Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Pop Art #4

Here it is, the final Pop Art picture for the Self Portrait Challenge of this month (can you believe June is almost over?!!?)

This is me, emphasizing my most favorite body parts, my hands, my mouth and my eyebrows. All three of which are a big part of how I express myself, especially when I am in a outgoing, talkative mood.
Isn't my hair scary in this pic? Kinda everywhere and out to get you.
According to this photoshop filter I am much happier with more light than dark to portray myself. Which isn't such a big surprise. I talk a lot about striving for balance. But that really ends up as just that....a lot of talk! Bring on the light baby!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Treasures of Asia

Dear Husband is finally back from Japan and Korea. And brought us edible eyeball candy. Which inspired this very silly photo. At first we thought the illustration meant that the kid was crying because the eyeballs were spicy. No, they weren't, just sweet. So, then we figured out, that he or she is crying because one of his or her eyeballs has gone missing somehow.

He also brought me this beautiful little 4" plate which is called a chokin. Oooh shiny,pretty.
It has two cranes flying in front of the sacred Mt. Fuji.
According to the back the image is created by etching pure copper and then gilding it with silver and gold. The engravings were originally created to decorate the armament of the samurai warriors. This art form was handed down for over eight hundred years. It is in front of my computer screen so I can be a Samurai Computer Warrior...You better watch out for me now.

New Sandals

New Sandals and New Nail Polish (diamond hard sally hansen "Precious Peach").
Yes I do actually have 4 toes.
And I know I have hobbit feet all the better to find my way back home eventually my precious.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Poetry Thursday

If it is Thursday, it must be time for Poetry Thursday. This weeks' CATO (Completely And Totally Optional) prompt was to work with words you either love or hate.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the word (or phrase really) collateral damage. We hear this word a lot, used casually, even the title of a recent movie.
According to Iraq Body Count, their estimate for civilian deaths is somewhere between 38475 and 42889. The US government isn't very helpful in keeping track of this number, doesn't seem too important to us I guess. Yes, us, you and me if you are an American. We don't demand to see this number published alongside the number of our fallen soldiers (which now stands at an exact and horrible 2510). We don't want to think about it. But there it is. All those people dead, gone, forever and on our behalf. Killed for you and me, us in this war that we chose to wage. It happens everytime men go to war. This looking away from collateral damage, we know it is there, that it is an inevitable "cost of war", we don't really want to count it. But still we go to war anyways. Just because we can.

Here is the poem I wrote about it, kinda long and ranty, but there it is.

Collateral Damage
by Julie Zaccone Stiller

Of course fallen soldiers count
in our continuing calculations
of noble war dead.
Murdered reporters
receive attention
excessive in comparison
from their colleagues
as their surprising
number of dead increases.

What are their true numbers
either alive or dead.
They (the other),
we do not
consider worthy of tabulation
into official permanent record-dom.
They are not
expected to be mourned over
by anyone
as they are all
What self-respecting mother
would wail over
her dead terrorist son
we rationalize
thousands of miles away from the bloody dust.

Finally the number of heartbreak
This Number of Numbness
that ever present attendant to the god of war
The dead bystanders,
yet still dead,
were living
in the wrong place
through no mal-intent
on their part.
Still dead
through no intent
on our part.

We shield ourselves
our tiny closed minds
protected from
our endless folly
with a most hated
duo of words
Collateral Damage.

House of MOM is IN!

Hooray!! My little quilt: House of MOM, made it into the exhibit "Put A Roof Over Our Heads", a benefit for The Alliance for American Quilts. There are some way cooler house quilts there than mine, so do go check them out. And buy a CD of the exhibit too while you are there. The quilts are going to travel around, so hopefully you will get a chance to see them in person.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Birthday Kitten

Happy Solstice (Summer or Winter!)
My dear son Alex is turning 11 this Friday, and he got his present a couple days early. He has begun a tradition of asking for animals. One year he wanted a goat, but we settled on chickens.

This year he wanted a Maine Coon kitten. Which after some research I discovered cost $600 or so, for the real deal, pedigreed ones. We (husband and I) have always wanted one, and I was trying to talk myself into this, I really really was, but I couldn't find any MC kittens available til the end of the summer.

So we ended up swinging by the pound yesterday afternoon and this little sweetie guy came home with us. A grey stripey tiger. He is so curious and energetic and has the pointiest tail I've ever seen on a kitten. He wasn't happy in the box, so he rode on laps all the way home purring very loudly. So far, I think he likes it here, except for the constant extremely loud dog panting outside the closed bathroom door.

He isn't named yet, Alex wants to wait until his Dad gets back from Japan and Korea this weekend to name him. (say awww with me).

The other animals are so excited they either can't stop panting (that would be Zelda the wonder dog) or so pissed that they're staying out of the house (the other cats). funfunfunfun

So that's what's going on around here.
That and it was over 100 degrees today. Ack. Time for an afternoon movie tomorrow I think...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Pop Art #3

For the 3rd PopArt SelfPortrait Challenge I present my very first effort in Photoshop Elements which I finally bought! Big time coupon at Costco, so I got it for only $40. Guess that is my pricepoint for new software that I don't technically *need*.
Oh man is this ever a fun tool. I think I did need it after all!

This photo is me on the day my son graduated from elementary school. I'm trying to hide how sad and emotional I am, I've spent many years at this school, and now it is all over. Onto the middle school years for us. Gulp.

The pop aspect of this is to remove the details of me, abstract it, and arrive at a more universal image that mothers everywhere will recognize instantly.

The joyfilled sadness in seeing your child succeed at growing up and becoming themselves, separate so permanently separate from you.

The terrified joyfulness of being aware of your impermanence as the maypole they revolve around, soon that era will be over, too soon, and not soon enough all at once.

The sadly terrified mother left behind as her children fly the carefully contrived and safe coop she has provided all these years.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Out in the Garden this week

Our Second CSA Basket, yum!

A young lemon growing in the small lemon tree that resides in a probably too small container on our deck.

Roses finally bloomed, they took their time this year thanks to the confusing late rains.

I love the shape of this flower (pinks related to carnations), it is so well balanced.

One of the scented pelargoniums (aka fancy geraniums), which is the Herb of the Year for 2006 according to one of my favorite magazines, Herb Companion.

I forget if these are marigolds or not, they're so happy and sunny, if a bit leggy in the deck planters, self seeding too.

I just love these columbines, they come back every year in various colors, and self sow all throughout the deck planters.

A closeup of the columbine.

This is a blurry picture of the greens basket, no photo manipulation, this is just how it looked, kinda cool,huh? That's it from the garden for today.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Countdown Meme

This is a really loooong meme I got from DebR.

TEN random things you might not know about me:
1. I save wine corks.
2. I don't know why, but they get used eventually.
3. I have an empty of fish, yet full of water fish tank next to my computer.
4. The fish died 4 months ago.
5. I always look for excuses to take the long way home.
6. I'm too easygoing and piss off my husband when I won't make decisions.
7. Pink hard crumbly erasers really make me mad.
8. I don't take good enough care of my feet which is why I don't wear cute sandals like DebR.
9. I love the number 9!
10. I wish my birthday was in June.

NINE places I've visited:
(I'm changing this to places that I want to go back to!)
1. La Paz, Baja, Mexico
2. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
3. Venice, Italy
4. Lake Louise, Canada
5. Coos Bay, Oregon
6. Lucerne, Switzerland
7. Rome, Italy
8. Barcelona, Spain
9. Glastonbury, England
10. Mykonos, Greece

EIGHT ways to win my heart:
1. Clean up after yourself.
2. Make me dinner.
3. Arrange an outing someplace.
4. Make me go.
5. Laugh at my jokes.
6. Remind me to take care of myself.
7. Accept my help in the spirit it is offered.
8. Show people, places, animals, plants that I love compassion, real true compassion.

SEVEN things I want to do before I die:
1. Go to Europe with my children and husband.
2. Go to Australia, especially to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
3. Go to Egypt to see the pyramids and cruise on the Nile.
4. Go to New Zealand and take the LOTR tour.
5. Climb Mt. Whitney once more.
6. Tell everyone I care about, how much and why and what they've meant to me.
7. Learn to play piano, keyboard or guitar.

SIX things I'm afraid of:
1. My children or husband being hurt or killed.
2. Nuclear war.
3. Virus Plague (think The Stand by Stephen King).
4. Scorpions.
5. Uneducated, well-armed, fanatics in organized groups.
6. Complacency of the US populace.

FIVE things I don't like:
1. Canned Vegetables.
2. The inescapable pain I'm in, all day,every day.
3. Not being able to physically do what I want anymore.
4. People who don't pay attention, and don't VOTE!
5. Know-it-alls who don't know nothin' 'bout nothin'.

FOUR ways to turn me off:
1. Make fun of my choices that you may not understand.
2. Make me listen to country and western music.
3. Not accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences, good or bad.
4. Never return what you borrowed from me.

THREE things I do every day:
1. Kiss my children and husband and tell them I love them.
2. Read
3. Make a mess.

TWO things that make me happy:
1. Playing or talking with my kids.
2. Making some art.

ONE thing on my mind right now:
1. Getting myself ready to go to a family party with all my favorite people who will be there (except my husband who is on a plane to Japan yet again), and reembering all the stuff I'm supposed to bring (like my Father's Day pressie for my Dad!).

pshew! That was a long one. Tag you're it if you made it to the end. C'mon you know you wanna blab about yourself. Leave me a not in comments if you do, okay?!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Letter G

Time for the letter G in the Wordplay jaunt through the alphabet.
This lovely G is from a 1904 book "Our Boys", see the Gutenberg ebook for more lovely illustrations and writings for and about boys of that long gone era.

Goofy-Fooling around and so forth, not acting serious and how I'm supposed to. Looking at the world a little cock-eyed and not expecting the worst to happen if I try something new.

Gum- I love chewing gum. Either bubble gum the really sugary soft kind or a minty one. I don't usually like the sugar free kind, as I am taste sensitive to all those new sweeteners that they use. I remember being 14 or 15 and my Dad telling me I looked like a cow when I was chewing an entire package of Bubblicious. He didn't know that I was in serious competition with my brother to blow The Biggest Bubble Ever.

Grass - Lying on the grass staring aimlessly up at the sky, preferrably in dappled shade is one of my favorite ways to hang out and do nothing productively.

Green - Sometimes I almost switch my favorite color over to green. Especially in early spring when all the new growth comes out all around me on the trees and plants. Green=Life
I wish we had a political system that wasn't so firmly entrenched in the D/R two party mode, so that I could be a Green.

Guys/Girls/Gals - "How are you guys?" I say that a lot more often than I'll ever say "How are you Girls or Gals?" If I were southern, then I could say "How are y'all?".
I'm usually glad to be a girl, except on primitive camping trips in the wilderness.

Gardening - Finding myself torn between indoor and outdoor these days. I try to do some of each. Gardening is so important to me, it is a big part of how I define myself. There is always something new to learn, beautiful to notice, and meditate upon. I feel such a connection to the ground that I work with and I'm really thankful to have such a great place to garden.

Germ Theory - I am glad that I live in an era where the majority of people (and doctors) believe in the Germ Theory.

Gerbera Daisy, Gardenia, Gaura, Geranium- Flowers that I grow that start with G

Garlic, Ghoulash, Gumbo, GrassFed Beef, Green Beans, Gherkin pickles, Gouda cheese - Foods that I like a lot that start with G.

Giggle, Guffaw,Gripe Grouse - Some of my favorite wasy to express myself

Grunion, Gar - Funny fish names that happen to start with G.

Goddess - I am glad that I remembered my way back to Her.

Poetry Thursday

For Poetry Thursday I just wrote a poem about these strawberries.
They arrived in my CSA basket from Camp Joy on Tuesday. Camp Joy doesn't grow their own strawberries, they trade some of their produce with other local farms so that their subscribers get some early fruit in the first few baskets of the season.
Don't they look divine, couldn't you just eat that color up? Well appearances are deceiving, they weren't very strawberry tasting. Crushed by my disappointment, I recovered by writing this:

Strawberry Swoon
-Julie Zaccone Stiller

Season has turned
to the strawberry channel
Crucial question:
will they be good this year?
Disappointing strawberries
are so duplicitous
Teasing me with their
edible carmine
Unreal dangerous red
an emergency color
Mouthful of mush
tasting of worse than nothing
Expectations unfulfilled
til next season
Where the weak willed
submit again to
s t r a w b e r r y s w o o n

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The View on Tuesday

The View on Tuesday.
Yes, I know it is Wednesday. Story of my life, a day behind. At least,( I say to myself), I get it done eventually. Deadlines and duedates are a challenge and a structure that I tend to either be inspired and organized by or that I avoid and passiveagressively protest.

So, I've been reading the first part of "The View From The Studio Door" by Ted Orland. My absolute favorite line or concept that struck off big gongs of self-awareness was this from the first chapter, "Making Sense of the World":
"It seems an almost transcendental quality of the mind that we can even know we see the world differently from others- and more amazing yet that we can share our separte realities with on another."
This is exactly what I was trying to explain without getting too "artspeak" in my artists' statement, and I'm not sure I accomplished it or not. It is what I meant though! I see myself as a translator, or an interpreter, trying to get you, the viewer to see what I see. That is the aim of my art, the end goal, to express my visions in a comprehensible to others manner. Thanks Ted for helping me to realize that, I got my money's worth from buying the book in the very first chapter, woohoo!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Pop Art #2

For the second Pop Art inspired Self Portrait Challenge I decided to focus on a body part of mine that I especially like, my eyes.
Using the same picture and manipulating it via Filter Factory in IrfanView.

Pop Eyes - Neon Watercolor

Pop Eyes - Raster Lines (this reminds me of a book cover illustration, can't recall which book though)

Pop Eyes (I always wondered where my third eye really was!)

Original Eyes - I love how I can see my hand and camera in my eye's reflection. And yes, I know i need to groom my eyebrows. A girl only has so much time ya know!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Before and After the Stitch

:Before Stitching

After Stitching:
Use it all! The stitching is always worth doing to excess in cases like this, pulling together all the imagery,color and texture with a bright color like yellow works to my eye anyway. This little thing is almost the size of a piece of paper.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

ABC's of Me Meme

This is an interesting meme all about yours truly. Thanks for passing it on DebR.

Accent - A neutral , boring California accent (grin). I am very susceptible to accents however and will pick it up within a day or so of being in a new place.

Booze - I like wine, especially strong reds, champagne, margaritas (blended with lots of salt); beer as long as it isn't too dark, Gin! Yum!, and of course any mixed drink featuring lemons.

Chore I hate - The kitchen floor, because first I have to sweep up the drifts of pet hair, move the cat litterbox (which means I have to clean that first), oh and I have to take out the recycling because that is on top of the litterbox and I have to move that before moving the catlitterbox and then I have to do the dishes so that I can use the sink for my watersupply, and usually that means emptying the dishwasher, and usually I clean off the counters first because if I do it in reverse then I will just get all the crumbs on the newly washed floor. So the kitchen floor gets cleaned only when I have time to clean the whole damned kitchen!

Dog/cat - For most of my life I was a complete cat person and never even entertained the idea of having a doga, but I got talked into it and now love having 1 dog (Zelda the Wonder Dog a yellow lab rescued from the pound, and the requisite 4 cats (Zippy, Rexie, Pele, Lucky).

Essential electronics - Sewing machine, Computer, digital camera, DVD player, cd player, stereo, vcr,cell phone, alarm clock, breadmaker.

Favorite perfume - Clinique Aromatics Elixir

Gold/silver - I like both, and always am wearing the gold wedding ring of course. I have a lot more silver pendants and such and a lot of my earrings are silver.

Hometown - Saratoga, California. A town filled with large homes, rich people and a quaint downtown area. It is just 20 miles away on the other side of the mountains from where I live now but might as well be another country for how different it is.

Insomnia - Hardly ever, by the time I finally go to bed I'm ready to read for a bit and snooze out. And I don't wake up easily either, just ask my husband.

Job title - Lady of Lavender Hill or Finder of Everything.

Kid(s)- Two is enough thankyouverymuch. Two boys, one 12 going on 20, one just turned 11.

Living arrangements - A blue/grey two story house on over an acre of redwood forest/mixed forest hillside in a valley just one mountain range away from the Pacific Ocean.

Most admirable trait - Optimism, I can find the good in any situation (eventually), which can either be helpful and admirable or complete annoying and frustrating.

Number of countries visited - 14. Thanks for changing the rules on this one Deb, # of sex partners is not something I'd be comfy discussing with the world at large...

Overnight hospital stays - 4, two were the first night after the boys were born. Both were born close to midnight and we left the next day around 9 because they kept waking us up in the hospital, sheesh! Not a very restful place.

Phobias - Scorpions, earwigs, judgemental and closed-minded people

Quote - "You don't ask, you don't get!" - Zaccone Family Motto

Religion - The more unorganized the better. I've created my own path for myself to the Divine and I'm happy with it, if that bothers you, then I'm sorry you aren't more openminded. In my experience and reading of history, Organized Religions while a comfort to many, ares an excuse for people to not think for themselves, committ atrocities in the name of their religion, consider themselves better than others and to exclude people who don't believe the same thing.

Siblings - One younger brother who turned out to be one hella cool dude.

Time you usually wake - With an alarm between 6:30 and 7 AM, left to my own natural waking state closer to 9AM.

Unusual talent - Hmmmm, I'm amazing at finding things. A friend dropped her sand colored camera into the ocean. 15 minutes later I found it in the water. My son dropped his glasses in a grassy,weedy field, a couple minutes later, I found them, etc....

Vegetable I refuse to eat - That is a tough one, as I love just about all vegies. How about canned peas. Can't stand them, the smell, the flavor, the texture, ewwwww.

Worst habit - Not phoning people, waiting for them to call me.

X-rays - Lots, not sure I remember them all to give you a number.

Yummy foods I make - Baba Ghanoush (roasted eggplant with sesame), Lasagna, Tofu Scramble, Dutch Babies.

Zodiac - Sun sign: Sagittarius, ascendant Pisces, Moon in Scorpio.

Pitta that's me

DebR wanted to know:

Your Dosha is Pitta

You have a quick mind, a gift for persuasion, and a sharp sense of humor.You have both the drive and people skills to be a very successful leader.Argumentative and a bit stubborn, you have been known to be a little too set in your ways.But while you may be biased toward your own point of view, you are always honest, fair, and ethical.
With friends: You are outgoing and open to anyone who might want to talk to you
In love: You are picky but passionate
To achieve more balance: Be less judgmental of those around you, and take cool walks in the moonlight.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Poetry Thursday

For Poetry Thursday, I was inspired by the Completely And Totally Optional (CATO) prompt to write a poem based on your eavesdropping skills. This was a great coincidence as a hilarious overhead conversation occurred yesterday. Here goes:

Heard Under the Sycamores
-Julie Zaccone Stiller

Harried woman speaking loudly
Gesturing randomly, wildly in the air
Details punctuated with finger jabs
that would leave bruises
She stalks around her parked SUV
pacing like a caged leopard
Still talking
Who is listening but us
we who hide in our reclined anonymity
We laugh conspiring like the crows
twirl our fingers next to our brains
"she's crazy" we hiss to one another
"I'm glad she divorced the bastard, he deserved it!"
she declaims
slamming the door as final punctuation
We giggle again, this time too loudly
She turns to our sound
suspiciously searching out the offenders
We are wrong once more
Headset in ear she stalks off
down the shaded street

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

F is for

Ok, I'm going to try this once more. I had a wonderful, completed version and blogger lost it ..not once but twice!..arrrrggghhh. Note to self, always save as draft, especially if it is long and complicated with lots of links that you've spent an hour on. Sheesh!
For an explanation of why I'm v-e-e-r-y slowly working my way through the alphabet go see Laume at wordplay.

So... F is for

Friend - What would I do without them? I wish I was a better friend to my friends, but I hope they know how much I love them all.

Fiber- Of course! I live for it, love it and can't get through the day without doing something fiber related. The world of fiberarts is so diverse, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Fool- The first card in the Tarot. Beginning of a journey, trusting that the universe will hold you up when you're blithely stepping off the cliff into the future.

Face-I see so much in faces, and love making faces in my art.

Future- What will it hold, how worried or excited about it should I be, will we still be here a year from now? What can I do to make sure we are? How do I communicate to my children how much I want for them in the future without scaring the beejeebers out of them?

Fe-ghed-di-bout-it, frack, frell, frigging-All those made up replacement swear words that come in oh so handy when you are trying to raise two boys while not swearing even though you really do like swearing when appropriate, not excessively of course.

Feta, Fungilli, Fig, - yummy foods that I like that start with F.

Fairy, Faerie, Feri,- I'm attracted to all things Fairy related, including collecting many books of fairy tales, reading about people's experiences with the land of Faerie.

Fetid, fungible, - weird words that I like that start with F.

Fiji, Finland - places I want to go that start with F.

Fini- The End

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Pop Art #1

Pop Art Julie Mona Lisa
For the Self Portrait Challenge this month we're doing PopArt. I combined the two images below and scanned and fooled with a filter to make the "popped" version.
Pop art to me has always meant oversatured colors, an image that is instantly recognizable, and something that you are used to seeing around all the time.

Julie trying a Mona Lisa smile. Not my usual smile, I'm usually a toothsome smiler! Plus Mona Lisa does not have a dimple. Or an extra chin for that matter, oh well.

The original Mona Lisa by DaVinci, this is from Dover ClipArt, check out their freebies of clip art.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

So not an English Major

Late Sunday Quiz. Haven't taken a quiz in a while. Ok, so I'm not an English Major. But I do know how erudite I am now, thanks DebR!

The Librarian
You scored 73 erudition!
Congratulations! You're well above average when it comes to your knowledge of English grammar, history, and literature. You may have missed a few questions, but if you keep your studies up and stay away from genre fiction, we'll have you ready for Stanford in no time! Who knows, we just might be reading your columns in Talk of the Town a few years from now.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on erudition
Link: The Are You Truly Erudite? Test written by okellelala on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test