Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the road, looking for art

I hit this FromTheCar trip photo with a new iPhone app lying in my bed in the middle of the night. It now has a nutty hard graphic quality that I think I like. That's me and my iPhone in the mirroe. The whole scene has been sharpened and intensified. I have to admit that I ordered FOUR iPhone photography books two nights ago (three on Kindle) and one actual book, which came today. I'd like to report on those I recommend later. I've read them all (none are very long)--except the paper one--and been encouraged toward more heavy manipulation of ordinary shots, like this one. Color shifts, sharpening, fading, vignettes up the yin-yang, etc. Part of me thinks I SHOULD think these methods are tacky, part of me thinks, WOW!
And I guess I will never be as bold as Ai WeiWei seems to be in the documentary we saw tonight. Omigosh! What manly freedom! I'd sure like to see the exhibit in Washington. But I'll content myself with Boise Art Museum's inflated white fabric life-sized elephants for now.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Geese in Julia Davis Park, near the Boise Art Museum

Luckily the teacher arranged an extension for the watercolor studies at the Boise Art Museum. So, for three more weeks I shall get to visit this goose sanctuary once a week. They browse on the grass, they drink from the gutters after a rainstorm, and they poop on the sidewalks. It's truly great!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Many, many, many, many years ago . . .my boy was a bunny

I took this picture of my son as the rabbit's face. We used to stop for breakfast at The Nut Tree, which had all sorts of kid stuff, like a wooden giraffe they could ride. We were on the way to Grace, Idaho to visit family there. Since--behind the rabbit--the child's face was in shadow, the slides didn't come out well. But last years project to have the slides scanned turned up these old treasures and they can be lightened up enough for me to send kisses to the past.
I'm afraid I haven't a poem for tonight. We (mis?)spent the evening Netflixing the last three episodes of that ancient British epic, Brideshead Revisited. Julia wore some pretty snappy clothes tonight, all glitter and drapery. And Charles smoked at the beginning, end and middle of every scene. A great deal of fuss was  made over Laurence Olivier getting the Last Rites, when he didn't want 'em and even the doctor thought it might kill him. And then LO came back enough from his comatose state to cross himself before he died. Such a fuss! It made me long for the Evelyn Waugh of Vile Bodies, but I don't think I'll get that on Netflix. I must have a poem for tomorrow!!
Good Night!
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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Wood Duck's beautiful red eyes!

He's an elusive little sweetie, and the glint in his eye in the photo isn't there unless the sun is shining. So I was quite happy with this one. And I love the little egg-shaped rock! Duck feeding has dwindled down a lot, about half of them still turn up, but they fly off much more easily when I come out and may not come back right away for the corn. So my worry that I would have to taper them off like substance abusers seems to have been premature. The last two nights we had skiffs of snow, which melted by midafternoon. I guess they eat weeds, seeds and roots. . .
(I'm going to find out!)

Today I noticed that the buds are swelling on the cottonwood trees.
Even the buds on fallen branches are quite swollen, reddish and come to a sharp point.
I'll be taking pictures of this as I can, inspired by the book Seeing Trees, which I highly recommend. I only wish that the authors lived in Michigan, rather than in the south,
but this is SUCH a great book that it almost does not matter.
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

This winter will be over soon; when I saw the rime fall from the trees for the first time.

Tonight, we all watched the Oscar ceremonies together, which is a companionable thing for families to do, even if most of us haven't seen the movies and thus cannot care very much or even make informed guesses. It was a good year for tigers and the 19th century, though.
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Eroded Graves in Grafton, Southern Utah

I found this dry cemetery very moving when my brother, David, took me there after our Southern Utah family reunion. Below these mighty rocks lie the careful interments of Mormon pioneers. The wind seems to be taking away the earth around the gravemounds.
Slowly, slowly.
In that brief immersion in family history I noticed how small their remaining houses were, and how limited the things anyone could see, do, possess were.

Below is the first half of Transtromer's Eight Haiku;
to accompany this bleak desert graveyard.
Tomas Transtromer, The Living and the Dead,
Harper Collins, 1995, p. 62

Power lines
taut in the kingdom of cold
north of all music.

The white sun
practices long distance running
against death's blue mountain

We must live
with the small print of the grass
and the cellar laughter.

The sun is low now.
The shadows are giants.
Soon all will be shadow.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Inside the Car Wash, come with me

In some sense the world is always in the position of this unfinished manuscript . . .

The other day I saw a great photo taken inside a car wash. Today was my chance! We have the best car wash here! It was very difficult to take pictures (motion, wobble, can't trigger phone cam with your fingernail while holding cam against the windshield) for the clearest shot) and most of the shots are just blobs of soap on the windshield. These might come in handy to layer with something else. (I'm all about the conservation of material!) We were on the way home from picking up my new contact lenses, for which I had high hopes (silly me!) already dashed. S swung into the car wash and I swung into photographer action! For some reason, we had even ordered the expensive wash with the "tire glaze" whatever that is. Not necessary, I suspect. There is something symbolic about the car wash and the ease of our American Life, but it is too late for me to delve into that right now! But I do like the jets of water you can see above.
Click on it to make the photo larger.

Tonight, we watched a recent recording of Steven Brill on Charlie Rose (who was, as ever, a very annoying and crudely interrupting interviewer!) Brill's humonguous (IS there a way to spell that???) article (36 pages, the longest article ever published by Time) on medical overpricing, hospitals (and so forth) just appeared in Time and we are in hot pursuit of the text. Kind of daunting, since I am having vision kerfloofle. I just took out the lenses and right now am using the thick glasses which replace my lenses that were removed in 1983, when Dr. Shecter (the Silver Fox--what gorgeous white hair!) used the then-new phacoemulsification machine to emulsify my cataracts. These glasses don't work that well for computer use! They are great for mid-night Kindling in bed, however.

And here, from my current favorite actual-paper book, 
something of Jagajewski's for you to ponder.

"Try to imagine a time when the Divine Comedy had not yet become an inspiring monument of world culture but existed only as a work in progress. Dante's busy writing, say, the Forth Canto and anything could happen; he could catch pneumonia and die before the end of the Inferno. He's already got a vision of the whole in his head, but there's still a long and treacherous road to tread before it's all safely down on paper. Bacteria and viruses don't sleep--to say nothing of political opponents.

I like to think of that moment, and not just for philological reasons. In some sense the world is always in the position of this unfinished manuscript, even if we don't see any masterpiece in progress at the moment."

from Another Beauty by Adam Jagajewski, p, 38
This entire "chunk" of thought is set aside from all the "chunks" which make up the rest of the book by the three spaces I mentioned before.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Emmet County Day Moon, April, 2010, Northern Michigan

I am always surprised and pleased when the moon shows itself like this during daylight. If I were writing Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book, I am sure it is one of the things I would call delightful. In the photo are April's bare trees with the buds already swelling. I have noticed changes in the cottonwood buds already here in Idaho. But it's a while yet until tomato-planting time. Last year in San Jose, Smita and her daughter fed us with Heirloom tomatoes from their garden when Anil was here. Plum-dark red, orange red, yellow! I like the idea of gardening slightly better than actual gardening. But the difference is not as great for me as the difference between the idea of canning and the actual terrifying back pain and split fingers I got the last time I tried. I'm good at freezing, though, if I can get good stuff to freeze, like the cherries and blueberries of the Michigan season. And the frozen vegetables and fruits you can buy now are often very good.
I was trying to save the Adam Jagajewski book (that I quoted from in the last two posts here) to read in bite-size pieces; I wanted to make it last a long time. The problem is that of the half-dozen other books I sampled today, every one seemed pretty commonplace and blahhhh after reading just the first 30 pages of the translation of his book. I must make an exception for Haruki Murakami's book of short stories called Elephant Vanishes. I got a kick out of the first two stories in that. I was Kindling in the dark when I was supposed to be going to sleep. Good Night!
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Far from Krakow, where I'm living now

"Ideas may even join forces with the snow. . . ."

There was a children's book called The Trumpeter of Krakow that I read long ago. It wasn't a favorite book, but it might have won a Newberry Medal. I really cannot remember the story, except for the music that breaks off suddenly in memory of when the trumpet call was broken, Without that book, I might have grown up without ever hearing the name Krakow. It's an old-sounding name, mysterious and crackling with harsh consonants. How to know then how much I would love the writing of  Adam Zagajewski, who talks about Krakow so much in the beginning of his so-wonderful so-different, so-interesting book, Another Beauty. I know I am supposed to be writing my own stuff for this blog, but how can I resist? His chunks of prose make poetic leaps in such fresh and funny language. Each chunk (some are only two lines long, some more than a page) is printed in what looks like one and a half line spacing with three of the same size blank lines between chunks indicating that each one is a separate thought, or riff.

I am falling in love with this form, which almost reminds me of a diary, or notebook. My dear friend, D, used to write each night in her diary four lines, like a Chinese poem. In some ways, keeping a blog has become that sort of practice for me. I know I will pick a picture to start--not too tough, since I have thousands of pictures; then I will go riffing from there. I took up this work again in earnest at the New Year, and am finding it very rewarding, although I am still not writing (and thinking) as clearly as I hope to. Through practice? Here is tonight's Zagajewski:

"I can't write Krakow's history, even though its people and ideas, trees and walls, cowardice and courage, freedom and rain all involve me. Ideas as well, since they cling to our skin and change us imperceptibly. The Zeitgeist chisels our thoughts and mocks our dreams. I'm intrigued by all kinds of walls; the space we inhabit isn't neutral, it shapes our existence. Landscapes enter our innermost being, they leave traces not just on our retinas but on the deepest strata of our personalities. Those moments when the sky's blue-gray suddenly stands revealed after a downpour stay with us, as do moments of quiet snowfall. And ideas may even join forces with the snow, through our senses and our body. They cling to the walls of houses. And later the houses and bodies, the senses and ideas all vanish. But I can't write Krakow's history, I can only try to reclaim a few moments, a few places and events; a few people I liked and admired, and a few that I despised."
From Another Beauty, Univ. of Georgia Press, 2002. Page 20-21
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moving; this house is going somewhere

Looking for something else, I ran onto my copy of Another Beauty by Adam Zagajewski. This is why I still need to have paper books. Their quantity annoys my family; perhaps (if they dug a big enough hole) they could be buried with me. Although by a poet, this is a book of prose,which dips into and out of memoir, and is seasoned throughout by the witty sardonicism (maybe that's not quite the right word--I might change it later) of someone born right after (1945) what I still call The War into an early life in Russian-dominated Poland. I find it wonderfully readable, as if by someone I had known a long time and was in utter harmony with. Here are two paragraphs (they are all wonderful and quite quotable in bite-sized chunks) about living in different places, and about other things. too.

"My first two trips: my first independent journey took me to Prague. From my first moments there I was bewitched by its foreignness. Prague smelled different from Krakow; the end of September had brought on autumn's chills, and a stove was burning here and there, stoked by brown coal, not black. I came from a country of black coal. Dusk in Prague was different from dusk in Krakow, the shadows gathered differently. The shop windows were different. The streetcars were another species entirely, they were quicker, their bells rang differently. I got to know foreignness, the foreignness of a language that sounded familiar, but not the same. I fell in love with foreignness; I strolled the streets of old Prague where no one knew me. I was foreign to them too, but I also became a little foreign to myself, and thus a little more real, as if made of slightly sturdier stuff.

Two years later I traveled to Lwow and met foreignness there too. The city in the hills was spattered with Soviet ugliness. I found foreignness in my hometown. I found foreignness within me."
                       (from Another Beauty by Adam Zagajewski, page 59)

Where are you now? And where have you been?  Good night, sleep well.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

A picture to go with imagined music, and a poem by Transtromer

My late blog-friend, Joann, had her blog fixed to play music while you read it. It was never music I particularly wanted to hear, mostly classic pop, but still it was fun. I would like to have a piece of classical music that went with this photo. Maybe "The Swan of Tuonela," by Sibelius. I still have the 10-inch long-play record the parting gift of my first real boyfriend, distant cousin Gale Holladay.

But here instead is a poem by that master poet, Tomas Transtromer. He plays the piano, and because of a cerebral accident lost the power to speak. So at the Nobel Awards, he played the piano with the hand that was left to him--instead of making the usual speech. I find this very moving and brave. He has been one of my very favorite poets for more than twenty years, since Robert Hass introduced him to us in our class.


As when you were achild and some tremendous hurt
was pulled over your head like a sack---
glints of sunlight through the mesh
and the hum of the cherry trees.

But it doesn't help, the great hurt
covers head and torso and knees
and though you are able to move sometimes
spring brings no happiness.

Yes, shimmering wool cap, pull it down over your face
stare through the mesh.
Out on the bay, the rings of water multiply soundlessly.
Green leaves darken the earth.

poem by Tomas Transtromer
from For the Living and the Dead, page 49.

Late last night I was reading a Kindled book: How Faulkner became Faulkner.
I read the part about the emotional dynamics of his family. And again, the early
childhood traumas came up. (And the issue of twinship, in a novel, not in his life.)
More on this later. It is amazing how I am finding this in so many places recently.
I'll try to expand on this tomorrow.  Good Night.
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today, the beautiful blue and white

This is what I saw coming home from brunch at my son's house. The little always-burning light on the post in the lower right is in front of out house.
And tonight we all watched the Netflixed Skyfall, which was full of vehicles, weapons and explosive devices. A little pretty scenery. . .Much as I don't think much of blogs that are like "I did this/I did that" it is pretty easy for me to fall into if I've had a busy day. On that note, I am very proud of the way the gash I put in my thumb a couple of days ago is healing.. Knitted right up! My immune system must still work. Plus I got the report --negative-- on my thyroid biopsy. Plus my bone scan showed good density.
Now if I could just get most of the old picttures off my iPhone to free up some memory. . . I am amazed at the amount of photos, and manipulated photos and screen shots and notes I have. It is almost too handy a way to "keep" stuff.  Night--night.
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Autumn Beach remembered

This picture is from the dawn walk Anil woke me up to take at Asilomar last year. One of the sea's still life arrangements that I love, made even more special by the slanting dawn light. My grandson is visiting this weekend from Evansville, Indiana, where he works for a babyfood company. In a little while we will go to dine with my son and his family. So I thought I'd better post now.
My copy of the new sketchbook anthology, An Illustrated Journey, came  yesterday as well as the New Yorker. These, I would have thought, put me off psychological reading for a day or two, while I still think about twinless twins and childhood traumas. However, in the New Yorker, read about the shotgun death at the teen-aged hands of his sister, who was the one who shot several faculty members in a meeting fairly recently. Except for the death of her brother, she got no retribution for the earlier shooting, which the author speculates, with quite a bit of support, was not an accident. And earlier problematic events in her life are also revealed. So I didn't leave the universe of childhood trauma after all. Also, Garry Wills was on BookTV today discussing priests and various things about the history and structure of the Catholic Church, even though he himself still goes to church and (according to Wikipedia) still prays the Rosary every day. Naturally the subject of child sexual abuse came up here, too. And so, until tomorrow!
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Road Trips

My new iOS app, Tangled FX, will have me hunched over some device constantly. I may need to give up sleep. This is my usual favorite filter, making the photo speedily into a black and white graphic that often reminds me of the American prints from the Thirties and Forties that Pat and Richard Shelley used to collect. I sat under their beautiful framed presences at all our poetry meetings there, and can still call these prints specifically to mind. At first, I didn't care much for them--but they grew on me. This was taken with the iPhone on our last trip here, across one of those wide western expanses.
I promised  more on the speculations about the special psyches of "twinless twins" and indeed I intend to keep this promise. I read some more tonight and it strikes me as scienceless science, but nevertheless interesting to think about.
I smashed my thumb in a drawer today and I have a sort of cushion bandage wound around it which is making it a challenge to type so now I'll say: GOOD NIGHT! I'll be back tomorrow. Picking up my grandson at 11 PM at the Boise Airport.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dawn in Northern Michigan

We are just finishing the process of creating a nature preserve for our acreage in Emmet County, Michigan. I have been all evening writing a short history of our reasons for deciding to protect this land for the wildlife and the future of this forest and meadow place of natural beauty. This is a winter dawn there a couple of years ago. The beauty of this place has nourished me for 20 years and more. It was only accidental that we went there, and thrilling that we can protect it.
I was going to write about "twinless twins" tonight. Thornton Wilder was one (his twin was stillborn) and so was Elvis. This is the main thing explored by the new book on Elvis that I started last night. More to come. Good night!
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Going Around in Circles

Remember in 7th grade how they taught you how to capitalize titles? As in the title of this post, certain minor words were left with a lower case initial. I just typed this this way automatically; it has been years since I heard anyone mention it.
Tonight, I was trying to upload some images from Flickr and clicked, by mistake, Upload All! And after I realized, I let it go ahead! It's taken a long time and uploaded hundreds of pictures from the last year. Lots of them were modified using various apps on the iPhone and iPad. This goose was among them. I met him in Alamden Lake Park when I took my visiting grandchildren there.
And then I made him circular with Percolator. For awhile i was a favorite app, but now TangledFX gets my vote.
There is a problem of proliferation. . . Pictures transfer automatically between iPad and iPhone. Then you make them into other images, which transfer back and forth. Then you put some on the computer, or download them to put them on this blog. So they exist everywhere and nowhere specifically. Still, I am having fun!
Today, the second watercolor class. I had a little more fun and plan to practice this week. These are the classic techniques and not so much what I would need for sketch journaling. I dried a wash with the hairdryer today, which I hadn't done before. The paper was curled and it flattened right out.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Bringing Sweetie home

I can't believe I haven't written about this here before; I just searched the blog several ways, though, and couldn't find it. Rambling through old digital photo files (they DO pile up!) is a great way to end the day! Isn't this a magnificent stone barn??? It's in northern Michigan on Al Jireh farm. The couple who live here raise Shetland sheep and use many old technologies. Their garden is spectacular! She sells yarn in all the lovely grays, tans and browns, creams and blacks, that come from the different sheep.

Shetlands are a small sheep, easy to handle and transport.They were developed in Scotland, (probably over hundreds of years) as being thrifty, hardy and manageable.
This article on Wikipedia filled me in.
My daughter took me there to see them and buy some sheep. The ones she picked out were named Sweetie (for her temperament) and Sissy. We brought them home in a pickup truck.
I was greatly impressed with all the things they showed us that afternoon.
I'm breaking my own one-photo concept for this blog twice so you can see Sweetie being carried to the truck:

So, some of the old arts live on in the hands of capable people.
Good night!
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

These days I'm in love . . .

With these bright green heads and orange feet. It's the cracked corn they love. On the biography trail, I downloaded a new one focusing on Sylvia Plath's childhood last night and also just started on Becoming Faulkner; the art and life of William Faulkner. So it didn't really help to finish with Thornton Wilder.
Tonight I wrote the challenge kigo on "fireflies" for my haiku group newsletter. This always makes me think about Kiyoko and Kiyoki Tokutomi, who founded the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society that has introduced me to so many new things, including two trips to Japan that I never would have made on my own. Dear departed friends! 
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Saturday, February 09, 2013


I imagine the lives of wood ducks to be short and perilous. But for this winter, I am passing out cracked corn. I love the pattern of the bare willow withes in this picture. Tonight we watched Sonia Sotomayor on Charlie Rose. It reminded me of my Mom being sure to watch or videotape Charlie in the days before DVRs. How she would have loved a machine that you could set to automatically save videos. Charlie did his usual interrupting thing and not allowing people to finish the thought they had. Still, I liked her more than I thought I would like a Summa Cum Laude lawyer and jurist. I got a sample of her book about her life on the Kindle.
Just read the book my niece Carol recommended, Abandoned Ship, by the person who went on his honeymoon on the Costa Concordia which ran aground off an Italian Island. Pretty riveting read. I note that lately the prices on Kindle books seem to be getting a little more reasonable. I just downloaded the new book which focuses on Sylvia Plath's early life tonight. S. read about it in the New York Times, that venerable rag.
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Friday, February 08, 2013

Lotus Blossom, the speaking past

I very much admire people who decide what they are going to do, and then do it! Perhaps, even now, someone like that is dragging a trail of accomplishments. Like the comet's tail, is it made of burning ice and dirt? Am I remembering that correctly??
Today, Dewitt Jones put up a photograph modified with three apps. One of them is called TangledFX. It has a dozen or so modifications it will do to a photograph. It doesn't allow you to dial up or down any of these modifications; you must take them as they come. But there are enough that you soon learn what will work on various types of image.
This is an old photo of Lotus Blossom, better known as Toozie, which isn't very good. But the app turned all her lovely tresses into thready beauty.
Like the story of Miss Bianca, this is a bittersweet story, because these pets have a shorter lifespan than we do. Tooz was sired by Diane's stud, Tu Fu, and had no litter-mates. Diane had the choice of puppies as a stud fee, and let me buy Tooz for my husband, the dog fancier. The breeders wanted to keep her for a few months before we got her. I don't know if something started her off wrong, or we did, but she was never a very happy little dog. But we loved her, and she kept her good looks well into old age. After she had something like a stroke coming downstairs, she couldn't stand and had seizures. The vet said if she didn't recover in a day or two , she would not. We went to the vet for the death shot. We were holding her, and when the vet suck the needle into her forepaw, she bit my husband! I always treasure that last bit of spunk! 
Good Night.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

At Asilomar; the long strand of kelp, the dawn light on the water

A day of Ultrasound, Biopsy and Bone Density scan. I am always thinking as I have these expensive and perhaps unnecessary procedures done: I wonder how much of this I would do if I had to pay for it?? It isn't exactly news that people in their 70s and 80s are not as they once were. When almost every woman you know is on some dosage of thyroid, is it a fad?
Really necessary? Harmful?
Heaven Only Knows--I think they made a movie called that once.

Our doctor is able to make a separate Medicare Charge for his Obesity Counseling. Heaven does know we need it, and they can only charge for it once a year. Without computers we could not keep track well enough to do this, but I don't really WANT to give up my computer. Not really. Using it now.

New Year's Resolutions must work, I am now making the 38th post on the 38th day of the year. Next: obesity control???
I just finished Kindling Pat Conroy's book, My Reading Life. I enjoyed it tremendously for its humor, spirited telling-it-as-I-see-it, and wonderful defense of the importance of writing and writers. It makes me want to be a better person and to write harder.  Good night.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Early November, we take to the open road

I love these western expanses, even though I was raised in New York's Mohawk Valley. I decided to break the flow of this blog (I did this; I did that) with an image from another season. The so-far-to-see to the mountains makes me feel free and a little giddy. Of course, I'm just driving through, not living here.
Tonight the CCoE, or Camera Club of Eagle (Idaho) (I'm living here) had the first of February's two monthly meetings. It was to be a swap meet and show and tell. It was a GREAT meeting and I learned many things, most of which I do not want to try.
We had the most refined and lovely, excellent photographers, to some trying to be better (but not terribly good yet) to one who advised us to raid the emergency kit at work for supplies. We had the delightful fellow who takes time-lapse photos in a circle with a GoPro helmet camera he mounted on a kitchen timer. We had someone offer a fine camera (he has just bought the new one of) for $850. Nobody bought. It might be worth that, and probably is, but the emergency supplies thief fellow had just showed us a very nice one he got from a yard sale for $50.
We had some handy fellows showing us how to make brackets and other aids out of bits of metal we all (don't) have lying around the house using tools we (don't) have. There was a useful discussion of Gaffer's Tape, so I don't have to wonder what THAT is any more.
And, so forth; you should have come!
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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

White Elephants

Today to my first watercolor class at the Boise Museum. I have been wanting to see these white elephants! They are made of fabric and stand life-size in the Sculpture Court. They are inflated and sort of soft. Standing by one is thrilling! The ones in front of the windows glow with transmitted light. I can't describe how much I want to spend more time with them.
There is a whole room exhibit of black, white and gray pieces by an Idaho artist called Troy Passey. It is called "Left Unsaid". If someone had described this exhibit to me it might not have sounded very interesting, but I was quite captured by it and plan to spend more time there. He's an artist who is an English major (like my husband and myself) with an MA! The work is on that kind of paper called vellum, I think. It has a very uniform sleek white surface. He works with only black and watered-down black. Sometimes there is a larger black shape on the white, sometimes just the lettering. The lettering is mostly small, and must be read with patience, because you don't see the writing at all on many of the pieces, although some are simply written like handmade signs at a rally. There are pieces of all sizes, from quite large to very small. They are framed, or like sculptures, and presented nicely on all the walls in the exhibit room. Mr. Passey has said he collects bits of text from reading, or from overhearing speech, or however.. . I found most compelling those  items that were textured with repeated text in very small, hand-inscribed lettering, that created a textile-like effect. If you looked very hard and read the title first. you could pick out bits of the text, but it wasn't really like reading, rather like something magical, like alchemy. The effect of the whole room was another aspect of the exhibit--you were immediately captured when you came through the door. Here is a short, hand-held (alas) video which shows the exhibit, but not enough of its mysterious power.
I never got to the main exhibit, but am going back every Tuesday this month for the class, so I can catch that later. The watercolor class was quite good, too. I LOVE art museums!
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Monday, February 04, 2013

Learning to drive horses

I have loved this picture for a long time, but haven't put it up, I think. It's from circa 1993. Someone named Mary gave K a horse and harness and a year's worth of hay because she was moving.
My daughter was just starting a little farm on which to raise food and her two young boys.
My husband told her she had to make sure the horse knew she meant it.
I have always wished I had gotten the tip of Charley's nose and his back hooves
into the picture, but otherwise I am very pleased with this little slice of the past.

It's been a slow day, and I feel I should have done more, but it is too late now.
I DID FINISH the Thornton Wilder biography, though. Reading on Kindle, you never know where you are. If there are many pages of footnotes, you get to the end of the text suddenly. There was a little foreshadowing of death in the text, so I wasn't completely unprepared. After a strenuous week visiting friends in New York City for Thanksgiving, he came home the first week in December. Since they planned to go out to dine, he wrapped himself in his bathrobe and lay down for a nap. He never woke up
just died from a heart attack.
Yesterday I also finished David Quammen's new book Spillover. It ended shockingly fast.
Just when I was prepared for about another half of a book, it was over with a few suggestions
(wash your hands) about how since human beings can THINK, we should be able
to deal with these evolving diseases. Poof! End of book. I'm still a Quammen fan
and I really enjoyed reading the book, but it sure ended abruptly. Good night,
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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Will the Superbowl Game take off?? & Winterreise Project

It is difficult for some things to take off. That Bowl wasn't really super and the ads weren't spectacular either. So there you have it. The game started to take off and then stalled again. But we had a lovely get-together at The House Across the Street, with fruits, veggies, pita bread, hummus, guacamole and brownies!
This afternoon I got an early Valentine when we went to hear Schubert Leider at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise. The song cycle Winterreise was sung in German, with the translation above the stage. It was called The Winterreise Project because in addition to the fine baritone and the piano accompaniment, there were three barefoot dancers and a photo/video huge backdrop to the stage. I thought the video part might be exciting, and while it did contribute to the ambiance, it was mostly very still. I had been afraid of that being the too avant-garde part, and a distraction. There was one image where the surface of a pond was moving a little and a couple of places where what looked like out-of-focus irises swayed very gently. I liked best one video part where a video of two dancers (or the same dancer doubled) played above and behind a dancer in the same white dress. the juxtaposition of the three figures was subtle and elegant. And I want to try for similar effects made by two tree images--one in which the trunks were light and the sky was dark and the one that went with the Linden tree (ein Lindenbaum, he sang) that was a very strong tree trunk and foliage image.
The baritone, Jason Detwiler, was the outstanding discovery for me. He has a ringing metallic overtone quality to his voice that I usually associate with tenors. Instead of just standing by the piano, he moved about (and even off) the stage. Since the theatre is a reasonable size, he required no amplification--he was able to fill the space with his voice without strain. I was just lovely singing! The pianist was good and the music is beautiful. This is one of my favorite cycles--after Mahler's Kindertotenleider and some of the other Schubert songs. I was again reminded of Mrs. Louise Newkirk, who studied in Germany before the war and who taught me many art songs from an old yellow book when I was in high school in the early 1950s. No one seems too interested in art songs any more. That's a definite loss, I think.
Although I should mention that the poetry by Wilhelm Muller to which Shubert made his pretty music seems quite sappy to modern ears. Here is a nice translation and the original German in a pdf with a bonus of a very beautiful image by Caspar David Friedrich.  It is all about the suffering and winter journey of someone whose girlfriend has been unfaithful. Not too much different, subject-wise, from current popular music, perhaps. But a little more sappy self-pitying in tone. And with that wallowing in misery which is characteristic of German writing of the period. Still, the whole cycle is a great work of art and I am thrilled that I got to see it in performance. Alas, I suppose because of the dreaded Superbowl, the theatre was less than half full. Good night. Posted by Picasa