this week they’re about re-configuring the distance between us. Bark, bark, bark. I can’t take it anymore. It’s amazing I’ve put up with it for this long. If she can’t accept my moving away some, I will vanish from her life. I’ve done it before. I was hoping not to do it again, but I am exhausted, tattered, and unwilling to continue at current decibel levels. Bark. Bark. Bark.

After what seems an impossibly long time without sun, out it came for our afternoon walk, so the day contained cheer, too!

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img_4552-2Lastly, the TV is all fucked up and you know what that means (wink, wink)! I may be forced to read for a spell here (and miss The Great British Baking Show?) or watch LIVE TV on the tiny shit box in the kitchen. Boo-hoo. Then again, the house is filled with good books waiting to be read.

Good news!

THE SUN is OUT!

I got my NEW GLASSES! They were so INEXPENSIVE!  I got TWO PAIR!



YARD WASTE pick up resumed! I LOVE RAKING!





This potted beauty was $14.99! I should have gotten TWO!

I’M GATHERING info about impeachment for my group. I’M DOING something! Learning! Networking with OTHERS! Remembering the only thing I ever liked about the law (i.e. applying constitutional principles to right wrongs).


I LOVE TWITTER, because I find funny things, too!

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MY NEW Endocrinologist IS A DOLL! He TOOK AN HOUR to explain things to me! It’s like the Universe SENT HIM A MEMO on how to perfectly offset the behavior of DR. ARTURO, of Boston– an unprofessional, condescending, cavalier prick who dwells in a grubby office and actually hung up on me a few weeks back. I GIGGLED ALL THE WAY HOME!

And get this, my new AMAZING doctor recommends using FOOD to feed the body calcium not supplements!  GREENs — I love them! Beans, yogurt – real FAVES of mine! BYE BYE ridiculously EXPENSIVE HORSE PILLS!!



Working on chapter summaries and it FEELS LIKE PROGRESS! Also, read part of  TERRIFIC ARTICLE ON CULTURAL APPROPRIATION (to be shared later — regarding the Emmett Till painting controversy). IT gets added to my ‘I HAVE PERMISSION TO WRITE A STORY SET IN SLAVE TIMES’ file (Yes, I have such a file). YEAH!!!
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The BLM activist who wrote an article about how thoroughly and completely white people ruin the movement for racial equality IS OFFERING TRAININGS IN BOSTON NEXT WEEK! HER ARTICLE RUINED MY DAY. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HOW to say so without evoking #whitefragility and #itsnotaboutyou but I DARED TO anyway to a BLACK FB FRIEND. We’re still friends.

I’M GONNA GO! (Am I foolish to think it can’t be two hours of telling white people how much they suck?) I FEEL BRAVE! I FEEL GOOD ABOUT TAKING RISKS WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS!

Organizing on [Safety] Pins & Needles Level I & II @ 24 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210-1211, United States, Boston [from 11 to 13 April]

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Have a nice weekend everyone! And I won’t blame you if you decide to skip the “Bad News” post that’s already forming in my head.

Shadows on snow

Maybe to blog more often is to give myself permission to matter on some.

(Ha — Autocorrect wisdom? I meant to say “natter on some”).

Just wore Finn out so I can happily leave him while I go to writing class. The striping shadows of trees pleased me to a ridiculous degree. Look at the colors! Purple, plumbago blue, lavender, and grey. A regular festival for the eyes. And the soul.

Peering out

It is coming down really fast and may turn to freezing rain. Plowing is slower than ideal. Still, it’s just a snowstorm and I don’t quite understand the emergency reverse 911 calls, constant reports, and all the rest.

We walked early and had a hard fetch session at the upper field and then played out back just now too, before I shoveled (arg – is the snow heavy!) I’m down for the count, as my father used to say. Finn would prefer otherwise.

It’s a good day to make revisions to text (today, a chapter covering the hours before the Stono Rebellion, 1739, from the perspective of a bondman) and maybe also to see if I can stomach last night’s recorded CNN special about Putin. For now, eating leftovers and about to watch “Nashville” (she said sheepishly).

Saying no and snow

Two or three inches fell. It felt like a surprise but it shouldn’t have.

It was a week of honoring my basic preferences and screwing up the courage to say ‘no’ in order to do so. One small ‘no’ helped me say a much bigger ‘no’ a few days later.

Both refusals created a feeling of spaciousness and relief. Confirming feelings.

Itchy ambivalence can usually be resolved in favor of one’s own need, experience, and felt sense of the world. To not do so is to stay itchy.

Pretty basic, especially for a sixty year old, but it’s amazing (and common?) how quickly clarity can be clouded by others’ needs or by anxiety about self assertion.

I don’t need to say more now. Just this: it was a week to remember that I bought my first book from Shambala press in 1973. I still have that volume (by Chogyam Trungpa) 43 years later, which is really saying something — do you know how many books didn’t make the cut?

What happens to you when you don’t honor your basic preferences and how do you course correct?

Bitterly cold here again today and I hear that more snow is on the way.

Have a great weekend!

Hermine Wind

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It’s a fluttering, gusty wind out there right now. Not remotely hurricane-like, but noticeable and vigorous. As the light faded, we ate lobster outside to celebrate C’s degree afterall. A really big blast of wind nearly launched the umbrella off the deck. Rain spattered a few times, but we are waiting, waiting, waiting for a drenching downpour. They said Saturday. They said Sunday. Here it is Labor Day and still no rain.

I’m not complaining. The Vineyard is largely without power. Parts of Nantucket and the South Shore, too. No, I’m just waiting for the rain.
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The weekend is nearly over and I somehow feel that it will be hard to get oriented to the new week, the new month, the new season. I hope not. With both K and C traveling this month and my schedule with my sister in flux, the real ballast will be writing.
deemallon_selfWriting, writing, and more writing! And trying to stick to my weight loss or maintenance program. The honeymoon is definitely over.

Heat AC politics

Been living as if in a cocoon. The AC on. The surreal RNC. The pumped up DNC. Some watched live, some delayed. Constant watering of the garden and things wilting anyhow. Dog walks in heat blasted air, crossing from one side of the street to the other trying to afford poor Finn’s paws the most shadowed route. Writing daily.

The heat’s broken and maybe this thick silence too.

A couple lunches out and one trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. I won’t tell you how many things fucked up while K. was in Korea (think: wiring and plumbing) or all the things I am worrying about. Let me just say, I am glad to have this body and this life.