Saturday, January 31, 2009
The First Time I Wore...
The first time I wore a wedding gown, it didn't feel right. I envisioned myself as the bride in the photo who modeled the dress, but what I saw in reality was something entirely different. The woman in the picture looked delicate and feminine. Looking back in the mirror was a little girl playing dress up. The dress got tucked away until the day of the wedding and even then it didn't look or feel right. I wanted to walk down the aisle and see my groom's eyes light up. I wanted him to take me in his arms as we danced together in front of our guests and have him tell me I was the most beautiful bride he had ever seen. Instead he looked scared.
The dress hangs in a closet of a house I no longer live in. I continued to play dress up everyday for as many years as he continued to look scared.
My heart still believes the next wedding dress I wear will feel and look different.
bleh....yuck...ick...but it's my post for the day.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Write About a Forbidden Activity
It is the gentle snort and snuffle of his wife's snoring that lets Ernest know the coast is clear. He slowly rolls out of bed, pausing for just a moment should she feel his movements. Carefully avoiding the areas of the floor which creak and moan, he tiptoes out of the bedroom, blindly feeling his way down the hall. His navigation of the staircase mirrors that of an Alpine skier; his path cutting down the left of the stairs to the right, cursing under his breath and pausing in mid-stride whenever a step groans loudly in the night. With his breathing labored and the sheen of perspiration, he makes his way to his office where only then does he feel safe. The soft glow from the computer monitor beckons him as it has done on countless nights like this. His fingers caress the keyboard lovingly as he types his way to a world where he is no longer a frustrated middle-age man, married with four children, and in a dead end job. Tonight Ernest is the man that women all over the world desire. Tonight in the cyber world, Ernest becomes RomanticMan4U.
January 30--Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Self-Portrait in a Turban with her Child. Look at Elisabeth's hair. I love her hair. It's curly and I can tell that it's naturally curly too not set and styled. I want my hair to be like hers, all soft dark brown curls tumbling around my face and down my back. I am fully aware that childhood curly hair means tangles and tears, but I still wish I had it. Look at Elisabeth's face. She looks like a regular person, someone you might pass on the street or meet at your children's preschool one day. So many of the people in paintings look unreal to me, too foreign, too posed, but Elisabeth looks like a young mother who is happy with herself. I feel her eyes embrace me across the centuries.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
January 29--Architectural Detail with a Landscape, from Pompeii. This has to be Italy, Bonnie thought, looking at the art on the museum walls. Only Italians would put all those colors together like that. Two different reds, one bluish red like cherries and the other orange-ish like tomatoes. Two different greens too, one blue and one yellow. All of this art is too garish with too many colors splashed all around just like the Italian people. The people in the streets are loud and they dress in bright colors, if they're young, and they're always shouting and gesturing. Their energy makes Bonnie tired. The heat of Italy makes her tired too. In the cool dampness of England she felt energized, ready to run away from the stultifying restrictions of the guided tour but here in sizzling Italy she's happy to sit on the coach where it's cool and she likes visiting the great cathedrals and museums with their centuries-old chill steeped into the walls.
See you tonight.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
January 28--Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti. It wasn't my idea of a party. Everyone was too dressed up, some of the women even had on hats and gloves. The man had on ties. I think ties look like they'd strangle you. And hot? It was like an oven in that place with all the doors and windows shut and all those poeple crammed in there. You'd think that the men would take off their jackets and loosen their collars but they didn't. You could plainly see the sweat beading on their foreheads and their faces turning red but did they loosen stuff up to get cooler? They did not. A few of them stepped outside on the balcony to smoke and you should have seen the steam rising off them. A couple of them looked like they were on fire. One of the ladies went out to smoke too but she didn't steam. I was disappointed, that would have been something to see.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I've been working on the Socks X2 at home now that I'm at a point where I have to concentrate and look at the book. I finished the heel flaps last night and will start on turning them one by one later today. It should be interesting to do without getting all the cables and points and yarn balls in too much of a snarl.
Sorry for your rejections, Jenny, but at least you're sending things out. I hope to do the same soon. Jennifer, I really like Shadow, such warm emotions you evoke. Great job.
January 27--Jean Hey, The Coronation of the Virgin. Look at that simpering look on her face. You'd think she never had a mean thought in her head or said a mean word, but Amy Parsons is nothing like she looks, and I hate her. Amy is two-faced like that old god Janus. When there's adults around, especially Sister Joseph Therese, Amy's all sweetness and butter pie. She smooths out her eyes and holds her hands just so and folds them all ladylike in her lap. When it's just kids, Amy's like a tornado or an angry black cat with claws out and all. She spits out cuss words and flings names at the rest of the girls. She frowns and her eyes slant like poison darts. All the grownups think Amy's all pretty and special and devout. That's why she's always picked to be Mary in the Nativity play and the May Queen. Look at her sitting there all smooth and smug with Patty's baby brother Ed on her lap. That's gonna change soon. Me and Patty cut tiny holes in the bottom of Ed's diaper. Things should liven up any minute now.
There. There's nothing like a little spite to start the day off right. See you Thursday.
Monday, January 26, 2009
He came to own me in that special way that all cats possess humans. The agreement was a simple one; in exchange for food, water and a roof over his head when the weather kept him from prowling his kingdom or hunting for prey, he gave me countless purrs and a warm lap. "Shadow", I would remind him gently, "watch the claws." He would look up at me with those mesmerizing hazel eyes and the claws which had been kneading my leg would retract on command. Unlike the other cats that roamed about my property, Shadow was revered by my indoor cats like a God. He would appear at the back door when the night settled into blackness, demanding to be let into the house. The warmth of my home could have convinced him to make himself comfortable, but he simply sauntered toward the front door that led into the garage; my indoor cats watching him silently pass by. Never a hiss; never a fight. My cats knew who ruled the outdoors and he knew who ruled inside. My garage was his home.
It wasn't uncommon for Shadow to go astray, but I never truly understood what I meant to him until the evening he came back, crying at the back door like usual. It was only when I had him indoors did I realize he had been injured by a vehicle or another animal, I will never know which. His back leg and hip had been fractured beyond repair and decay had begun to set in. Yet this miraculous cat managed to make his way back to the place he called home. He purred in my arms as I held him and cried for I knew what lay ahead.
Those mesmerizing hazel eyes looked at me as if to say, "It's alright, mom. Let me go." I held him gently in my arms, whispering my love to him as he closed his eyes forever and felt no more pain. He was, and will always be, my Shadow.
January 26--T. Rowlandson & A.C. Pugin Westminster Hall. Bonnie felt like she was one car in an endless train. The escorted tour that had sounded so fascinating on paper had turned out to be like being held captive. She wanted an afternoon off. She wanted to investigate interesting looking little boutiques on side streets. She wanted more than thirty minutes to eat breakfast. And she wanted to tell Estelle, the tour guide, that she was too old to be able to control when she had to visit a restroom. The rest of the sheep on the bus sat lethargically looking out the window at the swiftly passing countryside and docilely shuffling through echoing churches and musty museums. Even though she was older than three-quarters of her fellow captives she decided that they were all nearer the grave than she was. She resolved to make a break for freedom that very day, bad knees and all.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
That said, I have done nothing to cut down my First Line story. I have to get on the stick because the deadline's in one week. Quit whining and get to work, Barbara!
January 24 & 25--John James Audubon, Passenger Pigeon.
The drab female feeds the colorful male. Isn't that the way of the world? Women keep the homes and bear the babies and raise them, all the while stroking the male’s ego and keeping him happy. Oh, man, this is not the thing for me to write about right now. I need to take a deep breath (which I just did), sit up straight (I am now), and write in a different direction. I should write about the amazing red-orange feet of the male pigeon or the subtle color variations of the female, even the branches from what seems like two different trees that Audubon painted them on. Maybe I should write about the dead leaves or lichens on the upper branch, or my assumption that old John James killed most of the birds he so gloriously illustrated, probably so the damned things held still. Or I could even write about how bloody cold it is in this writing corner of mine, that I’m wearing two sweaters and my feet are still cold, but I just shouldn’t vent my irrational cabin-fevered pique at my lovely husband being at home when I am. It’s just not fair. Or nice.This is all I'm doing today. Every time I try to accomplish something, something goes wrong. This is the third time I've booted up this antiquated laptop and some of the places I meant to submit stories are no longer in Novel & Short Story and I'm gritting my teeth and... I'm done for the day.
I was very thrilled at the cleverness of making a little "thumb hole" in the thumb of the convertible mittens I knit for Christmas gifting--until I made myself a pair, that is. Putting that little 3-stitch hole in a convenient spot for thumb use also puts it right in the perfect spot to expose the wearer's thumb to the icy steering wheel. It took two weeks of trying to shift the thumb around before I admitted defeat and grabbed a length of yarn and sewed that hole right up. Not very tidily, I admit. I will be mailing a similar length of yarn to DS and DD so that they can close up the "thumb hole" in their mittens if they so desire. That's one idea that looked great on paper and isn't so good in real life. Oh well.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Accidental Sock #2 made the most progress, I think. Hitting the heel flap a week ago at Harmony Cafe kept me hard at work over last weekend at home to turn the heel and get the gusset finished so that the repetitive foot knitting could be done in public. In about 2-1/2 inches I'll start the toe decreases. :-)
When the sock moved to at-home knitting so I could focus on the tricky bits, DIL's Silk Road Purse took the Friday Night Knitting slot. It's the perfect project to work on during a lively discussion--and we always have a lively discussion.
It was a bit busier at the dive shop this week so the rate of afghan fish blocks production stayed the same, but I'm always happy to put down my knitting to wait on a customer.
The Socks X2 got neglected since we had a retirement party to attend on Thursday. I felt sorry for them so I picked them up when I got home Friday night and finally got frustrated enough to exchange the shorter of the cables for a longer one. It has made a world of difference.
I'm very tempted to shirk all this knitting and make some toys for three little girls I know. Their grandpa was the retiree we celebrated Thursday night and I had a ball playing with them. Samantha, almost 3, and I flew to the moon and exchanged manicures. Alison, barely 1, kept my lap warm and played with my necklace during the speeches. Natalie, 2 weeks old today, slept like the princess she is in Mama or Daddy's arms the whole night. This being the middle of flu season her mama rightly kept her away from all us germy admirers. So, I'd love to pull out the acrylic and knit or crochet a whole whack of toys for the girls but I'm practicing patience until I get the Accidental Socks finished. Then I can treat myself to some quick toy knitting. Sammi loves elephants. I'll bet I can make one of those. She put her head on my shoulder and told me I was her best friend. I am putty in her hands.
Friday, January 23, 2009
January 23--Vincent van Gogh, Garden in Bloom, Arles. "Why do you do all that work? You can't eat it and it is a lot of work. Hard, strenuous, hot work--dirty and neverending. If you made an employee work as hard and as long as you regularly do out here, OSHA would be camped on your doorstep. You haven't answered my question. Why?"
"Because it's beautiful, that's why. See how the colors are so bright? And they lift the spirits. Well, they do mine. Don't they make you feel happier when you're down? I love how there are a hundred shades of green and how they all blend together, and how all the flower colors go together, make a harmonious blend even when you think they won't or shouldn't. Look deep into that patch of shade. Doesn't it make you cooler just to look at it? It does me. I can feel the cool wash over me even when I'm in the blazing sun. We haven't even mentioned the sounds of a garden, like the wind and the birds, the bees, and all the rest of the buzzing, fluttering inhabitants of this garden. We should talk about the soothing movement of the plants in the breeze or a storm wind. What about the fragrance? You haven't even asked about all the sweet, spicy, earthy aromas of the garden. Oh, why am I wasting my breath on you? I'll pick a tomato and some lettuce and make you a sandwich. If you have to ask why, you'll never understand."
There you go. Words. Anybody got any to share with me? I'm lonely out in this big echo-y place.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
January 22--Heinrich Wilhelm Schlesinger, Portrait of a Spanish Woman. Anya's dark brown eyes gazed out at the room. She betrayed none of the turmoil she felt. The waves of voices ebbed and flowed, rose and fell, opposite to the music played by an earnest and sweating quartet in the corner. She thought that the music was all wrong for the occasion and the guests. Rather than the stately Viennese waltzes, so proper for a debutante ball, the musicians should be a band of gypsies throwing their hair out of their eyes and flinging music to the rafters. Maybe then more than the three geriatric couples she could see would be out there dancing.
That's all you get today; I have to leave for work in 10 minutes. Have fun tonight. Without me.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I won't make writer's tomorrow night. Sorry, Jenny. I'll see you in a week.
January 21--Syrian school, Funerary Relief with a Female Figure. She sits there staring at me, her left hand at her temple, her right across her chest. Her unblinking gaze creeps me out. What could she want of me? The only reason I'm here is because I work for her husband who I have never met so I have no idea why she keeps staring at me. No matter where I stand or sit I feel her eyes boring into me. Does she think she knows me? I've never met the woman and now it's too late, but still she stares at me. This is the craziest funeral I've ever been to. Who'd have a cremains urn made to look like themself anyway?
Eh. It's writing.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
January 20--Edgar Degas, The Dancing Class. Lily walked from the car into the old office building on the edge of downtown. Over her shoulder hung a tattered pink bag appliqued with black ballet slippers and a white net tutu. There used to be rhinestones scattered over and around but through its years of faithful service they have been picked off or pried out or fallen off from sheer fatigue. Not from over-laundering, God no. I would be surprised if I've been able to get it away from her ten times in the last ten years. It started just after her third birthday, this quest. I had taken her to see The Nutcracker put on by a local dance troop for the holidays and she was transfixed, especially by the smallest mice. "Mumma, I can dance too," she said on the way home. And dance she did, wearing a swimsuit and tying one of Michael's shirts around her middle for a skirt. Any music, any time, any place our little ballerina was off and dancing. She and Michael's mother took a trip to Goodwill and came back with an armload of tulle and sequins and spandex and that pink ballet bag. They had even found tiny ballet slippers that Grandma sewed ribbons onto for her. Lily was in heaven. I signed her up for classes through the Park and Recreation Department but even that young she complained that they weren't "real ballet classes." So she started at Madame Sofia's on Saturday mornings just before her fourth birthday. In the past ten years I have probably spent at least three of them driving her to classes or rehearsals and waiting to drive her home. I went back to knitting to make use of the time. I've made a lot of leg warmers in all those years.
Good luck to our new president. Now let's see if he can deliver on all that speechifying.
Monday, January 19, 2009
January 19--Jacoba van Heemskerck, Tree. Tally slammed through the back door and dumped her backpack on the floor. She kicked off her orange canvas high tops and stomped into the kitchen making as much noise as it was possible to make when a person was only sixty-three pounds, eleven years old, and in her stocking feet. Her mother, Vivian, looked up from the cookbook she was reading like a novel. "What's the matter, dear?" she asked. Tally flung herself into the chair across from her mother and said, "Mrs. Brewster is stupid and I hate her." Vivian frowned. "You know I don't like those words, Natalie. Stupid and hate are too hurtful to use casually. Now please rephrase." Tally looked at her mother as if she couldn't believe that vocabulary was her first concern. The eleven year old sat up straight and said, "I am displeased with Mrs. Brewster." "Much better. Why?" Tally slid a piece of paper across the table. "We had to cut tiny pieces of colored paper and make a mosaic. She hated mine." Vivian looked at the paper. Sinuous dark blue lines surged up the center of the page then split and spread to encircle patches of red, gold, green, white and gray. She turned the page this way and that hoping for a hint as to what it was supposed to be but she was clueless. "What is it supposed to be, honey?" Tally's eyes rolled back in despair and she slid off her chair onto the floor as she said, "It's a tree." "Oh," Vivian said. She still couldn't tell the top from the bottom. She bent down to peer at her daughter slumped on the floor. "Are you sure this is your paper?" Tally groaned. "Yes, mother, just let me lay here and die." Vivian stood up. "Okay, but I made some chocolate pudding. Sure you won't have some before you expire?" Tally sat up. "Maybe just a little."
I do like Tally. She's always been so dramatic.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
January 17 & 18--Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken Up. (Now that's a painting title!) Lucy tugged at her mother's sleeve. "Come, Mama, it's cold here and the mist is making us wet." The small hand in its mended glove pulled again at Elizabeth's woolen coat. "In a minute, dear, in a minute." Elizabeth watched the ghostly ship slide quietly through the mist pushed by a black tugboat that spewed oily smoke that tinted the white mist black. Her thoughts slid back to the autumn day fourteen years ago lit by the setting sun which turned everything golden when she stepped down the gangplank of the Fighting Temeraire as a refugee from the fighting in France. She had been barely a teenager when her world turned upside down by war and changed forever. No more school, no more food in the market, no more young men to flirt with on her walk to the town. The juggernaut of armies ranged back and forth, back and forth over her father's small holding churning the fields to mud and stealing any food they had managed to save. Starvation and despair had set Elizabeth, her mother, and three younger siblings on the road to Calais. Maman had wrapped a few onions and a loaf of bread in a scarf for provisions. Papa stayed behind to try and save the farm. They never saw him again. It took them a month of walking and hiding to reach the coast. Elizabeth's shoes were full of holes and her feet bled as she shuffled in the leaves along the edge of the road. She carried her littlest brother on her back and she remembered feeling how shallow his breathing was. He had contracted a cold when they had hid in a ditch under a bridge for a day and a night to avoid soldiers and had only gotten worse with no warm place to sleep and no healthy food. He weighed so little that only his soft breath on her hair reassured her that he still lived. Maman had traded a necklace to the ship's purser for passage for the five of them and it was on the Fighting Temeraire that Elizabeth got her first sight of England.
I decided to combine the weekend's writing because I was certain I wouldn't find 2 days worth to write about this painting. If inspiration strikes maybe more will come tonight but don't hold your breath.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I managed 3 and 1/2 afghan fishes at work this week. I'd have the 4th one done and maybe even the 5th one started but Monday morning one of the red/purple/orange ones kicked my arse and I had to frog and restart it three times. Three times! The whole thing's only 47 rows long and a max of 20 stitches wide, what was the problem? I haven't got a clue but I overcame whatever it was and plunged on.
At home I got the body and thumb of The Converts mitten #2 done. Today I'll pick up the stitches for the flip top across the back and hopefully finish that project this weekend, or maybe even tonight.
As soon as the mittens are finished, DIL's Silk Road purse will step into the "at-home" slot and get some quality knitting time.
Thursday night at Patti's Yarn Shop I worked on the Socks X2. I probably added 1/2 to 3/4-inch. Switching from one needle to the other slows things down especially since the needles are the same color, but it's making more sense to me so I'm a little faster.
At Harmony Cafe last night I worked exclusively on Accidental Sock #2 and got half way through the heel flap. Once the heel's rounded the foot should go faster, except I have a size 10 foot, but that's okay, as long as I keep working on it even once a week I should get it done way sooner than 10 months.
I'm well pleased with my re-organized knitting life. I can see that I'm making progress on projects and I feel a greater sense of order (which pleases my inner-Hitler no end) and accomplishment. Yay, me!
Thanks for the idea, Jenny. That's a perfect way to make the last line work. I'm ripping out unnecessary words today and I'll try out your solution. Thanks again.
January 16--Paul Cezanne The Dream of the Poet or The Kiss of the Muse. Crumpled and despairing he sits at his desk. His paper is creased and smudged; his pen flung into a corner. He stares out his window hoping for inspiration or maybe a reprieve. Words won't come. His brain feels dry, devoid of ideas. The lyrical dance of syllable and rhyme has halted and he is sure it will never start again. Just at the depth of his despair when he is ready to burn his books and break his pen she comes back. She lays her cool sweet lips upon his brow and the words begin to flow.
Not bad. Not great, but serviceable. Limber up your shovels. Since it's not sunny and frigid, it's snowing. It's always something, isn't it?
Friday, January 16, 2009
Have a good weekend, all!
And now for something completely different. I will write directly onto the blog, no notebook between me and the screen to catch me if I fall.
January 15--Jean Clouet Francois. Look at the look on his face. He thinks he's the coolest, the best, the top, doesn't he? You can see it in his eyes, the way he looks down his rather large nose at everyone, the way his lips are just slightly pursed, and the way his eyes are not fully open. He's reserving judgement, judgment of us. As if we care. Look how tiny his head looks perched there on top of that ridiculously large costume and his little hands flapping out the sleeves remind me of a clown deliberately wearing too-big clothes to make you laugh. How hot and sweaty he must be in all that silk and brocade and embroidery and padding, and how stinky by the end of the day. Ooh, and he has a sword, an external display of his manhood. Hmph, I'll bet when his manhood gets interested in someone it isn't nearly as long as even the hilt of that sword. And look at those ladylike hands, so smooth and manicured. Those are not the hands of a real man; they are a courtier's hands used for flattery not for work. Do you think he is wearing a wig? That looks like fake hair to me, and that silly little hat with its limp little plume. Too small to balance the grandiosity of the padded clothes. Poor Francois, out of balance, out of friends, and too rich to be a real man.
Stay warm, please, it's crazy cold out there.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
January 14--Linkoku, Spring Landscape. I love the early spring days when the breeze has warmed and the sun shines enough to melt the snow on south-facing slopes. I love to see the dark green-brown of last year's grass looking all mashed down by the weight of the snow one day and showing the bright green of new growth the next. Birds start to sing more, the early arrivals return to add their voices to the sun salutations at dawn. Everything is awakening. The trees wearing their winter black, one day sport swelling buds and any winter storm-broken branch drips sweet new life in the sun. The pale yellow light of approaching spring warms the winter gray dawn and banishes it until next October.
There. See you tonight with a completed Herman story to read to you. Thrills, chills, and a little laughter!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I realized the other day that I hadn't revealed most of my stealth knitting. Then I realized that it was so stealthy that I neglected to take pictures of some of it. Grr. I have a plea out for pictures from the recipients, but they're off skiing at Whistler, British Columbia this week so it'll be a while.
I had a brainstorm to knit everyone in my immediate family a Meathead Hat with decorations to fit their interests. Therefore, Durwood and Ann got bat hats, Ann's friend Anne, who works with a children's theater, got one with comedy and tragedy masks (mostly because I was excited about figuring out how to make the masks), I made a coral reef one for David and a ski hill hat for Abby. The last two are the ones I forgot to take pictures of.
Many got matching gloves or convertible mitts too.
I think my favorite of all are the gloves I knit for my mom out of Cascade Pastazza in a peacock blue. They turned out gorgeous. See? Here's Mom modeling them.
January 13--Egon Schiele Seated Woman with Bent Knee. She sits there looking young and old with her tousled red curls piled on her head and her head resting on her knee. She must be young for only a young woman would twist herself in such a knot. A woman with more years on her, more miles on her would sprawl rather than contort. Her slump hides any breasts she has. Young women are embarrassed by their budding breasts. They shun the attention those pert mounds bring. Women grow used to male eyes that flick, up-down-up, greet her eyes, check out the boobs, back to the eyes. It becomes commonplace, not an offence, not a compliment, just an under-evolved response to a stimulus that most men don't even try to overcome.
Bundle up! See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Poor Jennifer. You need to eat some good rich chicken soup. Hmmm, maybe I'll get the fixings and make some today. Feel better soon.
January 12--Neroccio di Landi Madonna and Child. She had a look of exhausted distance on her face. I suppose all new mothers look like that most of the time. And she had the added burden of the whole virgin birth thing too. Can you imagine her telling her husband that she was pregnant, had never had sex, and, at least according to the nuns, was never going to have sex. No one ever wrote about old Joseph's reaction. I am certain that he did not just shrug and go back into his workshop to build a table. I suspect that there were quite a few heated discussions between them in the months leading up to the birth. Another thing is that Mary's always shown with pale skin and blond hair. Wrong! This was a Jewish woman. Why is she always painted to look like some Italian teenager? Again I'm writing about the painting itself instead of using it as a jumping off point. I'll get there one of these days.
See you in a few days wrapped head to toe in knitted things and layers of clothes.
I love all of your posts Barbara. The weather outside really spoke to your Chestnut Trees piece.
I promise to get my act together and get some writing done this week before Group. I miss writing...gasp!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Did everyone have a nice weekend? I did. I spent some time with Mom, I made yummy shredded beef, the albino squirrel visited 2 days in a row, and I knitted. Oh, yes, and I wrote on my Herman story. A perfect weekend in the winter.
January 11--Camille Pissarro Chestnut Trees at Louveciennes. The gate looked like something a sea captain might have brought back from China. The red and gold pain glittered even in the gray midwinter light. There were letters painted in black on the gate. At least people said they were letters. They didn't look like any letters I'd ever seen. Country people walking past made the sign against the evil eye. They feared the dragon dogs and the faces carved around the edges. I liked them, they were different than anything else in the village and even as a child I chafed at the small-minded thinking of the place. Now that I am grown I have decided that one day I will return to Louveciennes in an automobile, no less, and buy that red brick house with the Chinese gate for myself.
Enjoy your day!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I am zooming along on Herman's story. Yesterday I whizzed past the 3k word mark, deciding it's easier to chop words than to try to limit myself at this stage. Reader's Digest does it all the time, why can't I?
January 10--Camille Pissarro Chestnut Trees at Louveciennes. How long must we stand here in the snow? Can he please just get on with it? My socks are wet and my feet are freezing. Maman holds my hand so tight in hers that I can feel the tendons in her fingers strain to keep still. Papa insisted that we dress in red and black and come out to stand in front of the house and its naked trees. Even Fydeau, our dog, laying at Maman's feet with its red bow and permanent fur coat shivers. I don't know how it knows to keep still but even though it shakes and whimpers it doesn't move. My left arm is numb. I have to hold Maman's hand and all the blood has drained from it. You'd think that I would have no feeling in it but I do. I feel both numb and pain. I don't understand it either. If I turn my head to the left just a bit I can see the gate into the yard, and I can smell the warm fire that I know burns in the kitchen hearth. I can almost smell the hot cocoa that Marie makes for afternoon tea. Maybe Papa will smell it too and stop painting before we freeze.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I made 2-1/2 fish at work, sorta (I started fish #1 at home Tuesday night [I got excited] and finished fish #3 this morning so I'll start next week with no fish OTN to get a true picture of how many I can really make at work in a week)
I worked on my Socks X2 at Thursday Knit Night and got about an inch done.
The Accidental Socks and Abby's Silk Road purse got attention at Harmony Cafe Knitting last night.
This weekend at home The Converts v.2 mittens will get some needle time.
This time they even fit me! Good, huh?
So far this is working great. Thanks, Samurai Knitter, for the kick in the slats.
January 9--Egyptian 18th Dynasty Wedjet Eye Pectoral from Tut's Tomb. Lucy opened her eyes to see an eye looking back at her. The eye wasn't connected to a body. It never had been; not in the usual way. It was attached to Nate's body, though. It was in his skin. She never understood why he had gotten a tattoo of an Egyptian eye, some hieroglyphic that no one knew the meaning of. It creeped her out to see that unblinking eye and eyebrow looking at her from his upper arm. She kind of liked the bird on the right side of the tattoo. It looked kind of like an eagle wearing an odd sort of crown but she never warmed up to the cobra snakey part on the left. Nate spun some story that the eye stood for some kind of protective mojo with the ibis, yeah, an ibis that's what he called it, spreading its great wings on one side and a poisonous snake on the other. She thought he was full of shit.
There. Now if that's not a perfect example of the difference between men and women, I don't know what is. Enjoy your day.
Friday, January 9, 2009
And I'm getting a cold. I'm sure it's not yours, Jennifer, because it was coming on before I saw you last night but my head is stuffy and I'm starting a dry cough that's waking me up but--more time to write about Herman. There's 3 weeks until the deadline, I can do it.
Bob, you keep on with Herman too. I loved what you wrote, and thanks for rereading the Infanta story; it's a real keeper.
January 8--Odilon Redon The Buddha. Like a piece of the fog the man emerged into the weak light of the lantern at the corner. His clothing was colorful and clung to him in the damp air. His gnarled right hand lightly held a walking stick and his left was raised in greeting. I looked at his face and thought for a moment that I knew him, that he knew me, but I was a stranger here. How could we know each other? His slow steps barely made a sound as he moved toward me. The fog muffled the sounds of cars on nearby streets. The only sound I heard, aside from my ragged breathing, was the steady drip of condensed fog from twigs of the trees along the edge of the path. Careful not to show my fear I straightened my shoulders and lifted my chin. He smiled at me as if he knew my thoughts. The place where we passed each other was narrow. I had to turn sideways to avoid bumping him but still I felt the pressure of his fingers on my wrist. "All will be well, my child," he said so low it might have been the wind. Warmth spread over me from the place he touched me. I felt as if a weight had lifted and that good would come at the end of my journey. I resisted the temptation to look back.
Oh, I like this almost as much as I like the painting. And I'm glad you all liked your calendars too. I couldn't resist them; it was almost like they were giving them away, and everybody needs art in their lives.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
If this bugs anyone I'll remove it.
January 7--Jan Vermeer Young Woman With a Water Jug. The deep blue of her dress makes her skin glow and enhances her pale blond beauty. She stands captured in the gold morning light, one hand on the window casement, the other on the silver handle of the water jug, which looks more like a pitcher to me. I wonder what she plans to do next. Is she closing the window or is she opening it to dump the water out? Or, better yet, dump it on someone passing below? Is she the daughter of the house in her teens and mischievous? Or is she a servant given to pranks and about to lose her place? I don't think she's a servant, her clothes are too fine, the fabric too rich for a servant girl. Perhaps her clothes are a costume put on for posing and the blue bundle in the chair is her usual rags.
See you tonight.
Barbara, another great piece. I can imagine that using the art pieces to write is a fun challenge. I had to google the piece you wrote about yesterday and yikes, that was a scary work that Klimt painted. I don't think I would like to visit my aunt very often if she had that hanging in her house. Well done with the description of how you are situated in relation to the painting. That was the first thing I noticed. Imagine being a small child and having to see that painting?
Write About Bathing
To watch her bathe was perhaps one of the most sensual sites I have ever witnessed. I wanted to give her a moment of privacy, but it was impossible to turn away. Her movements were that of a dancer; limbs extended, completely absorbed in the moment, oblivious to time and her surroundings. "Why can't I be more like her?" I thought to myself. My ritual of bathing was relegated to the shower. A quick, get-it-over-with activity, in which I would stand below the warm spray of water, eyes barely opened from the previous night's sleep. My sudsy hands working quickly over my body; barely aware of any contact being made.
She, however, had this down to an art form. This wasn't a first task of the day activity for her. No, this was something she engaged in whenever the moment striked her fancy. One, two, maybe three times a day. She preferred to bathe after each meal. The look on her face was almost dreamy as she licked her paws and massaged them up and around her ears. I could not help but laugh softly whenever her efforts resulted in her ear being turned inside out. This would cause her to pause momentarily, look up at me with her paw in mid-air and a challenging expression on her face.
Ok...it needs some work, but it's early. See you all tonight!
Ps: Barbara - is anyone else out there?????
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Jennifer, you're fitting right in. Sick and twisted... *snort* Love your little story. I can really feel her embarrassment and cringing when her husband goes off like that. Well done.
January 6--Gustav Klimt Hygieia. She stands at the top of the stairs peering down her nose as I climb toward her. This is the worst part of spending time at Aunt Cele's, this climb from downstairs to up. In an old house already darkened by walnut paneling and years of oil heat soot it seems like a cliche that she would have a print of that scary woman looming above the landing but there it is. Her eyes look friendly enough and she even might be smiling but it's the perspective of the thing--that and the snake. The view is as if you are at her feet like a supplicant. She has her arm out as if to fend you off. Then there is the snake that's wrapped around that arm. Jed and Aunt Cele say it isn't a snake, but I know better.
I'm kind of liking this challenge of writing to art. See you all tomorrow night.
Thanks for the comments on my giraffe post - yes, it was a first draft..I may have the group critique it during my next submission night as I would like to do something with this.
I loved your poem - such sensual detail. You could see the romance budding among the spring setting. I'm not much of a poetry reader, but I definitely could get into poems like those! Well done!
Write About a Day Moon
uughhh---a day moon???? My mind automatically leaps to the sick and twisted and I thought about writing about a group of kids mooning drivers in the middle of the day....but instead I came up with this:
She cringed at the sound of his voice as he once again twisted his words intentionally to people who didn't get his sense of humor. It was one of the things that embarrassed her to no end and one of the reasons she distanced herself from him when other people were around. He either did not notice her reluctance to join them in social settings or he didn't care, for both he and his family loved to talk in this manner; either adopting a cheesy English accent or rearranging words or letters to liven up their conversation. Now that she thought about it, it made sense as their conversations were rather dull; but it was still an embarrassment none the less. "I should be arriving in Atlanta on Day Moon afternoon," he told a customer once. "Excuse me?" The customer's face expressed utter confusion. "Day Moon," her husband pressed on. "You know Monday." The red cloak of shame coursed through her entire body. It was no wonder he struggled in social situations, she thought. She saw the eyes of the others shifting nervously; looking for an escape route when they had accidentally engaged him in conversation. He was just weird, she realized. Too weird for her.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Anyway, here's my first FO of the new year. It's yet another (and the last one for a while) market bag made with the discontinued Red Heart Hula. I made it a bit longer and, as you can see, ran out of yarn while doing the edging. I had a bit of orange left so I used that. I think I like that splash of different color on there.
Oh, what yarn did I buy today? Well, I'm kind of embarrassed to say but here goes. Loops and Links had Filatura di Crosa Maxime Print on the Wall O'Savings and I'm kind of into Accidental Sock #2 now even though I've said in public I'm not sure I like knitting socks but right now I do, and, well, what if I want to make other socks like that to mix and match and she doesn't have the other colors? Well, that'd be bad. So, well, I had this mad money, and I, well, I bought 2 skeins of each of the other colors. It was on sale, you see, and I had enough mad money with some left over so that's okay. Besides I'm learning to make socks 2 at once and that kind of goes faster, or it will if I use a bit longer circular needles, I think.
Whoa, Jennifer, I love your story! Can I come back as a baby giraffe too? Please? Is that a first draft? If it is, I'm humbled. You to go, girl.
Here's my last night's effort:
January 5--Meeting of Aeneas and Anne, the Sister of Dido, 15th Century French.
The cool green of spring
lay lightly on the land.
Blue hills receded in ranks
away to the horizon.
Soft upon the ear
birdsong carried news
of male and female meeting
to exchange tokens.
Formality governed their discourse
leaving undercurrents swirling
like larks on the warming air.
Shy but resolute they stood,
yet their hands yearned
to cross the gap between.
A flower passed
him to her,
a promise made and accepted,
all without words
the decorum of the day.
Enjoy your day!
Monday, January 5, 2009
A Year After Your Death.....
“We made a mistake,” the voice from the shadows said.
“What do you mean a mistake?” I turned toward the voice confusion apparent on my face.
“We took you too early. We weren’t ready for you. Sorry, but it happens every now and then.”
Disbelief washed over me. A year ago I had been taken from my family and friends without as much as a good-bye. For 365 days I grieved for the loss of those that I loved and tried to adapt to this new world I was now a part of. Just as I had become accustomed to my new life, I was told it was a mistake.
“So what does this mean?” My eyes continued to search for the source of the voice.
“You go back,” the voice said.
“Back to my family and friends?” Hope and excitement shot through my veins at the idea of racing back to my lover’s arms. Our lips meshing perfectly again; the way they had when we shared our first kiss.
“No,” the voice said, interrupting my mental reunion. “You must take the form of another creature. It’s your choice, but you can’t go back as yourself. It’s not allowed.”
“That’s not fair,” I cried in frustration. “You made a mistake. Why should I have to suffer because of your mistake?”
“Life isn’t fair,” the voice said patiently, “but then again neither is the afterlife. Now what will it be? What do you want to go back as?”
“You expect me to decide right now, at this very moment?” My mind spun like a top trying to fathom the news I was given and the choices I would be forced to make.
“Take a few days,” the voice said reassuringly. “It’s a big decision; we know.”
I walked away from the voice and settled myself in my favorite quiet spot I had found when I had arrived in the afterlife. I wept silently as I struggled with the decisions I would have to make, and the unfairness of it all.
“Sister, why do you weep?” I looked up to find Sister Agnes standing before me.
“I’ve been told that I am going back to be amongst the living.”
Agnes drew to me and gathered me in her arms, holding me close, crooning as a mother does to her scared, injured child.
“It’s really not that bad,” she reassured me. “It’s a blessing.”
“How can this be a blessing when I cannot return to my loved ones?”
“The blessing comes in the form you choose to take. You can never return to them as you were for that would cause them considerable distress and heartache. But you can return to them in another form. The blessing is in the choice you make; this time you are in control.”
“How do you know of this Sister?”
Agnes wiped a tear from my cheek and smiled gently. “Many of us were taken at the wrong time. Some of us made choices to come back as humans hoping to win over the hearts of our loved ones. Others have made choices to come back in a completely different form.”
“How will I know I have made the right decision?”
Agnes held me for a few more minutes until my tears had subsided. “You will make the right decision Sister; the right decision for you.” She stood up, caressed my cheek and continued on her way.
My mind now clearer with the optimism from Agnes, I began to consider my choices. The next morning I returned to the shadows where the Voice could be heard and gave them my decision.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“Yes, I have given this decision much consideration.”
“You realize once you make this decision, it cannot be reversed?”
“Yes, I am aware of that,” I replied calmly.
“Then so be it.”
A bright light momentarily blinded me while gentle winds carried me from where I stood. When the light dimmed and the winds settled, I opened my eyes and looked around. My body rested upon a bed of hay that snapped and rustled as I attempted to move. I tried to rise and stand, but my limbs felt weak and my footing unsure. A nudge from behind me helped me regain my footing and I stood on wobbly legs. My eyes caught site of a large giraffe; my mother who loomed over me protectively as I took my first steps as a newborn giraffe. The sound of a murmur caught my attention and I gazed out at a crowd of people who were witnessing my birth.
There amongst the crowd stood my love from my previous life. I had chosen to come back as the one animal he loved; an animal I knew he would return to visit time and time again. I looked at him and walked slowly and tentatively toward him. He raised his eyes to meet mine and in that moment he knew who I was and he smiled.
January 4--Tower of Babel mosaic. Pat lay back and looked up at the red brick wall that loomed over her. The mortar joints looked like a maze spread across the surface, just like the stone wall on the mosaic in her Ancient History book. Looking at the wall upside down made her a bit dizzy like it would crash down on her. She thought about the toga-clad men in the picture. They looked strong and focused on their work. The tools and supplies they used looked a lot like the things her dad used when he built walls. She'd have to show him the illustration the next time she went home. He'd be interested to see how little his trade had changed. She realized that her respect for him had grown since she realized the timelessness of his profession. But she bet Dad would never wear a toga.
Eh, not what I hoped for but writing got done. Better luck next time. Bundle up, it's cold today.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
But I knitted. See? I have inches more Accidental sock. I don't think it's going to take me 10 months to make sock #2. (I did go to Loops & Links to knit yesterday afternoon and there in the Wall O'Savings were 3 other colorways of this sock yarn. Hmm, I could spend a bit of my mad money and pick up 2 skeins of each, just in case I decide to knit more socks like these. See, if I used the very same pattern I could have socks to mix and match that I made myself. (Justification? Isn't that a bit harsh?)
I'm just about ready to start the leg part of the Socks X 2. (If, um, when I get good at this technique the above idea would be a breeze. Really.)
I finished the second quarter of DIL's sari silk purse and immediately cast on the third quarter. I'm not letting socks monopolize my time.
I knit gloves or mitts for everyone for Christmas and I really want a pair of convertible mitts for myself, so I cast some on the other day. I got up past the thumb gusset before I realized that what I was knitting would maybe fit a seven-year-old. Maybe. I frogged it, balled up the yarn (I love using the ball winder), and started over.
Ooh, I forgot to show you the fun things my DD got me. Light up knitting needles! I know they're not new, but I think they're cool and a hoot. I've got some yarn in the stash to make into Meathead hats that needs this size needles. I should cast one on just so I can knit in the dark. (As if I need an excuse. I promise photographic evidence. Cross my heart.)
January 3--13th Century Mosaic, The Tower of Babel. Pat lay on her back in the warm spring sunshine. She was by no means the only student taking advantage of the irresistible weather by sitting in the quad. The men who designed and built the red brick buildings around the generous grassy space used their heads and sited them so that one of them usually blocked the wind. Pat had found herself a prime spot in the sun and out of the still-cool breeze. She sat down intending to work on her homework for Ancient History but for some reason the excitement of learning about the Byzantine art influence in Venice escaped her, especially the overly ornate and busy mosaics slapped up all over every damned church, basilica, and palazzo that stood still for it. Pat had grown up in a firmly blue-collar family and had the devil of a time getting worked up over the doings of 13th century rich people. A stray breeze turned the pages of her textbook, stopping on a page showing a detail of a mosaic in the Basilica di San Marco that showed two men in togas on scaffolding building the Tower of Babel. She laughed out loud and said to no one in particular, "They look like Dad and Uncle Ralphie." Suddenly the 13th century wasn't so different after all.
Jennifer, I like your timid little kindergartner trying so hard to be brave. And I found an art page-a-day calendar to use for prompts. I'll bring it to show on Thursday. Yay, writer's starts again this week.
Barbara, I love your Sunflowers piece. You really captured the feelings one gets from the familiarity of a work of art and how that piece tends to engrain itself into other aspects of one's life. Where are you getting your prompts, by the way????
You're Standing in a Doorway
I'm scared, but I don't want to show it. I try to swallow the lump in my throat but it's stuck like when you quickly swallow that last bite of oatmeal without having that final swallow of milk to help it on its way. I look around the room, my eyes staring warily at the others who are either staring back at me or don't even notice me because they are busy playing with all of the toys scattered around the room.
"It's going to be ok Sam", my mother whispers in my ear. "Kindergarten is alot of fun." I nod my head without saying a word because I know that if I say anything, my voice will crack and mommy will see that I'm not the brave little man she tells me that I am. I wrap my arms around her neck squeezing her tight, not wanting to let go. She returns the hug, her hands rubbing my back in the same way she does when she helps me drift off to sleep, but this time she lets go.
"Hi, my name is Michael. What's yours?" I look over my shoulder at the direction of the voice. "I'm Sam", I reply shyly. Michael holds out his hand to me. "Want to be my friend?" I look at my mom one last time and smile. "Yes," I reply. I take Michael's hand and we head into the classroom. I am no longer afraid.