Sunday, April 05, 2020

The ritual of cleaning

I think about my rituals every time I clean. Especially the bathroom. I have rituals and I have thought about talking about them here but never have. Maybe in this light of all the weirdness going on, I would like to make note of the little peculiarities of me. In case I am not around in a month or so. Yes, people my age are having these thoughts.

I love cleaning. I clean with toothbrushes, Q-tips and toothpicks. I always have. Even when I was a small kid, cleaning to perfection was "my thing". We lived in some pretty questionable places in my lifetime. Places that I did not want anyone to know I lived there when I was in Jr. High School. I would make sure no one would watch me going home (at this particular horrible duplex). I have also lived in some amazing places. That has been my life, sometimes the high life and other times, living in embarrassing ramshackles (in my view). 

So back to my cleaning rituals. No matter where we lived, I will clean a room to perfection. Especially the bathroom. No matter how old, or decayed or wonderful ... they all get the same loving attention. We always had nice towels and the final touch would be to perfectly fold the towels and hang them like they would in a hotel. 

I just did that again tonight in my bathroom. It makes me feel so complete to do that! Why? I have no idea. I always love to spray a special "cut grass" room spray but I don't think a dirty room deserves room spray OR flowers. No dirty room in my house will ever get flowers. It feels like an insult to the flowers.

I have bowls of my special rocks I have collected for years. Handmade bowls I found at the Goodwill. I wash and clean my rocks. I feel horrible if the rocks and shells have a coating of dust and hair. They deserve better.

I am pretty sure all of this has something to do with having control, especially as a kid. Having control of what my house looked like on the inside, no matter what it looked like on the outside. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid 19

Today, a few in the household are getting testy. 

Daily life is surreal. The quietness. The birds chirping away on a beautiful sunny day, at the feeder without a care as Covid 19 shuts down the world. Our neighbor's family stood outside their house and sang Happy Birthday to their mother/grandmother. Bri cried. Matt picked up a load of wood that needs to be split and dumped it in the driveway. I super-cleaned the fireplace. Then found my spot in my "big chair" and watched another movie. I do that, watch movies, a lot. I don't feel guilty about it. My favorite thing to watch these days, foreign mysteries. I get so caught up in reading the sub-titles, I forget to check my twitter feed or how afraid I am feeling at the moment. If you want a list of the great ones I have watched, just asked! Netflix, Amazon. I really should not be spending the extra money, but so worth it for sanity right now.

I try not to think too hard about what is going on in Seattle at the hospitals. In New York with the hospital staff  putting themselves in jeopardy as they try and save lives. In Spain, an ice rink turned into a morgue. In Italy, where the numbers of dying has not dropped. I have not freaked out or shut down, but I fear it will come sooner than later. I constantly read statistics, numbers around the world infected and dead. So many not heeding warnings at Florida beaches. Cruise ships still unloading infected passengers in Miami. I try to keep my anger to a minimum, anger will not help. I watch trump thumping his chest at his daily briefings/hate rallies and want to vomit.

So far we have been lucky. My husband and I can work from home and still have jobs for now. I have been working from home, starting week 4. I tend to work too much because it is just too easy to stay logged on to work. It gives me something else to worry about besides Covid 19.

Matt has still been working, but furloughed as of Friday. Bri is not working in the salon for now. Mason out of school going on week 4. Only a few trips to the grocery store and I feel like we are playing a crap shoot every time someone ventures out. I try NOT to go to the store. I am really having a bad feeling about David and I getting this. We are way over 60 and not great health-wise. 

We are living in chaos with the kids trying to find their way into this new world. I think the baby is teething so she is crying a lot. But we watch her grow a little everyday and that is fun. Mason is amazing, with this amazing vocabulary and she and I cuddle in my "big chair" most nights. Her with the iPad and Barbie on Netflix, me with my phone and a game or twitter feed. 

I do things like call the Neptune Society to check how much I owe on my cremation and get the policy number. Talk to David about all of our accounts. I have started writing down my passwords in case something happens and people need to delete or update my accounts/feeds. I would usually blog all of these details for family but not many of my family members are left. My mom, brother, uncle have died in the last 4 years. Most of my Texas family estranged because of their dedication to trump. I was thinking the other day, I could die and only my immediate family would know or care. Weird! But that is where we are in 2020.

So I am documenting this like my family would be reading about life here during the lock down. I am not making deals with God to save my life when so many have died, so very many, old and young, have died. We are just trying to be smart here. Keep our heads straight. Keep the house somewhat clean. NOT stick our heads in the sand about the truth of the world-wide situation. Try to have a positive attitude about the financial situation of us and the world. 

I have thought about blogging the pandemic. If I didn't write it down, maybe it wasn't really happening? I think that is what I was feeling. But I really need to come to terms with reality. And put this in my blog, that has been my diary of all things, bad and good, up until now. So hopefully, I will read this years from now, as I read about my mom dying and say ... yes, that horrible thing really happened. 

I tweet all day about trump and his colossal screw-ups on Twitter and on Facebook. I will not stop hounding trump until he is out of office and out of our hair. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Here comes the sun

Sunday Morning Suns

CBS Sunday Morning Sun Art on Pinterest

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Theme song

A good theme songs can send chills down my spin every time the series starts off! 

"Midsomer Murders" is one of my favorites. Celia Sheen plays the theme tune from ITV's drama series "Midsomer Murders" on the Theremin. She has done so, along with incidental music, on the soundtrack of every episode for fourteen years. This fascinating instrument was the world's very first electronic instrument, invented in 1920 by Russian scientist Lev Theremin. 






 Inspector Morse


The 50 Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

Kate Jenkins

Kate Jenkins and her magical, delicious crocheted art. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Seeweed and love it


Collecting Seaweed 

This handsome boxed set of notecards, Wild Sea Notecards, features art based on the wild and edible seaweeds of Ireland. The set contains six stunning designs, two of each. Rich colors and bold graphic shapes give a modern edge to a classic subject with timeless naturalist appeal. The box top is textured to evoke the printmaking paper of the original art.

The Curious World of Seaweed is literally the roots of our ocean. For three generations, our family has thought about how to make a quality documentary about the importance of seaweed in the ocean ecosystem.

Nature Domesticated: A Victorian Seaweed Scrapbook


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Animal Village

Illustrations from the 1927 children's book Animal Village (動物の村), another gem from 50 Watts fave Takeo Takei

Monday, September 30, 2019

Dan Matutina

Lovaganza from Colin Hesterly on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Nancy Blum

I am loving Nancy Blum's art and public works.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Apple of my eye

Beatrice Cerocchi

Faye Bradley
Ryo Takemasa

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Katie Scott

Kate Scott flowers

AMKK Botanical Animation "Story of Flowers" from azuma makoto on Vimeo.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Under the sea

Reaction-diffusion still empowers me, astonishes me.

Jan does not post anymore but I loved his blog


I lost my breath when I saw this today. How do they put this together???

Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Miller reality

I have come to terms that I live in a very messy zoo. Period. Four working adults, two active kids, 3 barking chihuahuas, 2 bored kittens who's main goal in their young lives is destroying what are left of the blinds and over-stuffed chairs. Carpets that are beyond repair or cleaning with spilled juice and God knows what else. Piles of dirty clothes and dirty dishes. So different from the environment that I grew up in at 5 years old with a single mom struggling to get by and my grandmother who occasionally lived with us. Oh, I could go on but that was not what I wanted to talk about this morning. 

While watching my political morning shows, I was also listening the Matt and Mason having a conversation in the front room. The front room was officially the "living room" of the house but it is now Bri and Matt's living room while David and I occupy the "back room" which was the family room where everyone watched TV. This gives us all our own space to live in without being on top of each other every night. I confess, sometimes I am a fly on the wall in my own house. Without actually listening to their conversations, I hear the tone and feeling of them. As this morning, Mason was having a serious conversation with Matt. I could tell by her tone and the way she was explaining something to him. She is very smart and articulate for a 5-year-old, always talking, always thinking, never quiet. Polar opposite to my 5 year old self, solitary and introverted. 

Sometimes, I listen to the kids while they are cooking dinner together, in a messy, loud kitchen with Mason sitting on the counter "helping" and Noah watching from the floor in her little detachable swing, also loudly cooing herself for all to hear. Talking about their day, what they did, their beliefs, their struggles and bonding with the kids. Occasionally stop flipping the burgers to go kiss the baby. I don't hear the details, but the overall feeling of this tight-knit family unit. And my heart soars with relief. 

Mason will run into the "back room" to jump on my chair, declaring it "the most comfortable chair in the entire house" while wrestling my twitter feed-filled phone from my hands so she can play a puzzle game. Saying loudly "I love you, Memaw", knowing I will not resist that and hand the phone over. 

Mason builds all sorts of stuff in the back room. Right now we have a daycare going on back here. I have to sign the kids in and out of this daycare that grows in size every day. I have to babysit the babies when Mason goes off "to work". She gives her babies a walk around the "park" in the stroller and ask me where the parking lot is and pays me imaginary money to park. It seems easier to just leave it for awhile than put it all away, as I know it will be back as soon as the last toy is in the proper storage spot.

And lots of singing. Mason knows all lyrics to all her favorite popular songs from the radio and is constantly singing them the minute she gets out of bed. Sometimes, I dig out all of my "oldies-but-goldies" on iTunes and we have a music-fest of sorts. Of course, she knows one of my favorite groups, Earth, Wind and Fire from the Trolls movie, so we have an instant favorite in common there.

Mason and David have Saturday pancake-making-mornings while the kids sleep in. She loves to cook, crack eggs and stir the batter. She and I stir up lots of brownies together. She adores David and will demand, "where is my Papa?" when we are coming home from work. They have a special bond of cooking, reading books, and playing Crazy Eights. He has bought her some crazy expensive books and the most beautiful illustrations. I am more of the "let's play electronic games" together or let's watch silly puppy videos on YouTube, so I guess between us, she gets the spectrum of entertainment.

Lots of people, friends and family ask, when are the kids moving out? And my honest answers is ... I don't know, we never consider or talk about it. In today's reality of housing and daycare cost, it does not seem prudent for them to go anywhere. Not to say we all don't have our moments of frustration, I probably have more than anyone because of the mess. But the flip-side of them not being here seems horrible. I love watching the kids learn to be good parents and us trying to learn to be grandparents, not too preachy and interfering. Of course, Mason is spoiled. She has 4 doting adults at her disposal. If someone says "no", she can meander around the house to find someone who will say "yes". And add to that, she is crazy smart. Yes, she talks back to all of us. She stands her ground on any struggle. I personally think that is a good thing for a girl. She can back up any boy to tears on the playground. Coming from a background of never being able to say anything on my mind if it was in opposition to my mom, I believe in kids having "a voice". I believe I did not have one so am especially sensitive of being able to speak your mind. Of course, there is conflict in thought, but better have a strong mind than a frightened one, as I had. 

And coming from a divorce, single childhood (until I was 12), it is particularly heartening to hear my granddaughter say "Daddy, can you ... Daddy, would you do this or that". I never had anyone who I trusted to call Dad until much later in life. I feel that was a big loss in my childhood and effected me deeply. When I hear Mason say "Daddy, will you read me a book, or make me a sandwich, or get me some cookies?", tears literally come to my eyes. It is such a simple thing to have a "daddy" in the same house, but it does not always happen to many kids in this world. 

The Miller new reality if very messy. Sometimes, very dirty. Very hectic. Very loud. Very chaotic. Very fun. Lots of recycle needing to go out. Lots of barking. Lots of crying. Lots of dirty clothes. But also, lots of love and tenderness. Lots of conversations going on about life and learning between the kids and their kids. I love being a fly on the wall in my own house. 

Sunday, March 03, 2019

The celebration of insects

Anatomical Insects hand embroidery pattern on Etsy are so lovely, graphic and delicate. 

azumi sakata's extraordinary embroidery work. And her website.


From "Encyclopédie d'histoire naturelle on Internet Archive Book Images on Flickr. The have some wonderfully, detailed images. 

Fabric sculptures of Yumi Okita