Saturday, April 25, 2015

Transmission .... Received??

Something has been going on these three weeks since I returned from California.  Which has left me if not exactly amused, at least a bit befuddled.  Of course, change means getting rid of the old to make way for the new.  But I'm also wondering "if there's a message here."

Since coming back, my computer has given out.  My car has bit the dust.  My kitchen radio (a nice short wave perpetually tuned to NPR) has ceased to function.  One of my digital cameras no longer works.  And my battery charger seems kaput.

I've had to replace two of my three (land line) telephones plus my computer keyboard.  I've sent emails that haven't arrived.  The Messages application on my laptop froze.  And though it still works, my modem is temperamental.

Then, after my computer tech came to get my p.c. tower--to diagnose the problem and then switch all my files to another one--I haven't been able to find my speakers.  No, he didn't take them with him, no reason to do that.  But I have no memory of moving them myself.  Weird!  I've looked everywhere.

On top of all that, I've been having throat problems which as every New Ager knows is the speech chakra. There does seem to be something of a theme here.

So, what's the message:  Time to Move and Find Your Next House?  (That's next week's posting.)  Time to Find a Better Climate?  Time to REALLY Downsize?  Or as my saggy internet connection says, Problem Loading; Retry.  Hmmmm .....

Well, at least while all this has been going on, the last of my snow piles has melted and daffodils have come out all over town.  Despite a few renegade flakes yesterday, winter is over, hurray!  Time to get the pots out of the cellar.  Have the yard raked.  (Spring clean-up, it's called.  I used to do it myself, but no more.)  Get my entryway ceiling re-plastered that fell down after an ice dam on the roof had its way.  And have the windows washed.  At least I now have a newish computer up and running.  And I've just bought a car.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Oral Tradition: Remembering Donald

I recently had a ditty going through my head that harked to a family member who had a fine repertoire of word-play.  Wit, humor of the G-rated, family-oriented variety, was important to him whether he might decide to recite something when guests came to dine or when a child was working on her mashed potatoes.  Some of these, in turn, were repeated from his own childhood in an English-speaking Canadian household.  The humor magazine Punch was well thought of there.  Edward Lear was often quoted. Lewis Carroll.  The humor harked more to 19th century Britain than to 20th century North America and did not have what I might call a contemporary edge.  Though irony certainly had its place. 

His periodic repetition of these little limericks, nonsense word plays, jokes did not detract from them.  He used to say that jokes, like wine, got better with age.  In fact, they seemed to.  So that now when one comes to mind, I can still chuckle over it.  I can remember the twinkle he'd get as he was reciting it.  The amused looks of those who were listening.

Some lines from Punch were part of the repertoire.  "Her hair's her crown and glory and oughtn't to be tampered with" as one char said of another whose coif looked as if it had never seen a comb.

He liked to come up with his own witticisms, as well, saying, "Shampoo is better than real poo" and "Champagne is better than real pain."

He loved the Dr. Doolittle books and said that Dr. D. was the supreme scientist--who, when capsized, reached for first, and thus saved, his scientific journals.

He once copied limericks into a little black notebook.

The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher
Called a hen a most elegant creature.
The hen, pleased with that
Laid an egg in his hat
And thus did the hen reward Beecher.

A young man named Fiddle from Brie
Intended a preacher to be
But he shouted "Nay Nay"
When he found out one day
That he then would be Fiddle, D.D.

There was a young lady named Bright
Whose speed was much faster than light.
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.

Then he told the story about a train conductor approaching a passenger carrying a turtle.  In explaining the cost of transporting animals, the conductor said, "Cats is dogs and birds is dogs, but this here turtle's an insect and there ain't no charge for it."

Goofy, silly, funny, amusing, corny, punny. 

He liked to say, "If you get there first, make a blue line.  If I get there first, I'll rub it out."  Or, he'd tell of the time a salesman came to his door and he told the man, "I can't buy anything; I'm illegible," at which the man looked startled and promptly left.

With what would have been his birthday coming up this week, I put this out into the ethers.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lost Edges

Pink Peony

I want to talk about a technique I found myself using and expanding on as I began doing more and more painting some years ago.  What happened was this:  I knew that everything I was painting was too careful, too tight.  I wanted a freer expression.  So I began dropping edges.  Letting the paper carry the image off and away ... knowing the brain would be able to "fill in" those images without any difficulty.

I've included some of these images in past blog postings but I'm pulling them out again to illustrate this specific topic.  As you see, dropping the edges, not articulating them adds an ethereal quality.  A mystery, even.  And it works with watercolor, especially, since one only needs to add water and let the puddling, the mystery do its work without having to touch it again.

So for you painters out there, I share this with you and urge you to try it.  Just be casual about it and have fun.

Peony Epiphany

Three Daffodils

April Morning

Untitled Petunias

N.B.  This posting begins my blog's fifth year.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Home Again, A Few Last Notes from My California Trip

1.  On my flight from Boston to San Francisco (and then back again), everyone around me was ordering diet soda when the attendants came with the drinks cart.  On looking around--according to their laptops--I'd already discovered that these were people doing work on brain function, politics in the Philippines, etc.  I figured, as the BOS-SFO crowd, they represented a pretty well-educated group--MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Stanford, Berkeley, etc. So why was it they were so blithe (shall we call it) about the ingredients in diet soft drinks and how those chemicals affect the body.  (Badly.)

2.  I also found myself deluged with background music in the form of what my father called Noise.  Xylophones, horns, tinkly pianos all in an indistinguishable soup.  No let up.  That or background TV's.  Including four going at once during breakfast at the Marriott ... as if I wanted to hear more awful news over toast and coffee.  The hotel lobby was jangling as well.  The airport shuttle driver had his radio on.  More dithering played in the airport. Later:  department stores, book stores, restaurants, coffee shops.  So what is this!  Do we need constant distraction?

3.  Cra-zee in Santa Barbara.
  • Rather than pants, women now wore tights.  As if they've just come from yoga class.
  • The homeless sprawled on library and church lawns, slept on sidewalks, spent the day on the art museum steps, made use of bus-stop benches--one even hanging her laundry there.  900 homeless in Santa Barbara alone.  As one local told me, with its ideal climate, "You don't die here if you sleep outside at night."  
  • Baby buggies now seemed the size of small European cars.
  • In one major department store where I went to take in the SoCal scene, I found myself in such overload, I had to leave again.   I decided there was more choice there than in all the stores in my state of Vermont.  "Here I am; look at me," every item called out.
  • Outside, scruffy buskers played guitars and sang with one objective--volume.  One fellow beat a drum and shouted the single word, "AGAIN ... AGAIN ..." 
  • Skate-boarders feeling invincible, whizzed down the main street, daring stop lights and traffic.
  • Passersby gestured to no one as they carried on phone conversations.
  • As for the real estate market, it STARTED at a half a million and that most likely for a mobile home now called a "manufactured home."
  • And as for Cra-zee Great, how's THIS for a fabulous bookstore, Chaucer's Books, one of THE best-stocked I've ever seen.

4.  Finally, is this English?  "To come into budget is like yeah."