EXEUNT


It has occurred to me that I may be the oldest blogger still out there at age 90.The blogosphere has been a pleasurable part of my life for the past eight years. Through it I have visited all over the world and become friends with so many wonderful people. I have loved reading about your lives and experiences.

Unfortunately this will be my last post, due to failing eyesight. Thanks to all of you for being interested in what I have had to say through the years, whether it was informative or nonsense.
The very good Dr. Advice has just informed me that he will be happy to read your posts to me, so we will still stay in contact.

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TRANSITIONAL PAINTING


Like many of you, I began painting at an extremely young age. The act of putting color onto paper was intoxicating. It led to a lifetime of making art, for which I am forever grateful. I found my painting “voice” early when I began looking at people and what they were doing. Landscapes, flowers and fruit didn’t interest me, but Native American culture did interest me.

Painting is a personal form of communication, and as with all forms of communication, it has its imperfections. Therefore it finds agreement or acceptance with only a segment of the audience. The degree with which any art form succeeds is in part the responsibility of the viewer. As I have often said, “art if in the eyes if the beholder.” During the years I was privileged to teach art, it was wonderful to see recognition dawn in the eyes of students.

We tend to take our eyes for granted, and why shouldn’t we? They are as integral to us as our hands and feet or any other part of our body. In art, we talk about our “vision”. What sort of feeling does your painting or sculpture give? I have hoped that my depictions of our Native people have somehow portrayed the joining force of the human spirit rather than a left over segment of history.

My eyesight has dwindled to the point of being “legally blind” as so many of us older codgers become. It is annoying of course, and satisfactorily eliminates lots of those activities we have been taking for granted. Dr. A is my knight in shining armor and picks up the slack in so many ways. Magnifying aids are fine, but sometimes a bother, so rather than take one with me, I simply take Dr. A to do the reading.

It became apparent some time ago that I could not see lines that I had written or sketches I had made for a painting. Bummer! Throughout history, painters have lost their sight and continued painting what they could still see. Monet made some of his most beautiful work after he lost his sight.

Though our painting may not be the same as it was previously, there is no need to put the paint and brushes away to collect dust. Who knows, perhaps another Monet will show up. There are a number of sites on the internet of blind painters, some of whom have been blind from birth. They are still enjoying the act of creating, and a new form of communication. These artists are an inspiration.

DAILINESS


Print by Marvin Oliver

The hot days of summer make us move a little slower, taking time for puttering. But they also give us time for introspection; for taking stock of what is important. Dailiness sounds like my childhood diary, where page after page said “Nothing happened today.” But of course something happens every day. I’m happy with our morning routine where Dr. A presents me with a latte to start the day. It’s a nice gesture intended to soften the TV news of fires and politics which is never good. We keep thinking we will turn the news off and cancel the newspaper which is nothing more than two or three pages of what was seen the night before. But we do not, because the habits of a lifetime keep us curious, and that constitutes dailiness.

Greek mythology relates how a large white bird fell from favor and was transformed into a large black raven, a favorite omen of warning, tragedy or disaster, and the negative messenger in Poe’s famous poem.

The image above is by my friend Marvin Oliver, Professor of Indian Studies at University of Washington. The interpretation of Art is in the eyes of the beholder, without which there is no Art. To me the broken heart he is presenting to the ancient abandoned village in the background signifies loss. Loss of a way of life and of a proud people whose Dailiness was not enough to sustain their culture. The tribal Journey Paddle to Puyallup brought canoes from as far away as Alaska and from California, which shows that the culture is alive and well.

The days of our youth and unyouth did not include frequent trips to visit the doctor, or the quack as my British friend calls him. Today if I miss calling a friend I find that he/she has had a hip or a knee replaced in the meantime and is already up and ready to go. Our capacity to maintain seems to lessen as we grow older, so I was not surprised to learn yesterday from the young foreign-born eye quack that I am now considered legally blind. Of course that term is broad and subject to qualification. I cannot drive, which I accept as another of those things I don’t have to worry about. One learns to gracefully say goodbye to things with as little regret as possible. The handicapped have so many options for a so-called “normal” life today, we should be grateful. The good new that day was from the leg surgeon who said he would see me in one year.

While waiting somewhat patiently for the pretty young retinal specialist to appear, I thought of the days when if you went to a doctor he could fix your hang nail, clean your ears, offer advice on every part of your body, and possibly tell you to stop complaining. Today each of those parts needs someone whose expertise seems to have ended after they learned to spell their discipline.

The interesting thing about Dailiness, is that it really does change every day. If it doesn’t try using the new app GOYA; Get Off Your Apps. Turn the TV off, stop looking at your e-mail, go for a walk. It’s a beautiful summer day.

WISHING ON A STAR


When I was a little girl I wished on the evening star which sat high over my house no matter where I lived. I thought that star followed me because I was such a good little girl and it wanted me to be happy.

I wanted to be like Gail Hollandsteiner, whose family was rich had a housekeeper and she got away with not eating her breakfast before school. But then her father lost his job, and her parents got divorced, so I was happy that wasn’t me.

I took dancing lessons and in spite of getting new curly hair and cute costumes, Nancy Joy became the star of the show. I really hated her and the way her mother pushed to get her in the spotlight. But I kept dancing and when I was in my middle years my father watch a practice session. After the performance he said “Don;t call us, we’ll call you”. I’m glad he got to see I could still step-shuffle-step.

I wanted to live in one house all my life, but instead I got to move every year and live all over the country which turned out to be be a good thing because I got to see most of the 50 states by the time I was twelve.

i wanted to be the most popular girl in the class which was difficult when you are always the new girl, and not particularly good looking. I tried being the smartest, but kids don’t like being shown up; especially young boys. So I settled on being funny which you can accomplish in a short amount of time without making too many enemies.

I didn’t like my Grandma’s church, so I visited all the other churches in town and found that I’m just not religious. I really just wanted to sing in the choir. I also discovered the interesting history of the world in the time of the Bible stories, which certainly helped me win in the quiz shows we began watching on TV.

I wanted to play the piano, but we couldn’t afford one in the Depression, so I took up the guitar which turned out to be a lot better because you can take that around with you and play at parties which makes everyone happy.

I wanted to go to college when I graduated from high school but I got married instead which turned out to be the best thing I ever did. After my children came, a small voice whispered to me that it’s never too late, so I picked up where I had left off and that turned out to be a very good thing too.

During a lifetime of art, I found that teaching others was something that made me quite happy. Life gives us plenty of time to change our mind, and one path may be as good as another if we decide to take it.

I still look at my evening star every night which somehow has found me everywhere I live. Has my star helped me to be happy, or has it only shown me that happiness is up to me? My wishes now encompass so much more than a little girl’s fleeting desires that I sometimes wonder if my star is big enough to hold them all.

OLD GUYS RULE!


Today in retaliation to the incompetency of local government inadequacy, Dr. A rose at five a.m. and joined the waiting line at the DMV to politely inquire where the heck his driver’s license was hiding within their files.

Paperwork in hand, and a somewhat pleasant attitude in place, he put the question of age to them. “Does the fact that I am 92 years of age have anything to do with putting my license in the holding file?” As our daughter reminded me, does the fact that he has never had an accident, that he drove over 300,000 miles a year over all kinds of terrain, and that his faculties are intact, mean nothing?

His Danish charm in full operation, they put him behind the wheel of his car to demonstrate that he still had it, and renewed his license for two years. It is truly a day of celebration!

HERE TO CREATE


A story can be told in two ways: the way it happened, and the way it is remembered. The storyteller is welcome at every table, though the story may change with each telling. It really doesn’t matter, it is after all, just a story.

Children are the best story tellers, since they have little recall, the stories they tell are usually created in the moment. If you question the story, they are able to embellish it on the spot. When I was a little girl of four, I created four big brothers. When questioned, they were suddenly locked up and fed bread and water. Clearly a mistake. Are these kind of stories a form of wish? The idea that exaggeration somehow enhances our self-image arrives early.

We are here to create, and all stories do not involve overestimating one’s own abilities, though a stretch of the truth often gives flavor to the imagination.

The creation stories of the Native American cultures, Greek and Roman mythology. and the stories of the Bible are all crossover creation stories. Oral tradition is extremely important, for without it, there would be no story telling. Each tribe, like each family, has its own story, of which there are multiple versions. Just as two or more siblings remember the events of childhood in various ways, our own stories take on new luster in time. More often than not, the Native American stories involve animals or humans who transform and do miraculous things, all explaining the unexplainable mystery of life.


“I Am a Child of the Sun and the Rain” watercolor by kayti sweetland rasmussen

We are all story-tellers; you tell me your story and I will tell you mine. Those stories may change from time to time either from new experiences or from remembrance, but the things we say are mostly true. Taken all together stories form the glorious tapestry of our lives.

CANTALOUP AND KOOL-AID
by kayti sweetland rasmussen

Where is the door to the story?
Can we all walk through it?

A story lives on the lips of
Diego from Hollywood days.
Far from this dusty village
Where nothing happens.
Cantaloup and Kool-Aid
And a bedroll on the floor
In this stone village
where he tells his stories.

Even the tree outside our windows
seems to listen with ruffled
leaves tipping and cooling
in the evening chill.

The pleasant knicker of an Indian pony
through the open window over
heads drowsy with sleep
announced the coming of the dawn.

We sat around the fire pitching our
own stories into the lap of the story teller.
We dropped troubles and pain.
Are they now someone else’s stories?

HAIL NO


They say April showers bring May flowers, but our Spring weather has become ridiculous. Woke up in the night to the souond of a deluge which turned out to be a hail storm. Woke up to brilliant sunshine, and the local news stations broadcasting pictures of hail covering most of the Bay Area. The fluctuating temperatures are bewildering as one is never sure what part to cover or uncover.

I know I have been rather proud of the fact that I used a flip phone and didn’t knuckle under to a collection of electronic devices. But slowly, without even realizing it, a collection has formed, many of which, like us, need frequent battery recharging. A small battle occurred the other evening over which plug fit which phone. Lines must be drawn.

Most of the devices which have found a home with us are useful in more ways than as entertainment. As eyesight diminishes the iPad is invaluable for reading books after paper books become things of a delightful past. Reading isn’t quite the same with them. One can’t really jump back and forth rereading a well-written phrase, or even an entire chapter. I suppose one could, but it would be cumbersome. The Smartphone for me offers the chance to use Uber for transportation in possibly the near future. We are in a holding pattern right now while waiting for Dr. A’s new drivers license to arrive. As the chief cook, I have been accumulating ways to get groceries from the store to home at some point. All part of trying to adjust.

I spent the morning listening to music I had forgotten about via our new friend Alexa. Our daughter gifted us with her and it is very nice to be able to instantly order someone about. It must be a latent fault. Alexa knows all and pops off the answers quicker than a wink. As far as music goes, she has most, though I have tried to trick her with odd selections she cannot supply. She is a toy, and one we certainly do not need, but in these days of stay at home days, traffic and afternoon hailstorms, she is a ray of sunshine.