Snail-Mode

My Trusty Pack-horse by Rita de Heer (Day 12 of #Inktober 2021)

Yesterday, in snail-mode, I struggled to get out of the house, onto some transport — bus, train, cab, car-share. All coming with timetables, places to catch, and the last one impenetrably with a forgettable password and a pin. No-one else I know has trouble signing up to Uber!

When my eyes and mind are greedy, I start making promises to come here and there, this event that meet-up. I have great intentions. But, physically — 15 months post-chemo — I’m capable of about half of what I sign up for.

So, yesterday. Snail-mode is when I’m slow. Though it was a lovely day outside, sun shining with a nippy little breeze in the shade, I signed off on the event. Did not catch any of the above transport. Did not visit, nor explore further, my favorite building in Brisbane. Emailed the organizer my abject apologies.

And so, since the sun still beckoned me outside, and I didn’t want to dwell on the cop-out — what it felt like — I loaded my trusty pack-horse with my three-week-overdue books, pushed it to the Stones Corner Public Library. A good walk of four kilometres. The sun a benison.

No Cure for Being Human, by Kate Bowler, 2021, Penguin Random House, one of my new borrows, is the most amazingly appropriate book for how I was feeling.

In Health and in Sickness

These almost-gone tulips startled me with their sere beauty. A good metaphor for how I feel sometimes … almost-gone; learning to love myself in better times and worse.

The previous couple of weeks or three I sat around with a cold, fatigue, a heart scare, more fatigue. Knitting was it while I was forced to sit around. Fatigue is a thing to be borne. There’s no hurrying it. It can be calculated. Six days of sickness, 12 days of fatigue.

In between all that, I spent the day in an Emergency Department to have my heart checked. Which meant blood tests and an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots. Nothing eventuated. It was just a scare, that’s all, I was told. These are the kind of diagnoses meant to comfort a patient.

This patient went home, not forgetting to ask for a copy of the the blood tests. Getting that was the best part of the day. The blood results confirmed to me that my continuing semi-isolation is in a good cause. My white blood cells are still well below what’s needed to fight off disease, platelets also very low, and red blood cells only just dragging themselves into the average range.

‘Imitation or Representation – Art Philosophy’ by …

https://artistcoveries.wordpress.com/2021/03/18/imitation-or-representation-art-philosophy/

My semi-abstract representation of an imaginary creature …

Dryad, After the Clear-Felling, Rita de Heer, 2017

Finally I learned the difference between imitation and representation in art. Thank you, Judith. These concepts have been bothering me for quite a while. When I first started to learn to paint with watercolors, I had to relearn everything I knew. About paint, how to apply the paint, how colors work when you overlay them on other colors, and how to represent the subjects I’m interested in.

I can say ‘represent’ with confidence now. I’ve always represented semi-abstract subjects using acrylics, pen, pencil. I’ve made embroidered, macrame and knitted hangings, and used a darkroom to change my photographs.

[I’m telling you, mobile phones are amazing. Can do everything I did then in the dark room, in the comfort of my arm chair, or on the bus. You know what I’m saying.]

Since I got interested in fungi about thirteen years ago, I have flirted with the idea to perhaps practice botanical drawing or painting. That would mean going back to the life drawing classes I studied in a Visual Media strand long ago … the pure art of imitation, copying the subject of study, stroke by pencil stroke, onto the paper.

Lately though I’ve been asking myself whether I’d have the patience for that now. It’d even more like meditation than laying water colors on paper. Not that that’s a bad thing. But am I ready to let go what I’m still learning?

Artistcoveries

Recently I mentioned the connections between art and philosophy — a branch of study referred to asaesthetics. On this point, which deals with beauty and taste, I’m content to go with the conventional wisdom that says beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You like what you like. I like what I like. Sometimes we’ll be in agreement as to what is beautiful and note-worthy; at other times we’ll have very different opinions. Still, all is well. We’re each entitled to our opinions.

My study oftonalism, however, has brought me a bit deeper into philosophy and art. I’ve been reading more about the life and work of Asher B. Durand, one of my favorite artists. Several years ago as I first began oil painting, I read Durand’s collection of “Landscape Letters”. While I enjoyed his essays on art, I was beset with questions. I…

View original post 621 more words

World vs Earth …

Back into the Ooze
Back into the Ooze 2019
by Rita de Heer

Climate change is a World-versus-Earth problem, I heard the other day.

Apparently people still don’t know how completely dependent on Earth our World is. The dragon will pass us by, and with a flick of its flaming tongue, or tail, will drag us with it into the inferno.

Earth is a planet that supports Life and is an inseparable part of it.

World is the human culture, the where and the what that we build and extract and dig and superimpose on the soil, that thinnest of layers between us and bed-rock.

The same bed-rock that we can not survive on without the natural services provided by sunlight, water, air, and soil. Is that really so hard to understand?

Air? Another thin thin layer. Above us. Blue where and when the Earth continues its work. A disgusting tan yellow where we think we have improved our lives. Where industry and wrong-living coughs out smoke and smog, dust and death. Dragons.

Water. Oh my people, Ocean is in so much trouble. We warm it. We degrade it. We dynamite and pillage, we fill it with cast-off refuse, we leak oil and bilge waters, spread disease and alien creatures, and still we expect whales, pristine rain, sparkling springs and sweet lakes of fresh water.

Life is the miracle that has become, and grown, and evolved over unimaginable distances and stretches of time. Life is the lives that by the millions have come and have gone, like stitches over and under, through the fabric of time.

We sapiens, living for ten or twenty thousand generations and perhaps two more, will dive under and also be gone.

Media: ‘Lost in Space’

https://www.netflix.com/au/title/80104198

I just finished watching Lost in Space, the 2018-2021 version, three seasons over about 2 weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed the series. One reason is that I manage suspense and stress by previewing story-lines. Spoilers are an unimportant concept for me, these days.

Since suffering the recent trauma of cancer, I’ve been unable to watch any really suspenseful fiction due, I think, to the ongoing uncertainties of real life. Will I die if/when I catch Covid? Will the cancer come back? Will we all go to perdition due to climate change? Will we frizzle up in a nuclear disaster?

While the Robinson family are portrayed as nothing less than super at their various jobs, they are also good people even when quarreling. That feels over the top, a bit. Then I remember series like this are not made for cynical old crones like me and I think, Just enjoy it.

When Maureen and John, the parents, become aware of their children’s emotional problems launch right into the right kind of positive affirmations the kids need to overcome their doubts. The realism is in the long time that it takes Maureen, for example, to discover her daughter Penny’s insecurities.

All these familial resonances happen at the same time that life-threatening decisions, intricate repairs, instant inventions, and numerous other events are having to be dealt with. Despite their rate of failure, they’re confident they’ll come through the next impossibly impossible technical problem. They always do because the show is so squeakily wholesome, death does not feature front and center.

The only person, other than robots, that I recall dying was on the screen for less than ten seconds before he was blown out of an airlock. And get this, the person who organized that, agreed to her just desserts. More than that I will not say, in case you do care about spoilers. The robots, where they did survive, were transformed from bad into good.

The ‘science’ was interesting and was made to seem logical. The actors were very convincing even when they obviously had to interact with a green-screen dummy representing Robot or Scarecrow or SAR.

Don, a space mechanic whose best friend was Debbie, his pet chicken, was a welcome contrast to the perfection of the three genius children, their genius mother and their ex-Navy SEAL hero father.

Dr Smith, while also extremely smart, was the frustrating antithesis to them all. Many were the times that she plain outwitted them. An extremely able antagonist, where the bizarre planets and even the robots were cast as forces of nature.

A clever enjoyable series.

Tinkering …

Tinkering with this broken ceramics project let me come up with its eventual solution … this is not it.

Tinkering is a satisfying way to spend a morning, albeit yet again, tinkering with the basic design of this blog.

‘Tinkering’ the word originally referred to repairs made on tinware by the ‘tinkers’, travelers in the medieval and the early industrial ages, at the little towns and villages where they might stay in a paddock or on the common land.

Tinkering has come to mean a cross between repairing and improving a broken thing, and sometimes referring to the process needed before an invention can be dragged from an inventor’s unconsciousness.

In my case, this morning, me tinkering with the tags and categories of tags for this blog means hopefully making it better, and hopefully more interesting. Easier to use is another possible outcome. For me though, tinkering is a favorite activity leading to all sorts of new ideas and ways of doing things.

Although I’ve been blogging in various guises for about twelve years, I have never yet blogged on a platform with so many possibilities as this one at this time in its history while my first three years using the WordPress.com platform passed first in a fog of illness, then a year of recovery when my brain wasn’t capable of complex thought. Now though, I finally feel like I can learn again and retain concepts long enough to use them.

You’re wondering how I solved the problem of that broken ceramics project?

I broke it some more, then experimented with every surface decoration and glazing technique suggested by my fellow students and teacher. I made it to be a puzzle, and it’s quite difficult to put together. How I like it. Two small pieces went missing. More tinkering to come.

Anxiety Rears its Head

David Gangur’s Stormy Sunset

So I read an article about World War III, how it’s already begun. I respect Stan Grant, the author, for his integrity so don’t find the content suspicious. Link included below for your interest. But the content of this article just aggregates with all the other anxiety-inducing news I’ve read since the Northern NSW floods.

I have an anxiety disorder and owe it to myself to not to step back onto the anxiety/immune system problems/inflammation treadmill after all the work I’ve done to get off it. I realize that to dampen down my increasing agitation, I need to back off from negative social media sensationalizing world problems.

I’m already doing what I can in relation to the primary challenge of our times–extreme climate change– and can’t do anything about the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. From this point on, I won’t be writing any letters to politicians, and I won’t be re-posting frightening, Earth-shattering scenarios.

I will be scrolling past all organizations asking for donations. I have my charities and will stick by them. I may post about real-world efforts towards mitigation, when and where I find them. I will continue to blog about science, art, story telling and story making, music and all the other things that tickle my fancy.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-10/russia-invasion-ukraine-rumblings-world-war-three-decades-ago/100977334?utm_source=abc_news_web&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=link

#Climate Action Now

Have we enough #climate actions in us to save reef pools, corals and and every other creature?

Green blue water framed by rocks and reef
Luscious coral-filtered water … will we see the like again?

Still exploring #blocks;

still exploring what #blocks can do;

exploring what the heck a #WOLFRAM block is … no idea.

Wolfram Camp” in Queensland will have to do for the nonce.

#Climate Action Now

this is a subverted quote block,

Behold … a subverted #WOLFRAM block

https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/management/abandoned-mines/remediation-projects/wolfram-camp

Gallery Mark 2: Maggy Cat

Trying a TILED GALLERY this time … still haven’t got the caption thing. Story follows.

In my lifetime so far I have had the care of five cats. I don’t say I owned them. They’re into tough love that way. However, this cat, by name of Maggy, was a greater ‘character’ than any other. She came to me due to her people going overseas, so had her kitten-hood with her previous carers.

Part floppy, she rarely trusted herself to climb trees. Fortunately. Her one and only attempt at a fence ended in tears and having a toe amputated. See above. After that no more fences either. That’s not to say that she didn’t get around. There were plenty of hiding places around the backyard to sit and study any wildlife living at ground level.

Which in my backyard consisted of snakes, water dragons, bandicoots, frogs and cane toads: and all those were off limits. Two due to venom. Two due to their vulnerable species status. The reason I kept Maggy indoors from sunset to morning.

In the daytime she unsuccessfully hunted garden skinks. Paling fences are prime territory for these little critters, 10 centimeters long including their tails, and too fast for a stocky cat. She did get a rat occasionally, bringing it headless to the back step.

Her greatest difference to any other cat I have met, was her love of water. She often shared my shower, walking in and out of the water fall until she was sneezing and sodden. After I towel-dried her, she’d sit on a little kindergarten chair I have by the windows, to lick and groom herself dry in the sun. She enjoyed fishing. Regularly caught goldfish with a hooky claw patiently hanging in the water.

She sat on the edge of the pond in mist or rain, tail hanging and getting wetter and wetter, reminding me of those macaque monkeys in Japan, sitting in the snow and steam from the hot pools. We’d know we could expect a thunder storm well ahead of time. Maggy would hide in the bookshelves, as you can see in the second picture. She loved napping in my knitting.

The day she went AWOL overnight, I suspected foul play. I searched everywhere. During the second night heard a weird noise. Thought it was territorial frogs bleating at each other. Next morning found her at the bottom of the patio steps to where she must have dragged herself. She died of a tick bite.

Maggy RIP

Blog Design: Blocks

Learning about Blocks

Good grief! The number of ‘blocks types’ available already boggles my mind, and that’s before I’ve invented any because I don’t see any that I can relate to. No, wait! A masonry gallery? What can I do with a masonry gallery? I’ll have to see …

Herewith my so-called Masonry Gallery

Animals I Have Known. Some were adopted into my family, some were animals I photographed while out walking, and some of the images represent animals I’ve known.

My idea was to have captions. I haven’t working out yet how to do that.

Clockwise from top left: Jesse, at attention; Tibby, saying: “Ha ha, I’m lying on the dog’s bed, get me off if you dare”; Snowy, here as Tintin’s sidekick, dressed in his spacesuit. When I knew him he was the dog of Mr and Mrs Ballantyne, the elderly couple living on my street in Sydney; Shirley Dog, from my home town; Mingey, a fast mover, a friend from walks at the Mullumbimby Cemetery.