Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 86 (Or: Better Than This)

I have no right to be so selfishly heart-sick today.  No right to cry into my spaghetti.  No right to let tears roll so readily - to encourage them, even.  And yet.  I do.

I saw it coming.  I knew who was in front of me.  I knew my heart was in danger.  And I did it anyway. At well past the 1000 day mark, I'm having a relationship with The Bad Relationship.  Again.

Because I've been here before, and risked going here again, I have no right to have eyes stinging with tears.  Red nose inhaling sighs.  Acid tear-tracks etching raw cheeks.  Indulging in the saddest music I can make Pandora play for me.  And worse: In my warm home, the boy-child in the next room.  Privileged sadness.

No right.  Tonight, I know that another lover - a long time ago lover - is sleeping under the bitter-bright stars.  Perhaps a pillow.  Perhaps a companion to keep the cold away.  I saw him today, blearily through the stupid water-works, his hair longer than I've seen it, a garbage bag filled with bedding in hand.  No gloves.  Thin coat.  The angle of his shoulders told a story about difficulty - true difficulty - tilt of his head and a lingering stare said that he was looking for a trail...a bush...a shelter.  Hopeless shrugged off life, darkly hinting at the end.  Tonight I'll tell his son that I saw him, and gently tell him the circumstances, and I'll include a description of my selfish tears.  Because this is true suffering, and we are witnesses.

I have no fucking right to indulge this selfish.  And yet.  I do.

Miserable, selfish, indulgent day 86 of One Thousand Days...is miserable, selfish and indulgent.

86 down.  Not enough days in my lifetime to learn the lessons I need to learn.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 85 (Or: For the Boy-Child)

Fondness for boy-child, fondness for doing things, fondness for the results of doing things, and a desire to illustrate for boy-child that anything is possible, if we put our minds, hearts and energy into things...

That sentence, above, is ALL over the map, and filled with all sorts of good things, and is an introduction to my next several things.

Boy-child, who is almost 15, and who is a lovely little lump of stuffing (in my humble opinion), is taking a health class, and this class, and several other things have prompted boy child to make some important life decisions for me (yes, for me).

(1)  Apparently, according to boy-child, coca-cola is bad for you.  Boy child says that he doesn't want me to die an early death, and that he wants me to stop drinking coca-cola.  Now, it should be noted that Coke-drinking is not a daily, or even weekly occurrence for me, but I agree with the boy-child, and want him to know that it's (a) important to be informed, (b) important to make informed decision (c) important to follow through and live those decisions.  No more Coke.  

(2) Boy-child, being a very active and rambunctious young man, is a member of the Board of Directors for The ReCyclery, a non-profit organization geared toward increasing bike use, and says that he wants me to ride a bike, instead of hopping in a car.  He says that he wants me to bike just a little bit, every day, until I'm as in love with biking as he is, and primarily use my bike for things.  Geez, he's smart!  Bike.  Every day!

(3)  He also says that he's worried about my health, and that he thinks my hands are chubby, and he doesn't want me to develop type 2 diabetes.  Okay.  After a momentary (sigh) reflection on the reality of this, I'm not shy to admit that he's right.  No more chubby fingers.

It's a really good thing I live with such a smart person, and that he cares enough to share his concerns and encouragement.  I may be biased, but I sort of love him.

Boy-child for President, 2020!  

85 down, 915 Coke-free days to go.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 84 (Or: rk post & C.J. Lane at The Red Raven in October)

I’m a little bit giddy.  And I have a HUGE geek-girl crush. 

Sometimes I get to meet, rub elbows with and generally fall in crushes with some seriously amazing people.  Laurie McClave (neighbor and bestie), C.J. Lane (bestie and cutie), and (new to me) rk post give me the shivers.  They’re just awesome in the sauce arena.  And I know them?  Or…in the case of rk…get to talk to them as they’re foot commuting through downtown Seattle to their “day” job?  Pssshhht.  Lucky me. 

AND I get to talk about games, and toy-stores, and my favorite coffee shop on the planet?  Stick a fork in me and call me pleased.   

A shortened and slightly altered version of the following feature was published today in the Port Townsend Leader, and because these peeps are so phenomenal, I wanted you all to see 

the WHOLE shmear…

Photo courtesy rk post

Randy “rk” Post (hereafter referred to by his preferred professional nomenclature:  rk post – no punctuation, no capitals) travels to conferences the world over, for comic-cons and fan signings of his work.  Each new location comes with a new tattoo, artists carefully researched by post, artwork “signed” by the artist in permanent tattoo ink. posts body, now featuring 20 of his visits, and 20 artists, is a visual map of his artistic proclivities and of his extensive travel.  

The travel follows a lifetime career of impressive freelance and contract illustrative work for Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, 20th Century Fox (Alien vs Predator) among many others (post jokes that his work is “too extensive to list.”).

This life is a far cry from growing up on farms in Illinois and Iowa where post, the son of a John Deere salesman, never took an art class and thought he’d be a veterinarian. After what post calls an “extensive college experience” – an 8 year study program, spanning veterinary science, graphic design, and eventually illustration – post found himself at the tail end of TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons production, illustrating interior black and white illustration book-work for the famous RPG. This break into the world of illustration through Dungeons and Dragons, lead to work with Wizards of The Coast, where the door opened for a remarkable career in art and design. 

A soft, ready laugh prefaces posts description of the work, the experiences, and the travel that followed those 8 years of study. “Growing up, we never traveled anywhere that we couldn’t reach by car.” He says, but when Wizards of the Coast bought out TSR in the mid-90’s, the company flew artists out to Seattle – his first flight – and post now looks back on that flight, saying “if you’ve done it once, all the rest are the same.” The difference now, is that after 15 years of illustrative work, when post travels from Seattle, his home town where he’s the Senior Artist at Big Fish Games, he ends up in Barcelona, Spain, Moscow, Russia or Sao Paolo, Brazil – as well as many other international destinations.

The Red Raven PostMortem

Avatar of Woe, rk post

Red Raven Gallery celebrated its one year anniversary in September, and in the year since opening, has featured an impressive lineup of local artists and visiting artists – many with magical, fanciful and eccentric inclinations. The cooperative gallery of 6 artists is owned by Sarah Fitch of The Rolling Raven Studio, and co-managed and curated by fine artist Laurie McClave – who calls herself a “Jacqueline of all trades.”  McClave, whose impressive curation has brought in high caliber fine artists – photographers, painters, fiber artists – said that she “looks for individuals whose work is quality and who have a level of personal professionalism.”  Of particular importance, and an indication of her own measures of success, McClave pays special attention to “artists who have interaction with a fan-base, having a Facebook page or a blog, or some way that they’re keeping active and interactive with other artists and with collectors.” 

McClave, who studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, and a highly collected artist herself, keeps an active hand in the online network of artists, and it is partially this networking and marketing ethic which has enabled the gallery to host national and international artists.  “rk was one of my first MySpace contacts – remember the days of MySpace?” She joked.  “I knew I wanted to feature something gothic and creepy in October, and because I’d known of and followed his work online, rk came immediately to mind.  Much to my surprise, he said ‘yes’ when I approached him.”  Earlier in the year, the gallery hosted the phenomenal  Jel Ena Markovic, a Serbian born, Los Angeles based figurative artist, and PostMortem will be followed in November by German born, Seattle based  designer and artist Redd Walitzki (http://art.candygears.com/).

In a coup, an artistic scoop, if you will, The Red Raven cooperative gallery and McClave are “thrilled and excited” to bring illustrator rk post to Port Townsend. “rk features strong women and female characterizations, and uses the figure in a lyrical way.  There are dark undertones in his work, and the pieces offer an intrigue – he’s a softer H.R. Giger.” MccClave said of post and his work referring to the surrealist painter who won an Academy Award for design work on the film Alien.

On Oct. 6, PostMortem debuts at the Red Raven Gallery featuring the fanciful and eccentric art of illustrator rk post and photographer and Red Raven cooperative member C.J. Lane.  PostMortem, will show at the Red Raven Gallery, 922 Water Street, through October.  Both artists will be on site for the gallery walk on the evening of the 6th, starting at 5:30.

Both divine and diabolical

post has published a now sold out collectors volume of collected works “Potmortem: the Art of rk post” posts website describes the work in his online gallery, as “both divine and diabolical. Sinistry and innocence. Fluffy-cute and damn-that-looks-spiky.”
Cover Art, "Postmortem: the Art of rk post"

Notably, the original cover artwork painting for “Postmortem: the Art of rk post” will grace the wall of the Red Raven Gallery, a work highlighting posts strong female figurative work, and the gizmo-riddled fantasy world that he’s known for. post, says that for the Red Raven Gallery show, in addition to non-magic related work, he’s “found a forgotten trove of more recent pieces,” and will be labeling and selling with artist proofs and prints.

post has garnered a following in the illustrative world, and is especially known in Port Townsend for work in the Role Playing Gaming (RPG) world of Magic: The Gathering. The Port Townsend Gallery walk, on Saturday, October 6, 5:30 – 8:00 pm, will be lively in the diminutive alleyway gallery, with local fans of the gaming world, and fantasy art collectors assembling to see the original artwork behind familiar gaming characters and well-known illustrations.

The Raven and the Pumpkin

C.J. Lane and model Tassa Briel Greif
photo Cara Leckenby
In complement to the fantasy work of rk post, C.J. (Carole Jean) Lane, cooperative member and co-feature artist for October at Red Raven Gallery, has a gift with the camera lens. Lane started photography in college, and her passion grew further when she moved to Korea to work as a military staff photographer. Since those early days in photojournalism, C.J. has turned toward fine art photography, and she and her husband, Terry Lane, are the vision behind “Lanebrain Photography”. “ Her unique perspective and edge give her work a painterly quality,” said McClave, “and she has an important story to tell”. This month, that story will be of “The Pumpkin Queen” and “The Raven King” – fantasy figure photography, highlighting a creepy burton-esque bent.  C.J. is a founding cooperative member of the Red Raven Gallery co-op and is working in photography while raising a family here in Port Townsend

The gathering

Port Townsend community dedicated to Magic: The Gathering is celebrating a weekend of firsts starting at 6:00 on the evening of Friday, Oct 5 at Whistle Stop Toysin Port Townsend. Steve Goldenbogen, owner of the toy shop, is hosting a launch for the newest of 59 “expansion sets” (or game play kits) for players ranging in age from 10 – 60. “Return to Ravnica” is a much anticipated expansion, and the evening will be an interesting pre-cursor to meeting rk post, the artist behind well-known Magic characters, “Avatar of Woe,” “Morphling,” and “Arbor Elf.”

The following evening, Saturday, October 6th, post opens PostMortem at the Red Raven Gallery.  Goldenbogen is an avid Magic player and fan, and describing the extent of Magic: The Gathering’s popularity said “There are 59 expansions on the game, and over 12500 figure cards. I’m making sure that I’m off work on time for the show on Saturday, and I’m telling all my players.” Tournament play will continue at Whistle Stop Toys through January of 2013, on Friday evenings at 6:00 and Goldenbogen notes that he has plenty of members willing to teach new players.

In addition to formal tournament play, Amy Smith, Executive Director of the BoilerRoom at 711 Water Street says that there are “all the time games at the Boiler Room these days. There hasn't been a day in the past two weeks without a Magic game.” The Boiler Room is a non-profit youth resource center and coffee house, with convenient couches and tables for game-players of all ages.

More information, and game kits, about Magic: The Gathering can be found at Whistle Stop Toys 1005 Water Street, Port Townsend.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 83 (Or: Stop! Collaborate and Listen!)

When in doubt, don't - Benjamin Franklin
When in doubt, do it - Oliver Wendell Holmes
When in doubt, tell the truth - Mark Twain
When in doubt, eat chocolate - me.

Into every life, a little doubt must creep.  A little:  "What the hell am I doing?"  A little:  "What the hell are YOU doing?"  A little: "FOR THE LOVE OF CORN, WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?"

When this happens to yours truly, I have a tendency to slide down a long slippery slope (lined with razor blades) of whininess, crabbiness, over-perfection, and ironically - avoidance.

Advice:  STOP!  Collaborate, and listen!  (Vanilla Ice - good in coffee, and good for a bit of comic relief...and...good for soothing a doubt riddled soul?)

Stop!  Hold it.  That's right, don't just gaze down the gaping maw of doubt, being ever drawn forward toward the things that might not even need to be asked, let alone have an answer.  Just check yourself before you wreck yourself, will you?

Collaborate! Good.  Now that you've pulled yourself back from the precipice, let's just see if we can put your head back on straight.  Let's get on that collaboration thing. I'm not sure what Vanilla Ice meant by "collaborate" (he goes on to describe how he "flows like a harpoon"...what a maniac), but what I mean when I say it is:

  • (1.) Friends are important, and they're really good at helping one get to the heart of the matter (even when we don't want to go there) - it's an even better experience when there's chocolate involved.  
  • So (2.) get with somebody else, get out of your own head, stop being so stinking self involved - give something, do something for others, be something other than what you're doubting.  It helps.  
  • (3.) Testing?  TESTING!  So...are you really in the rut you thought you were in?  Did you find something better to focus on?  Did you decide that you're sort of all right in a funny sort of a way?  Excellent.  That's as it should be.  You're awesome.  We're all awesome, really.  Even when we're full of doubt.  
  • Because (4.)  Doubt is an important part of the human process.  We question, and we solve.  That's what we do.  Drowning in doubt is one thing, but a healthy dose of doubt can nudge us toward something incredible, if we let it, if we don't dive face first into it, but instead gently take it in.

...And Listen!  Little doubt worms won't become big doubt worms if we ask ourselves daily what/who/why we are, and then answer...and then LISTEN.  Free journal (write and write and write), draw, intentional breathing, yoga, be with it.  IT being the question and the answer.  Listen to yourself, listen to friends, listen to the QUESTION in the doubt and the ANSWER in the dark.  It's all there, and these smaller questions, answered daily, are the key to living.

If Vanilla Ice says it's so, then it is.

Day 83 Down, 917 to go.




Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 82 (Or: What's That Chicken Doing?)


Maybe you don't remember this, but earlier this year (day 65, if we're counting, and we are) I pledged to do some things in the garden this year. Several things. Things like: Build raised beds to grow veggies in; plant fruit trees; raise chickens; raise BEES; and several other home-steadish things.

What actually happened:

I bought 5 fruit trees (two apples - a yellow and a red - a pear tree, a cherry tree and a plum tree) and planted them in order that the poor, pathetic, mangy neighborhood deer herd (yep, it's a whole fuzzy Bambi family) might have a nice midnight snack. And they did. Repeatedly.

I bought tomatoes (the deer ate them), and basil, pumpkin, cucumber, lettuces, and strawberries (the slugs ate them) and didn't plant them at all. By this point, the deer had decimated the fruit trees, and I'd basically given up on life.

We adopted a murdering chicken. Yes. There's a henicidal maniac bird living in my yard. And she's old, so there aren't any eggs, if you're thinking that there might be a marginal pay-off for adopting said bird. Henrietta (isn't that a sweet name for a killer chicken?) was banished from her hen-house after taking the Top Hen status one step too far. She killed a fellow chicken, and now she lives in our yard. Alone. And she crows (yep, she's top hen) every morning, and doesn't give us eggs, and poops everywhere. But she IS very pretty. So we sort of like her.

Also, GOOD NEWS! The quack grass has now invaded every last tiny corner of my life.

On the UP side, my new neighbors planted the MOST productive, verdant, healthy and incredible front lawn. Boy-child says the neighbors lawn makes him angry. I caught him lying in it the other morning.

I'm really glad Fall's upon us. I don't think I can take much more of this.

Day 82 down, which means that I have 918 more days to put up some deer fencing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 81 (Or: An Antiques Roadshow Roadtrip)

First of all, an update regarding the state of affairs in Leckenby-Ville: You should know that there's a mollusk on the loose in the house. That is to say, there's a snail, and he's been wandering about for several weeks leaving his...leavings...and then evading all attempts at capture. I'm seriously considering letting the chicken loose in the house to see if she can find him. And eat him.

This should be a pretty decent indication of the kind of mood I'm in today: Exasperated, with a hint of hilarious.

And I've got a confession to make: I actually enjoy these moods. I think these moods are some of my best (even though there are occasional exclamations of words containing the hard K sound), and are not to be wasted. I might need to find some outlet for this mood other than blogging. Perhaps a nice rant directed toward one of my many pet-peeve-people? And there are MANY, I'm happy to say.

All of this being said, let me tell you how totally fabulous Day 81 of One Thousand Days was.

So fabulous. There. I told you.

More? Oh, okay...

Day 81 of One Thousand Days was spent with 6,000 other people on the set of the Antiques Roadshow at the Convention Center in Seattle!

Pause for effect.


When one is at the Roadshow, One MIGHT see Mark Walberg!
Here's what happened:

1. We forgot the tickets, and turned around about 20 minutes into our road trip in order to retrieve them. HOWEVER, we made it STRAIGHT onto the ferry, and arrived in Seattle 50 minutes before our 11 o'clock entry time. We were rather pleased with ourselves, but perhaps too pleased, because...

2. We promptly got lost. Twice. Our excuse: Downtown Seattle is engulfed by a series of "detours" which are designed to make the country bumpkins lose their minds, and their way.

This is what one of the four lines looks like
3. Missing our original ferry and getting lost were EXACTLY the right thing to do. Arriving at the Convention Center four minutes AFTER our check-in time, meant that we parked about 2 feet from the entrance, avoided one of 4 horrendously huge entrance lines, and were that much fresher than all the other roobs who had been waiting an hour and a half to get in.

4. We then waited an hour to get in.

5. We then waited another hour to get in.

When you get into an event like this, please be aware that (None of the literature will tell you this, so take notes):

1. The crowd, and each individual comprising the crowd holding precious tickets (which, for some reason felt like the Golden Ticket into the Charlies Chocolate Factory), is PRIME people watching fodder. I was a little bit stunned to find that about 40% of people were in wheel chairs, but the remainder were people toting precious possessions ranging from a $50 pistol lamp, to a $45,000 bell. And by god, spend as MUCH of the 2 hours that you'll spend in line waiting to speak to an appraiser getting to know as many of the fabulous people around you as possible. They just might be holding a $7,000 Stieff Teddy Bear, or a worthless Japanese battery operated barking dog. Fun stuff.

2. Know that someone in the room has a $100,000 something they found in the attic, but that someone is not you.

Someone Hit it BIG!
3. Yes. The appraisers are wearing fabulously tailored suits, wild ties, and some of them may or may not even be wearing a pink satin vest. Maybe. If you spot any of these appraisers, stop, stare, and make sure your mouth is a little bit open, and that you look appropriately awed.

4. Know that your big butt will appear several times on film when the show is aired. Because you're in the crowd, and you've been waiting in that line for 2 hours, and while you're standing there, some lucky lady with a series of 1950's mall advertisements is being filmed RIGHT BEHIND YOU for her tearful reactions - and you're standing there looking gormless. But that's okay.

5. That photograph that you had hanging casually in your bedroom? It's an Orotone (a photograph beautifully processed on glass), by one of the pioneers of the Orotone process. And it's worth upwards of $1,000. And you'll meet the collector of the photographers work, because he's spotted your photograph from across the room, through the masses of people, and will leave you with his card in case you ever want to sell. Charlie McCarthy may give your 14 year old son the creeps, but he's in really good condition, and he's worth about $100.


Creepy, but oh so worth it!


81 down, 919 to go.





Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 80 (Or: How Do you DO This?)



This is the garden I strive for

"I'm in a garden. My own. It started as nothing - in fact LESS than nothing - a barren, compacted, dust-bowl of a yard, with drainage issues..."

If we're going to describe what it's like to live a creative life (and we are - blame it on Kiera, she started it), this is where we begin. A creative life, for better or worse, is like tending an unruly garden...

This barren patch of nothing is, I realize, where every other yard-owning-wanna-be-master-gardener starts, but MAN is it tempting to move to another house, one with a garden already installed, one where there's security in knowing that all you have to do is show up, pull weeds, and reap the harvest of other people's work. And then you get to go back to "life" - whatever "life" is...but importantly, you're not tarrying in the dust-bowl that's a stand in for a yard.

I move piles of dirt around, I break my back, I spend hours imagining a French country garden, or a formal English garden, or a wild-flower garden. And I battle slugs, and I wrestle bushes, and I hack away at that persistent, thorny and invasive blackberry. And I try to keep myself from looking over the fence at the neighbors garden, where the grass is inevitably (and so cliche!) greener, and the hedges are preposterously polished, and even though I know they've taken all the shortcuts, hired big earth moving machinery, had the professionals in, planted the "easy" plants, used copious amounts of Round-Up and Sluggo, I want what they have.


My meager patch of weeds will NEVER be the glory of the neighbors yards. Never. What the hell was I thinking, imagining that you can be a...gardener... I notice the sideways glances from people driving up the street, and I think "if I could JUST manage to move that weed pile, and at LEAST have the boulevard in shape, maybe they'd all approve."

And then it happens. The worst thing imaginable. I'm tending a bed, doing as I should, and I kneel on a slug. Slime's everywhere, and trying to remove it just makes it MORE everywhere. I hobble around a corner, heading for the house and BAM straight through a spider web, and now there's spider and slug everywhere, and those little spiky seeds have invaded my socks, and I'm slimy, and itchy and completely discombobulate by nature's attack on me.

That's it! I can't stand it. I give up! Must-have-chocolate-and-Hulu! NOW! Ignoring is a management technique, right? And what horrible-slug-infested-thing isn't just a little bit more tolerable with chocolate? And if I'm watching re-runs of the x-files, I can't actually see the impending-doom-in-dandelion-form.

And then, two things happen:

(1) That rose bush? The one that's given me fits since I planted it two years ago? The one that I've shaped, coddled, clipped, de-mildewed and de-spotted (who knew plants mildew)? The one which causes me daily to wonder "what was I thinking, planting this fuss-pot of a plant?" It blooms. It's a delicate white, multi-blossomed glory. It's EVERYTHING I've ever wanted in a flower. And more.

and...

(2) Unbidden, un-noticed, a little pineapple strawberry plant has made inroads, and is producing the most divine, soft white ripe and delicate strawberries. I didn't even know it was there, and I did nothing to specifically love this particular plant, it's a gimme. It came about, simply because I was caring for the plants around it.

The garden: Blank canvas, work-work-work, doubt, judgement, work-work-work, frustration, envy, work-work-work, nature fights back, work-work-work, procrastinate and dally and indulge in chocolate, work-work-work, produce something incredible, work-work-work...and back to the beginning, work-work-work.

80 down, 920 to go.
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