Power Puffs, a pleasant distraction

Rather than bore anyone with the way my each part of my head hurts in its own special way, I started making my own Power of Jean Power Power Puff Bangle. I figured, “Why not? I know this stuff backwards and forwards now, sideways and upside down, right?”

And while I was still congratulating myself on how much triangle ass I was kicking, I promptly made a hilarious error. I took it out, marched on, and I guess maybe I can finish it tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. I’ll show you mine when I have a few more done (I’m at 2 out of 21, not very impressive so far) but for reference, this is what I’m up to, in shades of red, gold, pink, and whatever greens I can dredge up.

It’s most enjoyable, being able to just say, “I think I’ll whip out a Power Puff Bangle!” And it is also quite pleasant, thinking of Jean, and the excitement of the fact that it’s practically January, and that means I am practically freezing my ass off in a converted French stable, laughing and saying everything I know how to say in French, and going carousing in a wintry Paris. I think I’d like to drive a sleigh, eat cassoulet in a cafe, glaze root vegetables with honey and wine, and cross-stitch a sampler of swear words in fourteen languages.

So I’ll try to forget about my pounding head, my sore throat… and just think about What Bead comes next.

Praise Be, Bill comes home tomorrow. I won’t look askance at the opportunity to lay my head in his lap and let him take care of me.

If you’d like to explore your own Power of Jean Power Power Puff Bangles, you must remember that she calls them things like “3-4-1” and “3-4-4” and that all of her patterns are available for songs and whistles on her quite efficient web site.

straight time

It’s what I’m doing. There isn’t any going back, or speeding it up, I just have to sit it out. I dislike being sick- if I had a job I needed a break from, or I needed an excuse to get out of chores or school, it might be even welcome. As it is, it’s just time gone. I’m beading a little.

Jasper, sleeping in his new soft bed in the bright sunshine.

I had strange dreams last night and this morning. In one dream, I had a boatload of people over in a house I didn’t recognize, and I was making them all breakfast (which I love to do) but I didn’t seem to really be able to do it. Finally I asked my mother to help, but she really wasn’t any help at all, which wasn’t remotely correct. Kyle Cassidy was there, he doesn’t like pancakes anyway, but he does like efficiency and I was showing none of it.

Then I dreamed I was at The Blue Floors, my first house in Tucson. It was a pretty Victorian downtown in Armory Park, and Bria’s room had lovely cornflower blue paint on the floors, hence the name. I was sick in my dream, and not tracking well, and I walked outside and the whole backyard was shimmering blue. I was marveling at the trick of the light when I realized that it was water; my entire back yard was filling with water and I didn’t know why. I tried to figure out what was going on but I couldn’t speak loudly enough to be heard, I couldn’t see well enough to see who I was talking to. Sick dreams.

Evan and I went to PetSmart after school yesterday, my one foray into the world. We needed a cat brush, and I wanted to get Wyatt a new feather toy and Jasper a new cat bed, which were on the list anyway but rose to the top after their mousing prowess. Cats appreciate rewards just like any of us. We played with the kittens up for adoption, searching our hearts for scraps of willingness to hide the paperwork, lie to Bill and say we found one by the side of the road.

We didn’t find it, so we left. And Jasper loves his bed, and Wyatt loves his feather teaser.


I am invaded with the not-very-nice Welcome Back To School cold/flu thing that Liam and Evan are still recovering from.  My throat is on fire; I’m wistfully saying goodbye to the rest of my week.

Hopefully I’ll be better by Friday night, able to go out to The Bead Place and do some triangling with Team Peyote. I blame Malick for this, as is only reasonable. I was in great shape until I saw his loathsome film, and then all of my defenses crumbled, and the attackers invaded.

So, it’s beads and bed for me. So far mostly bed. Wyatt is being quite solicitous, but even I am unwilling to take a fortune from his ass to see what my fate will be. It’s yours if you want it.

I can report that the weather is just lovely, and all of our windows can open. This may seen like a small thing to you, the idea that I can open any window I please, but our thousand year old cottage had maybe three working windows and even fewer functional screens. To be able to simply toss open a window at will is exciting.

It’s been such a dry summer here that the trees are already starting to turn, and there are leaves scattered all over the street.

Well, let me rephrase that. There are leaves scattered over two of the yards on the street, ours and our neighbor’s. The rest of the street is staffed by Lawn Guys, who run out every time a leaf falls and attack it with a power appliance. There is not a single leaf to be found, as you can see, on any other lawn. Crazy. But I guess everyone needs something to do. I badly want to buy them all rakes, so they can try them out, see what it feels like to use a stick with tines. I find raking rather enjoyable, myself.

Another nice thing is that now that Liam walks to school in the morning (the high school is just a few blocks away, the middle school is a mile, and across a scary crazy screamy street) it’s just Evan and I in the car in the morning, wending our way through the helmet-haired moms in minivans and the white guys in loafers, aggressive in their SUVs. I am always grateful for the visual break of the kickass ’69 442 always parked out front at Smitty’s Garage, and for the police parked outside the elementary school, making the SUVs slow down.

Next year, when they are both in high school, Liam will be driving and no one will need a ride, and thrillingly the Porting phase of parenting will be over. I’m not one of those people who wring their hands at their children growing up. I love it. And it’s most enjoyable to have Evan riding shotgun, just like a person, instead of being the stickier half of a couple of conjoined monkeys in the back.

The sleepy pirate Jasper

Jasper spent the morning curled in Evan’s sock drawer, sleeping like a pink-nosed baby. We can hardly stand how adorable he is, and how silly. Right now, he is perched in the OPEN window (fall is coming!) and smelling the smells, listening to the little children play next door.

I had the expected day; not much done. Bill is off to Flagstaff for a New Horizons meeting (their spacecraft gets to Pluto in just under four years, naturally they are all very excited) and I’m settling in with the boys, the cats, the routine of homework and meals.

I’m still sad from the film. Thank you to everyone who left a comment of kinship, or kindness, it really actually made a difference to me. Hopefully the public pool will seem like a good idea again soon, instead of the place of nightmares, because it’s only open until Labor Day.

Excitingly, Jean Power and I have, at the courtesy of her parents (who offered us use of a converted stable adjacent to a chateau) planned the entire month of January to hole up at a converted chateau stable in France, to finish the book. It will be cold (being January and all) but I’ll lay in a decent supply of expedition-weight silk long underwear. It sounds glorious; Dustin is planning on coming too, and what a book it will be.

I find that now that I know that Jean Power is on the Earth, I can’t fully enjoy life without seeing her every four months. Each day, I long for her in background. Fact!

I’m feeling it for everyone who is underwater, without power, has trees on their house, etc. And I think that the government did an excellent job of preparing for it- the evacuations, the warnings, the Text Your Location To Find Shelter, all very good. (photo removed)

Tri Wing Ring beads

I realize that I completely forgot to talk about the colours of the amazing Tri Wing Ring kits, available for this week only. (It’s a limited edition- we take orders, we order the beads, they ship on September 9th. Then on to the next thing.)

I also failed to point out that the kit prices of $45 and $85 are in many cases less than you would pay to buy the just beads from a bead store. This is nothing against bead stores; I love and support them, and every time I go into one, I buy a tube of beads, because I want them to be there next time I come back. Bead stores ROCK, as do independent artists selling kickass kits. We are all essential personnel.

It’s just a statement of fact that if you bought these 6 or 14 tubes of beads at a shop, you would pay at least (and in some cases more) than the cost of the kit. We’ve included many extraordinary beads, such as the silver-gold lustre cuts above (which can be found in both the 6 and 14 bead kits.) They are perfect for ridges and ribs, and show as perfect little hex-nuts in profile.

We have two iris beads; the stunning forest green and the irreplaceable blue iris.

And several colours that people find unnerving, but which actually blend beautifully with the others, such as Pumpkin (found in both kits) and the opaque matte lustre khaki gold. You can see the matte royal blue, the silver-gold hex, the blue iris and the khaki gold in the awesome Pirate Six-Wing Ring below.

There are two colours of brick red, matte and glossy, in both kits, and in the 14-bead, the beautiful matte opaque coral, and turquoise, and the mind-bending opaque matte metallic luster rainbow purple. Here are the complete colour lists:

Six Bead:  A couple of grams of beautiful Miyuki size 15 rounds in bronze, and five full 7-gram tubes of Delica 11s in the following colours:

silver-gold hex
matte opaque brick red
gloss opaque brick red (which is nicely different from its matte sister above)
golden opaque pumpkin
matte opaque royal blue

Fourteen Bead:  All of the above, plus a couple of grams of a lovely, out-of-print hot red-orange round Czech 14s, and seven full 7-gram tubes of Miyuki Delica 11s in the following colours:

blue iris
forest green Iris
opaque matte lustre khaki gold
opaque matte cyan turquoise blue
opaque coral
opaque matte rainbow lustre purple
silver-lined olive
This is a colourway that we took some time and trouble choosing; some of these are colours that not everyone is comfortable picking on their own. We wish we could also have included a bold opaque yellow, three more shades of blue, a black opaque hex, and two more shades of red. There will be a full book kit available at the very end of all of this, when the pre-orders go out, that has every colour we used in the book. But for now, fourteen will have to do.
Get your kit here, in either size, or order the instructions alone. But don’t wait!
You can see the Pumpkin and the matte royal blue on my second finger, with a bellyband of blue iris, and edging of silver-gold hexes and tiny gold 15s, On my third finger, the khaki gold lustre combines with blue iris, and on my fourth, the cyan turquoise dances with the coral, and the silver-gold. The Jester’s Hat on my thumb uses Czech rounds, not a part of this kit.

taken apart

I have been taken apart by the horrible movie Tree Of Life, and it might be some time before I am put back together again. I wish I could go back and un-see it. I do not think that beauty excuses cowardice, anger excuses the abuse of children, or the pretensions of High Art excuse the base cruelty of this film.

I am suspicious and mistrustful of the people who loved the movie; I have to come to terms with that in a very personal way. I have no tolerance for the abuse of children. I would have killed my father in that movie, as the oldest boy had the chance to do. He could have just nudged that jack, and dropped the car right on his father’s horrible chest, crushed the life and the abuse right out of him.

I would have done it, without hesitation. I was forced to decide last night, and by the time the boy walked away I had already committed the act in my heart. It was a terrible feeling, and I did nothing to deserve it. I didn’t know, going in, what the movie was about. I just trusted the people who said it was beautiful.

I don’t know how long it will last, but as of today I hate Terence Malick with a passion that I have exercised for few other humans. If I ever see him, I will kick him, very very hard, and tell him why. I wish I could physically strip him of his financing, his awards, and his sense of well-being. And let me tell you, it takes a lot for me to move to that place. Such needless weight has been laid on me; today I am a person with a heavy heart and a bruised soul, a person who has been asked to endure the loss of a child without knowing in a timely matter which child is gone, without understanding what happened and why he could not be saved. I have stood silent and ashamed as my husband threatened my children; I am just supposed to walk away from this and what? Have a nice swim? Chit-chat about beadwork? I hate horrible movies, I hate horrible people who hurt children.

Now comes the meticulous, unnecessary, time-wasting separation of reality from nightmare. Goddamn you, Terrence Malick, goddamn you to hell. And to anyone who recommends this movie to anyone else without warning them: what in fuck are you thinking? 

Wish me peace.

st. louis

I started writing this on an airplane last night, shooting toward St. Louis, toward my sons, my husband. It was an uneventful trip; I just stepped in and out of assorted conveyance and then I was in Bill’s arms, and then Wyatt was sitting on my hip at five in the morning, wondering about breakfast.

On the flight, I finished reading Ruth Reichl’s gorgeous book Tender At The Bone, and was touched by the acknowledgement in the back; “Everyone I have ever known has helped me write this book.”

I hear that.

Thanks to the glory of the Internets, I learned today that Sara Dylan was in the room when Bob Dylan recorded the master vocal track for the song Sara, off of the record Desire.

Did you know that? I find it heart-wrenching; the record came out in 1976; they split up soon after the recording, and were divorced, bitterly,  in 1977. Did she know, did he know, when he sang that gorgeous love song, that it was a dirge? “Don’t ever leave me, don’t ever go…”

Thinking about that led me to listen not only to Desire, but to Slow Train Coming (which I actually remember coming out in 1979) and the sound of the music caused Bill to ask, “who is that playing guitar?”, and I guessed, “Stevie Ray Vaughn?” But of course it was Mark Knopfler. On the whole record. How did I not know this? I was disappointed, thinking of how it would have enriched me to have known that, but of course I am enriched in retrospect.

Here is some lovely Mark Knopfler work, on Once Upon A Time in the West, from Communique.

Reading the Wiki entry for the Desire record,  I learned that Emmylou Harris sang on it, uncredited (I’ll have to listen for her, in fact I think I can already hear her singing behind Dylan on One More Cup Of Coffee, just thinking about it) and I also accumulated the exciting fact that the reason that Dylan put a real band together was that he saw Patti Smith perform with her band (before she even made her first record) and was so stunned by the chemistry she had with them, and with the clear and unique sound they had created together, that he knew that he had been missing something important by only working with studio musicians.

All very fascinating!

Thinking about Dylan losing Sara made me want to think instead  about Dylan having fun, recording with George Harrison and Roy Orbison and Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, as the Travling Wilburys. I had no idea that their sessions were filmed; I have to go watch them ALL. (Here is an explanation of Wilbury history for those of you yet to discover those excellent two albums…)

Bob Dylan and George Harrison singing together in the song Inside Out

Kurt Warner was on my flight from Phoenix to St. Louis. Warner, with his painful earnestness, always left me a little flat. If he played well, it was God’s Game, as if Jesus himself threw the winning passes. If he played poorly, it was his own sorry fault, and he spoke of himself very badly, almost as he felt as if he were worthless scum that sometimes rose to glory when God slipped him on like a skin suit and threw those touchdown passes. That strikes me as counterproductive, a recipe for misery rather than enlightenment, and I would ask him about it, but he is in First, and I am in the Emergency Row in Coach.

No one I talked to about my recent string of stunning insights, such as realizing that my body had it’s own set of beliefs and instincts, separate from those that occupy the life of my mind, gave the slightest hair of a rat’s ass, which is amusing. People probably thought I was high. I may have been or may not have been, who cares? Even though I know that the body can carry memories, I’m still touched to realize that it can worry. I know I’m a slow study. But I doubt my new tender feeling toward my sarx will fade; just like learning that the sound of Slow Train was Knopfler-driven, the awareness is permanent. I reassure it with my mouth guard; it can pretend to close like the gates of a locked city, and when it falls asleep, as it must, I can slip out, like smoke, and travel where I will.

It’s funny, because it seems that all of my life is reduced to sneaking past something; when I was young, I snuck past my parents and teachers, now that I have children, I sneak past them. When my bones relax into sleep, I sneak past the gates of my skeleton.

Ancient wisdom is so buried in our frantic world that I am grateful for anything I can find, small scraps of common sense like bits of Roman glass in the dirt of a souk.

A detail of an excllent Godzilla weather vane from West Coast Weathervanes, thanks Kim Van Antwerp for the tip.