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Archive for September, 2007

How do you sleep? Do you sleep? Do you dream? Do you remember your dreams?

So much of our time, perhaps a third of our lives (if we subscribe to eight hours per day) is spent in sleep. Or in search of sleep. A time to rest and rejuvenate. A time to work out anxiety. To let everything go. At least until morning.

Do you go to bed late or get up early? Are you one of those that does both — someone who can function perfectly well on four or five hours of sleep a night?

There are rituals around sleep. Prayers (Now I lay me down to sleep…) and lullabies (Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little baby…). What were your rituals growing up and what are your rituals now?

Sleep on it. Dream about it. And when you wake up, and when you’re fresh, write about sleep. Write everything you know about sleep. Write the word SLEEP in captial letters at the top of your page and then write. For fifteen minutes. Don’t stop writing until your time is up.

Be awake to Sleep.



Counting Sheep, watching the churro sheep through the fence post at the Harvest Festival, last day of September, photo © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday, Simplex Projector detail, Parkway Theater, Minneapolis, MN, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Yesterday, 35mm Movie Projector detail, inside the recently refurbished Parkway Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


After dinner at the Tea House last night, Liz and I went to see The Brave One. I’ve always been a big Jodie Foster fan. She’s got charisma, isn’t afraid to tackle psychologically complex roles, and Liz and I both enjoy her intensely handsome good looks. This was a tough role. And I applaud her for taking it on.

I predict that most Americans won’t be able to stomach the underbelly truth of this film. Attendance numbers will drop. Because we live in a country that would rather pay to see the gratuitous violence of the Die Hard series, than skirt the stormy edges behind real violence in our own backyards.

This movie will make you think. And the chemistry between Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) and Sean Mercer (Terrence Howard, another favorite) is worth the price of admission.

New York City adds a fertile, heart thumping backdrop. But it’s the disturbing psychological thrust of the film that drives home a deeper truth we already know in our hearts – when it comes to integrity and morality, we don’t really know what we’d do…until an it-will-never-happen-to-me situation knocks the breath out of us and changes our lives forever.


The Brave One – Things To Look Out For

  • Prolonged suspense
  • Rugged good looks
  • Understated sensuality (eye contact, voice, dialogue)
  • Well-integrated score
  • Increased heart rate
  • Unexpected endings (in every situation)
  • Changed definition of “community”
  • Sideways glances as you walk out of the theater
  • 2:02 hours of stomach tension. Prepare to be on edge.
  • You’ll try to put yourself in the same situation. And wonder what you’d do.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, September 29th, 2007

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First Thoughts, Rainpainting Series, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Somewhere Buried Deep, Rainpainting Series, outside the Parkway Theater in the rain, September 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



First Thoughts

somewhere buried deep
within the fire of second choices,
first thoughts



-posted on red Ravine, Friday, September 28th, 2007

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Alberto Gonzalofishe, former Attorney General (appointed by George W. Bush) depicted as a fish on a plaque, doodle © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



-Inspired by PRACTICE: Fish Out Of Water – 15mins

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Alberto Gonzales, I see his round face, some vato I might see at El Camino Restaurant on Fourth Street, eating huevos rancheros. There he might be happy, light, maybe even Democrat, but up on stage, the television reporters talking over each other to ask him questions, poor señor Gonzales was like the proverbial deer. I saw his fear.

I don’t like Alberto, was happy when he resigned, but I do recognize one thing. A fish out of water.

Now that he’s gone I can wonder what it was like working with the Bushes and Cheneys. The privileged white people who know names like “Alberto” and “José” and “Juan” from their gardening help. I can imagine how Bush might have pronounced Alberto’s name. The long Al, the Bear, and the Toe. Al-Bear-Toe.

Or maybe Bush was used to his share of Albertos from the ranch in Crawford. Maybe his best laborers were brothers named Jesús and Miguel, and their cousin Alberto, and maybe Bush could get by with broken Spanish. Hell, his brother married a brown girl, for God’s sake, we love ‘em like family.

But this isn’t Alberto or Dubya or Jeb. Although I do like saying “Jeb.” This is me, I’m a fish, flopping around on the ground. Do I grow feet, do I flounder, what are my experiences?

I married a white guy, we call them “Anglos,” and his politics are good. Strong democratic family, a good family. Kind and compassionate. My husband says when he grew up he wanted to be American Indian. He catches fish with his hands. He’s a fish out of water, too, my husband, and one of the ornaments we have for our Christmas tree is a black sheep his mother knitted for him.

I went to the Albuquerque Country Club for lunch last week. It was an event my mother-in-law invited me to, something she wanted me to do. It’s complicated. I love her, really love this woman. I wanted to be there, to put on my best face. I’m beyond high school resentments, those Cleff brothers who called it Vato High. I’m grown up, a grown woman with children, for God’s sake. Nothing is as glib as when seen through the broken heart of an 18-year-old.

There, in the white linen tablecloth world of brown people taking care of white people, the club members with names like Baca and Gonzales, they’re mainstreamed now. Do they look in the eye of the thin brown vato walking past on his way to pull weeds so the sidewalk is free of debris?

Fish out of water, I grow lungs and legs and my scales get light. I attended a Hispanic Leadership Conference hosted by my company. I told a VP that I appreciated his embracing his “chicanismo,” and the guy looked at me and said he embraces his “puertoricanismo.” Take that, brown chica grown up in a white world, at least I have my own people, we eat our eses and reject all of it, especially your stale Reyes Tijerina revolution.

So adaptable. Like Alberto. We conform. Speak with zero accent. Use big words. Go to banquets, my God, I can straighten my hair in the name of a banquet. Too bad he is a Republican, and a nasty one at that. I might have felt sorrier than I did the morning I heard the news, the fish finally died.


-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – FISH OUT OF WATER

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The 7 tea roses sitting on the deck, roots untangled and exposed, tilted in their makeshift pots, looked like fish out of water. I stared at them through the picture window. The wind whipped the mustard ash leaves across the peeling gray paint. We called a handyman to help shore the deck for winter. He is coming Thursday. And we are looking into gutters for the small white cottage named Indria. Another way I knew I loved Liz – when she referred to her home by proper name.

I have felt like a fish out of water most of my life. A grand sweeping statement, not made of detail or feeling. Living an alternative lifestyle is a long swim upriver. Strong. Strong and long. Luckily, I am a good swimmer. But lately, weak in the knees. And fish don’t have knees, do they? Only fins and gills. They breathe with gills. Oxygen out. Or in? Now I’m confusing lungless fish with the leaves on the oaks that bend and gnarl across skies to the west of me.

I’m longing for more confidence. Everything is going fine. Swimmingly, in fact. Yet that nagging doubt. It rises this time of year, when the skies grow darker and the hours of light, leaner. I am sad to see the light go. Happy for a snowy winter. Can you have it both ways? Maybe in pulp fiction.

The tea roses – Liz drove home from work, unpadlocked the shed, and out came the square-toed shovel. I was commenting on red Ravine and peeked up to see her bent body over a grassy hole. I had to go out and help. 7 tea roses. We inherited them from our friends who moved last summer, only 10 minutes away. They bought a new house and are not fond of the idiosyncrasies of hybrid roses.

But Liz never shrinks from a challenge. It is I who run. She has the greenest of thumbs and now I’m thinking about the time we visited the Jolly Green Giant sign down in rolling, hilly southern Minnesota, Le Sueur. She snapped a photo of me standing next to the pea-clothed big guy. Did he have a leaf for a hat? Oxygen. If I find the photo, maybe I’ll post it. But then I’d have to blur out my face and body leaving nothing but – this writing practice.

Last night before the rain, I pulled on steel-toed motorcycle boots and helped Liz plant the 7 tea roses we dug up from our friends’ home on Sunday. They have round white tags with silver edges and names like Queen Elizabeth and Glowing Peace and Elle and Mirandy and Betty White, but we gave Betty away to our neighbor, Bev. And when we were done, they looked happier and no longer like fish out of water, but roots in wet land.

And my fingernails bled dirt underneath and my hands smelled like a ribbon of earthworm. My hair blew back behind my eardrums and the wind was so loud she swept the changing season that seems to pound through my head. We walked into Indria and made chicken and dumpling soup. And all seemed right with the world until I remembered the fish that I’m allergic to now, and the lump came back into my throat. The same watery lump that dumps me on dry land, wondering which decision it is that will tip the gray scales.


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – FISH OUT OF WATER

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Diebenkorn Leaves Taos, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Diebenkorn In New Mexico, Taos Mountain in the background, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


When I was in Taos in July, we carpooled over to the Harwood Museum of Art to see Diebenkorn In New Mexico. When I was looking through my Taos photos last night, I realized I had wanted to do a post on Richard Diebenkorn after I got back. Time has rolled on without me.

The exhibit is moving to the San Jose Museum of Art and will open there Sunday, October 14th, 2007. If you are in the area, it’s worth checking out this period of Diebenkorn’s life (1950 – 1952).

 Natalie's Favorite, Diebenkorn In New Mexico, July 2007, Taos, New Mexico, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.       One Of My Faves, Diebenkorn in New Mexico, July 2007, Taos, New Mexico, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.

Playing Favorites, Diebenkorn In New Mexico Exhibit, Harwood Museum, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photos by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.


It was in 1950 that Diebenkorn enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of New Mexico, leaving behind a teaching position at the California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Arts Institute). It had been at the California School of Fine Arts that Diebenkorn crossed paths with artist, David Park, who became his mentor and friend.

Natalie wrote about Diebenkorn in her book about painting, Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World. (It’s one of my favorites. Read Chapter 1, How I Paint at this link.) So she was thrilled to take the class of 50+ students to the Harwood to see his work. In preparation for the visit, she told stories about her chance meeting with Helen Park Bigelow and a series of strange twists and turns that led her to learn that Helen was David Park’s daughter.


Though I missed Helen’s August lecture at the Harwood last summer, her introduction explains:

After the Diebenkorns returned to the Bay Area from New Mexico, they and my parents became best friends. I was married and living nearby, and it was during those years, the fifties, that my three children were born. I was in and out of my parent’s house, where I saw Dick and Phyllis often, and got to know them and love them and also got to know and love Dick’s works. Through my father, Dick and the third player in that important friendship, the painter Elmer Bischof, those years gave us what became known as Bay Figurative Painting, and the emergence into national recognition of David, Dick and Elmer. As I observed the three young painters, Dick and Elmer in their thirties and David in his forties, their passion for work left deep impressions. For my Harwood Talk I will share stories and insights from those years, with a focus on the friendship, competition and recognition the three painters shared.

The last few times I have visited museums with Natalie’s classes, she has had each person slow walk around the exhibit and view the work (it was O’Keeffe last December in Santa Fe). When she rings the bell, we stop – and choose our favorite painting, the one we would love to take home, by standing directly in front of it. Then we describe what we like about the piece.

It’s another form of practice that Natalie teaches, to slow down and take in each piece of art in silence. I call it museum walking. Other people viewing the exhibit usually join in with the class. It’s a great exercise in seeing.

And, for me, I find that the painting I like the most is not necessarily the same painting I could stand to live with for the rest of my life! There are many things to consider when choosing art for one’s walls.


Harwood Museum Of Art, Taos, NM, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.Diebenkorn In New Mexico was organized by the Harwood and highlights a little-known period of Diebenkorn’s work. But it was a time that had a lasting impact on his career.

The exhibition brings together 50 paintings, works on paper, and sculpture that have never been seen together before.



We’d love to know which piece you’d take home. But be prepared. Museum walking makes the guards quite nervous.


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

-related to posts: Mabel’s Dining Room, A Reason To Be In Taos This Summer



Diebenkorn in NM, Taos, NM, July 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights rewerved.

Continues Upstairs, Diebenkorn In New Mexico Exhibit, Harwood Museum, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.



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