Saturday, November 29, 2008

The pink tutu

Originally uploaded by jhhymas

I'm going to be doing a lot of playing with this series of photos. I know what I want, but haven't gotten it yet. I want an effect with less detail and more like an oil painting. Stay tuned.

Instead of picture play, I spent the whole evening trying to set up a wireless printer. I failed so far, but understand a lot more than I did when I started, hopefully. Wireless network printing is trickier than I expected because of network and firewall protection, but I think I neutralized that. I joined the network several times with the included software, and with the printer keypad. The printer is an HP all-in-one Officejet J4680, in case my fairy godmother computer-tech reads this and wants to give me a hint. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just the two of us, a memory thread

Come full circle
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Soon after we were married, S was drafted. For our first Thanksgiving, he came to my parent's home at the end of his basic training. Already thin when they got him, he was down to 165 pounds for his 6 feet 5 inches. His thick dark hair was shorn and the army had taken away his horn-rims and given him round glasses frames made of pink plastic. He was wearing his uniform when he got off the train. I didn't recognize him--my mother saw him first. My pregnancy had begun to show and I was wearing one of those smocks like we wore then. I couldn't kiss him at the station; he seemed like a stranger.
My parents were remodeling an old house; it was open on one wall where the large fireplace would be. The hole was covered by a tarp--the only thing between us and the late autumn winds and rain. I don't remember what we ate, but I am sure it was turkey. . .
This year, 2008, since we had just visited all our children, we decided to have a simple Turkey Day. But I couldn't take the thought of going out to eat; it seemed too goofy, and a little sad.
So here it is--we don't remember ever having a just-the-two-of-us Thanksgiving before.
Do you think your kitchenware holds memories? Of your life and of the world of the past? I do. Here we have:
1) The classic pyrex casserole ( containing peas) with the lid you can use for a pie plate. We've have this nearly forever.
2) Heavy blue glasses I got on sale because the color reminded me of my mother's Mexican blue glass. Unlike the Mexican blue, they seem to be nearly indestructable.
3) Wine glasses we bought last year from a Bed, Bath and Beyond remainder rack when we were shopping for Christmas gifts.
4) Our wedding silverplate, Flair, which S picked out. (It was a gift from his parents.) I didn't care for it much. The pattern seemed to me aggressively modern. I've gotten used to its gentle curves by now.
5) Pottery dinner plates we got from a local potter in the late seventies. Thay are very beautiful, with subtle poured glazes you cannot see here.
6) Cute little brown thrift-store pitchers with gravy in them. Getting them out, I found another one was cracked and threw it away. Each one is sitting on a saucer of the Mikasa French something-or-other creamy white dishes, which we impulse-bought in the Mikasa outlet store when we were shopping for Christmas gifts. We had seen them at Mary Hill's and liked them. We already had plenty of dishes. We use them for everyday and for company, too. They are very pretty and go with everything. Mary Hill (she was in my haiku group) died this year, and they always remind me of her in a comfortable way.
7) Japanese dishes with blue fish on them. I got these because I like them, and because I used to shop at a Japanese hardware store with Lani and Ed after having bento box lunches together following Library Branch Heads meeting. (Now they call it the Management Meeting, and I am sure it couldn't be as much fun as when we were part of it.)
8) White baking dish (French?) from S's fancy-cooking period. He likes these and we have them in different sizes. They are classier than much of our stuff, and more recently acquired.
9) The bottom half of a ceramic butter dish made by a friend of my daughter's when she was making her living at art fairs in the 1980s. It has a cover, so you can store your butter at room temperature and merrily butter your toast, if you are still allowed to eat butter, or toast. . .
10) Ceramic platter that neither one of us can remember where it came from. The turkey breast and wings were roasted separately from the legs and back, which we roasted yesterday with vegetables to make gravy stock. Now we have enough gravy to have a Gravy Party, if we had ever heard of such a thing.
11) Crystal dish with mashed potatoes in it. I often cannot resist these gorgeous dishes when they wind up at Ross or Tuesday Mornings. So much (un-needed, closet-hogging) shining, twinkling beauty for such small prices!
12) Small swirled crystal dish (see above) with canned whole-berry cranberry sauce.
13) Pepper mill, the pretty-good replacement for the late lamented one that our son got us years ago in a (now-defunct) cutlery store, which gave up the ghost and couldn't be replaced, This is the third try.
14) In a towel (unknown recent provenance) under the tiny rolls(which didn't rise enough because I killed their yeast trying to hurry them up) is the oldest thing, a silverplated dish that is worn through to the brass in a space about the size of a fifty-cent piece. (When was the last time I saw one of those?) I have tried to let go of it, but I like the shape. It was a wedding gift.
15) The tablecloth is from the 70s when I used to make them from upholstery remnants. The table we had then was smaller. I bought the brown napkins then because they don't have to be ironed (true) and all the remnants had brown in them. This is sort of a bark cloth.
See how much history can be found in one holiday table setting??
It is my misfortune that people who like "things" and take care of them and wind up with too many of them are now called "hoarders" and are featured on TV shows where they get "help."
Naturally, I think of myself as a careful person who is interested in the conservation of material. I am sure things are not the memory link for everyone that they are for me. This has been one woman's Thanksgiving memory thread. What is yours?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I know you love me

I know you love me
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Have you noticed how you take the best pictures of people you love, if they know you love them? And how the best pictures of you might be taken by someone who loves you? This has been my experience; has it been yours? This is my treasured granddaughter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joann gave me the Butterfly Award and now I have to think hard!

I'm supposed to pass it on! There are literally hundreds of good blogs I have seen. I have bookmarked only 172 of them, and often forget to do so. Here are some of my favorites, leaving out those already just mentioned by Joann. Because I joined the Yahoo Group Everyday Matters recently, this list might seem heavy on blogs with a sketching component, because that is what I have been looking at most lately. Most of these blogs also have a list of links for the blogs they like. Following these links can take you into a wonderland of wasted afternoons and give you limitless ideas for your own drawing, photography and writing.
This is a blog with infrequent postings of absolutely gorgeous single photos taken in the photographer's home area. That's all there is, and you can keep up it with less time, and more satisfaction, than any other blog I know. You will not believe the quality of these photos. Be sure to visit older posts far enough back to see Winnie on the Patio. You will recognize her, she is sitting on a flowered settee.
This artist's sensibility is totally unique, minimal, deeply felt and surrounded by space. It is unlike any other art I know and completely unlike anything I have ever paid any attention to. I discovered her first on Flickr, and was thrilled to find she also had a blog! I cannot explain why her handmade spoon series is so moving to me or why her work with a tangerine skin is some of the most emotional, yet withdrawn, art I know.
I have chosen to highlight here the section with daily drawings of her dog, Dottie. It's a beautiful series. Check other parts of her blog for essential tips for artists. All of her work is great!
This person is truly an artist! She has done a series of portraits from old photos that is compelling, as well as self-portraits. This link takes you to her instructions to fold your own sketchbook, which are very good. Click on the banner at the top of the blog to take you to her current postings.
Beth found my blog because of our shared love of the writings of Bernd Heinrich, whose writings on natural history are the best I know. I've been following her blog ever since, as she hikes up and down Maine, and lives a vital outdoor, family and professional life.
This Creativity Journal follows the work of an artist newly serious about making art more frequently. She works in many different media. It's an inspiration, that's for sure.
Her sketchbook pages are notable for the composition of the pages and the artistic use of hand lettering in the design.
Consistently interesting sketches and thoughts.
I like the name of this blog--why can I never think of these things?? This blog has a food as well as a sketch focus.
Vintage cameras, drawings, and a very artistic spirit.
The Appalachian Journal concerns nature study and identification from things she has seen in her area. Nice clear photos help you learn.

Oh, I know this is 12 instead of 10, and I have run out of strength to write lengthy annotations, but hey! Here is how to pass on the Butterfly Award, should you wish, to other deserving winners! I copied the instructions from Joann, with some additions.
click and copy it from above.
1. Put the logo on your blog, you can right-click and copy it from above.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate other blogs for this award (it said 10 but I don't think that quantity is as important as quality).
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool.

I cannot close without mentioning these meaningful communities: Flickr, where people can find all kinds of photos celebrating everything you ever thought was interesting and a lot of ideas you never had. I have stumbled on many things through Flickr that enrich my life daily. And made a ton of friends.
Librarything is for those who love books and want to list, discuss and discover books and meet others with similar interests or discover new ones.

I could basically spend all my free time on the WWW, as we used to call it. And never have to write or sketch another thing of my own for the rest of my life. Be careful, be very careful . . .

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Ring (of the Nibelung)

The Ring
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I am in deep mourning for VOX, the vocal music station on XM Satellite Radio. After XM was bought by Sirius, they dropped VOX. My favorite host, Robert Aubry Davis, is on another station with vocal music from MIDNIGHT to dawn. I really miss his special mix of opera, religious, and early vocal music and especially miss his informed and witty opera commentary. Tonight I had to write an essay for our haiku periodical and was having a little trouble, but I was consoled when S turned on the music (the new channel is called the Metropolitan Opera Channel--that ain't bad) and it was Die Valkyrie. One of my favorites. Ah, Wagner, why did you have to be such a jerk??
I want to tell you about this broadcast, which was recorded on December 6, 1941. The announcer mentioned that it might suffer from issues involved with the sound recording technology of the time. But the date really knocked me out! The DAY before Pearl Harbor! It reminded me of the way I felt on Sept. 11, 2001. When my son called me early in the morning and told me to turn on the TV, I did. And watched the towers fall, and fall again, and the white particulate smoke billow down the canyons between skyscrapers. And the people running. I said to my son then: Nothing will ever be the same. And it hasn't been.
I imagined the people who saw that opera performance getting up on Dec 7th, and telling their kids over brunch what a great live performance they had seen. The legendary Erich Leinsdorf conducted; Lauritz Melchior and Helen Traubel were two stars in the superb cast. Later, the family all gathered around the radio and listened to news about Pearl Harbor--and the voice of FDR. And nothing was ever the same. We still call it THE war.
The major recorded sound issue I noticed on this recording was that the horns sounded bad. I missed the richness of the sound. If anyone knows why this should be when the rest of the instruments sounded better, please leave a comment and let me know.
I think that sometimes the tempo of the music was a little slower than I have heard in other recordings, which seemed right. But what I really want to record is how beautiful the sound of the voices was. When I was growing up, Helen Traubel was a very famous star. She made appearances in movies and got lots of coverage in Life Magazine. She was beginning to become somewhat of a familiar joke, with the molded breastplate, braids and that Teutonic helmet with wings on it. This recording made something very clear to me. There was a sweetness, an effortless, non-shrieky sound to Brunnhilde's music. It was quite different than others I have heard. They were good, but this was GORGEOUS. Melchior's Siegmund was transcendent, and also of a beautiful vocal quality, The Wotan of Friedrich Schorr was spectacular and also unstrained and melodic. Well, I can tell you, the whole thing made me very happy. Good night. It's pretty late, since it lasted until afte midnight; I stayed up for every note!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Autumn Gold Beside the Feather River

It's not really a river for swimming, but doesn't this make you want to? What could be more beautiful than those small repeated shapes of blue in the green? And the golden color in the autumn hush and watersound? Not to mention the sunlight falling all around.
Reports from our daughter in Michigan tell of snow on the ground all this week. Sparkling. Indoors is comfortable--and the wind doesn't stir the pages of your book--but nothing beats beautiful outdoor weather!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Mistress of relaxation, she takes a well-deserved sleep as she moves into the outer world. This was taken on her fourth day of life--last Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shadow of an Oak

Shadow of an Oak
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
As we drove through the Feather River Canyon on Friday, autumn's beauty was still aflame. At this rest stop, I wandered about with three cameras, looking at shadows. There were also rocks, oaks, oak leaves, cottonwoods, moss and lichen and the blue, blue sky. Once again I wished for painting talent, or at least the willingness to sit still and fling paint at the paper. But on a trip, others would have to stand around and wait. And photography is so CLICK, I'm addicted to the ease and speed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Smile

The Smile
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The visit ended today and we made it back by tonight. It took us a long time to unload the truck. I definitely take too much stuff back and forth. Clothes and books and art supplies. Must learn to travel more stuff-free. And should be able soon to make some posts worthy of my readers. Good night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dance Class

Dance Class
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Today with my granddaughter to the four year old dance class. It was delightful; the teacher was teaching many things besides dance and dance vocabulary. Following directions, paying attention, counting, working as a group, colors and other concepts.
All over America, small groups come together to teach young people about things they care about and wish to be passed on to the coming generations. This class is sponsored by a small non-profit organization. Others take other forms. It is inspirational.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Born Yesterday

Born Yesterday
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is my younger son with his youngest daughter, who is now my youngest grandchild. Grampy and I are staying here now for the next couple of days, and Wolfi and his pals are in a nearby kennel. The other girls here are two and four, and I am sort of specializing in their bedtimes. When I had litte children myself, it didn't seem that hard. Now it takes about all the energy I have; it is so constant and contunual. But they are the beauty of the future, and it is worth it.

Less than four hours old! And smiling . . .

This is what I've been waiting for. We are here and tending the two older sisters. This is my latest grandchild, my younger son's third daughter, We went to see her at the hospital a couple of hours after she was born. She came right on the due date and weighed 8 pounds.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Purple Mountain Majesty, sagebrush plain

Not much time to write, we are packing the car. America the Beautiful demonstrated itself to us all day yesterday, Some of the fromthecar photographs are quite pretty, if not insanely sharp. More to come.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

From the car

From the car
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Sometimes, I see such interesting and majestic things from the car as we travel across great and beautiful America, with its rocks. deserts, rivers and plains. I have always been proud to be an American and I think never more proud than tonight, when a nation with such a terribly complicated history in relation to descendents of people from Africa has decisively elected Barack Obama President of the United States.
It has taken me back to my first library job in downtown Cleveland, where children we were just learning to call "black" used to stand beside the reference desk and touch my long straight hair to see "what it felt like." And where, just after Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech, people came into the library weeping, tears pouring down each face. I knew then that America was changing, and had to change a great deal more. I didn't know that I would ever see this. I feel we are at the threshold of something truly magnificent. We know all the bad things, but now new possibilties open out before us, before us all. . .

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thoreson's Farm in Pure Color

Pure Color
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Quite a bit of rain. We got new windshield wipers today--splurged and bought some more expensive ones. It seems to me that wiper blades used to last just nearly forever. We did have a little sprinkle coming home and these wipers swept the glass dry..
We also visited a couple of thrift stores looking for dog crate bedding. (I found some nice books, too.) Good night . . .

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Autumn Wood

Autumn Woods
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
We made it to Idaho, but I am still missing the October woods we have just left behind in Michigan. Tonight I have been playing with photos on my laptop and this is the best result. I can't wait to try printing it on watercolor paper. But I am still days away from my printer.
I continue to treasure the intereactions with other bloggers, artists and Flickr members. There really are countless interesting things to do and inspiration in what others are doing.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

That Idaho Sky

That Idaho Sky
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
All day today through Idaho in gorgeous weather. This is part of my attempt to learn how to take landscapes from a moving car. Making lemonade, as it were. The clouds were world-class all day long, through a succession of mountain and plain and butte and Snake River landscapes. Too bad it wasn't Friday because then I could join the Skywatch Friday group. Later . . .