This Moment: December 30, 2010 8:06 A.M.

The Universe's great bully Saturn is flexing his muscles this morning. I for one am tired of his jabs and blows. Snow covers the leaf-laden ground and the view from my window is sterile, frozen, cold. The tiger has one more day to roar its ownership of this pick and shovel year until the rabbit seizes his throne. I am a tiger, a dreaded girl child born under this sign in the early morning hours: restless, searching, always looking to pounce. The winds of yesterday forgotten, a branch nods lazily in the harsh air. The man I live with, his mother, her heart and lungs have forsaken her. This woman beat the deprivations of world depression, six wars, and yet, as always, we humans lose the battle with ourselves, no matter how valiant, how wise, how noble. It is always a matter of time. The living, the hale, arrogant and secure in their bodies, continue on. There is no other course. A dun-colored bird flies into my neighbors apple tree. Rusted orange leaves the sole survivors of another season.

Poem Therapy at 8:48 P.M. - December 22, 2010: Marianne Boruch

Snowfall in G Minor
Marianne Boruch

Overnight, it’s pow! The held note
keeps falling. And only seems
slow. Because it’s just
frozen rain, what’s the big deal? the checker
in Stop and Shop told me.
Save warmth
like stamps. The fade of their color
in the 1920s. Airmail. The pilot with his
skin-tight goggle helmet on his
miniature head could be
All heads are small. Mine’s
lost as a thimble
in this weather. Where
a finger should be and be
sewing, every thought
I ever thunk.
Just this word
thunk. Never used.
It lands, noisy
metal in a bucket. That’s
the last of it. No echo
for miles of this
snowfall—as in
grace, fallen from,
as in a great height, released
from its promise.

Although the weather here hasn't made up it's mind if it's going to really snow or just rain, just close to fifty miles south of where I live, it snowed relentlessly.

The full eclipse of the moon was visible last night for the first time in 500 years the news reported yesterday. The moon disappeared close to midnight. I forgot to walk outside to see the moon fade to black. The eclipse ushered in the winter solstice, the true star of the season, the reason every culture the world over celebrates the coming of the new year.

All I can say is that I am thrilled to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in 2011. The year of the rabbit feels hopeful.

Holiday Card #3 - Goddess & Baraka

May your holiday be abundant with family and good friends!

Best wishes,

Goddess - Danna. Mixed-media collage/digital painting.


the world is a doorway
even stone will yield to the imagination

spirits in the air
hovering above us like clouds

the world spins around us
animals that we are

rock and sky
water and dirt

fire creating its own wind
beauty enough to break your heart

we are earth and sky flying free
glistening like a jewel in the sunset

Holiday Card #2 - Halo Goddess & Alchemy

Halo Goddess - Danna. Mixed-media collage/digital painting.


the refiner's fire
turns base metal precious gold
more precious than body of carbon,water, salt

let our blood be turned to wine
let us sanctify ourselves
let us become golden

Holiday Card #1 - Red Angel & Where We Live

May your holiday be abundant with family and good friends!

Best wishes,

Red Angel - Danna. Mixed-media collage/digital painting.

Where We Live

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. -George Moore

The house sits far back from the infidel road, named for the two gentile families that settled along it over one hundred years ago. A wide expanse of lawn is punctuated with Oak, Pine, Linden, and host to birds of every variety: owl, dove, crow, hummingbird. The occasional peacock, ibis and crane are particular favorites. Behind the calculus of the structure and lives sheltering within the rooms, a wheat field covered in a light scurf of snow is flanked by a country lane populated with Globe Willow, Pine, Maple, and Honey Locust, each planted for the farmer and his wife’s seven children. The middle daughter’s tree is a tangle of branches armed with sharp, flat thorns.

The tree was once rooted in the memorial park next to railroad tracks and was planted in memoriam the year the Jazz Age began to swing. In springs’ long past, waxwings would swarm the Mountain Ash and feast on its berries until drunk and fall to the ground, their tiny hearts swollen and giddy. The tree is gone now, cut down and his memory replanted with a sapling, but the soul is a restless traveler and will not be contained by flesh.

The body is a destination imagined in the soft hue of morning light as a glimmering on the horizon. The body is a being composed of organic and trace elements, proteins, lipids, salts and sugars, a dual snake helixing around its secret code. Within its borders it holds the mysteries of the soul.

Home is house, tree, body. Home asks to be opened, its heart grateful to be held in gentle hands.

Art As Inspiration - Sarah Wyman Paintings

Bounding Main- Sarah Wyman. 5 x 7 print

Sprial Betty.5.5 x7 wood mount print.

Although she hasn't updated it for some time, check out more images on Sarah Wyman's blog.

The Coffee Project - December 16, 2010.

December 16, 2010.

Good news and bad news: The King Lear ordeal appears to be at an end; old age is not for pansies.

Words From the Past

I was just looking through my writing logs from the last few years and came across a couple entries that in retrospect, really captured each specific year. Both are entries I wrote in December:

You'll never find yourself until you face the truth. Pearl S. Bailey
Here I stand. I can do nothing else. Luther said this in defense of rejecting the church just as I repeat his words to the shadows of my ancestors. Truth can be illusive when one chooses not to look, and only glance sideways at the truth from the corner of your eye.

Here I stand. I can do nothing else.
I repeat Luther's words
to the shadows.
Heritage is a landscape
littered with landmines,
buried deep in the soil,
until the fatal step,
the final explosion.

Russian film as inspiration

bodies like birds,
defying folds in space and time,
legs like wings,
men are birds

The Coffee Project - December 14, 2010.

December 14, 2010.

Our conversations made a wide excursion back to the South Pacific, 1946, round to the present, and then back to a few decades in between.

The look on his face illustrates his mischievious sense of humor perfectly.

What I Made This Weekend - Fused Glass Pendants

First attempt at fusing glass.

I took a glass fusing class this weekend and spent an hour or so making these very rudimentary, (um, simplistic) glass pendants. I can see the potential with this process,especially using frit (crushed glass) like paint. I'll have to spend some time with this medium.

To see Pablo Cykman, master craftsman's work, check out his beautiful glass work at his website, Arte em Vidro.

This is one of my favorite pieces from his collection. The subtle color of this bowl, and all the pieces featured on his blog, is a reflection of the painstaking process of painting layer upon layer of color on the glass.

This is another favorite:

All I Want for Christmas... books(not that I need any more books), starting with the Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy by Manly P. Hall.

This sounds fascinating as well, Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby.

And also, The Lost Language of Symbolism: v.1: The Origins of Symbols, Mythologies and Folklore Vol I by Harold Bayley.

And finally, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology v. 1 by Joseph Campbell. Actually, I'd like the entire Joseph Campbell library.

I'm in an esoteric frame of mind today, and with the off and on winter chill, hours before the fire reading about the origin of human belief systems sounds like the perfect way to spend the holidays.

As for literary reads, I plan to spend the year rereading Toni Morrison and E.L. Docotorow's collections as a kind of master class to get back on track with my writng

Willow Pine Lane - Snowless December

Willow Pine Lane - December 12, 2010

It's raining in December. All the snow from a few weeks ago has disappeared. Instead of a white Christmas, unless we get a big storm, it looks like it will be fall-colored.

The Coffee Project - December 7 - 12

December 12. 2010.

December 10, 2010.

December 9, 2010.

December 7, 2010.

Poem Therapy: December 9, 2010 2:52 - Bernadette Mayer

The Way to Keep Going in Antarctica
Bernadette Mayer

Be strong Bernadette
Nobody will ever know
I came here for a reason
Perhaps there is a life here
Of not being afraid of your own heart beating
Do not be afraid of your own heart beating
Look at very small things with your eyes
& stay warm
Nothing outside can cure you but everything's outside
There is great shame for the world in knowing
You may have gone this far
Perhaps this is why you love the presence of other people so much
Perhaps this is why you wait so impatiently
You have nothing more to teach
Until there is no more panic at the knowledge of your own real existence
& then only special childish laughter to be shown
& no more lies no more
Not to find you no
More coming back & more returning
Southern journey
Small things & not my own debris
Something to fight against
& we are all very fluent about ourselves
Our own ideas of food, a Wild sauce
There's not much point in its being over: but we do not speak them:
I had written: "the man who sewed his soles back on his feet"
And then I panicked most at the sound of what the wind could do
to me
if I crawled back to the house, two feet give no position, if
the branches cracked over my head & their threatening me, if I
covered my face with beer & sweated till you returned
If I suffered what else could I do

Of all the places on the globe, barring war torn countries, the unrelenting cold of Antarctica is the most frightening to contemplate.

In Kevin Brockmeier's brilliant novel, A Brief History of the Dead, scientist 32 year old Laura Byrd is on a research mission to Antarctica to explore the environmental impact of using rapidly melting polar ice to manufacture soft drinks, when she discovers that she is the only survivor of a biochemical attack via Coca Cola.

The premise of the book is that you exist as long as someone alive remembers you. When all the people in whose memory you reside die, you disappear completely. I really like the idea that we hold our dead in our memories, so we're never, ever really alone.

The most chilling (hahaha) moments are not when Laura finally understands that she may very well be the last person alive on Earth, nor when she hears the dead calling her name from their city of the dead, but when she is inside her sleeping bag and must break the ice strings that have formed from the moisture of her body and her breath.

Get the book! Here's an excerpt:



When the blind man arrived in the city, he claimed that he had traveled across a desert of living sand. First he had died, he said, and then–snap!–the desert. He told the story to everyone who would listen, bobbing his head to follow the sound of their footsteps. Showers of red grit fell from his beard. He said that the desert was bare and lonesome and that it had hissed at him like a snake. He had walked for days and days, until the dunes broke apart beneath his feet, surging up around him to lash at his face. Then everything went still and began to beat like a heart. The sound was as clear as any he had ever heard. It was only at that moment, he said, with a million arrow points of sand striking his skin, that he truly realized he was dead.

An Invitation to Sytle - Holiday Jewelry Trunk Show

What: An Invitation to Style - Holiday Jewelry Trunk Show

When: Saturday, December 11 2 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.

Where: 625 West Gentile Layton, Utah 84041

Join local designers Brianna Chamberlain and Danna for an afternoon of beautiful jewelry featuring exquisite, one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Enjoy light refreshments while you shop!

Complimentary pearl earrings with a purchase.

Drop in if you're in our neck of the woods!

Salt Lake City Arts Council Annual Holiday Exhibit & Craft Sale

I am exhibiting my hammered sterling silver and brass jewelry at this exhibit. Every year new artists join this juried show. The show offers high end art craft from fine jewelry, paintings and mixed-media art, fiber and glass, to carved wood figurines.

What: Holiday Craft Exhibit & Sale

When: December 4 through December 19 ~ Monday through Friday, 10:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M. ~ Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Where: The Art Barn in Reservoir Park ~ 54 Finch Lane (1340 East 100 South) ~ 801-596-5000) ~

Poem Therapy December 8, 2010 at 11:40 A.M - Howard Nemerov

A Primer of the Daily Round
Howard Nemerov

A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.

I've read this poem many times and still find it amusing. I'll try my own version, but be warned, the weather has had an effect on my mood, so the poem is a little on the strident side and morose side.

Divorcing Winter

Alabaster is the color of your coward heart.
Burn the love letters I have written, burn the thatch
Carapace of this structure over our heads.
Dead are the silent years spent listening to
Echoes reverberate through the cave of this union.
Forgotten are the memories of sun and cool shade, now only a
Grief-laden sky spits frozen ice to the
Hard, malevolent ground.
I am lost, it is cold, I say to your profile,
Just as you remove your glasses. I think to
Kiss your lips, but see the glass of your eyes, the anger
Limning the pale blue irises, and the
Mocking black of your pupils. Sorry, you say. Sorry.
Now it will be a long season spent digging through ashes
Of what once was, what will never be, what has
Passed and will never return, knowing that the sweet and
Quiet memories are buried in a shroud of earth and
Rendered useless by this present season we inhabit.
Sorry is such a sorry little word.
There is no excuse for it. None.
Unlike, I apologize, sorry is the palest imitation of
Veracity. It is the last slap, the last shout, the last sob.
What is the point of all this sorrow? I ask.
X it out, you reply. X is always your axis of the equation.
Y is my linear function that will make this sadness less than

My Wish List

I've always been in the grip of wanderlust, but have spent far too much time as an armchair traveler. I've decided to spend the second half of my life wandering the globe. I'm busy working up a plan to make this more than a cold winter's day escape dream.

I've made my wish list and checked it more than twice and posted my top choices below. Check the links to see the fabulous photography of the featured artists.

The Louvre at Night - Rebecca Plotnick.

I could spend a lifetime here.

Woman at Taj Mahal -

The Taj Mahal is just one destination I'd love to explore. I think I'd have to spend at least a month to six months in India to feel sated.

The Great Wall of China - Cengiz Yar Jr.

Years and years ago, when I used to illustrate for magazines, I made a painting of the first emperor. As I remember, I painted a butterfly very close to his head to symbolize his soul, knowing full well the iron fist with which he ruled and the incongruity of the image. I have a friend in China who has invited me to stay with her. I think it's time to take her up on her offer. I'll have to see what her husband and daughter think.

Step Pyramid of Saqqara - Heidi.

I've had a fascination with Ancient Egypt since I was a kid. My imaginary friend, Senya, claimed she lived and died there as a young woman. This is a photo of the oldest pyramid of Egpyt, actually called a mastaba. Giza and the well-known pyramid trio is fifteen miles away from Saqquara.

Treasure of the Treasury. Petra, Jordan -

Ever since I saw images of Petra in Smithsonian magazine, I've wanted to travel to Jordan to see this monument of stone.

Where I Hail From - Rocky Mountain Morning

Rocky Mountains - Wasatch Front.

For the last few days, this field has been crowded right up to the fence with geese. There are quite a few still on the ground in this photo. Click on the photo and zoom in to see the geese.

The Coffee Project - December 3 & 5

December 5, 2010.

December 3, 2010. Bri & Daniel at Einsteins.

It's been over five years that I've been going to coffee after work with my father. Friends and family join us and we generally solve the problems of the world in under an hour's time.

This Moment: December 5, 2010 - 7:50 A.M.

The trees have shrugged off their shroud Victorian morning mist. Geese are calling overhead on their way to the fields, their raucous calls comfort against the coming storm.

This Moment: December 4, 2010 - 7:08 A.M.

I awoke to a multitude of sirens and the thought that I must have left the television on all night. No. The sirens come from the shopping district not far from my home. It is the annual Policman's Charity event at the local Walmart. The cacophony began at seven and has now ceased. Cars break the silence buzzing up and down the street. Traffic is unusual for a Saturday morning, but not when there are only twenty shopping days left. The trees outside my window are dull, but not yet completely barren in the early light. My dog is perched at the end of the bed, hunting the cars that pass before the house. He pounces on his hind leg and chews an imagined enemy. Abbreviated patches of snow mingle with leaves on the still green lawn. More cars, a train, and then a plane. It appears the world is awake and desperatley trying to reach its destination, somewhere, somewhere far away. I too, think that my life, my real life, is somewhere out there waiting for me to claim it, and that when I emerge through the milky clouds and land on the solid ground of foreign soil, my life will step forward, embrace me, and say "Welcome. You are home."

Poem Therapy at 1:36 P.M.: December 3, 2010 - Steven Schneider

Chanukah Lights Tonight
Steven Schneider

Our annual prairie Chanukah party—
latkes, kugel, cherry blintzes.
Friends arrive from nearby towns
and dance the twist to “Chanukah Lights Tonight,”
spin like a dreidel to a klezmer hit.

The candles flicker in the window.
Outside, ponderosa pines are tied in red bows.
If you squint,
the neighbors’ Christmas lights
look like the Omaha skyline.

The smell of oil is in the air.
We drift off to childhood
where we spent our gelt
on baseball cards and matinees,
cream sodas and potato knishes.

No delis in our neighborhood,
only the wind howling over the crushed corn stalks.
Inside, we try to sweep the darkness out,
waiting for the Messiah to knock,
wanting to know if he can join the party.

Last night while watching Bravo's Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen, the host wished his audience Happy Chanukah/Hannukah and gave away gifts baskets of games.

First off, let's just get this out of the way:
Hi, my Name is Danna and I'm a Real Housewive addict.

I admit that I am obsessed with The Real Housewives series and watch every single lurid episode and talk about these women and their problems as if they are girlfriends I speak to every night. It's a little embarrassing. A lot embarrassing, but I love/loathe/admire/detest these women. I don't know that I'd really want to know them, but I'd like to sit at a table next to them in whatever restaurant they are dining, and eavesdrop. Oh yes!

I suppose this is exactly what the series provides: a type of cultural anthropology project, a window into the private lives of women and their families. I can't imagine allowing a film crew to follow me and my family around.

I was one of those TV viewers that expressed disdain for this type of programming, made fun of people who watched it, but honestly, after watching one episode, you know the one, where New Jersey housewife Teresa flipped a table in a restaurant, well, I was hooked. I mean, who does that sort of thing and then justifies it, then claims her husband thought it was "hot" and that she is "classy"? So far, my favorite housewives are from the Beverly Hills series. Although it may be an oxymoron since they're the most botoxed, they seem real, less staged.

Back to the original poem-related point: I love the contrast of the sacred and profane, that of guests doing the twist to Chanukah Lights, and waiting for the Messiah to knock while looking out over a dark Mid-western landscape. What makes this poem powerful for me is that each of us find a way to express our beliefs, regardless of circumstance.

I think the contrast of the sacred to the profane speaks to the deepest core of my aesthetic. I love cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, sweat lodges, sacred rock formations, pilgrimage sites, any site that is sacred, but I can't love the religion. I'll sit in a cathedral and weep listening to altar boys sing in Latin, but ask me to accept a wafer as the body of Christ, forget it. The same goes for any sacrament that asks me to accept a messiah, a savior, prophet.

I love religious iconography and collect it, but only Christian and some Buddhist, and then to a point. I have a huge collection of crosses, but not a single rosary or crucifix. That crosses a line. Crosses predate Christianity. Actually, the majority of the basic tenets of Christianity predate the religion.

I've cobbled together my own belief system which relies very heavily on myth. It's the closest I've ever come to joining anything. Parallel myths are fascinating, and for me, have been like crumbs left in the forest, that if you look very closely, the moonlight will illuminate the way home.

Yes, I have gone on a rambling excursion in this post. What's my point? Whatever warms you, helps you to feel like you are welcome at the table, happy, happy holidays to you.


The Coffee Project: November 30-December 2

December 2, 2010.

December 1, 2010.

November 30, 2010.

Finger exercises.

I Heart Coffee

Coffee No.3 - Loris Word

Tis the season for hot beverages! All recipes from Robin's FYI Coffee Recipies

Mexican Mocha (hot) 4 servings
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
4 teaspoons chocolate syrup
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

Put 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup into each cup
Mix Whipping cream, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.
Whip until you have soft peaks
Place the last 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into coffee, and stir
Pour coffee into cups, stir to mix in chocolate syrup
Top with whipped cream mixture.

Cafe Borgia (hot) 4 servings
2 cups strong Italian coffee
2 cups hot chocolate
whipped cream
grated orange peel (garnish)

Mix coffee and hot chocolate
Pour into mugs
Top with whipped cream and orange peel

Turkish (hot) 4 servings
1 1/2 cups cold water
4 teaspoons dark roast coffee (ground very fine)
4 teaspoons sugar

Heat water in saucepan, add coffee and sugar when warm
Bring to boil
Pour half of the coffee into demitasse cups.
Return remaining coffee to stove, and allow to return to boil.
Spoon off foam, and gently place into each cup (don't stir)

Irish (hot) 2 servings
2 cups strong coffee
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
whipped cream

Mix coffee, orange juice and lemon juice
Pour into Irish whiskey glass
Top with whipped cream

An American Thanksgiving with Good Friends

Danna & Avital. Upstairs hallway/book wall(one of my collections of books).

Danna, Curt hiding, Avital, Pablo.

Curt, Danna, Avital & Hagel sculpture w Santa hat.

Curt, Danna, Avital, Pablo.

Park City.

Pablo, Amaris, Avital.

Avital and I have been online friends for at least eight years, but I finally met her (and her fabulous husband Pablo),in real time last week. It was so much fun getting to know them in person and having the opportunity to share my family, one purely American holiday (of thanksgiving & gluttony), and my little corner of the world with them!

Their arrival also ushered in the beginning of winter, which is a beautiful season all across the state.

Although some believe that people who are destined to be friends will meet over a course of a lifetime, thank the gods for the Internet and Zoetrope, because otherwise, I have no idea how we would have ever met each other since they hail from Brazil and I from Utah (perhaps it is possible we would have met on vacation or at a writer's conference).

Avital is a talented and much published writer, and Pablo is an emerging glass artist. (I'll have to come back in later and provide links).

As per usual, I forgot to take one photo, but luckily they sent these.

The Owl That Came to Visit

La Chouette - Irina

Emily and the Owl - Dilka Bear Trieste, Italy

The other night my daughter and I were heading out to our favorite local Thai restaurant when we pulled around the drive and saw a large avian shape perched on the highest branch of my honey locust tree, silhouetted against the darkening sky.

My daughter was certain it was a huge clump of leaves that hadn't dropped yet. I was certain it was a hawk, or an eagle. We walked very slowly through the fallow hay field, careful not to spook it. It would not be spooked. We walked right up under the tree and strained our necks looking at a Great Horned Owl.

Almost the entire month of November I've been in an emotional tempest wrestling with a thorny question/issue that just would not be ignored, until I finally faced it head on and did serious battle. Well, my version of serious battle. Nothing Athena-like.

I have a bit of a superstitious bone and tend to see meaning in things like owls appearing in trees, especially if it's my tree and I've never, ever, seen this particular genus of owl before on the property. What I'm saying, is that the owl's arrival came at the perfect time, right when I was riding the crest of emotion,and seeing it, how unflappable and unafraid it was that evening, confirmed that my decision was the correct course, however uncomfortable and painful, to take for this time and this particular situation.

I like to think the Athena's totem, her power animal, the owl settled in my tree to lend me its wisdom and vision to see clearly through the darkness.