Sunday, June 29, 2008

long grass with butterflies

Of all the paintings at the Royal Gallery, this one really struck me. Close enough to see the brush work, the thick texture of the paint, a sense of movement in something static.
I remembered this painting yesterday. Blissfully cool after a week of wretched heat, Puppy and I spent hours at our favorite park. Everywhere, tall grass with butterflies, hundreds of fluttering white creatures, swirling in the breeze. The perfume of grass and flowers warm from the sun, the faint tang of algae on the ponds, an occasional earthy wisp of horse manure - I love the smell of the park.
I have a small print of Long Grass with Butterflies. It reminds me of a wonderful trip, a marvelous place, and the simple beauty of a summer's day spent in nature. I can smell the sweetness of grass in the sunshine.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Hymn to Mercury

phones, internet, bus schedules
time tables
best-laid plans
all in a snarl because You were Retrograde.
Where's the lease, the money, the bus, the installer, the technician, the applicant?
Nothing happens when we think it's supposed to, or in anything resembling a timely manner.
Then on thursday You went Direct
and within twentyfour hours
we have a lease
the phone, the internet and direct tv are all working perfectly at the same time
a new check is on the way.
Your areas are tidied up and running smoothly.
For the most part.
I don't know about the buses.
And there's no recovery for the applicant who wanted to postpone her interview.
"I totally forgot that I just got married and I'm leaving for my honeymoon in Figi that day".
There's no coming back from that. It doesn't bode well for employment. Or her marriage.
But that's not Mercury's fault.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kate on the half-shell

This is me. Or how I am much of the time, hiding in my hard protective shell, only my eyes peeping out, pinchers ready to snap at anyone who gets too close.
It's not working for me anymore.

So, I'm exchanging my closed shell for an open one. First step, time to drop the pseudonym. I'm Kate. It occured to me that using the name of the virgin goddess of the hearth was perhaps not the best way to wade into new waters. Of course, Kate is short for Kathryn, which means "pure".........hmmmm. Maybe some sort of exorcism is needed.....
It could be a zen practice. Every moment, I choose how to respond. Every moment, I can repeat the years-long litany of 'i'm-not-here-i'm-not-here-you-can't-see-me-i'm-invisible-i'm-not-here' or I can choose differently. I'm Kate. I'm worth seeing. I'm right here.

Magic Chinese Massage

I liked the name: Dragonfly Massage. It goes with one of my tattoos. It's next to my favorite Chinese restaurant. I've had the number for a few weeks, and yesterday the pain in my hip was bad enough that I finally called for an appointment.
They speak very little English. It didn't matter. Sophie's gifted hands found all the trouble spots without any help from me. "Magic Chinese Massage" is mostly Shiatsu; it's very different from Swedish (what you are likely to have in a day spa). First - you keep your clothes on. Second - it's more pressure points, friction, stretching and rocking than long flowing strokes. It was exactly what I needed.
It was different from any massage experience I've ever had - no dim lighting, just the natural light from the windows, filtered by the rice papers screens. Some very creative use of paper towels. There was traditional Chinese music, but it melded with the sound of cars on the nearby highway. Instead of separate rooms, two tables are side by side in the main room. Another customer came in, had a short massage, and left. It didn't matter. It was just part of what was going on. And somehow, I was more focused and in my body than I remember ever being in a more secluded massage. It was worth every penny of the very reasonable price.
I made an appointment for the same time next week. Which happens to be my birthday. Happy Birthday to me :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

zen & the art of seeing

The Art of Seeing, or Art as a Second Language - that's the drawing class I started tonight. My perfectionist issues came right on up - everyone's blind contour and modified contour drawings of their hands looked like, well, like hands. Mine - not so much. I went so slowly trying to get every detail right (pointless when you spend 80-90 % of the time looking at your hand instead of the paper) that I never got anywhere near a whole hand, like the rest of the class. I was on the edge of tears at the break. So, I went down to the gallery to look at the sculpture exhibit. There was not one single piece that I would want to live with, but in terms of provoking a reaction, they were successful.

One piece - A Visit from Pan - wtf. It looked like a rusted metal torture device, all linear and square, with a large, partly rough, partly polished stone suspended in the center by an iron band. Two thoughts occured to me. One, the artist knows nothing about Pan, who is a wild passionate party god of the forest. Two, Pan really didn't like the artist if this is the impression he made. Maybe the artist saw Pan's Labyrinth, which upon reflection, would explain alot about the sculpture.

So back to class, where the drawing exercise continued, with an ear of corn replacing the hand. The second time through the exercise, the rules changed. 2 minutes to draw the entire ear of corn. Ready - go. I didn't think, I just looked at the corn, the pencil moved with my eyes, and the essence of the corn appeared. It was like catching a wave - everything one in the moment. Groovy. The teacher gave me a star. "What was different this time? What was going on in your mind?" Nothing. No chatter of 'oh, I suck' or 'what's that supposed to be?' Just 'this line goes this way this part is shorter get the whole thing...."

The next drawing of the corn was 15 minutes, not as much of a rush, but still nothing in the mind but 'this line goes this way, this part is shorter, this part goes down....'. It looks like an ear of corn. I got another star. I'm childish enough to enjoy that. No one else got a star.

It's not that mine was the best. I think I got a star for my mental shift, for going from going so painstaking slow trying to get each detail right along the way that the whole wasn't close to being done to letting go of the details and capturing the essence of the whole thing. For almost an hour, I didn't judge myself. It felt good.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oh, why not..........

It's been a long time since I did one of these (that's what he/she said!)

1. What is your occupation?
Patissiere (that's French for 'female pastry cook'
2. What color are your socks right now?
The same color they always are....oh, wait, you meant the ones I'm wearing right now. None, but my toenail polish is Ulta-mate Party Girl.
3. What are you listening to right now?
Scotland, PA, which my housemates are watching.
4. What was the last thing that you drank?
Water. So refreshing. And good for you too.
5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Haven't tried in over 25 years.
6. What color would you be, if you were a color?
I'm a mood ring - it always changes.
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
No one actually sent it to me, but I like the two people who posted it first.
9. How old are you today?
15 days shy of 45. How did that happen? Aside from the obvious - not dying.
10. Favorite drink?
Alcoholic. No wait, seriously - in no particular order - water, good coffee, good chai, sweet tea, almost frozen coke or pepsi, Mac Murray Ranch Pinot Noir, Rosa Regale Bruchetto d'Aqui and a mojito.
11. Favorite sport to watch?
Crash! Ow! Sorry, fell out of the chair laughing. Not a sports fan. Although I do like comedies about sports...Dodgeball and Blades of Glory are masterpieces.
12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Please see blog entry entitled "cuz I'm a blonde, yeah yeah yeah
13. Pets?
Um, we're talking non-human, right? 1 dog (12year old mutt named Puppy) 2 fancy goldfish (Willow & Xander - Buffy didn't make it). Duncan, my sister's groovy cat, and my housemate's three birds - Murray the evil nanday conjure and 2 little zebra finches, Patsy & Edina. Their cheeping sounds like the squeaking of tiny bedsprings.
14. Favorite Food?
This week it's red pepper hummus, sugar snap peas, strawberries, cherries and mango. Not all together.
15. Last movie you watched?
Never Cry Werewolf on the SciFi channel. Hey, I was housesitting. Options were limited. Yes, it was just as bad as you are probably thinking. But it was nice that Kevin Sorbo got work.
16. What is your favorite time of the year?
Spring and fall - earth wakes up, earth goes to bed. It's groovy. And usually in my favorite temperature range of 45-70.
17. What do you do to vent anger?
I refuse to answer on the grounds that anything I say may be used against me later.....
18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Easy Bake Oven! No contest!
19. Cherry or Blueberry?
Yes. Cherries by themselves (only a few more weeks until the Rainiers!) Blueberries with lemon curd or in a fruit salad.....yummy. But not as juice or soda! Puh! Puh I say!
20. Do you want your friends to email you back?
does this really apply in a blog context?
21. Who is most likely to respond?
see #20
22. Who is least likely to respond?
most everyone.
23. Living arrangements?
crowded at times. especially the refrigerator. I'm going to have to rearrange and consolidate my housemates' stuff just so I can get space for my own food.
24. When was the last time you cried?
In a good way or a bad way?
25. Who is the friend you've had the longest that you are sending this to?
This is just posting.
26. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to?
Still just posting
27. Favorite smell?
baking bread, baking pastry, grass and flowers in the sun, coffee
28. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
I would say cheese, but meat's kind of grossing me out these days. So, none of the above.
29. Favorite Car you owned?
I really like my 1995 Subaru Legacy station wagon. It's very useful, will probably last a long time still, and it's dark green. I inherited it from my mom.
30. Favorite Dog breed?
Mutts. Oh, sorry. The pc term is 'random breed'.
31. Number of keys on your key ring?
house, house, car, chef's house, kitchen, culinary school (should give that back since I don't work there anymore...) and mini swipe cards for king soopers, petsmart, and a couple others I don't remember and I'm too lazy to go look.
32. How many years at your current job?
one and a half, if you count the intern phase. one and three months if you don't.
33. Favorite day of the week?
The one that ends in 'y'
34. How many states have you lived in?
Washington DC, Maryland, Virgina, West Virgina, Florida, New York and Colorado. Lived it up in Hawaii.
35. What is your greatest love in life?
To crush the enemy, see him driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of.....oh, wait. That's what Conan loves best in life. The big essay question really shouldn't be at the end of 35 questions. Ok, greatest love - creation. All kinds - from plants bursting into life, ducklings hatching, growing, being eaten, escaping being eaten, dough rising - creation is good.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

grrrrrrrrrrrrr arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg!

After months of vexation, yesterday I finally told my housemate/sister that I am opting out of communal groceries. Aside from economics ( I can't afford to feed three people, even in a rotating schedule), I'm territorial. There. I said it. I want my stuff to stay where I put it, and to be there when I want it. Living with people is difficult. I need personal space, and apparently, I need personal food.
Bevin did not take it well. It doesn't make sense to her that in a communal household things would be separate. I pointed out that in most communal households, that's how it works. People are responsible for their own food. She's a bit handicapped in that she's never lived with strangers outside of a dorm. Somewhere in her codependent little head, she thought that rent covers room, utilities and food. Yeah. No. Room and utilities. Not food.
She seems to be taking it as rejection. Her choice. Can't fix that for her.
She also seems upset about upcoming changes to my schedule. When I'm morning baker, I start work at 4am. I'll be going to bed about the time she and Laura have dinner. When I'm evening dessert chef, I'll be at work when she and Laura have dinner. Which makes doing my own groceries even more sensible. But she hates change, and she's a pack/herd type of creature. I however, am more of a solitary predator type of creature. My needs for interaction are minimal. I like to do my own thing. I feel as though I need an instruction manual for dealing with my emotionally fragile, co-dependent, symbiotic roommates. Their relationship just seems, well, icky. Too close. I just don't want to be involved in it. I don't want communal meals every or even most nights. If I have to label my food to protect it, so be it. They do respect labels, but consider any unlabelled thing to be fair game. I' m over it.
I'm in one of those phases where I'm living here for two reasons, and two reasons only. Money and my dog. She's very happy here. I'd rather not put her back into an apartment. Hopefully this phase will pass quickly. In the meantime, I'll be doing lots of labelling.