Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mainly for women

Are you familiar with Good 4 Girls? I have been thinking about trying to do some sewing, but haven't quite got there yet.  I like to give back.

Local Earth Hour Report

At our home in Detroit, Michigan, at 7:45 PM last night, there was a mad scramble to get the computers down and the lights off and locate candles, oil lamps and matches.  I was afraid we wouldn't make it, but we did!  YAY!  We could see three other houses from  our front windows that were dark, so we decided to walk around the block and count dark and light houses.  On our immediate block, there were 111 electrically lit houses and only 17 that were dark, and some of those were abandoned (empty, for sale) and I am sure on a Saturday night, some people were just out partying.  There was a row of six houses all dark on the next block over, but we had agreed only to count our block.  BB thinks maybe 5% of the people complied.  He thinks most people didn't even know about it.  I was really disappointed.

PB complained bitterly the whole time and kept wanting to turn the light on and if I used the indiglo on my watch to let him know how long he had to wait, he called me a hypocrite.  He refused to do anything but sit there and complain for a full hour.  BB told PB we were "doing it for Mama."  Not for the earth or the environment, but for me.  In other words, they wouldn't have bothered if I hadn't insisted.  Very sad.  I am sad, hope your report is better.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


REMEMBER!  Turn off your lights tonight from 8-9, and all unessential power users.  Computer.  TV.  Help save the earth and raise awareness.

Read what BerryBird has to say here and here.  Visit the official site!  AND TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS!  8-9 PM.

Make a Wish Meme

I got this meme over at Everything in Particular, of which I am a
member. However, since there was some controversy there, I made my own
skywatch picture for making a wish. If you want to participate, go
to Make a Wish for the guidelines.

I am going to make more than one wish (I've never been good at following rules):

  1. I wish for peace, world peace and peace between all of us.
  2. I wish for health for the earth and all its residents. I hope you are participating in Earth Hour tonight!
  3. I wish for love for everyone.
  4. I wish for patience, for myself and everyone else.
  5. I wish for life for all of us. And for the unborn and yet to come, I wish a planet that is habitable.
  6. I wish everyone would follow the golden rule (including me).
  7. I wish for a good night's sleep for all.

Newberry Challenge

Newberry challenge

I am borrowing this directly from Nattie Writes. Even though it's an old challenge, it's a good one and others could join in if they want. Like Nattie, I've read more Newberry books than Pulitzers (though I've certainly read some of those, too.) I love young adult fiction (and I write it). It reminds me of curling up on my bed or out in the sun and reading the afternoon away. So here is the challenge...

1. Pick 6 books from the Newberry list. (Or if six is too many for your schedule, pick ONE). Try to pick Newberry books you have not yet read, if possible.
2. Comment here or email me that you are in the challenge and list to your blog if yr a blogger.
3. Post your picks on your blog (or email me).
4. add any comments you'd like.
5. There's no deadline--it's an ONGOING challenge. I'll have a link to it in the sidebar so you can find it later, under tags.
6. If you really want to challenge yourself, add 6 Pulitzer fictions you haven't read too. And while you are at it, how about 6 Pulitzer poetry books? Or even one?

I will have multiple posts on this topic, so they will all be tagged for easy retrieval.

Here are some I have already read, all of which I really liked (this is a partial list). I may reread some of these:

1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry(Houghton)
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Morrow)
1983: Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Harper)
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (Atheneum)
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Viking)
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Harper)
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Holt)
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum)

And, here are the first 6 that I have not read and am going to read. First I have to obtain them. This will be a long process.

2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illus. by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)
2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)
OK, so, if you want to play along, 1st tell me which 6 (or even ONE that you're going to read) and then come back with a comment about it when you finish. If yr a blogger, blog about it, if you have time.

I just finished reading Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransom, which I loved and intend to blog about it later. No time now. Currently reading MOBY DICK!!! It's amazingly better than I expected, I've been putting off reading it for a long time--40 years--because I thought it would be really boring, but it's not! It's good--so far.

Rat Dog

We wanted to go to Rat Dog at Royal Oaks, but BB had to work today and had to get up at 4:20 AM (and I did too!) and I've been having bad insomnia and we'd never gotten tickets and were too tired to deal with it, so we ended up not going.  WAHN!  We're OLD!  And I am feeling VERY SAD about it now!!!!   :-(    :-(   :-(

Zen Rooster Card

My brother's birthday is April First, and he's into Zen, so I made him
this Zen brush painting for his birthday card. It's my first attempt at Zen brush painting, so don't be too critical, please. Click image to view larger.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My new brush holder

Got out the old sewing machine and made myself a new brush holder for
transporting my brushes back and forth to class and elsewhere without
harming them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

oak leaves

The last sketch I'm going to post tonight. Found these three
varied-sized leaves on the driveway and sketched them in the car. I
have lots more sketches but that is enough for now.

My homework is to draw draw draw and paint paint paint. Got to get
those 10,000 hours in, LOL! I'm trying, but I actually have other
things to do!

Two attempts at sketching BB

One at a restaurant on a coctail napkin and one in ML's livingroom
Easter Sunday. Neither are very good.

Captured in the Cabin (First draft)

This is the first draft of an illustration for my Children's novel,
Frog Haven. I made it in the car today while we were going to pick up
Graham from his aunt, but I had nothing to look at. Now that I have
made it, I can see that it needs to be redone.

Spring rolls for lunch

I know I posted about this before but these are so GOOD and so easy.

1)buy spring roll skins (tapico sheets or rice paper)
2)run one under water, lay it on a plate, add mushrooms and/or tofu or
turkey ro shrimp,
3)add vermicelli (or thin spaghetti, (I also added tomatoes and blueberries)
4)add lettuce and/or spinach
5)fold like an envelope
add sauce or salad dressing
6) roll up and eat--YUM YUM!

Unfinished painting

I started this painting yesterday morning (after a sleepless night! [terrible insomnia!]). I worked on it briefly in the morning and then for a while in the evening. This is as far as I got last night--it's not done yet. Every time I paint a picture with real paint, I live in constant fear of ruining it--it's not like painting in Photoshop where there's an undo button if you make a mistake. So before I start working on it again, I thought I'd take a picture of it. LOL! So here it is, in all its unfinished glory. (You can stop laughing now!)

It's hopefully GOING to be poppies and bachelor buttons (cornflowers) in a brown ceramic vase in an Italian window in a stuccoed building. If I don't ruin it in progress.

By the way, this is what I was doing instead of checking my email or commenting on blogs last night.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BB at the Conservatory

BB had an extended holiday and we spent a lot of time together and
with family and not much time on the computer, so I am way behind. I
hope you had a great Easter. I will be attempting to catch up as soon
as I can. Either that or I may need to simply give up blogging so I
can "have a life," LOL! AK! I miss you, though!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Chicory, by Mary Stebbins Taitt. A rough smudge painting (digitally altered photograph). I have included the original photo, taken in Slovenia, and the painting made from the photo. The photo was a terrible photo that should have simply been deleted. I like to challenge myself to make something good from something bad. Click images to view larger.

I know this is a summer project, but I got a new stand--it's a table easel for painting and it also fits my laptop so I was just trying it out! :-D Hope you don't mind summer flowers in the early spring.

Hope you had a happy Easter if you celebrated and if not, hope you had a great weekend. Hope you had a great weekend anyway.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


If you celebrate, Have a great EASTER! If not, a great Eostar
(Equinox), or whatever else you celebrate, may it be good! May you be
blessed, happy, full of love, and have lots of friends.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

123 Acrostic Poetry meme

H-Acrostic 123 Poetry Meme

This is for Andree, it's a variation on the page 123 meme for
poets--anyone can do it but it does take some time. I did this today,
this morning, but I recommend taking more time with it for best

1)choose a book (mine is Marge Piercy's Three Women (Excellent book!)
2)go to P 123, Look for the first interesting word or phrase:
"Increasingly Silent All Day" (you can go on to the next page if
necessary)(Short words are quicker!)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26

For each letter of your word or phrase, add that letters number of
pages and count down that letter's number of lines and write down the
first interesting phrase BEGINNING with the LETTER. Continuing adding
pages, and if you get to end, continue from the beginning. Or just
open any page randomly. Do NOT use a poetry book.

I=123+9= 132 p132, 9 lines down: insane desire to flee, to run off
into the misty morning and vanish
N=132+14=146, p 146, 14 lines down: nothing else, she waited until
Monday afternoon when everyone else was out of the house.
C=146+3=149, p149, 3 lines down: could no longer handle ordinary (clothes)
R=149+19=168, p168, 19 lines down: religiously, full of tales and dreams
E=168+5=173, p173, 5 lines down: Expect the brightest spot in her life
A: All he needed he could fit in a backpack
S: Sensible and cool. She liked to keep him on edge
I: I'm good for you, I only have to charm everyone, it was the
excitement she craved
N: Nothing's going on, not something she should spring on him, not fat
G: gently by the elbows as if she might fly apart. Grinning

S: Stood staring, seeing through her lashes. Scared. Bleak
I: I was innocent. I was depressed
L: Love had been a roaring inside her
E: Enjoy other people's pretend lives
C: Coward. Failure. Tried to kill herself.
E: Eyelids fluttered several times. Opened a slit. Moaned.

(Yours of course will look different.)

Now comes the hard poetry part. Now that you have a start, you can
change anything you want, look up new phrases. You can keep the
acrostic form, but if you do, try to make it not be obvious. Or get
rid of it. Revise and Edit till you have a poem. Feeel free to take
a week or two at least with this meme. Try to keep at least some part
of the original words or phrases.

Increasing Silence

I want to flee, to run off insane and vanish into morning, into mist, as if
nothing else mattered, as if everyone was gone from my life, as if I
could no longer handle ordinary relationships, as if love didn't exist. I am not
religious, but spiritual maybe and full of tales, dreams and fantasies, always
expecting love to be the brightest spot in my life, and full of laughter. If only
all I needed could fit in a backpack. If I could just be
sensible and calm. But life keeps me on edge. Remember love? Why can
I no longer charm you? Once I craved excitement, adventure.
Now, nothing happens. At bedtime, only sleep. Not even sleep. Hold me
gently by the elbows—I might fly apart. Stop frowning. I'm

scared. And bleak. I stand staring, seeing your lips through wet lashes.
I'm not innocent. I'm depressed, angry, hurt. Lonely.
Love roars inside me. Of course I still love you. But I don't
enjoy pretend lives, and silence! Distances. Touch me. Am I a
coward? A failure? I want the opposite of suicide. Give me life! Kiss my
eyelids! Butterfly kisses, moans of delight. Shhh, just hold me.

And here's another:


Crazy you mutter the blues festival city's a mess ugh such a mob you look
over the boisterous crowd from a frowning face frown more deeply your
main gripe's the noise the surging swarm of humanity your
principle goal's to keep from slipping into the unruly streets
listen blues and laughter shrieks of joy but you shrink back
anticipate jostling pickpockets thieves and hustlers
insist always on security on your own way you would
never admit you'd prefer to hide inside turn on the TV watch the whole
thing canned later say yes you saw the sweat on the bass player's lip come on
stop grumbling lean closer enjoy with me this dancing pageant of people.

(Both poems by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt. the first one is brand new.)

on regular paper, these have an acrostic form but it is lost in the blog, which is too narrow. :-(

The H in H-Acrostic is from HARVESTED--meaning you start with harvested phrases.

The robin is from Thursday--they've been here about two weeks now.

I tag Andree, Michael, Pam, Leaf Lady, jo(e), Blue Rose and anyone else who would like
to play along. I may add links later, don't have time now.

(Oh, and of course, Happy St. Patrick's day. See next post.)

I said I didn't like memes all that much but I guess I like them better than I think--this is the third in a week--AK!

A Walk at Metrobeach Nature Center and Happy St. Paddy's!

We went for an hour-long walk (but were there several hours) at
Detroit Metrobeach yesterday. It was cloudy most of the day but the
sun came out near the end of our walk. We also saw three owls but
they did not photograph well.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you haven't seen my card yet, click here.

Click here for more pix from this walk.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

7 weird, random or inconsequential things about me Meme (yet again)(LOL!)

Seven weird, random or inconsequential facts about me: (I've done this meme or one like it about 4 times now, so I may be repeating myself or getting out there.) I got tagged by Blue Rose to do it again, so here I go:

1)If you haven't figured it out yet, I LOVE FLOWERS! All kinds of flowers. And I love photography.
2)I'm obsessive compulsive about homework. I always do the very best I can in the time I have available. These are homework assignments (exercises) I did last night for water media class but I still have more to do.
3)I have a cockatiel named Rocky (originally acquired for my daughter.) He used to fly free but now is confined to a cage.
4)I have fuzzy slippers
5)I am way behind on my email and snailmail
6)I love houseplants
7)My husband, Biker Buddy, and I are always playing and being silly when we have time together. That's us in a store window on Mack.

OK, well, if you want to participate, I hereby tag Nadine, Berrybird, Imperfect Nerd, Andree, Coffeypot, No More Empty Fortune Cookies and YOU if you are reading this! However, if you've already done it and can't think of anything else or don't have time, just forget it and leave me a little love note instead, lol! You do not HAVE to post pix to go with yours, but since Blue Rose did, I did too. I am sorry I haven't added links yet, I may or may not have time to do it later.

Click images to view larger. Click here to view the red face monotone water color image ("Remembering") larger still.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jellyfish in the Gulf

I was asked about my jellyfish experience, and this is what I remember:

I was swimming at night in the Gulf of Mexico.  The water was delightfully warm like bathwater and the air somewhat cool with evening and I was very relaxed, swimming and floating in the dark water.  Suddenly I felt shockingly painful stings something like bee stings only at the time they seemed worse.    I screamed and flailed and got stung more and ran out as fast as I could--I was covered with JELLYFISH STINGS which continued to hurt for quite some times.  This was in 1965 (or 66), so I don't remember all the details.  I do know this, the water was very shallow--long ways out, and I got stung again on my way back in on the legs--and was told swimming at night was a bad idea because you couldn't see the jellyfish which otherwise you'd avoid.


Heavy (from the Secret Life of Elephants, a new version), by Mary
Stebbins Taitt, for Illustration Friday.

May You Have Love

Happy Easter, Eostar, Solstice, spring! May you always have sunshine and love.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Water Media Class

1)Charlie, the teacher, and another student.
2)Me, doing an exercise. The exercise was to learn about color
mixing. I did some blocks of it and then 3)painted the entire picture
from three colors, red, blue and yellow. I used no green, brown,
black, grey etc. It was my first time ever doing that. I was kind of
excited and pleased, though it's no great shakes. I hope I learn to
be better.

The picture is of Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate
NY, from memory--I had nothing to look at. I used to go there as a
kid and camp at Roger's Rock.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy St. Paddy!

Enjoy the wearin' O the Green!

Project Budburst

I have just joined Project Budbust, A National Phenology Field Campaign for Citizen Scientists after reading about it over at Lake Loop. Go to one of those links to read more about it. I've been keeping phenological data for over 40 years, so was thrilled to see this. I have only signed up for the dandelion and the lilac so far, but intend to sign up for more locations and more flowers, hopefully.

Phenology is the study of the times that natural events occur, such as flowering and fruiting. Laying eggs, giving birth. Emerging from hibernation. This study focuses on common, easily identifiable plants.