“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.”
- William Wordsworth
“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.”
- William Wordsworth
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
- Frida Kahlo
Amen Frida, Amen
“Then at once they reached and hovered upon the imminent verge of sleep – but an intruder came, now, that would not “down”. It was conscience. They began to feel a vague fear that they had been doing wrong to run away; and next they thought of the stolen meat, and then the real torture came [...] So they inwardly resolved that so long as they remained in the business, their piracies should not again be sullied with the crime of stealing. Then conscience granted a truce, and these curiously inconsistent pirates fell peacefully to sleep.”
– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
On Tuesday morning I woke, made myself a cup of coffee, rushed my son to get ready for school and hurried out of the house to drive him. As I turned the corner, leaving my street, I noticed a car parked near my mailbox. As my house is for sale I didn’t think much of it and assumed someone behind the dark tinted windows was reading a house-sale flyer.
I returned twenty or so minutes later, let my big dog out of the garage she had been sleeping in while I was gone and took my garbage out to the road. When I entered my house my cat, a gnarly red tom cat, ran at me meowing. My house was freezing so blaming my sons for leaving their windows open, I went upstairs and closed them. When I returned downstairs I noticed there was literally a breeze wafting in through my sun room. As I walked inside of the archway to check on my french doors my cat began attacking my legs while he meowed (something he never does.)
The french doors were wide open, allowing the early morning breeze to fill my sun room.
I assumed that my son had left them that way by accident when letting the dog out in the morning….until I noticed that the doors were beat up: bent. Marks from a crowbar lined the inside of the door frame and the wood had splintered and split. My heart sank. I ran outside onto my porch and called 911. I had been burglarized and I was alone. I was told to wait outside of the house, by the street, until the police arrived.
After about ten minutes I decided that whomever it was, was long gone and I re-entered my home….only with a different set of eyes and a queasy stomach from anxiety.
He didn’t ransack it, which was awfully kind of him, and in fact, had only chosen to take things belonging to me, not my children. The drawers of my desk were all open but nothing thrown around. Upstairs, he stole my computer which lay beside my bed on the nightstand, along with all of my photography, poetry and writings. I hadn’t backed it all up yet.
He looked between my mattress for money or weapons and seeing none, went to my dresser to my small jewelry box to steal the old $2 bills I had been saving since I was a teenager. The bills surrounded all of my children’s little baby teeth they had lost and notes to the tooth fairy they had written throughout the years. He looked in my drawers. He examined my life.
My art studio is connected to my bedroom via a door and when I saw that it too had been opened my heart sank. I have an art exhibit in early June – my very first – and have been busy at work painting. The photographs I was to use for the exhibit were gone, having been saved to my computer, so if he had taken my paintings……but he didn’t. I’d like to think he had at least a little bit of respect for the arts….I’d like to think.
After the police and forensics left my house I received a phone call from my realtor – someone wants to buy my house and has made an offer.
I now lay awake each night, listening to every little sound my house makes and will do so for the next two months I live here. I make my dog sleep outside of my bedroom so she can watch the entire house (not just my room) and my children, while I take deep breaths….in and out…hoping the pirate doesn’t return.
“Sensual and spiritual are not easy words to use; that there are, perhaps, not two
Aphrodites, but one Aphrodite with a Janus face.”
- E.M. Forster, The Longest Journey
I am preparing for my first one-woman art exhibit in June at a local gallery. This particular watercolor painting is rather large in size for me, but was always one of my favorite little sketches. I tend to paint and draw sensuality as exhibited here in “Janus.” With this show preparation comes an opening of insecurities, moods of every shade and a sweet time of self-reflection.
“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.”
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
“Life goes on and on after one’s luck has run out. Youthfulness persists, alas, long after one has ceased to be young.”
- Glenway Wescott, The Pilgrim Hawk
“They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves.”
- Robert Frost
I spent last weekend on a mini-getaway in Santa Monica. Before I left I told myself I would only take five photographs the entire four days. It was a challenge as I usually take multiple shots and then decide which I like better. This challenge to myself was to not just point and snap, but search for the perfect subject and then take only one photograph of it. This is what I came away with….just the one…
Most people in Southern California look the roughly the same, so I couldn’t find any real interesting subjects in humans. The trees however, were so cool the way they seemed to emerge from the dirt like a giant earth worm, then settle back in, that I used all of my five shots just on them.
“I don’t want to stand before you
like a thing, shrewd, secretive.
I want my own will, and I want
simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action.
And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know
secret things or else alone.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to be folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke
“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”
- Roald Dahl
This photograph is of Bauhaus Coffee in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Seattle. It’s housed in an old run-down building. I don’t particularly care for Capitol Hill, but I love the coffee and feel at Bauhaus. Many years ago Capitol Hill was this great place to be and I truly loved the energy; a neighborhood full of artists, alternative thinkers, old run down buildings and people who made you want to stare at them in shock. Nowadays its full of young yuppies, college bound partiers, clubs and the old interesting buildings are being torn down for something new and contemporary – like the cool building that houses Bauhaus.
I’m not sure where Bauhaus will go, but it wont’ be in the high-rent newer building that will be taking its place. Most of the artists I know have fled and are filtering into the next area of town that in a few years, they’ll not be able to afford and again move on. And so goes the city life… You see, it’s the artists that choose the next “it” neighborhood…without even trying.
“Dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions.”
- Stephen King
I never owned dolls. They’ve always creeped me out. I remember as a little girl I had a friend who owned a collection of them. Her house was always overly clean and very red – blood-red carpets, red accents in her kitchen and red towels in her bathroom. I liked her because she was a year older and would tell me about boys, while her dolls listened in. When I would stay the night at her house I would lay awake, wondering if the dolls were going to come to life and smother me with their porcelain hands or crocheted mini-blankets…while she slept like a little doll baby. When my daughter asked me for a doll I caved and bought her one. Although I also bought a wooden case with a latch, a coffin if you will, that the doll could “sleep” in at night. I think she liked it in there…
“The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the Music breathing from her face,
The heart whose softness harmonised the whole —
And, oh! That eye was in itself a Soul!”
- George Gordon Byron
I have very few regrets in life, although I have had many blunders. The one I do have is related to a purchase of all things. A purchase I put off, thinking I would return and find it still….
For a few years I would visit Rome every three or four months or so. I didn’t stay in the touristy places, but outside of them, in a neighborhood in which I often found myself lost – the only English speaker. Near this neighborhood (I wish I could remember the exact area name) there was a flea market. The gypsy’s and bric-a-brac vendors would sell their wears. Three times I visited the same antique booth and three times I coveted a large alabaster statue of The Three Graces. It was beautiful. The woman selling the piece wanted 120 Euros for it and I never had the funds to spare. All of my money was spent either on travel or on entertainment while I was there and even then, entertainment often consisted of low-budget stuff.
Each time I saw it I’d tell myself that it was overpriced and the next time I’d return to Rome, have the money, and maybe, just maybe, the woman would lower the price. The very last time I visited Rome over a year and a half ago my intuition told me to just buy the damn thing…although it would have taken all of my money for the week…so again I told myself, “Next time.”
There was never a next time as it turns out. I’ve come across many statues since then of the three graces, but none as lovely as the one in Rome. I’d like to think I’ll find it again someday, if not in Rome, then another flea market somewhere far away…
“To be human is to keep rattling the bars of the cage of existence hollering, ‘What’s it for?’”
- Robert Fulghum
“No, no, no, I never said that… Yes, that’s right, they can’t be friends. Unless both of them are involved with other people, then they can… This is an amendment to the earlier rule. If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted… That doesn’t work either, because what happens then is, the person you’re involved with can’t understand why you need to be friends with the person you’re just friends with. Like it means something is missing from the relationship and why do you have to go outside to get it? And when you say “No, no, no it’s not true, nothing is missing from the relationship,” the person you’re involved with then accuses you of being secretly attracted to the person you’re just friends with, which you probably are. I mean, come on, who the hell are we kidding, let’s face it. Which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can’t be friends.”
-Harry Burns, When Harry Met Sally
Yesterday I had coffee with a girlfriend. I haven’t seen her in a while as she’s been busy in a new relationship as have I. During our catchings up, she voiced her frustration about her boyfriends ex-girlfriend’s continued contact with him. Apparently, they dated a year, it didn’t work out, so they remain “friends.” I listened on as she explained their relationship and could tell this “friendship” really bothered her and I know why. The truth is – Men and women can’t be friends – and I told her so. I understand that some of you may read this and say, “What? That’s totally wrong, yes we can. One of my best friends is a man/woman!” Though are they truly our friends? Would we call them if we were upset….keeping in mind that it wouldn’t be a call for an ego boost or attention….but a call for comfort outside of our own ego. I happen to be of the mindset that it simply isn’t possible. I’m with Harry on this one.
I didn’t always think this way. For years I would say that I got along better with men then women so had more of them as friends. But who was I kidding? There was not a single one of them that I could have truly called my friend. Either I had a secret crush on them or they on me. When my emotional world came a tumbling down, it wasn’t a man I called. It was my girlfriends that rallied around me like some great elephant tribe and dusted me off. I wouldn’t call a man to do that. It’s not to say that these illusive relationships don’t exist, in fact I know of a few – but the men are gay and the women straight. I myself happen to have a close friend who is a man – and he is as gay as the day is long. How many heterosexual man/woman friendships do you really know of – where there has never been some underlying sexual desire or heart string attachment crush?
Then there is the ol’, “We used to date, but now we are just friends” scenario, which likely consists of one half of the couple not being happy while the other is smitten, a break up occurs and out of guilt, one offers a friendship and out of desperation, one accepts…..hoping for another opportunity to rekindle the romance at a future date. I understand the argument that if it were mutual and both parties wanted an end to the relationship but not the “friendship” that sprouted during the romance, there can very well be a true friendship. However, where is it written that if I sleep with you and feel love for you that I have to continue to be your friend after the break-up? I researched this very question and found it nowhere in the books…. My ex-boyfriend is literally “friends” with all the women he has had relationships with (except yours truly) – and there are many. They are sort of put in this category after the break-up of “Will call in case of emergency ego boost or loneliness.” When I politely declined his invitation for a “friendship” after our break-up he was genuinely surprised. I mean, who says no to a friendship?
One of my personal favorites is the inner-office “friendships” of the opposite sexes. Interestingly enough, my other “ex,” that would be husband, is now in a relationship with an inner-office, much younger, “friend” who happened to end up in his bed at a conference in Vegas. Within my own company I am privy to some interesting “friendships” of my co-workers. Years ago, my father gave me some simple advise, “Don’t shit where you eat.” I have most certainly always taken this to heart. As it turns out, it was some of the only advise I actually followed…much to his dismay….
By the end of our coffee, my girlfriend admitted that she herself has never truly been friends with a man and that is why this “friendship” her boyfriend has with his ex really bothers her. I don’t blame her either. I feel fortunate that in my own new romantic relationship I haven’t had to deal with this as I have in the past. Before we were finished she had decided to talk to him and to express her apprehension to continue dating a man who needed to maintain a friendship with a woman who didn’t want to break up with him in the first place…..such a fuzzy line it all is…. “Which brings us back to the earlier rule before the amendment, which is men and women can’t be friends.”
“Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.”
- James Joyce
Behind my forehead is busy of late….
Rome is not outside me, but inside me.. Her feverish sweetness, her tragic countryside, her own beauty and harmony, all these are mine, for my thought and my work.
Last week I watched as the introduction of Pope Francis, Papa Francesco, was announced to over the one hundred thousand people waiting outside of the Vatican – praying – chanting – hoping – crying. I’m not a religious woman although I grew up Catholic but I found myself glued to my computer – hoping along with the rest. I no longer belong to the faith though my sense of tradition, as well as my academic interest in religious doctrine is strong.
Interestingly enough, while I waited for the announcement I had also been researching an artist I had long forgotten about – Amedeo Modigliani, an Italian born Jewish artist who died tragically at the young age of thirty-five. I’m in the process of playing with techniques and styles and have been painting a Modigliani-like woman. On a side note, Amedeo is the last name of my Godmother and Francis is the name my brother (since passed away) took when he was confirmed in the Catholic church.
As I sat and watched Papa Francesco smile at his flock I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind.
How I connected Amedeo Modigliani and Papa Francesco is simply a matter of coincidence really. But right before his name was announced I had read a quote from Eugenie Garsin – Modigliani’s mother, in which she stated, “The child’s character is still so unformed that I cannot say what I think of it. He behaves like a spoiled child, but he does not lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps an artist?”
And then after reading her words, a second later there was a new Pope looking out on the square and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe as he looked down he thought, “they behave like spoiled children, but don’t lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps artists?”
“And what is it you guard with fastened doors? Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power? Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind? Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?”
“The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds – the cemeteries – and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay – ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here.
You could be dead for a long time”
– Bob Dyla
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
– Emile Zola
As I begin to make my plans to return to Italy this June, I am reminded, through this and many photos, of one of the things I so enjoy about the country; It’s passion for the arts – a sort of living out loud
“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”
- Salvador Dali
“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today I spent some time at the Saint Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1985, Pope John Paul II deemed the church – the first Catholic Church in Phoenix – to be a Minor Basilica. I was unable to see the inside, as there was a funeral taking place, but was enchanted by the grounds itself. I watched a woman, while clutching a rosary in her hand, stop at each of the three statues in the courtyard. She would press her face against the face of each one, as if they were old friends sharing a secret, say a prayer and end with the sign of the cross.
As I was leaving she stopped me. Opening her hand she showed me a little plastic heart-shaped “jewel,” like that a little girl might have on a bracelet, and asked me if I thought it was a real diamond. It still had some of the glue on the back of it. I wished I could have told her yes…..
“History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”
– Howard Zinn
A few years ago I read, The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Until then, I thought I knew history. Well, as much as any other American I suppose. What I came to realized was that I only knew what had been taught to me – what was allowed to be taught to me. Without hesitation I believed that those “teaching” me were not to be questioned. I’ve come to realized that as a people; as Americans in fact – we need to question, to examine, to dig and demand. Only then can we begin to understand who we are as part of a community…..
“Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.”
- Hunter S Thompson
“For your sake, I hurry over land and water;
For your sake, I cross the desert and split the mountain in two,
And I turn my face from all things,
Until the time I reach the place
Where I am alone with you.”
- Al Hallaj
I took these photographs while visiting Joshua Tree National Park this past weekend …. A still and peaceful place
“Where the waters do agree, it is quite wonderful the relief they give.”
– Jane Austen
Tomorrow I am leaving for the warm desert of California for a long weekend getaway. This morning I walked my trusty dog alongside the frigged water near my house. A contrast in landscapes – One warm and dry and one cold and wet. I’ve decided I like them both, if not for their mere contrasts alone. I’m not sure I could ever live permanently in the desert though. Although I am far more a land lover than a sea lover, I need it near. I need to see it. To smell it. To be a part of the “relief” it gives, however it’s done…
“what he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveller’s past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
I spent part of this weekend in Vancouver, Canada. I like Canada and the people of Canada very much and it’s a place I could happily call home. The city is entirely walkable and has an abundance of shops and food choices. More so than most west coast American cities I’d stay. We lodged downtown and before attending my first National Hockey League game, we dined at Lupo. If you ever find yourself in Vancouver I can’t recommend a restaurant more. The octopus carpaccio was to die for and the seafood risotto made our mouths water for more.
My favorite time of day in the city is the morning – when the city wakes and the people inhabiting it’s walls wake to give it it’s pulse for the day. I like to open the curtains, sip my coffee and watch it all happen…
This week, while on Maui, a co-worker and I woke before sunset, only having a few hours before we were to fly back home, hoped on the loaner bicycles the hotel offered us, carrying nothing but our identification and a few bucks, and cycled to a local surf shop. After striking a bargain for two hours on a double sea kayak instead of the daily price, we carried our boat to the beach.
Sylvia and I are pretty petite woman, however the heavy plastic boat, although awkward, wasn’t so bad carrying across the road, down the beach and into the surf as we’re both fit and strong. Unlike most Maui mornings it was cloudy and sprinkling. We were the only boat out. A few surfers rested on their boards, waiting patiently for the waves that appeared to be picking up with the rain. We paddled past them, nodding our heads a “hello” and without talking much, worked our way far out to sea.
We were on a mission that morning. The Humpback whales are visiting the waters off of Hawaii presently and essentially, the waters between the islands is like their big play pen. I had never seen a Humpback and was looking forward to hopefully experiencing the beauty of what I consider one of the seas most majestic creatures.
That particular morning they were far off shore due to the clouds and choppy waters. I began to get nervous as more than a mile and a half was between us and the safe shoreline. Although I enjoy the water I am a land-lover at heart. Though I continued on my morning journey. We stopped when the winds began to blow a bit and decided to just sit back and not go further to be safe.
After just a few minutes we began seeing the beauties breech out of the water, their tales slapping the sea as they’d land. We waited for them to get closer, hoping they may even swim under us (Silvia’s had that very experience herself.” Then I heard it; The coolest sound ever. The sound of the Humpback’s blow-hole releasing the air from her lungs. It was beautiful. I knew she was a female because as she breached in almost slow motion out of the water, her little calf followed suit and breached as well. My breath was taken away.
The weather began to change and we couldn’t stay any longer hoping they’d come closer. We began the long and laborious paddle back to shore. It seemed harder, as if the boat was heavier. Sylvia and I paddled stronger and when I thought my arms would give in, we rode a wave to the beach and stumbled out of the kayak. We were barely able to push it on the beach.
When we tried to pick it up and carry it as we did earlier, it was almost impossible. We decided she’d pull the front and I’d push the end, dragging it on the beach and up the grass. Once we got it to the sidewalk, still needing to cross the road, we heaved it off the ground and struggled – having to stop every foot or so. I felt so weak. The guys from the shop saw us and ran over to help. They couldn’t pick it up either. After turning the boat over, saying it was full of water, they inspected it. Apparently there was a crack in one of the drain holes. The boat was completely full with water; the reason it had been so difficult to paddle and carry on the way back. We were told that had we stayed out any longer, it would have likely sunk. We just sort of looked at each other. I wondered to myself if we did sink out there….would a fellow mother come help us out….now THAT would be a story to tell, wouldn’t it?
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
- Rabindranath Tagore
“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.”
– Truman Capote
I spent part of this week visiting a good friend of mine who just moved to NYC from Spain for love… We first met in Verona, Italy while both of us were visiting and became fast friends. Just a few months later she left her home country of Spain, along with all of her family, to begin a life in New York City.
New York has this energy – an energy I find difficult to describe in words on a blog for fear I can never do it justice. The streets are art – without trying to be so…
I could’ve taken at least a thousand photos, but decided to keep the camera in my bag for most of the time (only snapping a few here and there) and simply let myself enjoy good friends, excellent food and the energy of the city. I’m glad I did.
Last night, after filling our bellies at Chef Tom Douglas’ Lola Restaurant, we walked in the frigged air, staying close for warmth, to Seattle’s own Benaroya Hall. It had been years since I saw Jackson Brown on stage and in my opinion he hasn’t changed a bit. Still the same melodious soulful voice I adore so much.
My Stunning Mystery Companion
- Jackson Brown
What with all my expectations long abandoned
And a future I no longer saw my hand in
How I found you is beyond my understanding
My stunning mystery companion
I know that you don’t want to be
Out here forever on this road
Or live among the boxes
Where all my past lives have been stowed
Maybe you’re thinking of someplace
With a garden by the sea
Where we could slow down
And you could put a little more work in on me
What with all my expectations long abandoned
My solitary nature notwithstanding
You’re the one who pulled me
Out of that crash landing
My stunning mystery companion
Right now I can’t quite remember
The cause of all my tears
I hear you laughing and somehow
The past just disappears
Maybe you were joking when you said
You’d take me for ten years and no more
Maybe you’ve had the best of me
But you could take another ten years and be sure
What with all my expectations long abandoned
And a life that just gets more and more demanding
There’s no doubt that you’re the reason I’m still standing
My stunning mystery companion