Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

No Justice

A while back Blowfish had his semi-annual visit to his primary doc. Yes, he has reached the phase of life where he has a primary and some specialists too.  Generally the exams are routine, sometimes they want to take a closer look at a skin irregularity but mostly it's about keeping tabs on his general well being and prescription renewals.

The last trip was a little different.
Doc came into the room and told Blowfish straight away his Toledo results were unsatisfactory. 
"Toledo results?"
" Those scales speak your reality my friend. You weigh too much for a man  with five coronary artery stents and a pacemaker. A nutrition and lifestyle change is in order. Start today."

Of course, this is all hearsay. I do not go to these appointments with Blowfish. I did  back in the days when Blowfish was in the CCU every three months with the digital skull flashing on the monitors and the cardiac nurses applying all their skills and prayers.  The thing is Blowfish is not very good about providing the docs with usable information. Some years back, when he was too ill to take himself to the docs, I would take him. Sometimes in utter frustration the docs would ask me about my observations and opinions of the man. Medically speaking. As it turns out I am a pretty keen observer and, on occasion, my commentary led to testing which identified crucial issues. 

This irritated the whey out of Blowfish. 

To make matters worse a couple of these docs annoyed him beyond all measure when they told him he should not come to his appointments without me. That actually was a trigger for him banning me from coming with him. When I asked him if he really wanted to make that decision his answer was emphatic.
"You can talk to my docs when I am unconscious or dead. It is not RIGHT for MY doctors to listen to you more than me."
"The thing is they are just trying to find every available tool to save your life. It just so happens they ask for my observations because I live with you and may be able to provide useful data."
" They can ask me!"
" Well they have and this has not  been successful.  They ask what is wrong and you tell them if you knew the answer to that question you would not be paying them! If they ask how you are feeling you say 'bad', if they ask if there is any change you say 'huh?'  You don't actually give them any information which will help them treat you!"  

So, it was a couple of days after his appointment when I encountered him in the Kitchen reading a food label. A first time event in the 35 years I have known the man. The look on his face and the label in his hand made me break into uncontrolled  laughter. Had justice finally shown up at the Pond? Did the man with the magic metabolism actually need to  pay attention to his intake for the first time in his life? I cannot tell you the number of times I have sat across a table from this man watching him work his way through a 10,000 calorie meal washed down with a bottle of Merlot  while I had water with lemon and an undressed lettuce leaf. 

Guess who has always been slim and guess who has not?

He had a brief problem back when he hit 55. He started to add weight which he did not find
acceptable. Since he had never dealt with this reality before, having to do so made him extremely cranky. Even his students and fellow faculty members wondered what happened to the good natured fellow they knew and enjoyed. That was in public, at home "cranky" was an understatement. The man was unhappy. His whole life he had loved and enjoyed food far more than most people. He did not want to be fat and he did not want to give up the exciting and comforting experience food represented in his life. It sounds comical but in truth the man was suffering with what was for him, a life changing event. I did a bit of research and convinced Blowfish to try the Hilton Head Metabolism Diet which was hailed to be THE way to invigorate a stalled metabolism.  He agreed I could do this for him. It changed us all;  Blowfish happily returned to unrestrained food consumption, Mermaid got too thin and I gained 7 pounds.  

Blowfish received his amazing metabolism from his mother. A tiny woman who kept her apron pockets full of Snickers bars which she ate hourly to keep from becoming too thin. For her it was a great choice, "a little protein for the long haul from the peanuts, a little sugar for the quick energy burst and a little chocolate for the pure pleasure of it" was her frequent refrain. Her bad cholesterol was over 400 but she had no cardiac or circulatory issues. Go figure. I should have never married this family.

I digress. On the day I found Blowfish reading a nutrition label we went to lunch at his favorite Steakhouse Saloon.  It's one of those places that puts a bucket of roasted peanuts on the table along with the menus and a basket of just out of the oven , steaming hot yeast rolls and half a pound of whipped honey-butter.  On this day, instead of ordering his usual ribeye steak sandwich on a ginormous hoagie roll with onion rings, fries, slaw and dessert he heaved a big sigh and ordered a salad. While munching his way through a  thousand calories of peanuts, butter and yeast he shared his dissatisfaction about his most recent trip to his primary. He bemoaned the  "cruelty" of this new  reality and how he was going to put

this behind him by getting this extra weight dispatched immediately. I smiled and encouraged him and did not mention the calories he was consuming. Eventually his salad arrived with a mound of shrimp, a mound of steak, a mound of ham, a mound of cheese and a couple of eggs, tomatoes, onions and olives all of which was drowned in a cup of high fat, high calorie, high sodium Roquefort dressing.  He always asks his servers to "dig deep" when ladling out the dressing. They find it charming. I get queasy.

When he finished this "lite" lunch washed down with a gallon of sweet tea he said, " Well, I hope this will hold me 'til dinner. But even if it doesn't I will just suffer though because I do not want to be a fat man".
" What are you talking about?"
"This salad for lunch. This need to diet"
" That was not a diet lunch Blowfish. That was a 3000 calorie
salad with another 1000 calories of blue cheese on top, not to mention the 1000 calories from the peanuts, rolls and butter!"

                                              "Fishy, your problem is you do not know how to eat." 

When Mermaid heard of her Dad's "dieting" endeavors she rode to his rescue. She told him she started each day with a high protein chocolate Muscle Milk and maybe he should try this. 
"Daddy," she said, "you will love this!  It is like having a milkshake for breakfast, gives you tons of energy and helps maintain muscle mass which burns calories". 

Blowfish did not like the taste of Muscle Milk but we did find a protein drink he does enjoy, Lean Muscle vanilla. It sports 32 grams of protein, 1000 mg of omega three and all the vitamins I could never get this man to take. So he crafted a diet he could live with. He did not eliminate or moderate his usual meals. He added a Lean Muscle to his daily intake as a mid afternoon boost and limited his nightly ice cream intake to just one serving before bed.  He lost 12 pounds. His pants fell to an impolite low. We had to order him a half dozen pairs of slim cowboy cut jeans because all of the in stock jeans were baggy on him.  Now the man struts around preening in his new sveltness. He tells others he does not understand what all the yap is about regarding dieting. He states  with great authority and gravitas that it is very clear if a person sets his or her  mind to a goal it can be obtained with a little research and a lot of discipline.  Right. Mr. Discipline  does not know I fantasize about seeking justice by bashing his mouth shut with a quart jar of Roquefort.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Vision of Self

I've been having one of those weeks which leads to contemplation about self perception. Over the weekend  I was at Mermaids's helping to replant window boxes and containers for the Autumnal season. Once, when I looked up from my happy duties  I saw she was preoccupied with her phone.
" Tell me you did not just take my picture!"
" I did".
"Well then please discard it. I wish for there to be no recordings of me half covered in mud with my nose down and my fanny high."
" I won't be doing that. I want a record of this day of us together. Doing simple things with happy hearts."
"Hit the trash icon! There is a reason God gave us memories and not cameras."

I suspect mud dauber mother is still in her phone gallery. Sigh.

I am one who has never been fond of being a photographers subject. In fact my record for missing picture day at school was positively stellar. I am certain no picture of me exists in my high school yearbook. There was a reason I was on the yearbook committee. In the box of photos my mother kept under her bed there were many of me with tear stained face from being forced against my will to be in a staged photograph. I disliked those only slightly more than the ones of my mouth cranked open to the max for a drooling anticipated bite of real fried chicken. I still feel the horror of those images.

I have, on occasion, wondered if my dislike of images of me stems from an inability to accept reality or just the fact most of us have an image of self which differs greatly from how others, or cameras, see us. If we accept how we "see" is more than visual then  this makes sense. We see ourselves from inside out not outside in. When we do "see" ourselves it is either reversed in a reflection which brings a degree of distortion or, in a photograph which often does not showcase the person within so how can it actually portray us?

A phone call with a friend on Monday went like this,
"Dear God Fishy! Pictures of me from this weekend tells it all. I am now an old hag"
Since I am a decade older than this self declared "hag" I could sympathize. A little. Not a lot since
I was pretty sure no one had taken a picture of her in the classic old mother in the garden stance.

"Well, don't obsess about it. Here's how this works, you get old or you get dead."
To me, this friend lamenting her "decline" is not in decline! I know her to be a smart, beautiful, vibrant woman. Is there some character showing on her? Sure, but this is not how I see or perceive or value her. I hope the image of her from a picture does not negatively effect her vision of self.

There are however days when I succumb to  self criticism because of
the "character" showing on me. On these days I sometimes think there is
an argument for Muslim women having an advantage.
On those days I think being swathed in dark yardage would be great. I could go forth and none could recognize that bundle of cloth and veiling as me. There is a certain freedom in being able to go forth as the "unseen"!

On Tuesday I went for my scheduled haircut.
I was Aimee's first appointment of the day. I was there by 10, she was not. I did not mind since Ted makes a great mimosa. Aimee has a son who is two who does not like shoes. His daycare program requires shoes so his mother  is often delayed,  arriving  frazzled and  apologetic. On Tuesday she was so frazzled she misplaced her mute button.
"What happened to you?"
"Yes you! What happened to your hair?" As she was asking she began picking through my hair like she was a monkey looking for nits. We were in the  reception room  with an audience. I turned to Ted and asked him to make a mimosa for Aimee too. Clearly she needed one. Before he could respond she was saying,
"Up! Get up Fishy! This is horrible!"
I sort of got the impression she did not want to be in her reception room with me because it might be bad for her reputation. While being hustled out of there I wondered if I looked as bad as her response indicated? How did I miss that? Was it my perception that was off ? Or was Aimees?

Once we reached her station she continued her inspection, mumbling to herself and looking very disgruntled. Eventually she took in  a steadying breath and said,
"Well we best get busy".
We headed off to the wash stations where she used an inordinate amount of "product" while maintaining a running commentary on the state of my appearance. It was about as bad as one of those photographs. While she was still thumping my head around on the sink notch I said,
"Really Aimee? Do you think the day will never come when more than your hair is dehydrated and grizzled too?"
She did not even pause for thought before saying, "No!"

I understood.
One of the pictures I do leave on my dresser is one of Mermaid and I when she was two. I am sure on the day that photograph was taken I was not thinking one day  my waist length, lustrous,  thick, curly,chestnut hair would be the frizzed, broken stranded, wiry  halo typical  on  apple dolls.

In truth my hair is, according to Aimee, only at the 30% gray stage. But, it has a tendency to overwhelm the remaining 70%. Since  I am sensitive to chemicals and my hair grows fast I do not color it. I do add a clear glaze made for  brunettes to make the remaining brunette hairs look richer.
Sadly, there is no "glaze" for my also aging face. Reality on this day was tough since back at the styling station I was swiveled 'round and 'round for numerous views of my decline. Even after all of Aimees talents being applied to my appearance I left there wishing I had indulged in another mimosa to soften the impact of reality.

On my way home I gave thought to the concept of beauty. In the salon there had been books of hairstyles. There was even a section on "mature styles". I had flipped through these while awaiting Aimee's arrival. Some where candid photographs of the glitterati.

This one caught my eye.

I do not know Vanessa Redgrave's current age but I thought it wonderful her hair looked more natural than processed. I also had wondered if  she still felt like Guinevere? Or really, just herself. The herself of her own perception not the self of that photo. What if she had hated that particular image and it was in salons around the world? How awful for her. I found myself wondering if we all still have our own "Guinevere" within or if time and wisdom had slowly eliminated our true selves? I pray not!

This Issadora cover is probably more famous than all the "Guinevere" photographs of Redgrave.
It is beautiful. She is beautiful. I sincerely hope she feels as wonderful today as she did on the day of this photograph. The Vanessa within has seen a lot of life; some good, some horrid, some mundane.
As do we all. But do we all remain ourselves to ourselves for ourselves with love?

Maybe not.

There are days when  I suffer a severe jolt when I pass by a mirror. Once, in a sort of reverse Peter Pan moment I thought " Dear God! Is that shadow really me?" I certainly was not elated to the point I wanted to dance with my shadow. There are other days where I feel like "me" which usually means I am pleased with whatever creative challenge I am pursuing. On those days I am doubly surprised the confident, eager, energetic, happy me of my thirties is no longer who I am on the outside. On the days when all of me hurts from one misery or another I think,"Damn! Hagatha is back!" So I have come to understand the self that is my perception of me is not about my physical self. In truth it never has been. I will admit I had my day in the sun on that measure but it was never my measuring stick. Now? When I am confronted with that me I am shocked. Does this mean I actually have kept my "Guinevere"? Does this mean I succeeded by the terms of my own measuring stick?

Or does this just mean I  am in full retreat from reality?

Often friends or clients will make comments which confirm their perception and my perception of me are not on the same page. Recently one said, "I wish I had your confidence".  I discounted this as not being valid because her reference was about me "the designer" not "me Fishy". Like all of us I have areas of confidence and areas of no confidence. For instance, I cannot do math. Arithmatic, certainly. Math? Just say the word and I become jello!  It is comforting to know my areas of "no confidence" are not usually visible to others. I am reminded of the song lyrics from The King and I. The 1956 version with Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr.

" Whenever I feel afraid
I hold myself erect
and whistle a happy tune
so no one would suspect
I'm afraid"

In a later stanza:

"The results of this deception
are very plain to tell
for when I fool
the people I fear
I fool myself as well"

When I was a design student I did a summer internship with a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple who had earned his architectural education at Taliesen West. He was exacting, impossible to please. There was many a day where I had to take a time out as I struggled to not see myself as something lower than a cockroach. Before starting the internship I had been so proud to be the chosen one! I was reeling with the excitement of the opportunity. To have been chosen to learn from one of the "greats" in our region. By the second week in Hell with this "great" I was singing those lyrics on the way there every morning and crying all the way home at the end of the day.  It was brutal. A daily struggle to make it through his scathing rants. While he would be spewing oui vicious versions of his take on me I would be silently reminding myself I was a talented, 4.0 scholarship winning honor student at our nations number one school for art and design and this man was not going to take that from me. Some days I won that silent battle, some days I lost. At the end of the 4 month long internship he told me I was the only architecture or design student  who had ever lasted an entire Summer. That now I was probably going to be tough enough to "make it" in a field fraught with difficulties thanks to him.  I hit him. With all my might. A right punch to his left bicep which he did not even feel but which  made me feel a lot better.
The following Summer I did not accept his invitation to return. The following year I declined  his job offer upon graduation. I could never have withstood the onslaught of those daily rants.

 I learned so much that Summer! The most important thing I learned was not about design or architecture. It was about me. That internship forced me to be the "me" of my own perceptions or be the "me" he projected onto me. That was the Summer I learned  to protect and defend my core self . Perhaps it was the Summer I found the grit my friend  describes as "confidence".

I know this now.
 Facing "Hagatha" in shadows, photographs , mirrors, daily realities and perceptions takes grit.

 I read somewhere your true vision of yourself is the one your mind shows you in your dreams.
 For years I wanted to look like my beautiful mother. 
I don't.
 I never did.
 But when she looked like this

 I dreamed of one day having those perfect cheekbones!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Life On Frustration Lane

Connie is a long time friend and client who is making me regret both.  It all started innocently enough last year. While lunching on the porch of a favorite lakeside restaurant Connie lamented,
" I wish I could have a porch."
" Build one," I encouraged.
" Three different builders have told me I cannot have one where I want one because  my roof line in that location is complex. It makes me sad. I live on this lake but I don't get to enjoy these beautiful views!"
"I disagree with those builders.
You can have a porch exactly where you want one. No problem."
"Fishy, you are my friend and a good designer but you do not know what you are talking about." That was the end of the conversation.

Connie is a 75-ish wealthy widow who lives here half a year. The other half of the year she resides in Nebraska where her son still farms the family acres by the thousands. Her residences are about an hour away from either of her children. Connie does not like to live too close to her children as they try to "influence" her choices which, she resists and resents.  She is very social, is still strikingly attractive without having any work done , is witty and charming in an old Hollywood dramatic kind of way. I  enjoy her company  far more than I enjoy being her designer.

A few months after that fateful lunch Connie called,
" Fishy!"
" Hi Connie"
" You will never guess where I was last night. I had dinner on the porch with the Genes!"
" Oh lucky you. They are both great chefs."
" They are. Dinner was great  but that is not why I called."
I knew what was coming and was trying to formulate a polite way to decline.
" Imagine my surprise when I mentioned how much I loved their porch and wished I had one ,
only to be told you designed their porch, recommended the builder and  supervised the entire project from concept to completion."
There was a pause since I had not come up with a response.
not the Genes porch just a web grab
Then Connie said, "Of course I told them we were friends but really I felt so stupid when they told me their porch had won a national award".
I was still stuck on pause.
"Do you really know I can have a porch? Because  you know my neighbor Bill says you are full of it."
" Would that be full or smarts and know how?"

The construction of Connie's new porch started last week. She is very pleased with the recommended builder and his crew. The  design process from conceptual designs to construction documents and bid reviews have been fraught with  upheavals at every juncture.  Connie is consistently uncontrollable. Every conversation, every party she attends,  every magazine picture every drive through the neighborhood spawned a phone call, " What if we add this? What if we change that? If I make a change I do not want it to cost more ! "


Like doctors, designers should never accept friends or family as patients/clients.

Thursday afternoon her builder called,
 " Fishy, I need some advice. I seem to not be too successful in getting Ms Connie to understand I cannot change the plans every time she inhales. Can you help?"
" Nope. It's a lot like trying to control mercury"
" I use to be excited about getting this project."
" Just keep saying no and if she asks why tell her  what she wants  will  rupture the trustee."

On Friday I agreed to meet Connie at a local distributor of stone and tile to again review some of her materials selections. She had gathered together lots of samples all of which I rejected. There is a sizable chimney on her new porch which she is convinced should be clad in giant stones not the ledgestone selected and specified months ago. She is determined I should approve the change. I do not.  My answers to all her queries were the same,
" Connie, you can have anything you like. It is your home, your checkbook, your choice. If this is what you have decided you want  then own the choice.  Buy the products you want  and be done with this searching. If what you want is for me to say I think this is your best option I cannot." She does not like my saying "no" to her any more than she enjoys the "interference" of her children.

As I was leaving the stone yard Connie said, " I feel sort of peckish."
I let go of my door handle and went over to where Connie was parked.
"Peckish?", I asked.
Like most in her age group Connie has some health issues; cancer survivor, bad heart, only 40% lung capacity, arthritis, stubborn. I gave her a careful review. She looked a bit pale, was a bit short of breath, her ankles swollen like muffins  over her shoes. Her drive home from the stone yard would take her about an hour in moderate traffic.
" Maybe I just need to eat something"
" Let's go in my car."

Once Connie was settled and seat belted into the Fizz we headed for a nearby Pannera's.
 On the way Connie asked,
 "What is that smell?"
" Do you like it?"
" It's wonderful! I know that smell, I just cannot quite place it ..."
" I call it handsome man," I said laughing.
" Handsome man?"
"Yes! You know that wonderful smell handsome, rich men have? It smells like that to me."
" Do rich men who are not handsome smell like this too?"
"No. Handsome men do smell better than the not handsome men."
"That is crazy"
"That is fact"
While waiting for our orders Connie asked,"Who do you think is a handsome man?"
"Atticus Finch"
"Atticus Finch. You know, the lawyer  in To Kill a Mockingbird?"
Connie looked at me as if I were afflicted. Sighing she said,
" People say my son looks just like Brad Pitt. Do you think he is handsome?"
" Your son looks a lot like my brother so he looks handsome in a brotherly sort of way to me."
" How can you say that?"
"One syllable after the other. I think our orders are ready"

Once we returned to the car Connie said," Since neither Atticus nor Gregory are in your car what is producing this handsome man smell?"
"It's a sachet in the map pocket on your door. It is  meant for linen closets and is actually called pheasant something."
" Where did you get it?"
"In a design shop down in Georgia".
" Have you seen it around here?"
"Where can I get one? I want to put it under my pillow."
" You could call the shop in Georgia, or go online."

I returned Connie to her car  at the stone yard and waved good bye.
I was already trying to determine what I could still get accomplished since I was terribly behind schedule for the day. I could never be the person who would drive off leaving a peckish seventy something alone in a stone yard so there was no sense in lamenting lost time.  On the drive back to the office I had to re-assess and redirect the remainder of my business day.

This morning, on my way to meet a friend,  I realized something was different.
 I was about a mile from home when it hit me.
 Pulling over I searched the car and confirmed my suspicions.
"Handsome Man" is missing.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Haiku Monday Winner: Shallows

(Shadows in the Shallows by  artist Mark Shasha)

Thanks to all players this week,
 we have been well entertained by the entries.

Almost: Becca
looking in the mirror
silver pond reflects true depths. None.
beauty fades away
(sigh, 8 syllables in the second line)

Show: Foam
by and by it ceased ...
shallow pool illuminates
my flower pot weeds
(loved the photograph and the humor)

Place: Pam
superficial, fake
empathy, no true feelings
shallows of the soul
(clever interpretation of theme)

WIN! Grumpy Granny
wide water ripples
not deep, but quick, deceptive
balance is tricky

(Ah yes! life is full of ripples and deceptions, keeping your balance is ...winning!)

Congratulations Granny!
 We look forward to your theme.

Hello Haikuers,
This week our theme is "Shallows"
Since y'all are a  creative collection of players , we are already looking forward to the entries.

Judging is always subjective but in our homage to the still missing Troll, we try to uphold his teachings by requiring these basics:
5-7-5 format
 kireji the cutting word which connects two thoughts and,
 kigo, a seasonal reference.

We award points for all of the above and bonus
points for clever interpretation of the theme.
Visuals are optional but... well we really enjoy a great relationship between the 'ku and the view.

Please post your entries here with an "I'm up!" notice if you have posted on your own blog with visuals so we will know to come have a look.  Play is open until midnight on Monday Pacific Daylight Time.

Luck to all!

The shallows at Lake McDonald Glacier National Park

Chesapeake Bay shallows blue crabs

G.K Chesterton 1935 Still relevant 2013

"Moose in the Shallows" by artist  Edward Aldrich

Wisconsin  Egg Harbor

New York Times Best Seller

Salt Water Shallows "Game" Fish


Monday, August 5, 2013

Haiku Monday: Reflections

Jumping the moonbeam
Summer nights rushing pleasure
Best when play'd with you

This is confusing.
Ball is there. But ... where am I ?
Here? Or in there too?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Mighty Are Falling

The first time I really new Blowfish and I were in for lifelong struggles was when we went to buy a lot for future homebuilding. I had found a lot I loved.  An acre studded with beautiful Live Oaks along the shores of a small , pretty, spring fed pond.

I rounded up Blowfish and took him off to see this jewel of a find only to hear him say, " Damn Fishy, we'd have to spend most of the budget taking down these trees"
" What!?!?!?"
"You can't build a house on a lot with these big trees on it".
" Walk over here with me. There actually is a perfect clearing for the house. I can control the foot print so we will not have to lose any of these major trees."
" Well this one right here has to come out for my driveway."
" No! Look over here , this is the perfect spot for the driveway entrance between these two smaller oaks. Look how beautifully the limbs form a perfect Gothic arch over the exact spot of the driveway entrance."
" That's so stupid Fishy, over time the tree roots will damage a driveway and, if you put a house under a tree that is stupid too."
I am not overly fond of being called "stupid". My excitement over this awesome find was deflating fast.
" Blowfish, let me share a vision with you"
"Why? I don't like it, too many trees, too much raking, hard to mow around tree roots. No,  this does not work for me"

I tried, and failed miserably in explaining to Blowfish the importance of our trees to Southerners. He  hails from New York where, apparently, they take down every single tree. When I first met his parents they proudly told me they bought their lot  because it was a " beautiful treed lakefront lot." Looking around I saw no trees so I said, " Oh no! What happened to your trees?" Looking puzzled they explained to the idiot Southerner it was necessary to take them all down because of the risk to the house in Winter. " What risk?", I had asked. Very patiently, as one does when talking to an idiot, they explained trees were risks to houses " Because of the weight of ice and snow in Winter and the snapping and falling in high winds." Really? I looked from face to face and said,
 " We don't experience much of that here in Florida".

I learned over the years it was just not possible to ever change the Yankee beliefs of Blowfish or his parents. I did try hard to keep the worst of their beliefs out of Mermaid's head since she was born to, and was being raised in, the South. Once my beloved mother in law pulled me aside and told me it was not appropriate to teach Mermaid to say "Yes Ma'am or Yes Sir" because it was racist. They never accepted the manners of our region and did not want their grand daughter to either.  That was not our best day.

Here in Carolina we have had an unusually wet Winter, Spring and Summer.  Because the land is saturated and there has been much flooding, once mighty oaks are falling. Lots of them! In our neighborhood one family has lost their giant Peace Oak which has graced their front yard  since long before it was a yard and long before their home was built. There are 3 oaks in the pond at the end of our street no longer standing tall, shading it's shores. Neighbors just two doors away had an oak fall taking out their Pergola but thankfully, not their new roof. There are detours all over from downed trees, power outages and tremendous messes requiring  heavy equipment and multiple crews to manage.  Our weather reports are as much about wind advisories  as they are about  sun or rain. There are warnings about wet grounds , high winds and falling trees. There is even a hotline for reporting the newly fallen. Many of our parks and playgrounds are temporarily closed too. There are warnings everywhere. I pray for our trees.

The other night I was telling Blowfish how sorry I felt for a nearby family losing their anchor trees.
He asked, " Anchor trees?"
"You know, the key trees on the property which help anchor the  home to the land."
"Fishy, don't be feeling sorry for people who do not have enough sense to take down the trees around the house. In fact we should talk to the treeman about taking some of ours down as a precaution".
" We won't be doing that."
" Why not?"
" I am a Southern woman, you threaten my trees you threaten me."
" You need to get over that."
" I have the right to self defense.  For myself and those things which are important to me. You seem to not understand it is a tragedy for these families to have lost their trees.  I spend thousands to keep our trees maintained  because I love them. We will not be taking any of them down. To say you even want to is very disturbing. Sometimes I wonder if you have learned even one thing about me in three decades."

Blowfish had that look.
that  passive aggressive  calculating stillness which means he was through talking on a subject and would just proceed with what he had determined was right for him.  I walked out of the room wondering if it was a sin to think about chainsaw accidents.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Haiku Monday: ROAD

She traveled high roads
'til meeting her low road love.
Penance ever since

Thursday, July 4, 2013

ONE Nation Under God

 "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality or religion.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."       
John Adams
Signer of the Constitution of the United States of America
Signer of Bill of Rights
Second President of the United States of America


Monday, July 1, 2013

Haiku Monday: Independence

A pledge beyond words,
this sustaining commitment
honors our Father(s)

Courage is freedom.
Life, beyond all things fearsome.
Liberty mastered.

Mother and daughter
seek Light's triumph over Dark
Freedom's habitat

Winsome, lithesome lass
challenges  gravity's rule
Now? She is quite blue.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Deco Now

My mother, during her college days, earned recreational funds as a hat and shoe model. The black and white photographs of her wearing wealth beyond her years always fascinated me. The clothing! Beautiful suits, ensembled with  the perfect hat, jewelry, gloves, shoes.  Those images of my mother were a mesmerizing glimpse of  the person within. I cannot remember a time when my mother did not have the latest Vogue or Harper's Bazaar  magazines. I loved them too, not for the fashions therin but for the beautiful art in the ads.

One of my grandmothers and one of my grandfather's sisters were in the fashion industry. Thus, there were gatherings to hear all the new stories of  the latest buying trips to fabulous cities to purchase a fortunes worth of furs , gowns, something called "wraps" and all the glittery go withs.   I loved these stories and I keenly loved the fashion sheets my grandmother brought me. Think high fashion ads in black and white outline for me to color!

Think coloring books designed by Erte and you would be pretty close. It is true I did not receive the "fashionista" gene from any of these  awesome women but I am blessed to have been graced with their love for art.  I think these  early influences are the reason my favorite art has always been art deco style. They are in many ways my favorite architectural and design styles too. A few years back I met with a prospective client who had a collection of original Ertes! I was so eager to meet her and could not have been more disappointed.  She had not collected the Ertes. She had inherited them and had NO respect for the art itself. Just the monetary  value. This truth, coupled with her tacky passion for black, purple and crimson interiors I had to pass on accepting her as a client.

In art school students are exposed to every art form from cave drawings forward. There is much to learn, admire, respect but no style or period of art has ever replaced Art Deco as my first love. This elegant , exaggerated, graphic art form is perfect for posters. Certainly the posters of the period  remain  impactful today.

In Miami, a place which should be visited for no other reason than to experience the Art Deco architecture, they have fabulous Art Deco Weekends to support the historic districts.

But there is a new trend.

Not just for Movie and Event posters.

Have you seen these?