Friday, November 30, 2007

the finish line or TGIF

I can't believe I did it! Thirty days of posting daily. I've enjoyed the blogs I've discovered. There are some pretty funny people out there blogging. I thank you for taking the time to make my day start with laughter.

Today was like any other Friday, except I did a few things that have been waiting to get done.
1. I finally planted my narcissus bulbs, supposedly there were 32 bulbs, but there is no way there was, which made me happy.For one the ground wasn't frozen yet, and for two what was I thinking when I thought I'd have time between open studio preparation and a major holiday to be able to plant them. Today I couldn't stand it anymore, I was tired of their little papery taunting bulb faces, silently mocking me, threatening to freeze and rot, so I did it. I planted them , and gave my procrastinating self a kick in the butt.

2.I made my Christmas list out for my mother, so she won't go crazy, because she has no idea what to buy me. I've only been her daughter for 44 years, but I guess I am tres mysterious, and she need help. Which honestly she does, she's a bit like a magpie, and their attraction to shiny things, she often buys me things she just loves, which umm I don't. Does that make me sound ungrateful? I certainly hope not because with a little guidance( catalogs I've marked in sharpie) she's able to decide, and pick out some really cool things. Plus My mother almost always comments on her frugality, because she is Scotch. So for her spending her money to get the right gift is important. And who am I to deny my mother that.

3.I finished my CEU's, continuing education units, that I need to have to be able to renew my nurses license every two years.I need to renew my license in January. Luckily I had 6 already, but I need a total of 15.
Do I work at them over a two year period? Yeah, right. I usually do them in December.
I work part time at as hospital, how come I don't receive a percentage of those hours as a CEUs? My job is ever changing, and growing, but not considered continued education.Either way I'm done

So I guess this last day of NaBloPoMo was all about finishing things that needed to get done.
Congratulations to all of you bloggers out there that NaBlo'd your way throughout this month too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

the almost finished product

I finished carving the linoleum block (almost) I see a few areas, where I need to adjust a couple things, but mostly I'm psyched it's done. I hope she likes it, and it turned out as she imagined.

It was warmer in the studio today, which was nice. Tomorrow the forecast is windy which will suck for whoever is there, but it won't be me. I'll be snug in my house, doing laundry, and making a christmas list for my mom. Maybe I'll even do a little christmas shopping, dressed in pajamas, with a milky cup of tea. As much as I like traveling back and forth to the studio, I love being home too.

My dog Wilma and my cat Ginger will be psyched.I'll be home to provide them with much needed snacks and head rubs.And more treats, and pinches of catnip, and outties, and then more dog bones.It be a busy day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A lovely young woman that I work with is getting married,in December. I missed her bridal shower, because it occurred the same day as Open Studios. I worked with her on last Thursday, when she asked if I could make a table sign, that had to do with Santa and Reindeer, and the North Pole. I was honored.

I think I know the direction I am heading in, I have already drawn the design on the block and even started carving, the only nagging voice I hear is my own inner critic saying "remember she wants simple and elegant." So then it makes me unable to see my design, and whether it's those things.

It also makes me a little freaked to call it a design, maybe I have been watching too much Project Runway, or Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, and feel it's a design, honestly though it's a commissioned piece I am creating. So am also working with what she wants,not necessarily a print I would do,this isn't a gift.

Before you get worried dearest reader, I already gave her a gift. And she loves it.

So tomorrow I will go and carve the rest of the block, and fingers crossed, be able to pull a print to show her what it looks like.Then next week print it. Did I tell you her wedding was on December 23rd? Yeah, it is.

Am I stressed, not really. Just a little bit jumpy,but that passes, then I feel a little sure of myself.Which i much prefer feeling, sure and at peace, gives one a steady hand when carving.

So what I think I'll do is turn in, get some sleep, perhaps dream and look at this with new eyes tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

dinner and a movie

This is a list of some of my favorite movies, and some of the reasons.

"Eat Drink Man Woman" such a wonderful movie, the visuals are superb. It's definitely a dinner and movie recommendation.Meaning you can't watch this movie, and not want to eat at the same time. The cooking scenes are sublime, as is the story.A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members.

"The Scent of Green Papaya" this movie, is rich in visuals, and not a lot of dialog, compared to how gorgeous it is to watch. Little things mean a lot in the world of 10-year-old Mui, a girl who's trained to be a house servant in 1950s Vietnam.

"Big Night" This movie, even my husband and my son enjoys. It has a great soundtrack,if you haven't heard of Louis Prima, you need to. The mouth watering scenes of the workings of the restaurant, it's sublime.This is another movie, to get take out and eat and watch.

"Babette's feast" this movie,is another thought provoking movie, and the cooking scenes are equally wonderful.This movie definitely gives you food for thought.

"Chocolat" this movie is wonderful, from beginning until end, the chocolate making is wonderful, and Johnny Depp is in it, need I say more.

"The Wedding Banquet" this movie, is fun and sweet and slice of life, it's about a gay landlord and a female tenant agree to a marriage of convenience,to satisfy his nagging parents, but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand.

All of these movies are at Netflix, so get busy and add them to your queue, I think you will enjoy them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

loss for words

I now there isn't much left to November, something to be thankful. But I'll put this under really short post, that's pretty to look at.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

tag, you're IT!

Yes, we have reverted to childhood, it's time to play tag. But blog tag, a much nicer version, it doesn't matter if you can run fast, but trust me you be laughing and out of breath, just like the real thing.

I was tagged by my favorite photo wench, Leslie at a Doggy's life

So here are the rules.
1. Write your meme, then link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
So people can know whether to thank you , or curse you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
You know the weird random stuff, that you think could make for a interesting blog post, but you were shy to tell about.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
and do this step wisely,You know who is game to play and who isn't.

7 random and/or weird things about myself.

1.I like butter and jam on my bagel. I don't like how cold cream cheese is on a hot toasty bagel.I like mine toasted crispy and crunchy, and it better be poppy seed.
2. I am a soap whore, i get all giggly and excited over high end soap, from your shower gels to your facial soaps, I desire them.
3.I don't own a microwave, I reheat things in the oven and on the stove.
4.I love the flavor, of sparkling water, but the carbonation, not so much, so i usually shake them to release as much of it as possible, like I need help in the loud burping department.
5.I like to drive home from work, during snowstorms, there something so quiet, and a little frightening, but empowering, that I can make it home, plus it so freaking beautiful, to witness mother nature, showing off.
(only 2 more ,woot!!)
6.I chipped my front tooth , when i was 7 or 8 years old, I was being chased by my friend and I tripped and fell, and hit our coffee table. I thought I broke all my teeth that day.
7.On my list of famous people I would do it with, if i had the opportunity, and they were equally into me too. For men it would be Billy Crudup, he usually picks some meaty parts and that lanky body, yum. For women hands down it would be Catherine Deneuve, those lips, those eyes,
and the accent, is something, to get hot and bothered for.

And lastly these are the wicked awesome people I tagged, I bet they'll be psyched. (I told you I was from New England)

mrs.G at Derfwad Manor

Mike at CraftGuy's Random Thoughts

Sandy at Sandy's notes

Mimi at the queen says

s'mee at knot in the string

Marie at Whither Thou Creative Spirit

Sheryl at crap-o-rama

I hope you will give these people a visit, they have something interesting to say and see.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

holiday meals

It all went off with out a hitch, I actually remembered everything, the extra stuffing got cooked, the rolls got baked, golden brown and they weren't even burnt.

The turkey came out perfect, my fresh, then frozen, then thawed bird came out perfect, we did it Alton Brown style, which is basically 500 degrees, for 30 minutes, then you drop the temperature of your oven to 350, and you also cover the breast with foil, there is no basting. All I made sure to do was add water to the roasting pan, so the the drippings can make the base of what will be the easiest gravy, ever.

Now I am a baster, I have for years, and when my husband first suggested it, we'd cook it the Alton Brown way, frankly I was resistant.I was cooking this turkey what if it turned out, awful!
It would be my fault not Alton Brown's ,plus that he's a food network star, who wouldn't really feel my agony of defeat. Tom was gentle, with his suggestion, didn't bring it up again, but he planted the seed. I was imagining, "could there be a easy way to make a turkey?
The idea whispered in the back of my head, as I planned my menu, and divvied up the food jobs. It was there a little beacon,present,wanting me to choose.Then I decided today(remember I'm a procrastinator, I'd do it. Thank gawd I came to my senses.

When I was younger, I used to make fairly elaborate meals, lots of steps, which would taste wonderful, but added tons of time onto the process. Now with 20 years of wisdom, under my belt, I realize simple is often better, easier to do, and there was no stress involved, which that in itself is a mean feat to pull off, before friends and family. It may have taken me 2 decades to achieve that, but I'm pretty happy that I have.
But then again, does that mean it took 20 years to get that lesson through my head?
Perhaps, but I can live with that.

Friday, November 23, 2007

the cozy

It's the night before I cook Thanksgiving for my family, and I feel accomplished, I got quite a bit done, I've made two desserts, cooked my turkey neck, to make stock, chopped celery, and onion for the stuffing I'll make, So tomorrow will be fairly stress free. (fingers crossed, here's hoping.)
the house is even clean!

It's all done, and now i can sit, and channel surf a little bit, and I happen upon the movie "the Holiday" the one with kate winslet, jude law, and cameron diaz, and jack black, and last but not least eli wallach. I have seen this before, but i'm pleased to see it now ,with holidays beginning. It fits perfectly with my state of mind which just caps off my work nicely, I can snuggle into the couch enjoy the beautiful scenery, and witty dialog, and escape a little,become a happy little voyeur, in this slice of life. I am Thankful for movies, that I can escape a little, but thoroughly enjoy the gamut of emotions, that this movie supplies, you'll laugh, relate totoally, maybe even get teary, but it's all good, all warm and fuzzy.

There is also the physical aspect of it, the warm safe feeling you get, the cradling of the couch, the soft light that glows in the room, is all part of it, and I can pause my dvr, and dash to the bathroom, only to return to my warm spot and finish the movie,it's quite an indulgence.

The other part of the cozy, is the family part, my Husband and me chopping celery and onion,earlier that evening. Sharing the workload, another thing I am thankful for, that somehow we have evolved into these two people that share, the load. I bless my lucky stars, everyday for that one. It's also my son, who has become this cool funny adult, no longer a boy, and that frankly takes my breath away, that i could have had a hand in that. That's certainly another big, Big, BIG blessing. He just came home from being out with friends, and he comments on the smells, the pie, and how it smells like cheesecake, and how he hope he can keep out of it until tomorrow. That is certainly an empowering thing when your kid loves you and what you cook.

As I write this I hope I have conveyed the cozy to you, or maybe made you totally relate in recognition, of this said phenomena. For what it's worth, it doesn't matter how much you save on Black Friday, it's worthless if you don't have the cozy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving.

a simple post to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.
here's to Black Friday,tomorrow ...Cheers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

guilty pleasures

With out first over indulgence holiday approaching, what better thing to reflect on the guilty pleasures, that I partake in with my DVR.
- America's Next Top Model- i love this show, the Tyraisms, that come forth every week,out of Miss Tyra's mouth, and some of the whack ideas,for photo shoots, that they come up with to challenge these young women, it makes my night. Then later to dish about it with someone, makes it even more fun.

-The Hills- yes, that's right I watch the Hills. It's a perfect little show, a half hour long, I can have my catty, then move on to something else. This show doesn't drag on ,it's short and sweet, just like L.C and Audrina.Rumor has it, that it's scripted, well if it truly is, it won't suffer from the writer's strike.We're talking light and fluffy, and fashionable, people.

-Holmes on Homes- this is a fixer up show from Canadian television, this contractor goes in and fixes up , peoples' nightmare houses. The story is basically the same, really nice decent people,who aren't particularly savvy, in regards to choosing a contractor, or around much to see how the job is progressing until it explodes into lousy workmanship, and higher costs, for them.
Enter Mike Holmes, comes in usually guts their abomination of a house, or garage, or kitchen or addition that their having built, and he and his crew fix it up, he's also not afraid to hire really good plumbers, painters,weeping tile experts, electricians. He always has the scolding lecture, because he has such high standards, it makes him sick, that someone just wouldn't do the best job he could for a client. What I'd like to know is how does he pay for these tear down , build up jobs he does? Compared to This Old House where there's a lot of product placement, and mention of how much things cost, in this show there is none, the other bonus, is how much of a leatherman he looks like, all he need is the proper leather accessories, instead he wears Carhartt overalls, often no shirt, and the gold chain, is just very macho manly, thrown back to the disco era, whatever he gets the job done, and there is a happy ending too.

Last and certainly not least Project Runway!! what can I say,as an artist, it's wonderful to curl up on the couch and see, how someone else creates, between the visuals, and fashion inspired critiques, it's lovely to be a little fly on the wall, a fashionable fly that is, and watch what unfolds.
Tonight's show with Sarah Jessica Parker, I almost died and went to heaven. She could make me turn off the Haley Mill's version of The Parent Trap, and my husband and son can't get me to do that. She was guileless, and cute, and likable, and she was genuinely thrilled and a little bit nervous like a fan, to be on Project Runway.But it all worked out in the end.
I did like Victorya and Kevin's dress with the little racer back vest it was cute, but I was blown away more by the design Sweet P and Elisa created ,as they have such different styles. Though I think Elisa is a freak, she no more myopic with her polymorphic dresses , then Christian is with his fitted, retro jackets. I especially loved when he looked like he was going to strike down all the other judges, because they chose to speak before ms.Sarah Jessica.

So here's to those guilty pleasures, that are calorie free,so we'll have more room for dessert tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

driving at night

I work the 11 pm to 7am shift, I have the pleasure of driving at night, looking at the moon, and generally thinking,about whatever, I want to think about. Half of my ride is rural, lots of woods, open fields, before I ever reach the city.
Occasionally during these drives, I'll be fortunate enough to spot the animals that inhabit these areas.

My favorite is the night, I spotted something crossing the road, at first I was annoyed, what was someone doing walking the side of the road dressed in black, as i got closer I realized, it wasn't human but a most likely a big dog, as i got closer, i realized that's not a dog that's a black bear!!! I got to witness it climb up and over a stone wall, and continue on it's journey. I was thrilled and in awe all in the same breath.

There is a fox, I see from time to time on this route .When I first spotted the fox it was young, with it's sibling running beside it. I was so happy. It made me feel like the land was very rich, to be able to support two kits.As with all life cycles I also witnessed, the death of one of the young foxes, it made me sad to see it's brother or sister pacing near it's lifeless body, though the area is wooded, there is a street that still runs through it,and make it dangerous to foxes crossing the roads. As years have passed from that moment, I occasionally caught a glimpse of the lone fox, still surviving. This year I had the great fortune of seeing this fox grown up with it's own little fat bellied pup, tottering after it. I felt honored to have seen that.

My most recent sighting have been deer, you notice them out of your periphery as you drive by.They always seem to be waiting to cross the road, or they've just run into the road, it is powerful to witness that. That brief second where we are both staring at each other, then in a flash I've driven by, or that deer has crossed the road, to disappear back in the woods. The sighting may have been brief, but it's effect on me, priceless.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Tonight our usual Mr. Bowflex session, was such that we weren't able to do it together, we all had separate sessions,which really was fine, I plugged into my iPod,and followed the exercises, there was hardly any down time, except when I was being less than coordinated, that damn bench seat, it's like an exercise all on it's own removing it and replacing it.

And then it happened, the endorphins kicked in, I felt great, I was smiling,that minor bitch rag I was wearing tonight, was gone, like a cyber exit, poof!
it was a brief memory, and a big sigh of relief.But now I am thinking , was that the reasons for my doldrums yesterday, am i going to be , crabby on the days that I don't work out?!
Will there be nonexistent pissing and moaning on the days that I do trip the light fantastic with Mr. Bowflex?

I'd like to think so, that would be great. On the days I'm being a bitch and I want to trade my family in , I can go visit Mr Bowflex, and let my imagined troubles melt away, and get a hard body too, okay I'm still a little high on the endorphins, get a less flabby body , that would be more realistic, and attainable., and feel good.

and that's a good thing, just like Martha says.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

the doldrums

I've hit them, I feel a little uninspired today, and stressed. I'm pretty sure it has to do with finding out a Fresh turkey, can't keep more than 1 or 2 days in the fridge. and I'll be cooking mine on day 4...ooops! thanks for coming to dinner, sorry about the salmonella.

I've recently started buying my meat at Atkin's Farms, they have a great store, wonderful produce,wonderful bakery , meat shoppe, and a deli, to die for, if I was stranded on desert island, what two things would I bring with me, Atkin's Farm store, and electrical generator. Hell I might even be able to buy that there.
When you buy your groceries there, they usually pack a flyer that tells , what sales they maybe having, and lo and behold , I could order a fresh turkey. So i did, but I didn't do much on the research of it, hence finding out I need to cook a fresh Turkey in 1 -2 days , or freeze it immediately, thank goodness i have a little chest freezer, so it'll all work out.

Now, if I could just get rid of this anxious, blah feeling to pass it would be good. So I'm off to climb in my warm waterbed, to pat the cat, and pour over catalogs , I get them by the ton, yes I'm an online/catalog shopper, I see an upcoming blog post in my future. Hopefully all those thing will smother the little self doubt beasties, into a state of quietness.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

French toast

I'm hoping working this 3 night stretch at work won't effect my ability to write about the lovely but mundane details about my life.
Saturday night dinner is usually a pretty relaxed affair, during the summer, we go to Janine's or Howard's , local drive in eateries, that have good fried food for cheap, and you can eat in your car and people watch.

Once the temperatures start to fall, those seasonal drive- ins close, and well you want to be in the warmth of your own house.So we do, and we still keep dinner pretty relaxed, a way to do that is to have breakfast for supper, and having french toast for supper, well if i had been thinking fully about my favorite things this would have been on the list.

This recipe is by no means precise measurement, it'll feed 3 people , 3 pieces each. It's simple and good, and well is there anything better than that?

Tracy's French Toast
6 eggs
(approx 1/3 cup, maybe more ,maybe less)
zest of one orange, be it a clementine, naval, or mandarin, they're all good in the zest department.
juice of 1/2 an orange
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of nutmeg

1 loaf of day old bread,
sliced thick but not too thick.I have use also new fresh bread in a pinch.

mix the milk and eggs together, then add the zest, and juice to the mixture, lastly add the cinnamon and nutmeg, mix real well.

I use a pan to soak my bread in, place the slices down then pour the mixture over it, don't forget to flip the slices, so it can really soak in all that yummy goodness, then fry in what ever manner, you fry things. We are a butter family, we believe in it's creamy goodness, and it's ability to brown and flavor things.

The final step cook with your family, My husband does the cooking on this one, I'm just the one that gets the French toast ready, for him to cook, and I'm also the butter girl, you know you have to always add a little more when you flip the slice.Does it taste better because he cooks it? Most definitely.

This recipe can adjust up and down, depending on the people, and if we're cooking a brunchy thing, to keep the slices hot, we keep them in a single layer on a sheet pan, in a 300 degree oven, they stay crisp, and hot, nothing is worse than cold French toast.

and lastly Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A few of my favorite things

Mrs G wrote about her favorite things, it was informative, and a great resource, and has turned me on to some new items that I didn't know were out there. So this week she threw down the gauntlet, and asked the question, "what are your favorite things?" Without further ado, dear reader, here are a few of them.

1. Ghirardelli Chocolate's Intense Dark Toffee Interlude, a rich velvety dark chocolate, with great mouth feel, think orgasmic. It also has the right amount of Toffee bits, and caramelized almonds pieces. This is honestly a chocolate where you can eat that one square, and be satisfied, that doesn't mean, you won't be back in a hour wanting more, but there's a reason they named it Toffee Interlude, it's sensual, and satisfying, just like a really really good chocolate should be.
And the best thing, you can buy this at your local supermarket.

2.Two leaves and a bud's tea sachets, they are divine. You can see the actual tea leaves, the flavor is wonderful, no bitterness, at all, it make a perfect cuppa, and it organic! I've tried their Earl Grey, the Darjeeling, and the Assam ,I am a lover of black tea, and this black tea is the bomb. The only other high end tea I had that was in a lovely mesh sachet, like this was from Fortnum& Mason, of London. That tea was the bees knees too, but I don't live in London, and buying it online is just not the same, or cost effective. So I've kept my eye out for a more price savvy substitute, and this tea fills that tall order and then some.

3.Avocados, has there not been a more misunderstood fruit, in the history of fruit and veg. Some people will argue that they are fattening, but they are sodium- and cholesterol-free and have only five grams of fat per serving, most of it the monounsaturated kind. Which is good for you, think supple skin, shiny hair,general health and well being, you need a little fat to keep your body working properly. Plus they taste so sublime and wonderful, and are a perfect complement to tuna fish sandwiches, think sliced and put in your sandwich, it's the best and you can thank me later. But the best way is naked, sliced or chopped into chunks, to be savored with someone or alone, perhaps an avocado interlude?

4. . home of badass buttons and magnets, I learned about her wonderful Buttons when I did the 365 project at Flickr, and I bought my 365 buttons there, then I went back and check out the rest of what she makes, it is hip, creative and badass too, and the price is just ridiculous. You could easily buy more buttons then you could possibly need, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

5.Purifying Charcoal Shower Gel by DHC cosmetics. I first received a sample when I purchase their pure soap, to quench my soap whoreish ways. This shower gel is awesome, clears up any of those weird 40 something year old skin problems, like the occasional back zit, and smooths those rough patches of your epidermis, turning them so soft and silky, you may think you've gone back in a time machine. I use it in the shower, and my skin come out soft and glow y, and it smells good too, not fake flowery, but minty and invigorating. if you are a soap whore, I recommend it totally.

6. Socks from Sock Dreams, this is a place where you can find 100 different pairs of black socks, with out looking like you raided your great- uncle Edwards sock drawer. They have what ever length of sock you desire, from half socks to thigh highs, and in more colors than black. If Sock dreams doesn't have it, then it's not made. it is the best sock store in the known universe.

7. Soft cotton handkerchiefs, from Wild Child Tie Dyes, it's a local business, that get all my business, this woman could dye a rag and make it look gorgeous, she sells more than handkerchiefs, but that's what i primarily buy. When I'm hot I sweat, big sweaty droplets, so as not to worry others, and drip on them , a quick wipe with my tie dyed handkerchief keeps me looking only glowy, and healthy, not hot flash premenopausal.

8. X-Treme Jane Sling by Ecco Performance shoes, these shoes, are very comfortable, stylish, and lets face it they're cute. I've worn them while I do my mile walk, and the felt wonderful, and I've also worn them at the Studio when I'm on my feet for 6 hours, pulling prints, and these are cement floors, and my tootsies have stayed happy and comfortable.

9.Printmaking inks from Daniel Smith, are affordable, brilliantly colored, very light fast, and easy to clean up, I use vegetable oil and Simple Green. I use the oil based relief inks for my linoleum and woodcuts, and they dry to this gorgeous rich sheen.That has the graphic bold tone I desire.

Hopefully this list will inform you, and turn you onto somethings, you might not have known about.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. Bowflex.

Since I wrote about Louise,my dishwasher, yesterday, I figure it's only fair to go on about Mr. Bowflex.He moved in with us this Sunday, he kind of wrecked havoc, with my studio. What we didn't throw away on Monday,from his room,moved into my studio, and it will be dealt with soon.(real soon!)

The 3 of us, me, my husband, and my son, we're all getting together , and using Mr. Bowflex.
It's kind of fun, except the Hub, likes it quiet, and I process with my mouth, so I've gotten the shush look, which make me want to talk more(well it does).
My son is pretty cool with it, it's kind of fun to be spotted, or handed the handle, we figure moving the bench off, where you have to for some of the exercises, should be an exercise, because it so damn heavy, good body mechanics, will keep you from hurting your back, maybe that why they have those seated lower back extensions, so your able to assemble, Mr Bowflex, with out killing your back.
We're doing the every other day plan, it'll give us a day to be really sore, before having to answer to Mr Bowflex again. I'm finding him to be a quiet taskmaster, it's figuring out the right weight,if it's too light well that won't accomplish anything, but if it's too much you might injure yourself, or be too damn sore.
Though I think the injury factor in this is pretty minimal, it's fairly smooth functioning, the only way I figure I'll hurt myself I figure is being graceful and sit down with the seat is in row, and miss the seat entirely, because it slid away.

Do i feel some muscle cells, getting jazzed up and firmed. Well yeah I kind of do, does that freak me out? Not really freaked, but surreal.
Here I am blowing my sedentary lifestyle. Oh my gosh, maybe I'll tame the pre-menopausal gut, that has be settling around my middle. it's bad enough that the facial hairs are running amok, I didn't realize my belly would too.Here's to fortifying the temple, yeah I'm talking about my body.

Here's to Mr. Bowflex,if things go well,maybe I'll fix him up with Louise.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

home for the holidays

Home is always the place you want to be, I want it to be a place where I can open my door and let my friends and family in. Home for the holidays, is a good thing too.With Thanksgiving approaching, the family months will begin.

I'm lucky my house is big enough, for the whole famn damily, and then some. That also insures, I don't have to drive to anyone's house,they come to me, I can walk around barefoot, if I want, play the music I want to listen too, and cook.And this year I have a dish washer.SO I can just fill the dish washer, and turn it on and have a cup of tea. I should really name her, face it, even if you are a highly evolved male who does the dishes, you know the dishwasher is female. I'm thinking Louise is a good name. Cheers Louise!

Louise will be busy come November 24th. With my family, being 3 of us are nurses, it's hard for us all to have the actual Thursday of Thanksgiving off. So we usually plan for the weekend after, to get together, and we manage it, plus my best girlfriend comes over too, which makes it really nice, and fun, full of family , friends, and food.

There usually ends up being 9 or 11. So we kind of split up food duties, but as we do host it, we do the lion share of the food, which is good, would be better if i had a sous chef at my side assisting me, but hey, i can't have it all. One year I invited a friend and she like to cook, so she volunteered her services, she came over and did the prep work ,and I cooked it was amazing and nerve racking all in one, it weird giving orders to a guest. I miss Danuel, she unfortunately has moved away, so it's too long distance , but that year it was so fun, and she was a big part of that.So cheers to you D, I'll be thinking of you, as I chop celery and onions all by my lonesome. Hoping you have an equally nice sous chef to help out you, this year.

Another memory I have about Thanksgiving is my Grammie "C' always put out name cards, I'm gonna have to do that again, I remember it being so fun reading all the names, and how the seating was arranged, and the finding my seat, as a kid. I think if my niece Karlie is coming I'll definitely do it, she's 9 so she's a little reader, and will check them out.

I'm lucky that My husband and I feel the same way about having people over, though we are fond of our hermit like ways, we also love the holidays, and we love our families,(mostly)
Cheers to you all,I hope you can be home for the holidays, wherever that may be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the original plan

I'm finding with this daily writing, I'm posting now without pictures, something I figured would never happen , as i figured, I would never be able to find the words, or a sentence to write.
Surprisingly, my brain is enjoying this exercise in building grey matter, not sure if it's the endorphin buzz, or just I'm thinking more in words than in visuals. And I like a visual aid as much as as the next person.

I take a lot of photographs, a lot! So many that I have constipated, my Photoshop Elements, to almost imminent standstill. "no, i can't have almost filled it , I still do not know how to use it completely."
I have of late considered myself more visual oriented then literal, with the age of Digital cameras, I realize I have an eye for composition, which I understand better , what I'm taking a picture of.I'm able to really achieve this better with a digital camera.I can go back and reshoot, to get what I want.

Do i wish i had the patience for film, yes.
am I glad there are people that do have that patience. Yes!

Will i eventually go back to the original plan, pictures, and text, you betcha, but for right now I'll just continue the write, daily that is, it's national blog posting month after all.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Hi, my name is Tracy, and I'm a procrastinator.
I would imagine that a 12 step program for procrastinators, would never get anywhere, or get started, because people would be meaning to go , and they just wouldn't get around to it.

My husband, is a Craiglist success story, he's found boats, and me a flat file, and our recent purchase of a Bowflex Extreme, now i can never say it was too cold to walk. So we have the humongous machine, and we have a room to put it in, but actually we've been putting alot of everything else in this room too.

It's our guest/dumping ground, and now Mr. Bowflex, needs some room ,and frankly we have to clean, and go through all the things we never had a place for.So we did it , I live to tell we vacuumed, and got rid of things we didn't need to save, we organized, yes that's right the O word, we did, and we didn't leave too much of a mess.

Are we finished, not really we still have stuff to go through, we didn't just procrastinate in one room, we did it all over the house.Hhere's to turning over more of those new leaves, tomorrow.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

tired, but satisfied.

Open studio weekend was a success!
I sold some prints, a lot more cards,I traded some art for for some art.
I bought myself, a cool little key chain.

a good weekend was had by all.
I'm not sure if we all sold work on this weekend, but I hope so.

It's very easy to get caught up, in wanting to charge higher prices, but I try to think less about that, and realize what I'm trying to do. I want people, to like my art, realize art like that isn't out of their reach, plus I am self taught, and have another job, that pays this bills, so what ever, I get from this, is just frosting on an already great cake.

I also think and I know people are looking, to get a great deal, for less.
Definitely, under $100, and if it's under $60 dollars even better.
So for that reason, I sold a lot of cards, I also have a lot left, but i made a large number.

It's interesting, to be an observer, to couple's opinions.
One young woman, really liked this small print, I did of three multicolored hearts.
When she called her girl friend over, and asked her if she liked it, her partner, didn't say no, she just kind of rubbed her chin, and said nothing, it was her tell, she didn't like my print. Maybe she thought it had to do with valentines, or gushy love,or it was too main stream. Instead of getting it was a rip on that, it's called 3 chambers.Which is also a rip on your real heart that has four.
So back to the couple, the partner, is rubbing her chin, telling me and all who can see, that she doesn't like the print, that her girlfriend really likes, but also that they must be a new couple, for still haven't worked out the whole compromise thing,and that the woman couldn't read her own girlfriend's body language,and know the answer was "no", wasn't secure enough to say, "hey, I like this, and I'm buying it for me."

ah well, there's always next year.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

open studio weekend

this picture says it all, it was all about people, little, big, small, there was a lot of smiling today.
and schmoozing, and explaining printmaking techniques.
I sold many cards, and 2 prints, it was nice, the best thing was it was a relaxed day, and I had a sunny window.So I could stay warm.

As the landlord, likes to let the heat run only in afternoon, when the sun is shining it's fullest,against the building. then he drops the thermostat, so when it's actually getting cold, there is no heat.(grumble- grumble)

Today, a nice woman, handed her very active, but grabby baby to Joyce, who calmly held him, he smiled, they came over and he showed me his cool socks, that were made by the sock lady of vermont.
which i coincidentally, I read about days before in mrs. g's blog.
this baby was charming, and a totally happy,he didn't fuss for one minute, and joyce and i were perfect strangers.Sometimes i think that is the best thing about open studio, not the actual selling, but the people watching.

Friday, November 09, 2007

mind frame veg

The studio is set up, for the open house over the next 2 days, there will be lots of people walking through, wondering, how you achieved the print , that you did. Hopefully making a purchase or two.
I find it helps to have a wood block, or a copper etching out, so they can see what the transfer device is, mainly how you transferred the ink to the paper.

I'm trying something different this year, less clutter at my table, I used to spread my prints out, for people to see, , as much as you tried to keep it orderly, there was too much, they were over saturated, and really couldn't see it all.This year I'm feeding them smaller bites, hopefully they be able to savor them, instead of eating and running.

Another fairly annual thing, is the decompression, before open studio, chilling out, doing a pleasant but mindless activity, drinking plenty of water, and getting lots of sleep, so i can be charming, and able to say complete sentences.

I bought plenty of munchies, cheese, fruit, cherry, tomatoes, cookies that I like, hopefully everyone else will. Eating a regular lunch at open studio, is a like an exercise in futility, your better, to grab a handful, and run back to your table, there is always someone, wanting to buy something, as soon as you try to eat something, so it's better , if you can swallow it fast.

Well wish me luck, I have water to drink, and mindless TV to watch, before sleeping 8 hours.
good night.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Recently, I read an article, I believe it was Art In America, and it was about how the importance of editioning a print, had fallen to the wayside. It didn't add any value to the print.

I've always looked at an edition as a goal to head for, there something exciting about knowing that 33/50, means it's the 33rd print out of 50. That you created a block, or an etching that you were able to print, 50 times, and all of the them theoretically the same. As a printmaker, I tend to be more successful with that with Relief prints, it's hard, once you know how, to f*ck up a relief print once you get going.

I keep a small notebook for the prints I've made, what year i made them, how big is the edition, is there a special little quirk to the plate, that i need to remember to keep the quality the same.
With my relief prints, there are often hatch marks, to keep track of the edition, a lot of my smaller blocks I make blank greeting cards out of, i don't print 100 cards in one shot, but i figure I will over the years, so i keep track.

Years ago when I first started open studios, I made lots of blank greeting cards, that would sell pretty well.
Inevitably I would have a happy Patron,come to me the next year, and tell me how they loved the card they bought from me, but they didn't use it as a card, they framed it, and it hangs in their house. At first, frankly I was pissed, I felt a little cheated, out of money due to me, if they had bought a print, it would have cost more then a mere 4x6 greeting card.
So one year I didn't make cards, did I sell more prints that year...No.
Did I get a little disappointed...Yes.

So after that I thought about it long and hard, and I let go of all that stupid disappointment, and I began to see what I did, in the printmaking world as a gift, to myself and others. If that meant someone could only afford one of my prints in card form then so be it. In other words I got over my big bad self.

So this year if you see me on Open studios, and all you can afford is a card. I'm happy to have helped you, buy yourself a really unique card, and I thank you.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

pulling the print

Today was my last day of printing, before Holiday Open Studios begins. I finished up some etchings, I had the last day two days to print, and I finished 4 on my short day, and 6 on my second day, which is usually 9 to ten hours long. Now dear reader , you maybe be thinking, that's not really that many, but these are multiple plate prints, each print has 3 plates, providing 3 different colors, that add tone and dimension to each print, so three multiplied by 10 is 30,

I have the bicep, to prove for all my wiping, and printing,and turning the wheel on the press. thinking of it as a creative way to work your arm out, unfortunately it's only one arm. So with one arm, I'm like this buff 40 something year old woman, but the left arm I'm a flabby armed 40 something year old.

There was something to that theory, of having a better side. Isn't that what Barbara Streisand does, she presents her better side to the camera. She will be photographed from only one side, I wonder if I am that self aware?

So back to my stiffening up right bicep,I haven't printed like that in a while, my tricep will be paining me, just as much as my little rotator cuff will, groan a little, it protest in what i did.
It's called pulling the print , for a reason. Often printmakers are just as attracted, by all the physical steps one has to do, to put the print on paper. We like the feel of palm wiping, we like tearing paper, soaking it.
It thrills us to our knees, to crank a tight press, to pull every inked line out of that plate of copper.
We like mixing inks, the consistency of how it feels, and it's smell, it's all a good thing, it definitely is. How we apply the inks , is a whole 'nother process, that includes, carding ink, or rolling it out, over and over repeatedly.

Printing definitely is a marriage of physical activity, and creative ability.
A perfect match if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the Flat file project

At the studio, Liz has starting the flat file project, very similar to the Boston drawing project, started by Bernard Toale and James Hull in 1999 with the intention of “bringing together a group of artists, collectors and curators…to stimulate critical discussion in Boston’s cultural

So Liz is trying to do something similar with the members of the studio, it'll allow our work to be presented and purchased in a non-conventional setting. Hopefully it will open a dialogue about newer, safer printmaking techniques and the benefits of non-toxic art-making methods.

As a member, I was invited to submit works toward this, we could have 20 pieces in, and the committee, would choose up to ten. I submitted 18, and had ten chosen, which is so cool, and makes me feel accomplished, it's been five years of learning so far, and I'm a quick learner, and I'm self taught, and I've gone through some years of self doubt, but those have been few and far between. Though it's only five years, I feel comfortable in my artist skin, and feel open to whatever advice, or teaching I get.I have concentrated on on etching , and relief prints. I was lucky very early in beginning, to have two strong teacher's that had a knowledge, and the ability to teach it, and teach me the beginnings of printmaking.I consider these the foundation, on anything I have ever done since.

So where ever you are Tom Lewis,who taught me non toxic etching, and Antonio Fonseca,who taught me relief printing, I thank you both with all my heart, you sparked my interest, and shaped much of what i am doing now. I think you would both be proud of me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

blog, blog ,blog

So dear reader though, I posted last night's post a mere 5 minutes after midnight on Sunday, I am posting another Monday entry well to account for today,Monday. I'm on vacation this week from the job at the hospital. Every Veteran's Day weekend is the Holiday Open Studio for the whole building not just our studio, if it gets slow, I am sometimes lucky enough to see other artist's studio and see what goes on behind those closed doors.

Now you are probably wondering why I would need to take time off. It's mostly for all the prep work, well there's sorting out my prints, what's really good quality, and what will go in the seconds pile, usually these are prints, where i can see the registration is off, etc. i need to bag the prints, in these lovely Polypropylene sleeves, that not only protect but are archival too.Makes me have little fantasies about being found in some one's house of course posthumously, and becoming a famous printmaker.I need to figure out a price list, finish my job that volunteered to do for the studio, I make the name placards for each artist table.

Now that was the good part of my day, this was the bad part.I had my teeth cleaned today. A new hygienist, I understand her need to do a good job, but I swear she scaled me some new teeth.She was also one of those back handed compliment people. First she asked me if I flossed, I said " I do regularly, I use those little Glide flossers" where she proceeded to tell me that "using those are better, than using nothing" I guess she's an old skool kind of flosser, not one of those new fangled flosser users. And I got to hear once again, about my filling overhang, that will slowly cause my jaw to crumble to dust, if I'm not careful. I guess I'm not careful, because if I was I'd use the old fashioned floss and actually do a good job.Instead of being a plaque maven. ah well we can't all be perfect toothed, or maybe it's perfect gummed.


It's nice sometimes to just take a day off , and connect with a friend.Then forget to write her blog entry minutes after midnight, oh well so i post twice on Monday.
Since becoming a print maker, and joining the studio, I've had the privilege, of getting to know my friend Liz.She runs the studio, and has become a mentor firstly, and over the years ,a very good friend.

On Sunday we got together and saw the Chrysanthemum show at Smith College, had a great lunch, and then viewed prints, by William Kentridge, a South African Printmaker, at the Smith College Museum of Art.Over 120 prints,all varying techniques of printmaking, it was exhilarating to view , those velvety dry point lines, his painterly sugar lifts, his soft tonal aquatints. It was equally wonderful, and to share it with someone who knows those techniques, just like I do, who could ooh and aah over the the etched line, and know the paper that the artist used, because we've both used the same.

It makes me thankful, to have such a lovely friend.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I am a soap whore.

I think as I get older, I want(and need) to treat my skin with the respect it deserves, so it can continue to protect me, and not age too much....haaa!
Anti- aging, how to prevent those little lines, you know the crow feet, the laugh lines, the unmentionable age spots. Who knew aging could be such a dermatological drag.
I continue to feed my small addiction to skin care. In my 40's. I prefer natural ingredients, and chemical free if possible, life is short so why the hell not.

It began with Neutrogena soap when I was a teen, I faithfully washed my face with it, I loved the clear amber bar,that told me it was pure and only full of "good for you" things for your skin.
The clear amber bar, how it could melt away, if you didn't use the special little soap dish that came with it. well it's not really a dish, it's like a soap stand, that lifts the bar out of the water that collects in all soap dishes, so it can dry, remain intact, for your use another day.Eventually I stopped using Neutrogena,but that wasn't until my late 20's, when I moved in with my husband,who was my then boyfriend, and we lived together. We still use the little soap stand , but it's to keep our present brand, high and dry.

From the clear amber bar, I tried other bars, the honey wheat and lavender bar, the lemon and olive oil bar, by Jason's, they make a good soap, or was it made by Kiss my Face, another skin friendly brand, that uses natural ingredients in the most wonderful combinations, and makes my skin very happy.
From there I briefly visited the world, on those lovely slickery facial washes,one in particular made by Desert tree, the tea tree oil people, they put it into everything, and they make this facial wash, that does a great job, but only when the 30-something zits flare up,and you needed to banish them fast- I mean Fast! Otherwise a little too drying for daily use.

Now I have a separate soap dish attached to the shower wall, that keeps my special soap high and dry, presently I have a lovely Dutch soap , I bought at Hortis Botanicus, it smells of lavender, which FYI is very good for the glitches that sometimes appear on you skin, those area that need to be quieted and soothed, lavender rules that. This special soap has this honey under note to it, that makes my skin feel soft and moisturized, this soap also has the power to bring me back to Amsterdam, sniffing said soap, reminds me of where I purchased it, and that makes me smile, did I mention how good it is for maintaining a smile.

Today my purchase arrived from DHC, they are a San Francisco based company, that imports Japanese made skin products, when you receive a catalog from them, they include samples of there popular products, I used their Pure Soap samples for years,before succumbing to want to buy and own a whole bar for myself. It's a completely clear, see through bar, that cleanses, soothes, and ever so lightly moisturizes, which I find very important to me, now in my 44's. Not only was the delivery speedy, they also let you choose up to 4 samples, of their other products. Four! that's right four, not one but four free samples, and the list to choose from, is 25-plus items long! Frankly my head was in a spin of outright lust.Here is a company, that really wants me to buy their products.I mean really, how can you not be attracted to an over achiever, one who only want to do good things to your skin.

For my samples I choose some sunscreen,a mineral mask,and two different shower gels, the forth quickest way to my heart, if you can't bring me fresh figs,or chocolate, or have no sense of humor, you could woo me with shower gels.
Of course I've already used one of them, called Imperial Green Tea , it wasn't green, it was crystal clear and had rich heady scent of mint,it was invigorating.
My heart melted at the the packaging ,with it's simple instructions; wet skin with water, apply gel with hand, wash cloth, sponge or body brush, lather and rinse.And most importantly please discontinue it's use, if unsuitable with your skin. How's that for caring?

Will my quiet little addiction, keep me from looking older, who knows? But the joy I receive from merely using these products has to do something good for me, and my skin, and for mankind.

okay so I went a little over board, but I'm a soap whore, so get used to it!

Friday, November 02, 2007

it's all about color

In my printmaking I tend to use a lot of color, though I like black and white,I just like colors more. I use oil based relief inks, which clean up, quite easily with plain old vegetable oil and Simple Green.
There are other inks by Akua Kolor, wonderful water based inks, but they take longer to dry, so they can smudge, if say you are printing blank greeting cards, which is what I have been doing over the last 2 weeks at the studio, in preparation for the upcoming Holiday open studios.
One of the many things I love about oil based inks , is there open time, the length of time they can be out of the can, and still workable,you can set out oil based inks, for hours, possibly days, though I've never had a marathon printing session, that had I needed to have my inks out for that long, but I have printed on one day, and come back the next day to print all over again, I will cover my blob of ink over with foil, or plastic wrap to keep, the lint off of it mostly,
when I print consecutive days in a row, it keeps it from forming a skin, which oils will do
after being exposed to the air for an extended period of time.
Which brings up how to get ink properly out of the can, you could gouge it out, but there leaves an open area in the ink that will harden, and cause a skin to form, and since you can only remove that skin before, you use it next, it's better if you control, how the skin forms, an easily removed even thin layer, or a big irregular booger shaped skin, that causes you to dig out of the can forming a deeper hole,and the creation of more ink snot, yes ink snot,I'm pretty sure it's a term I've coined, but anyone I've said it too, nods knowingly, and gets what I mean.If you remove the ink, with ink knife, that pretty much looks like a spackling blade, in a circular fashion,so the ink that is left in an even flat layer, and you use a skin paper on the exposed ink in the can before you put on the lid, you may have little or no ink skin to remove the next time you need to use it.
I so love the colors, how vibrant they are, and frankly I like the smell of them too, does that make me some printmaking freak, probably but I'll wear that badge proudly. damn it.
I really love how they dry to this lovely sheen, something that i think adds to the print.
Would I switch someday to strictly Aqua Kolors, someday maybe but I'd have to have my need to procrastinate under control, and print well in advance, so there will be plenty of time for the ink to dry,and that another story, on another day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

and so it begins....

drum roll, please.
NaBloPoMo officially begins, start your engines, ladies and gentlemen.
Now what to write about, how many days I'm into NaBloPoMo? Just kidding it won't be like that, only as a last resort...ha!
Today we'll start with my" other job", not a job you hate or dislike, but a fun one, and well they don't pay me, unless i sell something at open studios.
I have been a part time printmaker, for 5 years. I began with a class at my local art museum, on non toxic printmaking,I took more classes, bought inks, and paper, and eventually moved from a 3 hour class once a week, for 10 weeks to a studio, where artist went to make art. I definitely felt like a novice, and it took me a while, to get over my big bad self, to feel comfortable enough to call myself an artist. i didn't go to school for printmaking, that was the one semester, we didn't get as Nursing students.In real life I work as a Nurse, have been one for 23 years, so this printmaking I'm still very a novice at.
What I love about it,the steps you go through to pull a print, I'm just as attracted to those as I am making the print. I concentrate on etching, on copper, and relief prints, on wood or linoleum.
I'm big into color, though black definitely has a place in my printmaking I would say, color is a big driving force , also.
I use oil based relief and etching ink, with relief prints there is something about the sheen, of the ink after it dries, in etching the strength of the color, along with the lushness of the paper, Yes, that's right, you heard it, I am a paper whore, from those deceivingly translucent, but strong as steel Japanese papers, to the lush velvety papers made by the Italians, and the Germans, they are all equally wonderful, and luxurious to use.
Figuring out how to use these papers, are as much of the print as the actually plate, or block it's printed from, your paper should be used well enough so you have healthy,meaning big enough, clean borders, and square edges. One mistake printmakers, can make is by using a too small sheet of paper, your edges are too small and it minimizes any detail in the print.Though you maybe be printing from a small plate, you don't really notice that, because the paper is too damn small.
I seem to have gotten away from why I love printmaking, but I have a whole month to write about it, and I will.
So now, it's off to the studio for me, to pull some prints.I'll continue this subject tomorrow.