whew - no, um, make that, almost there

We should be back to normal operations. The only major hitch in the upgrade proceedings was that midway through running the final 4.1 upgrade script, mt-wizard.cgi, my web hosting service (who had asked me to run this upgrade in the first place) shut down my access to the script for drawing down too many server resources. Having spent an entire weekend afternoon running backups and troubleshooting, I was not happy. Fortunately they responded quickly to an email about the shutdown and I was able to conclude running the upgrade this morning.

I'm still not sure what caused the original server load problem - I'm off to compare my custom blog index template with one of the default templates, to see if I can find something to fix there. Right now I suspect the issue is something to do with the image upload process, since that was where MovableType was slowing to a crawl before I updated, and I need to figure out if the update fixed that.

Postscript: And comments are broken. So that's the first thing to fix.

quiet around here lately

But not so quiet behind the scenes. Quick note of explanation:

Three days ago, my hosting service decided to disable the main script which allows me to update and maintain this blog. After various phone calls and email exchanges, they've re-enabled the script, and I am working to resolve the server load issue which caused the problem in the first place.

I will be taking a deep breath and upgrading my installation of Movable Type to version 4.1. If the site behaves oddly for a bit, that may be why. Until I get the update done and tested, I may not be posting pictures.

Anyway - yes, I'm still here, and yes, I'm still drawing every day, and I look forward to posting daily pictures again soon.

sneaker

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The kids gave my husband new sneakers, and he finally picked them out a couple of weeks ago.

alstroemeria

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Rain earlier today has turned back to snow again. We might have enough for a school delay tomorrow, but a holiday is unlikely. I listen to bossa nova, finish turning the heel of a sock.

tulips

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Listening to Sam Cooke singing "Change is Gonna Come," thinking of spring, and the political season, and even the recent bouts of flu. "It's been a long time coming..."

children digging

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Got to watch children digging for dinosaur and mammal bones with chisels, brushes, and goggles when we visited the museum this afternoon.

chrysanthemums and twigs

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When most of the other flowers from last weekend have faded, the chrysanthemums remain.

figure study

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Trying to let the pen find its own lines tonight, following along as it goes.

there they are

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Left as they fell on the table - not the wet, black bough - as snow falls steadily outside.

minus two

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Petals. They dropped this afternoon, letting us see the inside of a bloom, top to bottom, a 19th-century textbook model on the coffee table, but made of the flower itself, and not plaster, glass, or wax.

tulips

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On the mend and able once again to take an interest in what's around me. With Valentine's day and then flowers from a party on Saturday - the house is full of blooms - I just haven't been downstairs in three days to appreciate them.

spoon

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Wind is gusting around the house - fever comes back and forth in its own rhythm - everyone else sleeping now.

hand

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Flu has struck the household - but it seems to be a short-term version. I am encouraged to note that those who got it first (yesterday) are already feeling much better.

flowers

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Sunflower and gerbera daisies. Now we need to pick up the living room in order to live up to their presence.

wallet

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Misplaced this morning. Without wallet and bus fare, I just walked down the street when my time at one job ended and I needed to be someplace else. Once I got over my need to be in a hurry, I discovered that the walk was good thinking time, letting me shuck off one environment, one set of concerns, and let my mind wander.

And found my wallet this afternoon, half under the living room sofa.

truffle

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Chocolate.

mmmmm.

dozen apples

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Or, more accurately, a dozen views of the same apple. Twelve postcards made for a Valentine's Day swap. They'll be dropped in the mailbox on February 14th. (I think they were supposed to have arrived on the day, but a postmark will have to do. I kept changing my mind about what I'd paint and send, right up to the last minute.)

stack of envelopes

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We're getting ready for Valentine's Day... sending a care package, making valentines for school, and thinking about love.

snow holiday

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Woke up to news of canceled school and canceled meetings. Youngest went sledding with a friend, then came home and filled her bedroom with a fort of blankets. I puttered, painted, baked, read. The house was bright with light reflecting off the swirling snow outside, and then when it got dark, it got dark fast. A supper of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Tonight we are told that rain will change to sleet and then snow again by morning.

tangelo

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Citrus - to fend off the colds and flu in circulation. So sweet, I'd make any excuse to have some more.

on the runway

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Headed home again, after a weekend away. I love the quiet time for thinking and reading and writing before and during plane trips. Tonight I studied my computer programming book for a while (I want to learn the language Processing, so I have a book I'm working through this winter and spring), then knit while listening to music, then wrote notes on a project idea which came to me while knitting, and then got out my sketchbook and drew the view from my window seat. We weren't held too long on the ground; I added washes of color after we were aloft.

bed post

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Detail of the guest room bed.

guest room

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Visiting my sister's house for the weekend.

dish

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I felt like painting something by not painting it - and this dish was on the table.

dafodills, again

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The daffodils were drying out until I remembered to water them today. (Whereas I was well-watered by a thunderstorm while walking home from work. After a certain point you realize you can't get any wetter, and decide to have a good time.)

yarn needle

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Finishing up the first of my pair of striped socks as I listen to the primary election returns. Can't wait to cast on for the second sock, but it's late, and the radio has called most of the races. I'll pick it all up again tomorrow.

jump rope

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This one is home-made from a piece of clothesline with electrical tape wrapped around the ends for the handles.

illusion

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Let's pretend that these grew in my garden instead of coming in a plastic pot from the supermarket. Too early for daffodils here, but if I start the painting with the flowerpot just out of view, I can imagine... (And when the blooms are past, I can save the bulbs and plant them in the yard for next year.)

night window

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A window glows bright from across the street. I look past the edge of the porch and the trees and think about the different colors of darkness. City darkness has a different texture from darkness by the ocean.

water glass

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We walked to school this morning through sleet and freezing drizzle. We were well dressed for the weather, and the trees were beautiful, with twigs encased in tiny icicles. By the time we arrived, the day had warmed enough to be rainy, and the branches were bare again. i didn't take a picture. The empty waterglass was ice enough to remind me later.

hand

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Drawing with a brush pen, thinking about putting the January sketchbook upstairs on the shelf and bringing down the one for the month of February.

cupcake wrapper

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Stopped at the market on the way home from school and found pomegranates and a dozen mini-cupcakes for treats. We've been in the midst of a sudden-science-project-end-of-term homework crunch, and everyone's been working hard. Thought that fruit and chocolate would cheer us along. It did.

three pistachios

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Each one seems to have its own expression, its own green smile.

apple

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A Rome apple. This is the one we didn't bake tonight, since after we'd sliced three of them, we had no room in the pan for a fourth.

new bag

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I've had this bag less than a month and have discovered that it is the perfect size for me. Big enough to hold: camera, sketchbook, notebook, phone, wallet, pencil case, keys, small digital gear, and lunch or knitting. Enough so that I can leave for the day and feel as if I'll probably have what I need. So the new plan seems to be to carry my laptop in a sleeve case and then take this bag. I'm sure there will be days when my backpack or a big messenger bag will make sense again, just as there will be moments when I go out with nothing but what's in my pockets - but for now, this is working.

knitting

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In through the window, out around the back, back through the window, and off jumps Jack!*

My daughter learned to knit today - she's been asking for months, and today we went to the yarn store in our neighborhood, bought her some kid-sized needles and bulky yarn. She picked a variegated ball of magenta, turquoise, and green, and is already going strong - wanted to stay up late tonight in order to knit more. (Hmm... wonder where she gets that from?) I got myself some beautiful Regia washable wool sock yarn, which knits up in stripes. Lots of fun on a gray and chilly Saturday afternoon.

*That's how I remembered the rhyme when I was teaching her - I've since found other versions online.

bottle

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Trying to get a sense of the reflections and the glassiness of an empty bottle with a few lines and a minimum of fuss.

open

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My right thumb and finger can be drawn from themselves, but I draw my left thumb by looking at my right thumb and drawing as if I'm looking in the mirror. Once I start, it's not difficult to see that way - perhaps that's part of being left-handed. (I find these empty sketchbook pages so inviting - no program, no expectation, just open space for exploration and experiment.)

aging blossom

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I love the way tulips get more dramatic as they age.

bananas

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Midway through a week of snow flurries and I'm craving yellow. The tulips from the grocery store help, as do these bananas. I remind myself that the hours of daylight lengthen, and soon we will be out of the darkest quarter of the year.

cafe chair

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Single chair outside the cafe on a cold afternoon - no table - dreaming of spring?

tulip

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Another view. Still cold and gray out, and I want to dive into this color.

tulips

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As the temperature drops into the single digits I look towards spring. Yellow tulips at the market today. Now they are on the dining room table.

tangerine and segments

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Hmm. Yesterday's work started with drawing and then found me adding paint, and today I began by painting and afterwards added line segments, drawn in ink.