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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Art of Strangeness.

Some people would tell you I've been practicing the art of strangeness most of my life.  :)

Actually when it comes to fine art, I mostly like to draw and paint straight-forward subjects like dogs and cats, in bright colours.  Those are the images I like to have on my walls and that make me happy.

There was a time, though, when I lived next door to a lovely Art Therapist called Despina Weston.  She ran group sessions in 'painting from the subconscious,' and I went along.  After a few courses, I really loosened up and got going. If you ever need to free up your art, I would recommend getting into this style of painting.

I bought big tubs of kids' poster paint, which is bright, layers well, and is non toxic so you can get it all over you. (Which I did!)  I used large sheets of newsprint taped to the wall of Despina's studio, and went to town.  I would start by just painting whatever colour or shapes I liked.

And then, slowly, something would begin to appear out of the colours, and a work of art would happen.

They were not cute and cuddly. They were often scary.

Despite the sometimes unsettling results, it was so great to be standing up and moving while making art.   I don't think I've ever had so much fun making art before or since.

At times, one small work would need to grow, so I would just add more paper and away I'd go again.

Mysterious futuristic person...

...moves and turns...

... and becomes a demon-fighter...


who needs wings...

Die demon die!

Sometimes they became faces of mysterious scariness...

Green man?

Or mythical presence...

King Arthur riding out of the arena of social expectation

And once, I think I painted a very wise and mysterious being indeed.

I wonder who he or she is?

I'd almost forgotten these works until our recent tidy-up revealed a sleeve full of photos.  The works themselves, apart from King Arthur up there, were too large to keep anywhere and are long gone.  I'm glad they were photographed, though!

If you've ever wanted to make art but been too scared to try, I recommend a group like this one, where process is the goal and the final result is purely incidental. While playing, I learned a lot about layering and colour-use that I have often applied since then.




Sunday, 26 March 2017

Trees and Parties

We had a really nice weekend.   The wing ding for the two brigades ended up so friendly and fun.  I like this angle because it shows how neat and clean we had the engine bay.  Yay us! 

I think some people are missing though.  I think it was more crowded than this earlier.  Heh, I had little easter eggs to hand out while asking a question as a way of getting to know each other better. I suggested people ask what else the other person does as well as Fireys, then the questionee would become the questioner and go and find a new person to talk to.  The first bit worked so well that big conversations would start up and the eggs didn't get passed on, so I would come by and get them again and start it off all over again elsewhere.  I learned a lot about a lot of people.  :D

Andrew and Jeff were the 'braces boys".

That's me there finding out what Barry thinks about how Brigades are currently funded.  (Not printable!  :) )

Yesterday we had a cuppa with some lovely Druids again and have planned two festival events.  This means that the Silvereyes Seedgroup, an OBOD group we started some years ago and put into hiatus due to lack of energy, is back up and running!  Yay!

Humans need festivals and we need to keep in tune with the seasons too.  To this end, we are going to have a gentle meeting to venerate ancestors at Samhain  (Southern Hemisphere Samhain is happening soon) and a bonfire and drumming to celebrate a Rowdy Yule in July!  Double yay! 

Our walk today was to a bush reserve that is new to us.  There were some really lovely old giant trees out there.

This Jarrah King is a beauty.  

And there were some lovely twisty old Marris in a different spot, a quite large grove of them, all perhaps tapping into good water under the ground.

The dogs had fun, of course.

It's always nice to walk somewhere new. As my Mickel Therapist, Angela Wilson, would say, Difference Is Good!  It makes your brain happy, and that makes your body happy.

I hope you get to do some new things this week!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A Very Kitty Kind of Week

Cyrano is extra snuggly this week.  I think it is the cooling weather and no fire going yet, or is that too cynical?

He is a very large cat, which you only really realise when he is on your chest and you can't move one of your arms any more.

It's hard to capture this giant armful of purring kitty in photos when you are trying to take one yourself, but I tried.

Ahh, yes this one kind of covers it.  Mr Kitty not impressed by unflattering photo angle, however!

He likes this one better, as we all would.  :D

I've pulled my finger out and been working on the Amigurumi baby Buckbeak I've had half-finished for ages.  Kitty loves crochet time, and he is irresistible when he is being cute, even if he doesn't have his claws in your yarn.

Apart from kitty time, I can't say too much about this week. Some tidying work up at the fire station. Lots of guitar and lyre (harp!) practice. One huge reaction to some unknown chemical at drumming that left me weak as a rag.  (Bummer.)  One very nice night of messing with music with my friend Dowal.

I met Dowal over twenty years ago at a local theatre production of Camelot.  He was acting in it and I was helping with sets and working backstage (and singing my head off with the chorus). We both agree it was the most fun play we ever did.

Dowal plays a mean piano!  We're hoping to meet up a bit more to work up some songs together.  I'll try to get a pic or do some recording of us then.

Tomorrow we have a big brekky planned with another local Bushfire Brigade, so that will be fun!  



Sunday, 19 March 2017

"Forever and a Day," on the Anglo-Saxon Lyre

Actually I've been in discussion with a fellow player who says that our lyres may technically be a lyre, but that they would have been called harps by the Anglo-Saxons, so we should call them harps too.  This makes good sense to me.  Now I just have to retrain my brain!

I've only recently worked out this song and would have usually got it a bit more polished before I recorded it, but I videoed it to listen back and see how it was going and the accidental view was so pretty, and it didn't sound bad at all, so I've gone with it.

This sweet song is by Portcullis Minstrels, from an album of the same name as the song.

I'm still not as fond of the block-and-strum sound compared to plucking, but it is certainly a lot simpler as far as memorizing the music goes, and makes a nice change between plucked songs.

This video has little bits of each song from that album.

In other news, we went out to a fire this weekend.  Someone had lit a backyard fire, which is not allowed yet for a good reason.  I got this funny animation while trying to get pics of the guys in the Light Tanker from my seat in the back of the 1.4.

It wasn't much of a fire, so it was just a bit of fun to be out with our friends in the firetrucks.  We had a good time that morning at Firey Schedules too, but I was driving the Light Tanker when we were out and about, so I didn't get any pics.

On Sunday we had a lovely day. We started it with a dog walk in the local sculpture park, then a visit to a fresh food store that gave us a chance to pat this sweet Greyhound.

Then it was off down to town to meet some of the local Druids for a cuppa in a cool cafe.  We talked for 3 and a half hours and it could easily have been longer.  I like Druids.  They are gentle, clever, open-minded and interesting.

Then off we went to meet our family for lunch to celebrate my gorgeous oldest niece's 24th birthday.  It was all fun.  Yay!   A perfect weekend!

Mum got her all-clear from the specialist at her post-op check today.   She is already much better.  Lets hope we can draw a line through that bad time now and she can move on and enjoy life again!    



Friday, 17 March 2017

Kangas hopping down the street!

Ha ha ha, see they really do here in Oz!

Not the best pic because the afternoon sun was behind them, but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to photographing wild animals you come across all of a sudden.
Admittedly it is a street of houses right beside miles and miles of bush reserve, but still!  Cheeky buggers!

Glad they don't do it at our place.  The ticks have been awful due to the unusually wet weather, and my friends who live near here have been covered in tick bites from ticks that the roos carry into their yards.  As a lyme disease survivor, that makes me feel very icky indeed!

We've been avoiding the kangaroo areas of bush when we go for walks.  Angus is still walking with us.  Though mum is recovering nicely from her 'op', walking such a large heavy dog will not be happening just yet. Tess comes with us some days, but not if we are going a bit further.

He's so handsome.  I must say, yellow Labs photograph nicely so much more easily than blacks!  See cute Rosie back there, wondering why her mama went back down the trail?  (Dropped my sunglasses when I put leads on them to avoid scaring a nervous little dog we met.)

After his walks he is very happy to go back to mum and keep her company as she rests.

I've been playing with hair braids a bit, having watched some youtube videos on the topic.  Braiding my hair shows Odin I am thinking of him.  He likes that almost as much as he likes offerings of mead or coffee!

At 51, it is a bit weird to be playing with hair-dos, but life is change.  I've never really played with my hair, even all those years when it was really long, so it is fun for me to learn new things to do with it.

The Legolas look:

The 'I don't know what' look.  These braids are fun to do.  They are known as rope braids.

Hmmm, I look a bit pale again there.  Have to go for an iron test soon.   Hope it is stable now!  Don't want to take any more iron supps.  They make me so sick.

I am having so much fun working out my first block-and-strummed song on the lyre. It is a gorgeous, sweet tune by the Portcullis Minstrels, called, "Forever and a Day."  Must get videoing soon.  I have three including that one that will soon be ready to show you.

I've been playing guitar almost every day too.  News Flash: You actually do improve amazingly fast when you practice every day!  Ha ha, it's not news to anyone but worth reminding myself. Musical skill stalls or goes backwards if you don't keep up your practice, and nothing hurts more than being able to play less and less songs instead of more and more!

We have been doing a bit of a reorganise this week.  Andrew is moving all his amateur radio gear out into the railway carriage where I had an art room that I never used because I like to work in the thick of life. Now it is a man cave and he can keep all of his incomprehensible and boring (to me) gear in there out of my way! !  Yay for both of us! 
The man cave in all its glory!
 Right now he is also putting together an ikea (gasp) cabinet.  We have been using this old Tv cabinet for so long and it was on its last legs, so we took the plunge and bought a new one.  This one has wheels, so we will be able to push it aside to get at the bottom shelves of our bookshelf.  It is a weird arrangement we have, but in a tiny, open-plan cottage like this one, weird stuff does sometimes have to happen.

"After" pic to come!

As part of the reshuffle, an armchair that had been out in the railway carriage for years came inside, and we started to get headaches. Luckily after a few days we linked it to mildew/mould in the chair.  Beware of mould!  As soon as we took it back out we improved and are now back to normal.

This pair of afghans also got displaced, so I gave them a wash, planning to store them afterwards, since we don't currently use them.  Instead, I am wondering if I can somehow fold and store them somewhere visible so we can still enjoy their vibrant colour.      

This one that was at my MIL's house is falling apart in some rows.  Any ideas of ways to repair it, perhaps by removing the rotten yarn and rejoining it with a crochet stitch somehow?

I have been to five cafes with friends this week, and drumming circle, plus the fireys' don and a Druid meet-up is coming this Sunday too!  I think it is the most social week of my life.  Yay!  So much for lyme-induced hermityness!  No more of that.  I'm out and proud of it!
Some of our brigade friends.  Want to know the best people in town?  Join your local bushfire brigade! 

It's been so much fun. Thanks to all my amazing friends and family for your company!  Think I'm developing a cafe habit.  Is there such a thing?  :D    



Monday, 13 March 2017

Firey's Picnic

Saturday was a very Firey sort of day.  First we spent the morning recruiting and chatting to people at the local poling place for our state election (as well as voting of course!)  I got a bit sunburned as we stayed much longer than we had planned to, but I was glad I went as it was a really nice crowd of fellow brigade members who had gathered and we gas-bagged to each other as much as to other people.      

Then the evening was the combined fire Brigades' picnic.  It was fun, though we lost the tug-o-war again.  I think the team that has won four years in a row must use glue on their feet because the grass is so slippery and everyone else finds it hard to get enough grip.  That and the tiny, small, infinitesimal fact that we didn't train once!  :D

Sister Jen and bro-in-law Craig were in our team. Andrew only got to supervise.

But he did get into the All-stars Team, which was put together to make up the tenth team to fill out the rounds.  It was more of an, "Ok I'll do it," than an "Allstar," team, really, but they had fun. 

I think the most fun of the tug-o-war is watching the kids enjoy doing it after the competition. .

The sunsetting sky was amazing, and we could see so much of it because we were out on a big footy oval.

From this:

To this:

It was a really good night.  We had a good laugh and chat with people and ate lovely food, and even won two raffles prizes from free tickets the Shire hands out!  Many thanks to our local Shire, Mundaring, who look after their firefighters so well!

Murray obviously enjoyed it too!

Sunday Jen and I went to pick up mum from hospital, minus gall bladder and already looking and sounding much happier.  That was good news!

In the afternoon, Andrew and I went up to the station to repair the fire trailer, or I should say, Andrew repaired it, and I idled nearby, ready for when he needed me to look at the tail lights for him.  The rest of the time, I played Mondream.  The acoustics in the station is quite good, though the highway was a bit loud at times.

How is this for a strange juxtaposition of subjects for a photo?

There were Equipment Officer things I could have been doing, but to be honest, I just felt like sitting.  It's been a hectic few weeks with mum sick, so it felt good to just play and sing while Andrew tinkered.  After all, he needed musical accompaniment for his work, didn't he?