Halloween is the happiest day of the year!  Kids and adults alike can be as zany as they like, and invariably bring a smile to faces along the way.

I saw a woman wearing a bright blue and pink wig like Marge Simpson’s, waiting for the light to change this morning. 

 Next to her stood a little girl wearing  a fairy costume with gauzy wings and holding a wand. 

While grasping  her mother’s hand. she looked up and nodded toward the lady in the wig, who just then looks down and smiles.  Taking off her wig, she gives sit to the little girl.  “It looks better with your costume.”  

Whatever costume or mask you are wearing, have a Happy Halloween!


All is a circle within me.  I am ten thousand winters old.  I am as young as a newborn flower.

I am a tree in bloom.

All is a circle within me.

I have seen the world through an eagle’s eye.  I have seen it from a gopher’s hole.

I have seen the world on fire and the sky without a moon.

All is a circle within me.

I have gone into the earth and out again.  I have gone to the edge of the sky.

Now all is at peace within me.  Now all has a place to come home.   (Nancy Wood)


Navajo Grandmother

kayti rasmussen


The supposedly virtuous act of giving is often instead an act meant to create an obligation, an act whereby the giver measures himself against the receiver and requires a repayment, even if that repayment is gratitude.

A  Navajo couple in New Mexico had a child after hoping for one for many years.  The child died, and the mother was plunged into a deep chasm of grief.  She became reclusive, and could not gather enough strength to do even basic tasks.  She was told that she would never bear another child, and her family despaired that she would ever be the same.

Her much younger unmarried sister suddenly disappeared, which made the woman’s melancholy even worse.  No one knew where she had gone, or with whom.  No one else was missing from their village.

One day nearly a year later, the sister reappeared with a tiny baby girl.  She gave no explanation as to what had transpired during her absence, but later it was learned that she had met a Yaqui Indian man who had agreed to be the father of a child with her.  This was the child that she brought to give to her grieving sister.

This then, was a very high form of altruism.   (This is a true story of people I have known.)

Navajo Mother & Child  by KSR



The English language is very confusing.  There are so many words that mean exactly the same thing.  For example, nude and naked, or house and home.  I’m sure there are numerous others, but what I really wanted to write about was nude and naked, so we don’t need to waste time looking up the others.

In the context of art, an unclothed figure is a nude, thereby encouraging genteel voyeurism.  No art catalogue would describe a painting as being of a lovely naked person, though the naked body was a constant in the paintings of the old Masters, who approached each of their nudes in the terms dictated by that moment.

In contrast however, are “naked”  people.  The Bay to Breakers is a race run each year in San Francisco, and frequently enthusiastic participants  doff their clothes after the beginning, and complete the race sans attire.    One such group from San Diego call themselves the “Camping Bares”, and when asked why they came all the way to run in San Francisco, they said they would probably be arrested if they did it in San Diego.   They are in actuality, naked not nude.  You see what I’m getting at?

In teaching art and sculpture classes, the models  I hired from the agency were frequently rather rotund, or old, or at least had less than run of the mill bodies which made them more interesting to draw or sculpt.  One such girl,  Katie,  probably weighed in at 300 or so pounds, every pound of it well-distributed.  Though young, she was a terrific model, and posed for us often.  I moved away for a few years, and when I returned, I tried to hire her once again.  The agency said she was still working, but we may be surprised at her transformation.  She had fallen in love, and  had lost at least 100 pounds!   Still a good model, her curves were no longer in the same places and she sagged in places she used to be nicely stuffed.

Another time we needed a male model so I contacted the agency and they sent a “no longer young but thought he still was”  fellow over to the school.  It was an early morning class of adult  students, both male and female.. The model quietly slipped into the classroom wearing a long vivid red velvet robe tied loosely around his middle with a chartreuse sash.  His hair was of an indescribable  color ranging from a wild pink with occasional streaks of purple throughout,  and he was barefoot.  He confidently stepped forward approaching the modeling stand in the middle of the room.  A seductive smirk crossed his face as he picked up speed, and he  proceeded to run .  Somehow I knew what he had in mind, and it is exactly what he did before I could shout a word of warning.  Throwing off the robe he leaped upon the stand off center, and it and he, flipped up in the air landing on his naked backside beside the upturned modeling stand.   Meanwhile, the velvet robe sailed gracefully down and settled on the floor behind him.

Mercifully, the room was as silent as if it were empty.  The male model gathered his dignity together and resumed his job.

Now we could say that Katie was nude, and Harry (we’ll call him Harry for lack of a better name) was naked.

Out of the Woods


(She is “naked” not “nude”)


OK, I may as well admit it, I am not only disappointed, I am downright upset.  After waiting a year to join the rarified list of Fig Growers Anonymous, or at least cause a modicum of jealousy in other fig lovers, I must admit defeat.

I envisioned bright shiny jars of dark sweet jam lined up on my pantry shelves.   After a bit of mashing, boiling with a little sugar, and packing in cute little glass jars, this exotic fruit would ensure my reputation as a figmaster.

After a burgeoning beginning this spring, I watched frequently for signs of immature green figs, but throughout the summer, they never grew any larger!  Finally, at a large family garden party I spied one ripe fig!  I asked my Chicago grandson standing nearby if he liked figs.  I was shocked to find that he had never tasted one, so I gave it to him.  Turns out, it was the only one it had!  And I don’t know if he even liked it.

I  should have known he had never eaten one, because while in Paris a few years ago with his mother and her sister, I bought three of the largest, most decadent looking figs from a neighborhood produce market, and they refused them, showing me they never introduced their children to one of life’s most delectable treats.  Of course, I admit, I probably had told them they were poison, (just like the avacado) just so I could eat them all myself.  What goes round comes round as they say.

During my transient childhood in southern California, there seemed to be a fig tree in every garden.  I learned early that they were easy to climb, and a good place to avoid chores while stuffing myself with fruit.

Tomatoes and oranges are ripe now, and begging to be picked.  I do wish the squirrels would eat the ones they knock off the tree though.  I think they sit up in the trees watching me rake up all the split fruit on  the ground and wait until dark to knock off some more.

There’s always next year for figs, and meanwhile, a neighbor picks bushels every day and leaves a plate for me.

“I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts, but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do.”    Brian Andreas

Evening Garden



Whether to scarify or beautify, man has marked his body in some form or other since time began.  The idea seems to be: since we have skin, we may as well decorate it.  Hair has this quality of change as well.  Which of us is satisfied “as is”.  It’s like advertising a house for sale “as is” if it clearly needs help.

The tattooed belly of the sailor of old, with dragons, sailing ships, etc. depicted in movies such as “South Pacific”, is humorous, especially when the individual has abs capable of giving motion to the artwork.

Today even the most delicate female can be adorned with designs of her choice.  One young woman of my acquaintance is having a work-in-progress incised upon her shoulder.  She has chosen do do an illustration of the seasons; spring, summer, fall and winter, all in one sketch.  As it was explained to me, the autumn leaves would be cascading down along the upper arm.  Very creative and singular.  As an artist, I am appreciative and somewhat in awe of the courage it must take to endure the pain of each puncture.

While reading my New York Times and enjoying a steaming cup of caramel latte (with extra whipped cream and caramel), I looked up and did a double-take toward the well-endowed young woman about to give her order to the barista.  Aside from her attire, which consisted of several pieces of bright mismatched garments, she had several earrings in each ear, a nose ring, and a large lip ring.  I could only imagine where else she might have a ring.  My feminine habit is to gaze up and then down, ostensibly to see what kind of shoes she is wearing.  I stopped at her legs.  Well-shaped they were indeed, and totally covered in the back with 2 inch stars in outline.  Fascinating.  As she turned, the pattern changed to a swarm of butterflies!  Advertising at its best.  She had me at the lip ring.  Yes, we have become moveable art galleries.  But the disadvantage is that the show can never change!  As has been stated previously, what cannot be changed, must be endured!

“For a long time, she flew only when  she thought no one else was watching!”


“What cannot be changed must be accepted.  What is accepted must be endured.  Back when we were a people on foot, running up and down the mountains, we lost our advantage.  People took our land, our children.  We accepted everything, except the loss of our children.  When you look at us now you will see a big hole in our hearts.  This is so our children can climb back in.  We go out to your world and come back, trying to decide which way to go.  The young travel to places they think will give them everything.   After awhile, they come home.  They stand in the plaza, looking up  at  the mountains, seeing our ancestors.  We older ones say nothing.  Isn’t silence better than a scolding?”

Empty Heart


I Am Home