Monday, December 28, 2009


Hi everyone! I wanted to say that things will be sort of quiet here at Keen Things for the next week or so. I am taking some time away from my blogging duties to attend to some personal matters and have some down time. I will be back in a while, though, so don't worry, things will be Keen for 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I know. It looks like John Coltrane is smacking his head in disbelief at what a wonderful tree I have.

So now it is all over, the fussing, the paper, the tape, the turkey, the family gatherings, the phone calls. I hope yours was a good holiday, one filled with some joy and some good food, some prezzies and some love. Now, the sun is returning (or so they say, personally I don't see much sun around here). On to the New Year.

My New Year's Eve will be spent with new friends, and spending some time in an outdoor hot-tub under the stars. How cool is that???!

One little piece of advice. Put that turkey carcass in a pot with water NOW. Make soup. 'Cause if you wait, it will stink up your fridge something nasty. Justsayin'.

Monday, December 21, 2009



Friday, December 18, 2009

Ten Tips for the Holidays

1. Keep oil-based moisturizers on hand in your car. Water-based moisturizers are great to use at night, when you will be all snuggled in bed. If you put on a water-based moisturizer before you head out in sub-freezing weather you will regret it. The water will freeze on your face, causing more chapping. The small tin of Nivea can be found at CVS for about .99, and the Burts Bees I got at Whole Foods. Both work really well, don't freeze and smell great. Chances are, if you are like me, you have that heat cranked in your auto, and unless you want to look all dry and scratchy like your Great, Great Aunty by Christmas morning, I suggest you baste yourself often. Oftener than you would think. Like, at every third red light.

2. Keep a roll of packing tape and a Sharpie in your car at all times. This has saved my ass a number of times. Know that you can turn a box from the wine store inside out, retape it and create a brown shipping box.

3. Sew some cloth bags for wrapping. Easy-peasy. Buy a few yards, cut out strips that are about 3 feet wide, fold in half, cut into segments, sew up the sides. Use a nice ribbon or Twine to tie closed. Et-Voila!

4. Keep wine in the house at all times. N'uff sed.

5. Go to bed early. Really. Do it.

6. Keep a granola bar in your car at all times. Lines get long. Traffic sucks. You have to go to 10 stores for that Perfect Gift. You will get hungry. I know this.

7. Use hair conditioner as shaving cream. Just a dab will do it. Save the money you would spend on spendy shaving cream and buy yourself a muffin, one with bran, and a Very Strong Coffee.

8. Go through your credit card statements and put away the cards with the highest interest, I don't care HOW little you have on them. Put them away. And use cash whenever possible. That would be the ugly green paper stuff, remember?

9. Turn down the thermostat and wear a hat in your house. It will save you a ton. A TON, I say!

10. Make as simple a To-Do list as is possible. Keep it to five or less important things. Reward yourself each time you finish something on the list. Not with, like, a yacht or anything. Just, you know, a treat or a hot bath or something nourishing for YOU.

A Study of Window Insulation Plastic




I LOVE Photobucket

Onaccounta they have cool statistics to show me about how many views I have had on my albums there. And they are pwitty graphs. Me wike Pwitty Gwaffs.

Classic Moment in the car with teens...



Driving along Rt 293 heading South from St. Anselm College we pass a tanker:

"Peterman's Oil" on the side...followed, in LARGE text with "Lubrication Specialists!"


College kid pumps her fists in the air and hoots: "Whoo Hoo!!! Lubrication Specialists!!!" and shoots me a look.

***hee hee sputter speachlessly***, I look back at her, valiantly parsing what she said trying to come up with a fast response that would be appropriate (in my head I'm thinking "So good to know they are out there doing their job!!").

Before I can she looks at me and grins and says "Petroleum Products, Mom....Pe-trol-e-um!"

Kid in the back says "You guys are gross".

Get out Your Puffs Plus Aloe...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Which I Slam Bing

I hate Bing. I hate Bing with a passion. It jumps into the middle of my Google search engine search strings and puts half into it's own pretty little search engine box...half of it. What good is that, Bing? I have to erase it and put it in correctly wherever I choose, even if I stay with you. But, no, Bing. I don't like you. You may be handsome. You may be able to do some things better than my old love, but really, you are pushy and arrogant and make grand assumptions., assumptions like the above.

Only in America. Palin dodges tomatoes? Ex-madam to run? If this is an indication of the people who use your service, by virtue of being a list of the top 2009 searches, I rest my case.

You suck.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Slapping the Panda"

Feeling Squashy

Dude, who left the lights on all night???

Silent Monks Sing Halleluia

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ice and Snow

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Best Friend

I know I am not supposed to be on the couch...

But, aren't I pretty!

Weekend Creativity





Sunday, December 13, 2009

What is That?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pixel Paint


Lemon Slice

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday's Child



Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

At the core of quantum is co-creativity. We say, "This is Special Me. This is what I am. This is what I want." Quantum reality responds with "Great! Very cool expansion of the Whole you are! Will this help you? How about this? . . . or this? . . . or this??" Quantum reality responds to our assertion of our uniqueness by supplying the goods. - Phyllis Kirk

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things ~ Mary Oliver ~

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic. - Anais Nin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Study finds link between genetics and monogamy...


Don't those people know I don't like Meadow Voles?? Sheesh...I only like Suburban or Wild Field Voles. Damn.

Art du Jour: The Marsh

Sex, Love and Spiritual Thoughts of the Day...


"We live in a society where sex is somehow shameful and should not be talked about - but we use sex to sell cars. That is backwards. Human sexuality is a blessed gift to be honored and celebrated not twisted and distorted into something demeaning and shameful."

"Trying to get our emotional needs met through sex does not work. It is dysfunctional. Human sexuality is a blessed gift when it is in balance with the emotional, mental and Spiritual. This is an emotionally dishonest society which knows very little about True, healthy emotional intimacy."

"The gift of touch is an incredibly wonderful gift. One of the reasons we are here is to touch each other physically as well as Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Touch is not bad or shameful. Our creator did not give us sensual and sexual sensations that feel so wonderful just to set us up to fail some perverted, sadistic life test. Any concept of god that includes the belief that the flesh and the Spirit cannot be integrated, that we will be punished for honoring our powerful human desires and needs, is - in my belief - a sadly twisted, distorted, and false concept that is reversed to the Truth of a Loving God-Force.

We need to strive for balance and integration in our relationships. We need to touch in healthy, appropriate, emotionally honest ways - so that we can honor our human bodies and the gift that is physical touch.

Making Love is a celebration and a way of honoring the Masculine and Feminine Energy of the Universe (and the masculine and feminine energy within no matter what genders are involved), a way of honoring its perfect interaction and harmony. It is a blessed way of honoring the Creative Source." Robert Burney

Monday, December 7, 2009

Plate Cooks!!!!!

CLICK HERE: Plate Cooks!!

I had the pleasure today of attending Plate Magazine's 2009 Plate Cooks! experience at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Boston. What a BLAST!!! 50 0r so chefs from around the area learning from other Prominent National Chefs, enjoying tasting menus, demonstrations and a competition pitting 8 teams of 6 chefs against one another to create 4 recipes in three hours, "Chopped" style.

We had to produce one bar appetizer, one entree based on Whole Grain, one Pantry based recipe (using only ONE dairy item, ONE produce item, ONE protein and unlimited pantry items), and one "Modern" version of the New England Boiled Dinner.

My contribution was the Whole Grain recipe, which I created on the fly somewhat. It was an amaranth and bulgur wheat cake with a salsa of jicama and pear, piquillo pepper and kafir lime leaves in lemon juice with a drizzle of raisin and reduced merlot sauce. (It kicked ass).

It was so much fun! I loved working with other chefs on the challenge, and talking with the many people there at the Institute, as well as some from Plate Magazine.

I love being a chef.

No, really, I do.


Silly, but true...

Because I try to keep my agreements, another painting, a simple and sweet one, to count for yesterday.


Running to the Fire

Sometimes just letting the paint fall in places it wants to shows you things about yourself. I spent most of the day doing wonderful things in the Cordon Bleu Culinary School Kitchens today (more about that in another post). The point here is that, when I came home, painting something serious and determined and well thought out and properly executed was way, way out of my mind. I grabbed the paints and sat down and just Did Painting. And this came out...

As I looked at it I thought about myself...I thought about how I am drawn to fire, that sometimes I feel the pull to the fire in others, and the alchemy that produces. My life has been about facing the flames lately, smoldering feelings, flickering insecurities, full-blown flares of life force...and the draw to the chemistry of annihilation. Not in a real sense, not in the sense of life-ending, but more in the sense of burning away, charring off the bits that don't fit, watching the long held misunderstandings melt, to reveal the true and indistinguishable structure of What Is...what is Me?, What is Us?, What am I really Doing Here?...Who do I love?, Why do I love?, HOW do I love??? What is my purpose? How can I tend my own fire, and the fire I share with others without burning myself to death in the process?

Or is that even possible???

Perhaps we all need to face the fire, burn away that which does not serve us and allow for new growth to begin.

That is a hell of a lot from one "casual" painting, huh?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


So I thought I would show you some of my process with my painting this week. I decided to work harder on the facial features of my grandmother. As you can see, I grid out the original image, then duplicate it on the watercolor paper. I am just not good enough yet to do it by sight, and I find that it helps keep my proportions in check. Frankly, I think that facial features and water are the two most difficult things to portray in watercolors. Anyway, I am working hard today on the under image for tomorrow's painting.


There is a bonded pair of cardinals which live in the hemlock bushes behind my house. They flit about to and fro and nibble at my bird feeder. My heart just sings when I see him, with his scarlet color.

Friday, December 4, 2009



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Almost, But Not Quite...


Granny Having Coffee

I know there are going to be days in this Painting A Day process when I cringe at the results of my labors. I expect that. Part of addressing creative vulnerability is owning when something just "does not come out right". This is one of those days. This painting is of my Grandmother, from a Polaroid image I have of her sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee. She had a very unique look to her, one which I was unable to capture here, and that makes me feel sad. Perhaps I shall work on another painting soon to see if I can aptly relay the elegance and grace and the special qualities that her face had. Anyway, here's to being open and honest about my process. I learned a lot from working on this painting, anyway, and I guess that is part of the point of the whole project.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Because I am Fair Like That...


I did not decide to do this Painting A Day thing until last night, so in order to be totally cool and fair about it I did TWO paintings today. This one is based on an image of Lila that I took of her sitting on her dinning room table drinking from a mug. When I worked with it for a while, I decided she looked like an angel taking a break, having some tea. Thus the title "Tea Break"


Detail from "Tea Break"

Because I am Weird Like That...

December Paint Promise

December 2, 2009

I decided something yesterday. It has been a long time since I picked up my paintbrush and played with watercolors, acrylics, coffee (yes, coffee!). I have wanted to reach for them, but found myself feeling awkward, unsure, disabled in some way by my own censorship. Much of my life over the past year has been about facing fears squarely in the face. I saw something the other day that read: "Don't NOT do something because of fear. Choose any of 100 other reasons, but not fear." I have decided to call my fear right to it's face, to name it and to overcome it, allowing me more room to Be.

I am an artist.

So, for the month of December I am vowing to do a painting a day. It can be tiny, inconsequential, whatever "comes up". So, there you have it. You are now my willing victims.

Let the good times roll.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us" Pema Chodron