I leave for Los Angeles Thursday morning, and by some strange series of events, I'll be getting on that plane alone. There aren't many things I do alone these days. A 5 minute shower might be my own, or occasional late night reading binges. Other than these rare moments, I have my best friend Beckett with me at all times. I obviously have a strange mix of thrill and trepidation over this trip and leaving him behind. But some of my concern was allayed this weekend when I saw the excitement my parents feel at having a half-sized houseguest, and when I saw this...My dad (aka Buddy) built this killer sandbox from scratch, complete with a bench for "coffee breaks" for the work crew, Mack, Pierre and Wilson. They drive the dumptruck, cement mixer and front loader, respectively.I have a feeling I'll be missing much more than I am missed. B may not even notice I'm gone as long as his Buddy is around - and Mack, Pierre and Wilson, of course.
I realized last night, mid-phone conversation, that I respond really well to life and death threats. Therefore, even in the midst of this weird unmotivated lull, the impending death-by-frying of my plants has kept me from going into complete potato chip, couch and blanket reclusion. So, in lieu of all the witty and endlessly clever things I otherwise would have written this week, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the garden, with my apologies and a promise to stay off my ass next week.The new additions include some linaria- who have sisters (regular flower headed sisters- not vegetable headed ones, that'd be weird) at la Casa Irlanda - strawflowers, a rock rose, lobelia, lamb's ear, a columbine that refused to be killed, and a horde of nigella. Oh, and tomatoes and a bunch of herbs. I've promised myself I'm done now. No more planting, just maintaining. And sweeping for crying out loud. Would it kill me to push a broom around out there and clean up all that gross industrial detritus?
This is how I spent last night - filling in, in classic anal Claire fashion, one million tiny swallows. This is the first time I've used the drawing fluid method of screen printing, and it's been about 4 years since I last wielded a rubber squeegee, but even in these early prep stages I'm buzzing with a familiar excitement. Just the act of taping off the edges of my screen felt like a reunion.
Someone had the nerve to call me an overachiever for my last sewing project. So, of course, I feel the need to show her what it really looks like when I overachieve. Yes, that means printing my own fabric. Yes, I'm crazy.
A while ago I posted about this amazing house. Last weekend my mom organized a garden art class at the marvelous estate of Betsy and Kirby Torrance. The landscape is exquisite. I spent less time drawing (bad pupil!) and more time picking Libby's brain about how to create textural experiences with the foliage of plants. In my garden, I'm still trying to make sure the flower's colors don't clash. Anyway, I snapped some pictures of the house and grounds, hoping to sketch it all later, and I thought I'd share. The front is this great manicured expanse of lawn, but the back is this lush English wilderness. The little outbuilding above is the folly, Betsy's art studio. The interior is still rich with her Fauve aesthetic, from the couch cushions to the Matisse inspired chandelier, and it's littered with her bright airy paintings. It's hard to fathom Betsy's absence. She is still everywhere in this place, her presence was so strong, and her memory is perhaps even stronger, that it's easier to believe she's just at her casita in Mexico. It's even harder to fathom that this house may be out of the Torrance family within the next month or so. My brain can only handle the lasting impression of a person or the great impermanence of everything. I'm not equipped to compute both simultaneously. Good grief, is it any wonder I couldn't bring myself to sit still and draw?
All of my feminist ideals and goals for instilling my son with a strong sense of gender equality were tossed my face today as he mumbled himself to sleep singing this. Where did he hear such offensive material! Certainly not from me! Ahem.
It's not unusual for B to crack me up with his naptime chatter, but this had me in tears. To be fair, he did follow it up by saying that "the leggy leggy blondie blondie probly drives a steamroller for construction." Which rocks, right?
Next it'll be this, the kebab part of which I've been singing to, or at, his dad a lot lately.
I've noticed a shift in the language I use when talking about the rooftop container garden. I quickly realized that the roof was no place for toddlers, but I still fancied that I was sharing with my family. B planted his own seeds, helped me fill pots with soil etc. But in the last few weeks I've caught myself saying things like "my peas are going crazy" and "I think my blueberries need a little sulfur."This whole thing started out as an experiment to see if I was cut out for gardening. I'm so pathetic in all other domestic areas - not that I'm claiming to be good at this, either. I exemplify novice status, and what success I've had I still chalk up to beginner's luck. But I'm not neglectful, which has surprised me. Not just that I keep my plants watered, but that I keep them constantly in mind.
Frankly, I've often had myself a little chuckle at Zion's expense when he bustled around like a mother hen, powering off each computer and server at the first sign of high winds. Now I'm the butt of stormy jokes, when I scramble out the window to secure my planters, and come in rain-drenched.
I guess the biggest surprise is the elation I get from it. It's just like driving for me. My brain wanders into the most fertile territory while I'm gardening. The bonus being that I'm not endangering anyone by making brief notes and sketches mid trowel. Arguably not the case with freeway driving.I figured I'd better add a photo of my seedlings, too, since Amelia claims that the act of starting from seeds makes me a gardener vs. one who gardens. I don't know if there's any validity to that, but I'll take it. This week I'm looking forward to planting my mother's day tomatoes and their pot-mates getting new trellises (did I mention my peas are going crazy?), and maybe fashioning a planter out of an old drawer, but I just thought I'd post a few pics of my work so far.
Oh yeah, I'm also looking forward to bringing home one of those big plastic owls, I've been hoping for some sparrows or blackbirds to visit, but this morning received my first avian guests - pigeons. Ew. Looks like this'll be a bird free garden.
Sorry blog, and by that I mean sorry Elliot. I've been entertaining myself elsewhere lately. We took a little impromptu vacation (or vacay! as the hip people in my world tend to call it) and had a mini household disaster that ended up being nothing more than a nuisance, and not at all worthy of our extreme paranoia. Aside from that I've been spending every free moment in one of two ways: gardening or writing (fiction, obviously, or I'd have been blogging more.)
More on that later, I guess I just wanted to say hi.
Who even knew that Walruses liked tea? Auntie Nono knew, that's who. This ridiculously cute sight greeted me when I got out of the shower yesterday. Auntie Nono, could you be any cooler? You made us feel like we were on vacation. How are boring ol' Mama and Daddus supposed to keep this kid even remotely entertained in your wake? You spoiled all three of us and the house feels a little lonely today. Will you come back? Like tomorrow?