March 2008 Archives

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Today marks six years of posting to this corner of the internet, and more than three years of daily drawing.  1189 daily sketches, 1413 entries, and 2433 comments so far - thanks for the encouragement, the wonder, and the sense of community. I'm incredibly grateful for all I've found in this process, and wonder what the next six years will bring...

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More accurately known as Abeliophyllum distichum, it is the first shrub to bloom in our yard, with the faint fragrance of hyacinths. I cut a branch to bring inside, as it was too chilly to sit on the porch and draw this afternoon, and then I didn't find the quiet time for drawing until just before bedtime.

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Tonight we observed Earth Hour, turning off all our lights from eight to nine p.m., as others did the same when it turned eight o'clock in their time zones around the world. We lit candles and finished cooking supper in the semi-darkness. We talked, listened to radio, and I drew. "Will we have Earth Hour every night now?" asked the youngest member of the family. "I like this." We turned some of the lights back on at nine, but the house felt quieter, calmer. I think we'll darken the house and have candles with dinner more often - see if a small gesture can give rise to a new habit.

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28 March. The last day of spring vacation. Rainy and cold. My daughter and I spent much of the day playing with needle and thread and scraps of material. She made two very small pillows, doing almost all the sewing herself. One was plain, one had a picture in felt applique: a cherry tree in blossom and a little yellow chick. I helped with the chick's feet, and with knotting threads and turning corners. Also sewed two zippered pouches for myself. I could have gotten out the sewing machine and run the seams up quickly, but it was comforting to take the slow route. We listened to music and talked as we sewed.

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27 March. Spent a while looking at the reflections and shadows on the surface.

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26 March. Sent to us from Florida - the juiciest, sweetest fruit.

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25 March. Restaurant lunch with a friend.

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24 March. Apple on the counter. Older son went back to school today, after three weeks at home.

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Easter Sunday, 2008.

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box

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22 March. A box in honor of all the virtual moving I've been doing lately. Hope to be settled soon...

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Are paths working?

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Houses and rooftops along Lawn Street, as seen from 2nd Avenue today. (I was sitting on a bench with my back to the Monongahela river, looking at the steep hillside with the line of houses along the top.)

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I walked around the house looking for signs of spring and found this sprouting potato in the kitchen. Spring is trying so hard to arrive - new growth bursts through old surfaces.

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Tomorrow is cardigan sweater day in Pittsburgh - people in the city will wear sweaters to honor the memory of Fred McFeely Rogers, who would have been 80 on March 20th.

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Still a little more freelance work to do tomorrow, but for now, I'll draw the work instead of doing it.

The blog begins to go back to its regular content.  Images can be posted - comments are working.  (Sorry about the sign-in procedure - we were getting hideous spam attacks.)  I will be making various design adjustments to bring back a more familiar look, I'll get the RSS feeds back working again, and get the archived images in place, but the big news is that I've posted all the drawings made while on hiatus here. 

Many, many thanks to Ms.Jen, who swept in to the rescue while I was at South by SouthWest, untangled my scripts, offered sage advice on my hosting situation, and even arranged for my absolution. If you are ever looking for a wise web developer...

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17 March 2008.  Green peppers, bought to make chili tomorrow. Wasn't really thinking about St. Patrick's day when I decided to paint them.

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16 March 2008. Headphones on the table - not plugged into anything right now.

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15 March 2008. Red towel in the downstairs bathroom. We made a game of cleaning today,
and the house is considerably neater than it's been in a long time. (Plenty more to do, of course, but a day of progress.)

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14 March 2008. First crocuses appear in a neighbor's yard.

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13 March 2008. Walked home from school, with the sun shining in our faces. We stopped at the store to choose some things for supper, and found fresh pineapple there in a bin by the entry.

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12 March 2008.  En route, Texas to Pennsylvania, looking out the airplane window to study the hazy jigsaw puzzle below. 

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11 March 2008.  Between sessions I took a break and sat on a balcony on the third floor of the convention center. Made notes on the drawing:

Balcony sounds - music from park, grackles, traffic, murmured conversations, brakes, a chair pulled closer to a table.

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10 March 2008.  Another day of great conversations and ideas. Back in the room fairly
early, happy to pause, look, and not think about anything for a few minutes except paint and the shapes of this banana peel. 

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9 March 2008. DJs at a post-event party. I stood on the club balcony, talked out for the day, and drew and painted in semi-darkness. 

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8 March 2008.  Got to Austin. The conference is magnificent - a swirl of ideas and conversations. I am so happy to be here, reconnecting with friends and colleagues from conferences past, and meeting their friends and colleagues - an ever-widening circle. This is the second time I've been to this conference, and the experience improves along an exponential curve.

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7 March 2008.  Holding a cup of coffee. Headed to Austin, Texas, for the South by SouthWest Interactive conference. My plane is delayed, and then the flight is apparently canceled. The airline puts me up at the airport hotel. I'll get to the conference a day later than I had planned.

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6 March 2008.   Holding up the book. Empty book. Unusable blog. I am cranky about this.

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5 March 2008.  A coin on the side table.

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4 March 2008.  Hand. Waving? Reaching? Struggling with the blog software, and trying to remain patient.

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3 March 2008. Almost empty, but if I rest it on its side, I can still find some to use.

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2 March 2008. Less interested in the flower than in the vase, on this occasion.

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1 March 2008. Thinking about juggling, but also just how much I like the heft of a beanbag in
my hand.

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29 February 2008.  This was also my second full day of not being able to post images.  At the time, I didn't realize how long it would take to get up and running again.

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A snowy field across from the school where I work. This was the image I painted just before my blog software hosting issues began.

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Really and truly - just a couple more kinks to work out.

Meanwhile, I have been posting my images over on Flickr:  at http://www.flickr.com/photos/egp/ , so if you'd like to see what I've been drawing, you can check over there.  (I'll bring them back here as soon as I can.)

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Hoping this works once again. I had a very old custom index template and my own css style sheet - something I had altered and adjusted over the years to suit myself, and I think that some legacy code there may have been causing some of my troubles. So I've set those aside in favor of the MovableType 4.1 default layouts.

I am also hoping that my web host can figure out what's causing the server load issues so that I can get back to posting pictures again, and having comments, and using this blog as a space for quiet thought...

I am going to be going to South by SouthWest Interactive - a terrific web conference in Austin, Texas, day after tomorrow. If you happen to be there too, say hello - or contact me on twitter: elizabethperry.

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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.

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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.

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