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Archive for October, 2010

In reorganizing my books last night, I ran across one published in 1869 by Charles Scribner and Co. in New York. The handwritten inscription penciled in on the front cover reads Dec. 25, 1874.

It is a ballad written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and published originally in 1844. The book made her one of the most popular poets in England and inspired Robert Browning to write to her.

The narrator is a poet who falls in love with an earl’s daughter.
“Dear my friend and fellow-student, I would lean my spirit o’er you;
Down the purple of this chamber, tears should scarcely run at will:
I am humbled who was humble! Friend, — I bow my head before you!
You should lead me to my peasants! — but their faces are too still.”

He worships her from a distance then finally confesses his love.
“There’s a lady — an earl’s daughter; she is proud and she is noble;
And she treads the crimson carpet, and she breathes the perfumed air;
And a kingly blood sends glances up her princely eye to trouble,
And the shadow of a monarch’s crown is softened in her hair.

In the end, she accepts him for his nobility of spirit, even though others see him as lowly born.
This page reads, “I was only a poor poet, made for singing at her casement,
As the finches or the thrushes, while she thought of other things.
O, she walked so high above me, she appeared to my abasement,
In her lovely silken murmur, like an angel clad in wings!

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Self-portrait, Aug. 29 2010

Self-Portrait, Oct. 28 2010

The painting was named Self-Portrait with Chipmunk Hands after a chipmunk ran into my art room and onto the painting while it was still wet. The paw prints can be seen on my hand.

An unfinished watercolor used to finish the self-portrait.

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Joanna Klink

Some Feel Rain

Some feel rain. Some feel the beetle startle
in its ghost-part when the bark
slips. Some feel musk. Asleep against
each other in the whiskey dark, scarcely there.
When it falls apart, some feel the moondark air
drop its motes to the patch-thick slopes of
snow. Tiny blinkings of ice from the oak,
a boot-beat that comes and goes, the line of prayer
you can follow from the dusking wind to the snowy
owl it carries. Some feel the terrible sunlight
well up in blood-vessels below the skin
and wish there had been less to lose.
Knowing how it could have been, pale maples
drowsing like a second sleep above our temperaments.
Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be
snapped? Some feel the rivers shift, blue veins
through soil, as if the smoke-stacks were a long gray
dream of exhalation. The lynx lets its paws
skim the ground in snow and showers.
The wildflowers scatter in warm tints until
the second they are plucked. You can wait
to scrape the ankle-burrs, you can wait until Mercury
the early star underdraws the night and its blackest
districts. And wonder. Why others feel
through coal-thick night that deeply-colored garnet
star. Why sparring and pins are all you have.
Why the earth cannot make its way towards you.
………………………………
by Joanna Klink

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The Egg and I

Clark Gable’s performance in It Happened One Night
was the inspiration for the cartoon character Bugs Bunny.

Since I was a child, I’ve loved old movies. Claudette Colbert is one of my favorite big screen movie actresses. Her comedic performances are still studied by actresses today. She is best known for the 1934 comedy It Happened One Night and the 1944 drama Since You Went Away. The Egg and I is based on a book by the same name, published in 1945 by Betty MacDonald. The movie was the precursor to the 1960s T.V. series Green Acres.

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Salt

The words that never come
say more than words that do.

The things we can’t articulate
define us.

To see the profile,
notice how the air touches the face.

Emptiness fills our pockets
like blades of glass.

Who can see the blades of grass hidden in my pocket.
Who can see the language there is no alphabet for.

The last time I saw you,
you laced your fingers around a cup of tea

as drops of rain
beaded on your attic window.

I thought I’d lost track of my life,
but nothing prepared me for the sense of loitering

life would become
without you in it.

To see what we can define,
look at what we can’t.

I find comfort
in what I have no vocabulary for,

I sit and decide
what to do with parts of my day

that drift through the sky above this field.
Failure reseeds the ground of my life.

On the mountain,
I watched the sweep of creek sand

stand in neat rows of foam
beside the cracked concrete of a bridge.

Drawings of you fell loose from envelopes
I could no longer hide,

and desire edged at the loneliness of my life.
Desire never seems like failure.

It has form and can be placed.
It shines like rain on these black city streets.

Today I spread it across my knees,
tomorrow I fold it into my pocket.

I move it across the table
like a shaker of salt.

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I ran across this Rondino by French composer and organist Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) tonight while playing the piano. It’s very simple, something I learned years ago, but the melody has always remained with me.

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The following exercise is taken from the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. She asks her students to draw Picasso’s portrait of Stravinsky upside down. In her book, she says, “This exercise is designed to reduce conflict between brain modes by causing your language mode to drop out of the task. Presumably, the language mode, confused and blocked by the unfamiliar upside-down image, becomes unable to name and symbolize as usual. In effect, it seems to say, I don’t do upside down, and allows the visual mode to take over.”

The class wrote about the experience on the back of their drawings:

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, 1920.
Drawing given to class in grid.
Even though I didn’t draw each quadrant in precise manner, the picture turned out well. I’m surprised I can even draw or write because last night I was carving a pumpkin and sliced halfway across and underneath my fingernail. Anyway, I haven’t drawn anything in years. This was an interesting exercise.
This was challenging, trying to get things close. When lines start meeting up, make adjustments and hope for the best.
The picture itself is strange with the perspective you are viewing the figure from. But even when the page is right side up, some of the lines seem out of place or not needed at all. The strange and unnatural thing is even furthered by the flip, adding more irrationality to the lines and their function. The proportions are distorted, yielding the result of having an alarmingly large leg and a freakishly small head with a mouth resembling a vampire’s or beast’s rather than a human’s.
Drawing the picture was difficult because I hate drawing. I have bad spacial thinking skill. I had to keep checking the original because the parts didn’t seem to line up and make sense like a picture viewed right side up. The proportion of the head was off and that threw the rest of the picture out of snyc with the grid. So [the grid] wasn’t helpful anymore. Overall, it was stressful and frustrating.
The drawing was too difficult for me to do, especially since I had to do it upside down. I thought it would have been better if we could have traced over it. The hardest part for me was drawing the face. He looks deformed to me. I butchered his face. I don’t know what happened to the squares. I personally think they should have been bigger. I don’t like drawing. It is too stressful. I think writing is better.
I’ve just learned something new. I am not at all fond of drawing upside down, not to mention an upside down picture where proportions are already a little funny. I wanted to fix the proportions, but I was drawing upside down, so I couldn’t.
This man once stepped foot on planet earth in 1912. He has since then worked his way to President of the United States. It took him many, many years to learn our language, but once he did he had the world in the palm of his hand.

First time I drew a picture this way. I did not know where to start. It was so difficult. Finally, I decided to start drawing the face and end with the legs.

It’s times like this I’m glad I’m a musician. Drawing is not something I enjoy. Doing this was painful. My perception of where lines should be was way off. I ran out of room and had to make the head tiny. The hands were small, but the sleeves were huge. Personally, I find these exercises a waste of time. I found out long ago that I am dominantly right brained, so brain exploration to get one half working doesn’t make sense to me. Working out my creativity is something I do every day, whether it is writing of music or playing my bass or working on my tabletop RPG. It’s normal to me. I get frustrated by my inability to draw, so I lose patience and stop caring and draw random lines, hence the face, neck and shoulders. 

I found this to be very useful. I learned to look at something with a different perspective and at the little details. If I can do this with my writing, I will be very happy. 
I’ve actually done this exercise before and found it quite exhilarating! The first time I did it I didn’t realize I was drawing an upside down image. On the next page it said, “Now turn your image over.” Wow! That was quite a revelation. Since I knew what the objective of this exercise was [today], I thought I would challenge my right brain just a bit more and chose to do the drawing with my left hand. So the lines are a little shaky. But I find after something like this that I can almost feel my brain tingling. I’ve done similar things on my own, such as writing lefty, playing my bass upside down and hammering nails at work lefty. It definitely has the same effect. I find I’m more accurate hammering nails left handed, not necessarily more powerful. I think it’s because I need to focus more, rather than doing it automatically. This was a lot of fun. Thanks.
This was difficult. Once I realized it was not going to be perfect, I kept going anyway. It felt awkward, and I would like to have stopped at any time, but the other classmates were finishing one by one, so I pursued. Proportions were difficult because it was hard to just use the graph as a guideline. If I saw the picture and translated that right side up, it may have been easier to make the head less worm sized. Who are we kidding? Either way it would have been hard. I’m glad it is done.
I’m not good at drawing anyway, but this was hard. I started it and didn’t look at anything, but when I turned it over it’s not bad. I see the point of doing this. My head hurts.
I gave up on drawing Mr. Igor Stravinsky because he looks ridiculous. I have zero artistic ability. That’s why I play sports instead.
My drawing tonight of this guy is pretty bad. Honestly, I tried to just scribble it down as fast as possible. I have a ripping headache and I just can’t focus. This is an interesting exercise, and I’ll have to try it again sometime when my head’s not throbbing.
The sad part is this is probably the very best I could have done without tracing it. Breaking the picture down into little sections makes it easier to draw it. Mine might look really awful, but I still think I did well considering I never was an artist, not even close.

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The following exercise is taken from the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. She asks her students to draw Picasso’s portrait of Stravinsky upside down. In her book, she says, “This exercise is designed to reduce conflict between brain modes by causing your language mode to drop out of the task. Presumably, the language mode, confused and blocked by the unfamiliar upside-down image, becomes unable to name and symbolize as usual. In effect, it seems to say, I don’t do upside down, and allows the visual mode to take over.”

I gave the assignment to my English class and asked them to write about the experience on the back of their drawings:

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. Paris, 1920.
Drawing given to class in grid.
Even though I didn’t draw each quadrant in precise manner, the picture turned out well. I’m surprised I can even draw or write because last night I was carving a pumpkin and sliced halfway across and underneath my fingernail. Anyway, I haven’t drawn anything in years. This was an interesting exercise.
This was challenging, trying to get things close. When lines start meeting up, make adjustments and hope for the best.
The picture itself is strange with the perspective you are viewing the figure from. But even when the page is right side up, some of the lines seem out of place or not needed at all. The strange and unnatural thing is even furthered by the flip, adding more irrationality to the lines and their function. The proportions are distorted, yielding the result of having an alarmingly large leg and a freakishly small head with a mouth resembling a vampire’s or beast’s rather than a human’s.
Drawing the picture was difficult because I hate drawing. I have bad spacial thinking skill. I had to keep checking the original because the parts didn’t seem to line up and make sense like a picture viewed right side up. The proportion of the head was off and that threw the rest of the picture out of snyc with the grid. So [the grid] wasn’t helpful anymore. Overall, it was stressful and frustrating.
The drawing was too difficult for me to do, especially since I had to do it upside down. I thought it would have been better if we could have traced over it. The hardest part for me was drawing the face. He looks deformed to me. I butchered his face. I don’t know what happened to the squares. I personally think they should have been bigger. I don’t like drawing. It is too stressful. I think writing is better.
I’ve just learned something new. I am not at all fond of drawing upside down, not to mention an upside down picture where proportions are already a little funny. I wanted to fix the proportions, but I was drawing upside down, so I couldn’t.
This man once stepped foot on planet earth in 1912. He has since then worked his way to President of the United States. It took him many, many years to learn our language, but once he did he had the world in the palm of his hand.

First time I drew a picture this way. I did not know where to start. It was so difficult. Finally, I decided to start drawing the face and end with the legs.

It’s times like this I’m glad I’m a musician. Drawing is not something I enjoy. Doing this was painful. My perception of where lines should be was way off. I ran out of room and had to make the head tiny. The hands were small, but the sleeves were huge. Personally, I find these exercises a waste of time. I found out long ago that I am dominantly right brained, so brain exploration to get one half working doesn’t make sense to me. Working out my creativity is something I do every day, whether it is writing of music or playing my bass or working on my tabletop RPG. It’s normal to me. I get frustrated by my inability to draw, so I lose patience and stop caring and draw random lines, hence the face, neck and shoulders. 

I found this to be very useful. I learned to look at something with a different perspective and at the little details. If I can do this with my writing, I will be very happy. 
I’ve actually done this exercise before and found it quite exhilarating! The first time I did it I didn’t realize I was drawing an upside down image. On the next page it said, “Now turn your image over.” Wow! That was quite a revelation. Since I knew what the objective of this exercise was [today], I thought I would challenge my right brain just a bit more and chose to do the drawing with my left hand. So the lines are a little shaky. But I find after something like this that I can almost feel my brain tingling. I’ve done similar things on my own, such as writing lefty, playing my bass upside down and hammering nails at work lefty. It definitely has the same effect. I find I’m more accurate hammering nails left handed, not necessarily more powerful. I think it’s because I need to focus more, rather than doing it automatically. This was a lot of fun. Thanks.
This was difficult. Once I realized it was not going to be perfect, I kept going anyway. It felt awkward, and I would like to have stopped at any time, but the other classmates were finishing one by one, so I pursued. Proportions were difficult because it was hard to just use the graph as a guideline. If I saw the picture and translated that right side up, it may have been easier to make the head less worm sized. Who are we kidding? Either way it would have been hard. I’m glad it is done.
I’m not good at drawing anyway, but this was hard. I started it and didn’t look at anything, but when I turned it over it’s not bad. I see the point of doing this. My head hurts.
I gave up on drawing Mr. Igor Stravinsky because he looks ridiculous. I have zero artistic ability. That’s why I play sports instead.
My drawing tonight of this guy is pretty bad. Honestly, I tried to just scribble it down as fast as possible. I have a ripping headache and I just can’t focus. This is an interesting exercise, and I’ll have to try it again sometime when my head’s not throbbing.
The sad part is this is probably the very best I could have done without tracing it. Breaking the picture down into little sections makes it easier to draw it. Mine might look really awful, but I still think I did well considering I never was an artist, not even close.

Read Full Post »

For the last six months I’ve done a workout through BeachBody.com called Chalean Extreme. I’ve never done a video workout before, but this was recommended to me by a niece. The exercise program is a combination of weight lifting, aerobic, ab and yoga workouts done 30 minutes six times a week.

I love the system and Chalene Johnson’s positive attitude, but her premise that muscle burns fat hasn’t worked for me yet. I’ve gained seven pounds since I started the program in April. My pant size has remained the same and I’ve gained muscle in my shoulders, arms, ribs, abs, back and legs, but I haven’t lost fat.

When I look in the mirror I don’t see a stronger woman, I see a heavier woman. My mother weighed 130 pounds when she was fully pregnant, so thin was always the goal growing up. Ten years ago, I weighed 104 pounds and lived on Starbucks’ espressos. I started lifting weights in 2002 and went from a size four pant size to a size 12. After six months of Chalean Extreme, I’m buying large men’s shirts. My calorie count is low enough, but the more I work out the more I gain weight.

As I come to terms with looking heavier, I feel better than I ever have. Beyond the bigger/better/ultimate premise of the system is a workout that gives overall core strength. I don’t have the joint and back problems I had before and see the chiropractor less because I have more muscle to support my joints and spine. Nevertheless, my goal wasn’t to have a six-pack or sculpted shoulders but not to end up like my 84-pound mother who couldn’t stand alone in the shower at the end of her life. Each time I do ab crunches, I think of the Dr. Seuss Sneetches story:

Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
Had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches
Had none upon thars.

The Star-Belly Sneetches think they are the best Sneetches on the beach because they have stars on their bellies, “With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort, ‘Well have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!’ ”

The Plain-Belly Sneetches are upset because they aren’t invited to the Star-Belly frankfurter roasts. A salesman named Sylvester McMonkey McBean approaches them and says, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch? My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”

The Plain-Belly Sneetches pay the money, clamber through the machine and pop out with stars on their bellies:

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start,
We’re exactly like you! You can’t tell us apart.
We’re all just the same, now, you snooty old smarties!
And now we can go to your frankfurter parties.

The Star-Belly Sneetches pay McBean to remove the stars from their bellies, and Sneetches add and remove stars until they all realize it doesn’t matter whether their bellies have stars.

People don’t understand why I picked this workout. If it doesn’t make you thinner, why do it. So many women feel that way. We need muscle as we get older, but it’s ingrained in us to be thin. Chalene Johnson is thin and strong, but I don’t think everyone who does this program will end up looking like her. I’ll never look like one of those people in the before and after photos on the BeachBody.com site, but I do feel I’ve found something to contribute to my overall fitness.

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This was the cartoon in the Boulder Daily Camera this morning based on the injunction by Federal Judge Virginia Phillips to stop the enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy:

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