Above: Quick sketch of Phyllis sitting, Sensei Pen and Montana Acrylic Marker on Arches Text Wove (Velin) in a 7 x 5 inch handmade book. (Look over on the left and head and tail of the book so you can see the fun decorative paper I made with gold sparkles.)
It has been a long couple of months. Typically I try to work several weeks ahead with posts and that hasn't been the case recently because we've been moving my father-in-law to long term care—he was just too frail and forgetful to continue independent living. The good news is that he is finally relaxing. Now that someone brings him his pills when it's time to take them (and he doesn't have to take them out of a marked box) and someone reminds him when it is time to come and eat, and someone takes him to PT or asks him to go to activities—he has relaxed.
Thursday when I stopped in he was taking a brief nap in his comfy chair, in front of his large window with a beautiful view of a landscaped courtyard. The light is excellent in the room, both for reading and for brightening the spirits. Sitting in front of him on his rolling table was one of his engineering books—which he'd been reading before he dozed off.
He hasn't been doing that for months because he's been worried about everything. Now he's back to work. That's a good thing.
But the bad thing is that I've really internalized the stress and it shows in my own dwindling memory, poor sleep, and other physical issues. Yes I've been riding my bike, and doing my physical therapy, but it hasn't been enough. I feel as if dementia is contagious. Sometimes people ask me questions and I just stare. I know a couple nights of good sleep will help. We're working on the other stuff.
In the meantime I sit down to write a blog post and even though I keep images and ideas organized in such a way that they get moved only when they have been written about I look at everything with déjà vu. I looked at the image in today's post and thought I had already posted it.
I had to search categories to see if I had.
I don't think I have. (I could have forgot to tag it correctly!?)
If I have I apologize. I really wanted to put it up because it says something about gesture and recognizability, and because I wanted to show it to the students in my design class (By Design: Creating the Intentional Page, which is an on-going self-guided class people can start any time) and drawing class (Drawing Practice: Drawing Live Subjects in Public—which will be offered again in 2017).
The design students have been thinking about design "rules" and I want them to think about breaking some and the drawing students having been thinking about composition…
You might be interested too in why I think this page works—it's an issue of familiarity over composition and design. It's an issue of gesture and the recognizability of the familiar (here my mother-in-law), it's an issue of playfulness and focus, an issue of how little you can present and retain recognizability (those hands, that chin), and an issue of playfulness (in composition, line, and color). All of this is why I keep a journal and sketch live subjects.
So why did I start the post writing about CR? Because I was getting at my own memory loss. And my search for whether or not I'd posted this image of Phyllis, and standing there today next to CR as he did his physical therapy, doing my own leg lifts and kicks so he could follow, I thought for a moment as I struggled to stay in the present moment and keep counting and keep explaining why we wanted to go at a certain pace, that I couldn't remember what else I needed to do yesterday.
On my walk to the car I actually felt my mind narrowing down to a small point that couldn't even recall which images I'd posted on my blog (because I knew I wanted to post).
I have a Blog Log for my blog to remind myself what I've written about. (There's a little video at that link about it.) I have over 2100 posts so you might see why it's difficult for me to keep them straight. Right now it just seems a little more difficult.
So apologies if I inadvertently post something you've seen. I'm busy working on a flip through of my Minnesota State Fair Journal. I have a couple product reviews coming up. And some thoughts on cycling and the Wright Brothers. I just need a couple minutes when I can sit down and gather my thoughts—don't we all?
Summer has ended. Cooler, lovely days, and darker mornings mean that if I get up at 5 a.m. to beat the heat it doesn't matter because there is no heat and it's too dark to ride. I have to start in working and then take a break and ride a little later—which really annoys me. (Fall is always the time when we see a little bit of two-year-old Roz.)
I also can't just slide a little on start times to go with the light. Now the University is back in session and every morning my route is a long line of cars snaking to the U. I just don't like to cycle in a cloud of exhaust. So I wait even longer until I head out.
I don't like this transition. I like to work out first and then get on with my day. But the real reason I don't like this transition is that it means winter is coming—not in some "Game of Thrones" horrific way that you might associate with that phrase, but in the difficult reality cyclists in Minneapolis have to cope with every year. We have to dust off the trainer.
So I will now go on record and say this, "Fall is the best time of year here." I sometimes vacillate between spring and fall, but today I realized in no uncertain terms that it was fall, hands down the winner for me. It's the warmth still coming off the tarmac, instead of the winter cold. It's the dying leaves and dead blossoms—easier for my allergies. It's the absolutely gorgeous light that switches to "blindingly slanted and dimmer" (yes dimmer) just after Labor Day, without any incremental adjustment. It's everything. It's the built-in nostalgia.
OK, maybe fall is a little bit like aging and memory loss. You get a little bit caught up in the nostalgia of other seasons as they chip apart and reform into unique, new remembrances. (Just wait, if you do elder care you'll know exactly what I'm writing about.)
I just know that the past few days, I've had killer cycling times (thank you lower humidity!) and if it snowed tomorrow that would be OK. (Well not really, but almost. I'd like to get through October with outside riding.)
So for now I'm going to transition into my fall schedule, keep helping CR with his PT, keep sketching both him and Phyllis. For now I'm just going to trust that the blog posts will fall back into place.
And I'm going to enjoy prodding my students to have some fun! And I hope that you too make some fun!