summer solstice!


Friday, August 29, 2008

labor day 5

today Singing Owl brings us a fun 5 on the revgals site; originally I blogged in $$$-green, or maybe it's the green of liturgical ordinary time...

1. worst job: hard to say in any real sense, but I'll mention the production line temp job I worked at for 2 whole days. It was the only job I ever quit in disgust rather than at an appropriate time because another opportunity was waiting or because I was hoping.

2. best job—how many times have I blogged this? two, both food-related: writing restaurant reviews for the local radical rag and working as a line chef.

3. if $$$ and other considerations were no object, for employment I'd design textiles, which was my very original dream as a very young kid. I got the header description for my first design blog, sun country living! from an old ad for illustration boards and professional papers. It reads, "In the beginning a small bell chimed. Creativity! It chimes like a small clear bell at the heart of the human spirit..." Speaking of labor, my earliest memories are of myself drawing at the dining room table, but I tell people a greater Love drew me. Heeding Singing Owl's wise suggestion I can put down the chopping board, the sauté pan, the pen, the commentary, the piano (yes!) and even hang up the alb and the geneva gown (maybe especially since these days I usually preach in street clothes) but color, line, pattern, design, Pantone and Adobe never are far away.

4. this past week and next week are sort of breaks from formal labor but I still haven't gotten a break from wondering if I have any sort of real solid future related to my gifts, education, experience and ongoing sense of call.

5. as summer morphs into fall, my "work" will morph into anticipating or dreading...see my response to #4,

bonus: a song, a book, a play that says "workplace" to about a font or even better, a typeface? I'm still lovin' helvetica and cooper...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

poetry party 22: music

Abbey of the Arts Poetry Party 22: "there will be music despite everything"

invitation to poetry icon

Introducing the topic, Christine tells us,

The title from this post is a line from Jack Gilbert's beautiful poem "A Brief for the Defense"...This line came back to my memory poetry party 22while in Vienna when we saw this street musician performing on the Graben, one of the city's pedestrian zones. The cello is by far my favorite instrument and while standing there on a perfect summer evening and watching him play I thought of my father who loved music so much and wondered if, when he was young, the sounds of his favorite Austrian composers got him through the terrible years of the war.

then Christine asks, What do Gilbert's words and the mosaic of images evoke for you?

my response...

how can there not be music?
as heaven formed earth, morning stars sang together
no music?
earth and heaven declare thy praise!
there will be music?
long ago the drawing table awakened my heart
color and line, shape and pattern still revive my spirit
but equally
the roar of waves
winds through branches
subterranean chatter of the desert floor
the profound moan of hurricanes
birdsongs intertwined with melodies from stone-etching streams
the cascading splash of baptism's waters
beethoven symphonies at the speed of full orchestra
breaking and pouring of eucharist's grace
birthed and continue re-borning me
there will be music?
but how can there not be music?

Friday, August 22, 2008

dates 5

5 about dates on the RevGals site

from Songbird:

1) I track my appointments and parts of my schedule with an analog week-at-a-glance book; for the past 7 years I've used the exact same kind, with different covers (some years).

2) The last time I forgot an important date...well, actually, never! Really!

3) Having been single again for quite a while, I haven't gone on a formal date with a (single) guy for about 5 years now, for whatever reason.

4) Oh, I love vintage clothing...a couple of my favorites are my two cotton (one is lawn, the other a heavier-weight woven fabric) full, floral-print, flowing, lace-trimmed Jessica's Gunnies skirts from the early 1980''s.. I've also quite recently bought new a couple of skirts that look as if they're from that era, and I know the style is back now and I also realize almost anything goes these days, but you know! After an African-American tradition I always wear a single silver bangle bracelet as a baptismal symbol (given that I'm too much of a Calvinist to wear a cross), and despite the fact bangles also are a current trend and easy to find these days, I've received a few comments about their vintage-ness.

5) I love the Fruit known as Dates, and have an absolutely wonderful recipe for date bread (I don't llike to add nuts) made with a cup of strong brewed coffee. I'll try to find and post the recipe later.

Friday, August 15, 2008

(not quite yet fall) transformations 5

today the revgals friday 5 is about fall transformations

Mary Beth reflects,
Here in my neck of the woods, rain is falling...a little uncharacteristic for August, but most welcome! It'll be hot and humid later, but a break in the heat is most welcome.

Also falling (especially into my driveway) are the fruits of the bois d'arc tree (also known as the Osage Orange). We call them "bowdarks" and enjoy bowling them down the driveway to the empty lot across the street. (Yes, I may be a redneck...)
bowdark vase
Bois d'arc fruits are used only for: 1) making more trees and 2) eating by squirrels (if you have another use, please let me know!) The wood of the bois d'arc tree, however, is very hard and very beautiful, and makes gorgeous items like the vase above. Such a lovely thing, from such an odd-looking source!

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.
I've always absolutely loved the start of the fall semester in school with its new notebooks, textbooks, teachers and classmates, along with revitalized hopes and expectations--just like mini-Easters and New Years. I love Mary Beth's intro and especially the beautiful vase, so here's my mostly directly about me play:

1. By the time fall officially arrives I hope to have sufficiently sorted out my print portfolio to be able to choose 4 or 5 differently-themed pages to get my online portfolio and website live, and even get the GoDaddy ad deleted (yep, I'm going to pay for server space), plus welcome/splash and résumé pages.

2. As much as I love hot weather, I always enjoy wearing warmer sweaters and light jackets, as well as corduroy pants, skirts and blazers that never seem quite right during the summer, even on cooler days. Besides, we've been experiencing some very uncomfortable high humidity; hot dry desert weather is one thing, but soaking swampy heat is another.

3. Hot fall days always are great too (in the Northeast we called them Indian Summer, but we get them here in the coastal southwest and also had quite a few in the Intermountain West), and I love the happy surprise of not having packed away all of my hot weather clothes and getting to wear a few favorites again.

4. Most likely I've admitted many times on my blogs that I only practice the piano when I have a gig, but I'm planning, hoping, to return to almost daily piano practice to retrieve and refresh some favorite repertoire and learn the remaining Beethoven Sonatas.

5. Despite everything I just wrote so seemingly optimistically, within the next few weeks I'll need to have made a decision about where I'll be living and if it's not here, I need to find someone to help me pack. At least I've decided not to continue as Queen of Abandoned Property.

bonus: Going north a piece to Julian for apples, apple pies and apple cider.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Federal Street Salem

federal houseThis Cat's Meow collectible almost exactly matches the Orne-Prince House (1788) we lived in at (108)-110 Federal Street in the historical North Shore city of Salem, Massachusetts. The only difference is the windows in our 3rd floor were cat's meow salem sign 6 over 6 like in the 1st and 2nd floors—even the yellow painted clapboard siding is identical! Lined up into a streetscape flush with the sidewalk, you also could appreciate the Leach-Nichols House (1782) at 116–118 Federal Street and the Page-Lawrence-Farrington House (1786) at 112–114 Federal Street. These are phenomenal representations of successful business owners' houses from the post-Revolutionary War (for Independence) Federal architecture!

God (Dog, Cat) Days 5

Summer God Days 5 on the RevGals

Presbyterian Gal opens with::
It’s August. An oppressively hot and humid month where many of us live...I am trying to focus on the blessings apparent around me, past and present, that I might not notice, necessarily. In that spirit, this week’s Friday Five goes thusly:
1. Despite originating from a William Faulknerian-type situation, I still have quite a few wonderfully "best and or/sweetest" memories from my earlier years. As usual I'm playing late, so I'll recollect my first ever major-league baseball game that featured a spectacular Detroit Tigers home win against a team I don't remember.

2. Oh, there have been and still are so many favorite summer clothes, but seems as if the clothes that best "insure a cooler, more excellent day" are 100% cotton, with the best of those soft, absorbent, colorful cotton from East India or Pakistan. I'm always in a quandary as to whether very pale, icy cool pastel colors or sizzling hot ones better capture the spirit of summer heat. I especially enjoy wearing short cotton skirts.

3. For delightful, flavorful summer food, I'll take any freshly-assembled salad, though my dressings of choice are highly-caloric Roquefort, blue cheese and other ultra-creamy ones. However, The Very Best summer food has another cool memory attached: sandwiches made from fresh home-baked white bread, thick-sliced, sun-warmed beefsteak tomatoes and mayonnaise.

4. One of my best, if not sweetest summer vacation memories is from my teen years, the week I spent in a beachhouse in the lower Cape Cod town of Truro, Massachusetts with a classmate's family. I've previously Friday 5'd about how we'd walk out the door onto the sand and how we went into nearby Provincetown most evenings. Of course, "Truro" now makes me think of the hymntune Truro.

5. This summer has been the 6th in a row I've been anxious to get over and through, yet this year the HS has acted mightily in my life by enabling me to walk away from more than one less-than-okay setting and I've been assembling an extensive print portfolio in preparation for getting my professional design site really live (currently it's technically live, but with a single lone image and the GoDaddy ad at the top). I'm also composing a background track for the site :D Right now I'm feeling a stronger, healthier sense of my own worth...not very natural-wonderish, but it's grace-filled for me, nonetheless.

I'll answer the "hot, humid and uncomfortable" bonus question by noting how it's been all 3 here in Paradise for the past week, so its feels exactly like the inner-city Northeast or ultra-urban Midwest. To refresh and renew body and spirit, I'm proud of myself for heeding the plethora of water is a precious, diminishing resource warnings on TV besides formally signing our local 20-gallon challenge so I haven't been enjoying extra showers, but I've still been wearing fairly loose cotton clothes, drinking lots of cool water and other low-cal drinks, keeping windows and home doors open. In addition, for summer I always make sure my hair is long enough to put up off my neck (I've had very short hair only twice in my life, and it looks really terrible).

Thanks, PG!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

plants installed

landscape committeeWithout a doubt I wanted to show off the picture I made after our meeting...among other activities, I'm on the Landscape Committee of our condo home owners association. It's an amazing experience, especially because it's jarring to not open and close a meeting with prayer, and I sometimes get a little concerned that I'll offer to do so (haven't yet, though). Ten days ago we did a detailed walk-through the courtyard and front of the complex with the professional landscaping contractor (that may be redundant, given that pro and contractor both should have both experience and a license), and a week later at our membership meeting they kept talking about plants being installed. Plants installed? "Install" sounds like something you do with a computer, with software, with a sprinkler system, to a pastor(?!) into his or her formal role, but how about living, breathing, growing greenery? True this geography should be xeriscaped more than landscaped, but whatever—hope you like the image!

Friday, August 01, 2008

lock in, lock out 5

Today's Friday 5 from the RevGals is lock me out; lock me in and this one's from Songbird, whose intro includes:
For some reason, Blogger declared this blog possible SPAM and locked us down yesterday. This morning, we're free to post again, but there was a fair amount of excitement last night among our contributors, who found a dire notice on their Blogger dashboards threatening that this blog might be deleted in 20 days!

We requested a blog review, and I posted a request at the Blogger Help group, where I found we were not alone. Many other perfectly nourishing and cromulent blogs got the same notice last night...
For my intro I need to mention how excited I was when I realized this group of Jesus People had been flagged--I hoped just maybe it meant we're being appropriately subversive and counter-cultural?! Now, my responses to Songbird's 5...

1) In cases of road construction blocks, if they've let traffic go that far it's generally a simple Go Slow or otherwise not a long wait, so with resignation I trust I've not lost too much time and the dust and debris won't cause too much dirt or destruction.

2) Have I locked myself out of my house? Yes. Back in City of History when I was living in the parsonage (supposedly for 2 or 3 months while they got it ready for sale, but it turned out to be 18 months...) it was late at night and a neighbor helped me get in a window, though surprisingly, I don't recall how I happened to get locked out. Currently I'm in a condo complex, and my next-door neighbors have a key; I also carry an extra in my wallet.

3) Clearing a material or metaphorical hurdle...currently I'm amidst a huge one, as a long series of hopeful possibilities have started to open up and then shut down. Despite someone saying to me, "not a single door has been permanently closed," none have opened wider than a crack of space or longer than a fleeting slice of time and these days I wonder, truly I do.

warnings4) When I get a mental block, if at all possible I'll switch to another task or take a short break, but when time and schedules loom, I just tough it out and hope the results won't be too terrible. Then again, I can't count the times I've told myself I'm tired and tomorrow will be different after I've had some sleep, but "tomorrow" has duplicated all of the near-fruitless yesterdays.

5) My caption for this picture: "Just walk away, Renée; we can't let you pass by here again."