keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

play do's

Something about summer makes me want to jump through the sprinkler, skid down a Slip ‘N’ Slide. Though I am a huge advocate of returning to childhood play whenever possible, it is so hot out that I am afraid the plastic on anything might stick to my skin (not kidding…my fingers got a serious comeuppance when they made casual contact with a plastic cup that had been basking in the sun, OUCH!). Besides napping, I have amused myself indoors with the grown up version of Play-doh.

Polyform studio clay, a.k.a., Studio by Sculpey Clay comes in 34 delicious colors and takes just 30 minutes to bake up in the oven. The first time I used it a couple of years ago was during my introduction to making pinch pots. I mistakenly thought it was like the clay I had used in ceramics class, that I could manipulate it the same way. I soon discovered that the plasticity of clay that comes from decomposing rocks allows it to hold a vertical shape better than its studio cousin which is a synthetic modeling compound based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It contains no clay minerals at all and would dissolve if placed in a kiln (just the thought of the heat from that oven is making me break out in a sweat right this very second!).

I’ve come a long way baby from a misshapen blob of black with a red dot pot that I pinched back then to some sweet little pieces….

... then I got into a rhythm and feel for a design…

…and now looping little pots has become a relaxing way to beat the heat!

Sculpey is relatively inexpensive ( and is not just for adults but just so you know -- the colors can stain, the clay can build up on your hands the longer you work with it without cleaning your hands, and I do not recommend baking your creations in a toaster oven. I singed a bowl that I meticulously sculpted by placing it in one; it took every ounce of control to keep myself from throwing a tantrum! So get some Sculpey, don’t get too serious about it, have some fun making whatever you like and…

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picture of sculpey is from dick blick website

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I was sitting on the side of bed and found myself nodding off, intoxicated from too much heat. I don't remember ever falling into a snooze in that position. Not only did I doze off but I also had a full fledged daydream that felt like I was watching a movie. When my neck jerked me back to wake, the drowsiness pushed me down onto the waiting mattress and as I fell back, the comforter settled over me for naptime.

I can't seem to shake the lethargic pall that has consumed me since the onset of the heat wave. No sooner do I step out the door than my eyes begin to flutter signaling a strong desire to lie-down and catch forty winks. I’m paying close attention to what my body is asking for or telling me to do in an effort to circumvent the negative effects of these high temperatures. To that end, I have set up nap stations in my abode, ready for the recline --sprayed fresh bed linens with lavender mist, fluffed all the pillows,
reading materials in wait for their pages to be turned; ran my cocoa blanket through the wash (it’s strewn over the couch, a lazy lover in wait), put CD and DVD players on pause. Comfy, cozy, they are serving their purpose almost on a daily basis. In fact, I came in from working a long day last week and crashed actually against my will as I went through the mail. I leaned back on the cushion for a moment to read an insert; the next time my eyes saw anything they saw nothing…it was dark!

Now my only issue is the work day when it’s not a work from home day. Other cultures take a siesta, some countries shut down with pay during the heat intense months. I’m not suggesting we close up shop altogether but as long as the temp keeps climbing, I’d be perfectly happy with a cool nook to crawl into for a little sanctioned down time and dreamin’ before the days end because to be completely honest, I have been face down, desk up close and personal, way more than normal in the last few weeks…hence the pillow I just stuck into my purse.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

urban tropics

notes from a summer walk at dawn

lush foliage rushes up to cradle my frame.

birds flit between my legs
their beating wings in sync with the pulse
of my racing heart.

pink and violet pansies giggle in their beds
whispering secrets to my passing feet
as the water plays in the fountain.

enormous green tongues with
multiple purple piercings try to lick me
when a closer inspection of the bush beckons.

the bugs chorus swells in unison,
harmonizing to reach their crescendo.

meandering along the path of urban tropics
the mouth that opens up to scream city noise
is just ahead.

emerge to a perfect orange sphere
in a hazy summer sky perched
on the tip of the horizon
it sits still waiting for me
to cross the boulevard.

Put your shades on, stay cool and…

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

creative cool

Stick and stay seems to be the mantra of the day. Turn and stretch the phrase a tad and it becomes if you don’t stay in the cool, you might become a sweaty, sticky mess. I’m none too impressed that June 2010 has now set the record for the hottest June in who knows how long. I’m still mourning the loss of the month that gets me ready for summer temperatures that I expect to rise into the 90’s. As I tromped through all that deep snow just a few short months ago, I predicted we’d get some equally crazy weather when it got warm. So what to do? Short of fleeing the country, all I can do is deal with it.

Never have I moved so quickly from the car to the house, the store, the restaurant, the museum, the anywhere there is cooler air than what is outdoors as I have in than the last seven weeks; it's a game of creative cool and I'm sticking with it. I seek and stay in air conditioned outlets, both old and new, for stretches of time in search of stimulation to wake up my weather whipped body and keep it from walking into some random freezer and closing the door until this too passes!

Actually, it’s been a blast. The first movie of the day, feet propped against the seat fresh popcorn in hand, has always felt like a private screening; new nibbling joints with goodies that surprise my palette and libations concocted with unconventional combinations that so satiate my thirst; rousing dialogue with strangers in odd and familiar places tucking in to wipe their brow and commiserate; same day tickets to who cares what it is raise the curtain on WOW theatre; perusing the shelves of ethnic grocers in search of different ingredients to jazz up old recipes, though I haven’t felt much like cooking; sensuous sounds of music smoothing out the wrinkles in my linen as I recline under a ceiling fan, close my eyes and forget where I am…

and the heat goes on.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010


It’s been quite a whirlwind of a day! It feels like I have been in motion longer than I have actually been awake, so out of sorts. I came across a collage I made a couple of years ago…

...going to look at the sunset now, so…

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

secret life of women

As I descended the stairs to the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden a natural coolness rose up to meet me. I was actually trying to escape the sun for a few minutes and had no idea that a green oasis was waiting for me 15 steps below street level. I decided to give my body a cool down from the heat of the early morning furnace and take a few moments to really take in the sculpture. This was not my first time down in the garden, I walk through it every so often as part of my regular morning exercise. But since I was not rushing my mind processed what was in front of me a little differently. There are four sculptures of women in close proximity to one another; I have noticed three of them often and now a fourth one spoke up. I found myself roaming between them, conversing without uttering a word, wondering about them, thinking about my own life…we start out as girls…innocent, full of questions, not too much to worry about, so much ahead, in a hurry to get there…

Young Girl on a Chair - Giacomo Manzù

Before we blink, we are there. No longer girls, women with responsibilities who love and have losses of all kinds, been lost, found our way, jumped for joy, long for that time before when a band aid did the trick, when someone else took care of fixing it whatever it was, like when we were girls on that chair. We sometimes find ourselves in fetal position as we go within…
Crouching Woman – Auguste Rodin

And then out we pop again, refreshed, ready, throwing caution to the wind, taking chances all over again a little more sure this time, we’re free, easy (not that kind of easy!) and in touch with our feminine selves, no excuses or explanations, living large and out loud, wisdom is a lovely friend at our fingertips…

Nymph – Aristide Maillol

Until we put wise on fully, slipping her over our heads around the curves, smoothing out the wrinkles as we stand in our own truth, finally okay with our decisions because we know how to think things through, take our time, hold our hearts. No longer caring what anyone else thinks, is doing, has or has not…

Seated Yucatan Woman – Francisco Zúñiga

Laid back, relaxed…we’re good, good enough, good women in touch with that girl on the chair, living for the now, appreciative of the before and excited about the next.

Perhaps inanimate things aren’t so inert. The men who created these female statues had to pass some type of life into their work, which I believe is what reached out to capture my attention. It’s like that with me and art, if it doesn’t speak to me, I keep moving. And because there’s no discussion today doesn’t mean there won’t be one at some time in the future. I couldn’t help but wonder how many secrets, secrets from their creators and all who have stood before them, each woman held behind her frozen stance in the warmth of the morning. Cool to the touch I bid them adieu. Even if they received nothing from me, the sculptured beings sent me off with more than I came in with. I climbed the stairs from my talk in the garden and barely noticed the change in temperature at the top of the concrete flight. A heavy scent of gardenia lingered there, beckoned from the next garden. When Billie’s voice invited me in to chat, I accepted. Goddess was blessing this child who invites you to…

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

beastly beauty

It is beyond too hot to trot here in the District as is the case in so many other cities. In order to get in my walk and not fall out in the street somewhere, I have taken to rushing out the door at 5:30AM. As soon as I take my first breath of -- is that air? -- my eyes start to droop, I feel the need for a nap. Mercy, it is beastly out, I wonder if I can make it for one hour trudging through -- is there air out here? When I get home after sweatin’ to the beat of a new kind of 85° before the sun rises over the city that feels like a tropical jungle, a spell on the fainting couch is in order. All I need is for some hottie to fan me as I recall…

there is beauty in the beast of the heat, so…

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Sunday, July 4, 2010


There is no end to creativity. I tuned into CBS Sunday Morning and watched a story about a man who is a master knife maker…he had to perform a variety of skills in order to be deemed as such. Each week he may work on five knives using fire and a chemical bath to produce a creation that sells for more than $3,000 and oh my, are they stunning. I was amazed at the unique patterns that appeared to have a texture other than smooth; I wanted to reach into the screen, run my hand over the surface to feel the beauty. Following the process narrated by the artist reminded me of my glass classes, particularly the step that used fire at an outrageous temperature to heat the steel in preparation to work it into a usable object. When fired, both glass and metal turn bright hot reddish orange with hints of amber and yellow. Watching the story walked my mind to a flower I passed during a lazy evening stroll this past week, a lily that was just as fiery in color, but in contrast to the fired materials was certainly way cooler and soft to the touch. It didn’t rely on an oven of fire to work out its blush but the heat and light of the sun for sure coaxed the colors to the blossom whose petals made me think of a good friend. Her son is getting married on the day of firecrackers and celebration -- it will be a celebratory union that is sure to make some fireworks of its own I bet!

As a child, every July 4th we either went to the Washington Monument or sat on the hill in my grandparent’s back yard to ooh and ah at the flower-like bursts high in the sky. Perhaps I will get a glimpse this evening from a hill on high somewhere. Until then, I am tickled by a photo that evokes the feel of a little pink firecracker that you can nuzzle your nose up to and no, it won't burn.

have a safe and festive fourth ...

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