The first cat I ever owned. She's around 13 years old now, and as beautiful as ever.
So, I saw this at Office Depot, by TUL. And, I just had to have it. I waited a week and I still had to have it.
It's possible that I was just captured by the idea of something new and fun. This is all of those things. It seems innovative enough. As I said, I waited a while... and then ran to the nearest Office Depot to find my notebook. I chose the Junior size, because I like the smaller notebook feel. Also, I chose purple.
As I researched exactly how it works, I discovered that the idea of disc-bound notebooks was not unique to TUL™ or OfficeDepot/OfficeMax. Martha Stewart has her own, and so does Staples. I haven't seen them at Michael's, and I'm not gonna lie; I'm a little disappointed. They seem to be pushing 'Agendas' right now; it seems like this would fit right in.
I should have taken a picture of my notebook, because it went everywhere with me. (Except that one time...)
I had been looking for a project management system, and this seemed as likely a candidate as any. I can add a calendar in there if I need to. One of the cool ideas is that you can hole-punch any piece of paper and add it to your notebook (assuming you shell out for the hole-punch.) There was nothing stopping us from doing that with 3-ring binders except the space between the rings. The space between the discs does lend itself much more easily to throwing random sheets of paper into the mix.
I soon decided that the small discs were not enough for me. I had ideas of sections that I wanted to divide the notebook into – writing ideas, journal, grocery list, project management sections... So, I acquired a set of the larger-sized discs and quickly disassembled my note-taking system and re-assembled it in the larger version.
Now it was just awkward – another reason I would have liked to have taken a before picture. While it was getting crowded and stuffed, at least it held together. These larger disks flop around a bit. I need more paper to hold it all together.
I've put all of my pocket dividers and page dividers and everything I have into this. We'll see how it holds up. I'll carry it around and see how it works. It was a bit of trouble to get it all transferred, so I need to work with it before I make the decision to transfer it all back.
All in all, there is a variety of things that you can use to make this work. I do keep it with me and I do write in it. So far so good. We'll see if it can help keep me organized. This together with Evernote and I will be unstoppable.
I have piles and piles of laundry to do, and a floor to sweep and mop. Haven't cleaned under my bed in a while. So... it's a perfect time to go to Houston to see the Museums. Saturday crowds? Check. Construction near the destination? Check. Temperatures over 100°? Double-check. Let's go!
Actually, this was the last weekend for an exhibition that I've been wanting to see – Ron Mueck. I've seen his work on Facebook posts, but never thought that I'd see his work in person. I wasn't disappointed. His famous quote is that he never does life size, because he doesn't find it interesting. He either does things that are on a smaller or a much larger scale. Two old ladies confer with each other, a young couple is caught in an awkward moment of new love, a nude man looks skeptically out of his boat, all in a scale from 1/2 to 3/4. Then there's the face of the exhibit – literally. The picture above is a self-portrait of the artist sleeping. It's not enough that his eyes are closed, but each line under his eye is believable, the skin where the face hits the ground is pressed and squished just right and his hair, from a distance, looks just like hair. Whiskers come out of his face and you can see the pores in the skin on his nose. You can almost see a puddle of drool where the mouth is slightly open while he sleeps.
After seeing that exhibit, we ate, had coffee, and passed by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Then Barry wanted to go to see something, but he couldn't remember exactly what it was called, just that it was across the street from the Convention Center and it had the word 'Green' in it. After looking for a while, we discovered Discovery Green.
It's a beautiful park in the middle of the skyscrapers, a garden tucked away with public art. We were thrilled to see art by a friend of ours, Margo Sawyer. (I knew she had a public installation, but I thought it was at the airport.) There are green lawns, listening vessels, gardens, public art installations and people milling around. We didn't eat at The Grove, but this is a goal of mine on the next trip. I really wanted to sit in there and have a cup of coffee, but when don't I crave this? We had visited Bosta Kitchen for coffee earlier, so I contained myself.
We watched people dancing tango under the beautiful live oak trees on a wooden deck. They were there promoting Milonga Mi Refugio. They encourage appreciate of the art of Tango dance in Houston, and with Milonga Mi Refugio they have a fundraiser for ACLU. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day.
Thank you for visiting bemol Ardiente. What is your favorite museum? What's your favorite city to visit? Do you believe that people who have passed on can come back to visit us through dragon flies, spiders and other critters? I don't know if I do or not, but it makes me happy to think it's true, so I do. Leave me a note in the comments below. ;-)
My friends and I attended a presentation by a ceramic artist, V. Chin. (I have written about him before.) The event was put on by the Greater Austin Clay Artists organization, hosted by St. Edward's University – Fine Arts Building.
None of us is a ceramic artist, so our attendance was questionable at best. Fortunately, we know Chin and a few other of the artists there, and they were kind enough to let that tiny detail slide. I mean, it was promoted on Facebook, so that means it's open to the public right? Maybe? In the end, it probably caused less of a commotion to just let us sit in than to have us forcibly removed.
Also, we decided to make an adventure of it and walk. Tamara lives near the university, so we left our cars at her apartment and set off – believing, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that it was simply going to be a matter of crossing Congress Avenue, which is an adventure in and of itself. In point of fact, her apartment is a few blocks south of St. Edward's and all of those blocks are uphill. There remained the matter of crossing Congress Avenue – quite wide at this section, particularly on foot. Having crossed with our lives intact, we continued to walk, because getting to the intersection of Woodward and Congress doesn't magically drop you into the lobby of the Art Building. It doesn't even mean that you've arrived at the university, per se. More uphill climbing got us to the campus where we did our best to look like lost tourists, in case anybody wanted to stop and give us directions. Most of the people we came across either didn't speak English, were only walking their dog through the campus or both. Combining the direction of two nice gentlemen (one of whom was a campus police officer who was very pleasant) we finally found the art building. Several spooky hallways later we came across the meeting already in session.
We quietly joined at the back of the class and did our best to use our inside voices. This is not something that we are particularly good at. I did manage to get a few pictures of Chin while he worked. Lots of cropping was needed because I didn't want to bring attention to myself by pushing my way to the front. (I kind of did want to, but decided that it was probably best if I didn't.)
I took notes (even though I am not a ceramic artist.) He talked a bit about the thickness of the wall and how that will play into the pot you're throwing. He mentioned that when he carves he doesn't want to have a beginning or an end – it should be continuous on the round vessel. Also, just like in a painting he recommends doing the background first and then the foreground. There were a few quotes that I thought were worth sharing.
"If you don't sell a pot today, you won't be able to throw a pot tomorrow." In other words, a professional artist has to survive and sell work, and as such, they should stay in touch with current trends and what people are looking for. He spoke about the frog that has adorned his pots for years. He said that if he adds a frog, the pot sells. If he just has a pot, it might not sell for months or years. Some of his work isn't conducive to having his frog on it, but he keeps his little friend around because he brings luck.
"To develop a style, you don't try to develop it. Throw lots of pots in lots of styles and your own style will come." (Loosely transcribed.) When trying to master a craft, this is always important. Quantity is as important, if not more, than quality – particularly when you are first learning. Throw hundreds and thousands of pots.
And here's one that really spoke to me. "Always carry a sketchbook." I do, I always have a notebook or sketchbook. (Unless I've left the silly thing somewhere.) He said that you never know when inspiration will come or from where, so always have your sketchbook. I would add to that, use it regularly. Make it a habit to open it and draw or write.
Thank you for visiting me at bemol Ardiente. I'll leave you with a piece that Barry owns, completely with frog.
As I was driving this afternoon I came across a Historical Marker – one that I must have passed many time before. It is for the town of Kimbro, TX, an unincorporated entity that was founded in 1870 by Swedish, Danish and German immigrants. There are a lot Swedish towns scattered across the fields around this area, though as far as I can tell not many of them actually exist any more, except for their small cemeteries. Kimbro has a City Limit sign on highway 1100. Manda, Carlson and Lund just have historical markers and roads named after them. New Sweden has a church and a somewhat larger cemetery, though no town in the way that people think of towns now – a geographic location with crossing streets and avenues. Here there are fields of corn and other crops, and the occasional house. I read that general stores and schools once existed, but they are no longer around. (One of the schools has its own historical marker.)
Maybe I'm still tired, but walking through the tiny Kimbro cemetery made me a little sad. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez observes that a new community has truly planted roots when it buries its first citizen and establishes a cemetery. I feel a little like a leaf blowing in the wind. Like I don't have a community of my own. I know that this could be perceived as a slap in the face to all of my family and friends, and I assure you all that it's not intended this way.
I have lived in Elgin, TX off and on for over 10 years. This is my third time living here, as a matter of fact. I know people here; I have friends. However, the feeling remains that they are all Barry's friends, and mine by extension. When I walk through the town I resist the temptation to like it, though the houses and trees are very appealing to me. I resist the temptation to fall in love with the house I live in, though I love the wooden floors, the front yard and the front porch. I've left so many places and I don't feel that I have ever learned to belong anywhere.
I think the geographical aspect is key here. Yes, I have a large family, but none of them live in Elgin with me. I could live in Boerne, where I graduated high school, but I don't know that this is the best thing for me at this point. I want to find a place to put down roots and call it Home. That requires action on my part, and I don't seem to be good at that particular skill. I am sitting in a coffee shop writing these words, because I couldn't think at home. From the time I first lived on my own (150 years ago), I've always avoided being home. Friends have commented on this all along. It's easier just to be somewhere else.
Churches also hold a community together. I have struggled to find a church, and I have enjoyed being a member in several throughout the years. There are two problems: One is the fact that I'm gay and this tends to go against Christian theology. The other problem is me. I admit it. I am not good at getting up on Sunday mornings and going to church. I'm not any better at Saturday evenings. The Catholic church has been the most comforting for me. I love the ritual of Mass. The reading of the Psalms is particularly comforting and I've spent a lot of time reading the Liturgy of the Hours. But again, as soon as I commit to doing it, I fall off. (I am such a large part of my own problem it's amusing.) New Sweden has a beautiful church, and the sign promises that everybody is welcome. But, I'm not Swedish and I don't know these people and while I'm certain that I would be welcome there, how long could it be before I truly belonged? Would I ever? Could I? My track record isn't good.
So, where will I be buried when I die? Let's pretend that's not as morbid as it sounds. So many people are choosing to have their bodies cremated. My Aunt Roslyn was cremated when she passed, but none of us knows where the ashes are. Her husband said that he put them where she had requested, but hasn't told us where that is. It seems like a nice idea to have a place – a physical place that I could go to visit her and think about her. A grave, for instance. A grave is in a cemetery and a cemetery is part of a community and do I have a community? I mean, a town – a physical location with crossing streets and avenues, with people around that I belong to and who would claim me. Would people visit my grave? That's such a quaint, Old-World mentality – as foreign to me as the continent of Europe itself. It seems nice, though.
I sometimes feel that these words that I write are me – the only roots that I am capable of putting down, the only hope I have of being remembered. My published books will be my grave, their covers my gravestone. People will visit me by reading my words.
I am truly feeling like a leaf today – lost and blowing in the wind. Maybe that's just who I am, and maybe I should embrace, rather than fight it. The North Wind calls and, again, I must move on. Maybe I'm just low on iron, and all of this is just a physical reaction. Maybe I'm just tired. My desire to create something beautiful out of all of this is matched only by my desire to lay down for about an hour and let sleep carry me away in its loving arms. When I wake will this all be gone? Will sleep gently stroke my face as it hands me back to wakefulness, who promises a new world, a new beginning and outlook? Perhaps these emotions will have ebbed with the circadian tide? In which case, I am glad I took the time to write this, so that I can remember how I felt. Because this is a powerful feeling, and it bears remembering.