Spring in January
Generally on weekends, my MO is to hole up. It's really the only time I have to paint: this really never works on weekdays and this point was illustrated with stunning savagery when I disregarded my own credo and decided to work on a painting of Ester. I'd been working on it for over a month and in less than a half hour, I had ruined it. I had a spectacular meltdown that had the dog and cats muttering amongst themselves for days. But Saturday was unseasonably nice and I found myself at the back garden with the girls, laying in the hammock and enjoying the restorative benefits. Which I was in particular need of, since earlier that day my toilet overflowed like a bit player in a horror movie and I was still skeeved out. Although, better to clean up my own than someone else's.
I also brought out my new camera, which has not been dazzling me much with interior shots, but I can see now the difference it makes outdoors, with a truly superior zoom. I look forward to this summer. Last summer I took over 10,000 pictures and I think I gave my little Canon Elf a cramp.
I watched Ladies and Gentlemen, Leonard Cohen, a 1965 documentary when he was still primarily a poet and writer (and almost a stand up comedian). He was a good looking guy, very similar to Dustin Hoffman, if you go for that dark/big nosed thing (which apparently I do) and his pronounced philtrum puts him firmly in My Type Ville. At 31, he was amazingly together, seemingly already having conquered things it's only just occurred to me to seek out. The movie inspired me to load up my cart in Amazon and order away. But I'll always remember when watching the British series, The Young Ones, which premiered when I was still living in London, Neal lamenting morosely that no one ever listened to him. "I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record."
Nothing says nothing like nothing from nothing.
Which is actually from National Lampoon's 1974 Dessert issue, which I recall as The Starvation Issue, and has to rank up there as the most egregiously offensive (and therefore, most memorable) of all their issues. As spoken by the Nilsbury Noboy. But it sort of sums up me of late: in terms of stuff to say, I got nuttin'. I suppose it's the usual after-holiday anti-climax, not that my holidays were a swirl of activity or anything, but still.
Practice, put to practice
Yesterday was weird. The CEO of the company I work for resigned, so that flavored the day with alternating tastes of trepidation and celebration, then when I went to get a portion of the ass load of prescriptions I get on a monthly basis, I was informed that I was no longer covered. Turns out our cracker-fucking-jack HR person who is supposed to keep one in the loop about these sort of matters dropped my particular ball. So, I started shorting out about that until I took a big breath, an even bigger toke and just reasoned that it was pointless to stress about it until the next day, when I could get to the bottom of it. And then, listening to the news on NRP, the emergency broadcast signal suddenly came on. Not the drill, but the actual signal. Just let it be quick and relatively painless was my one thought on the subject. I'm finding that I'm increasingly able to pause and assess and move on in things that tend to get this Excitable Girl excitable, and I have to tell you, this is a new and welcome turn of events.
The Morning Papers
Familiar to the legions of people who read or, like me, partially read, The Artist's Way. The concept of the morning papers is what finally got me journaling every day (it's been 15 years now) and when I began this blog, I started to slack a little on the morning part and with the New Year still being all fresh-baby-butt-new and all, I am getting back on that particular pony. For my own purposes, my morning writing is first and foremost to capture my dreams. I agree with conventional opinion that listening to someones dreams is about as welcome as the details of their sex life, so unless they're just spectacularly weird, I put them down on paper, go: hmm, and move on. On some mornings - like this morning, for instance - the Goat Rodeo that I wake up to will sometimes override that fragile dream program and when I am unable to get it on paper, it nibbles away at my under carriage all day. The critters were especially demanding and annoying this morning and this either added to or caused my sour mood that appears to be going nowhere anytime soon. Grumble, piss and moan.
The Dance of They Who Have Feathers.
Lulu looks on scornfully. Poor Ester is out of shot - her new feathers are coming in and still in their pin casings: once they're out, that will involve a good couple of weeks of constant preening to get the casings off. But she's keeping to herself, and I'm pulling her aside and giving her extra helpings of cheese, which is a form of chicken crack, and also a boost of protein, which her poor little body needs right now. Beulah has already gone through her molt and was only marginally compromised by it. We'll see how the Butts fares.
Night of the KITTEHS.

Little rat bastards. I noticed when I came home from work that Heir Hairmeister seemed a little subdued: ate his grisly substance and then parked it on my bed until I got in, then he got out and proceeded to yowl, scratch, dig and otherwise annoy the fuck out of me all night, aided by his little butt-sniffer-in-crime, Sammy. Earlier in the evening I tried to meditate, which had me in the bedroom, on the floor, with the door closed while all three of the clowns tried to lure me back out with sniffing snorgling digging mewling and slipping a key under the door in case I was locked in. Well, except for that last bit.

Today, I feel the benefits of vacation falling down around my ankles like Tippi Hedren's nightgown in Marnie (rent it) (best line: Marnie, you're achin' mah leg). So, tonight I will endeavor to sit for a solid 20 minutes - again - perhaps this time with earplugs to muffle the snuffling on the other side of the door. Because somethings got to give. And when that sentence crystallizes in your brain pan, the thing that's usually got to give is you.

A New Year and no resolutions.

One of my yearly rituals at this time is to read back to my journal entry the year before. And, at the turn of 2009, every resolution I cited could just be cut and pasted into 2010, with the exception of 'quitting drinking' which I actually did manage to do last year. But everything else is the same, and it's sort of how I feel about my recent sobriety. If you asked when I quit drinking, I'd have to really think about it, and then I don't know a date, just an occasion (the Autumnal Equinox). Whereas in other forays onto the wagon, I could tell you down to the second, practically. I think I saddle myself, and shoot myself in the foot (to sort of mix my metaphors while keeping it in a old Wild West-y sort of theme) at the same time by making goals and marking victories. So, even though the resolutions I penned for myself last year are still desirable and, God knows, healthy, if I get there, I get there. Not the destination, but the blah-da-de-blah-blah path: you know.

All in all, I had many days away from the salt mine. It takes a good week, but then my natural circadian rhythms emerge and I think that's really when you can start changing anything. Work = artifice, from the time I'm so rudely pulled from my warm bed full of warm cats, to the crappy chair I sit in all day, staring at the computer that is probably slowly blinding me, and so on. I was actually able to start meditating, one of those resolutions from last year, and I hopefully can continue. I'm presently reading We're All Doing Time (alternating with After The Flood - Yin and Yang, baby!) and it's one of the few books I've read that charts a path for beginning a sitting practice that is actually practicable.

The holidays were nice. On Christmas Eve, I trundled a good friend into the hay conveyor, aka, car, and we drove up to Bellingham for the day. It had been a while since being there and it was a balm to my soul. We drove back the next day, in perfect weather and little traffic and I made and ate rugelah for dinner - yes, I'm ten - and made cat nip toys for the boys and just hung with my kids. I listened to A Christmas Carol read by Jonathan Winters and in some ways, it was the best Christmas I'd had in a while.

Ester is molting again, and again, it looks like it's killing her. And brings me full circle to when I began to conceptualize this blog. Her rejuvenation costs dearly, but it is also a natural (although, from my vantage point, overly harsh) process. And this, I think, is what Ester's Feathers is really all about: change, the cost of it, but the knowledge that at the end of the day, you're only doing what you're supposed to be doing. Speedy molt, little girl. Or should I say, girl(s).