Monday, December 31, 2007

Cheers! 2008

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve here and least that’s what it sounds like, or will soon outside. There’s a time honored tradition in The Netherlands to light many many huge, and I mean HUGE firecrackers on your home soil. Stuff that in America would be way, way illegal. It is SPECTACULAR, OVER THE TOP lights, color and screech, bang, pop and sizzle. Kids start with the small stuff during the day and it mounts to the crescendo at midnight till probably around one or so, trickling pops and bangs throughout the night and into the next day.

Leon, my English Springer, brave soul that he is in any other situation, is TERRIFIED. Since he heard the first one a couple of days ago (just practice, mind you) he has been waking me up in the middle of the night several times for comfort. Tonight I walked him at the last light while firecrackers were set off at unknown mysterious locations, seemingly under his feet. Must have been, because he was bouncing up and down all around the block. Kisses, pleading and body blocking were also tried to get me to turn around towards home. Our original purpose for walking was forgotten for the one all powerful, getting to safety! We made it home and he is now lying asleep in his bed, safe. How can he sleep, you ask? Well, he had a little chemical help, plus today we went on a nice walk in the park (where no fireworks were being exploded).

Actually, he’s more relaxed than the cat, Mokimo. I think animals become sensitized to these things, because this is the first year, after five of living here, that she decided there must be a Cat-Eating Dragon outside. She’s keeping low to the ground and alert. I have explained to her that no Dragons will get past me so she’s staying nearby.

In spite of it all, at midnight I will go outside to brave the Dragon and bombs to say Happy New Year to my friends and neighbors, then run back inside to my safe furry family and husband, now to be known as the Oyster Opening Champion. As I write he is opening two dozen oysters to the sounds of Willie Bobo in happy contentment. So CHEERS! and here’s to a peaceful, productive and fufilling New Year, one and all!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Home Improvement

Today was spent choosing flooring for our new apartment, well, just two small rooms of it. What does this have to do with art, you might ask? Well, nothing except that is what I'll be doing the next few weeks, getting things ready for the big move. Next is buying paint and then, painting the walls. Not all of them, thank heavens. Just the orange bedroom and the two small rooms.

Hey, some people like orange. When I was about, um, ten I wanted my room to be painted orange, bright orange. I settled for some sort of plaid with orange in it, and lime green. Cheerful. Somehow though, later in life I got a little too much of orange and now I just can't deal. Maybe it was teaching art and having a room with orange shelving on Halloween when everything becomes orange, or maybe it's that orange is the National color in the Netherlands so I see a bit too much of it. This is a nice orange though, a kind of burnt orange. I could see it with some deep turquoise somehow, but perhaps not in the bedroom. One of the small rooms has giant daisy wallpaper. I could live with that maybe, but the office is going in there, so perhaps too much going on. Lovely for a kids room though, which is what it was.

So, what color does an artist paint her walls? Well...I think I'm going for an off-white, eggshell. Not so exciting, but you have to realize that paintings and other art is going up there, so it mustn't clash. Sigh...there goes all the books I've bought on faux painting and wall textures. Maybe I could do something creative to the water closet. Like you could walk in there and feel you had been transported to a different place...hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

My favorite bathroom was designed by my old roommate, Bill Stufflebeem. He made it kind of South American Catholic kitsch, including rosary. It was off of the kitchen, which was like the interior of a Chinese restaurant. Definitely one of my favorite places to live in. I moved in because, when I went for the interview, the place smelled like patchouli. I kinda have a thing for that smell. Like a moth to a flame. Then I saw the decor and knew it was for me. Not to mention that the garden was a wonderful Eden thanks to Bill's green thumb. The balcony was like being in a green cocoon. On more than one occasion, I awoke to find a new Ikibana arrangement he had made in the nite. And once, on a bad day I came back to my room to find a perfumed arrangement of Magnolia blossoms. Now that is one guy with a sense of beauty. He once told me that when he stayed in hotels he would rearrange the furniture and make a flower arrangement. If they were smart, the hotel people left it.

So, if you hear from me, and you just might, be indulgent as I go through the trials and tribulations of feathering my nest, or rather, building it so that when the feathers fly all will settle in a cozy configuration.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Watch the Bouncing Ball

Bounce, bounce, bounce...yes, I dropped the ball for a while, but hopefully I can get it back in play. Everything became very intense when I got back to the Netherlands. A huge cold set me back on my painting for three weeks so when that was over I was bent to the grindstone for some time. Just finished it...keep posted for the picture to come. I'm having some trouble with my optimizer on my resizing now. I learned tons! My friend Hakim has asked me if I am satisfied. My answer, "I feel I can do better." Still, I'm not completely dissatisfied with the the results. When I get it up here, I'll give you a list of the things I think I learned and what I might do better next time. I know, it's a bummer waiting...

In the meantime, the New Year is around the corner and so is our big move! Two more weeks...aaagh! Got that painting finished just in time. That's three, now four, times I've typed "time" in this short post. I guess that's on my mind. "Time keeps on slippin'...into the future." So true, even if it is cliche. I'm trying to remember to be "in the moment" or "mindful". When my head stops spinning I can do it. I find that a cat on your stomach helps. Something about that is so "present". Of course that requires reclining and she's warm and comfortable so that is conducive to napping...snorrrrre.

Whoops, so much for the present. I'm off to dreamland. Which is weirder and weirder, if that is possible. I'm one of the lucky few that actually remembers all the details of her dreams, including taste, touch, and smell, yes smell. Lots of flying of late. Hey, it's the quickest mode of transportation in dreams. Guess I'm in a hurry these days. Ok, question, for those of you who dream of flying, what is your modus operandi for take-off? I used to flap my arms, then there was jumping till I got so high I reached the sky (d'ya think that was inspired by Miss Mary Mac?), and now I just seem to glide off. I can do some amazing soaring and daring-do in the air. I used to get a kinda nervous excitement about taking those big swoops from great heights, but I seem just to be enjoying it more now. Of course there are dangers, like nets and interwoven tree branches. Still, overall it's a great way to travel.

Well, back to the "moment". Here I sit in front of the computer while nature is beckoning me outside, so I'm off for my morning walk. I'll post pictures soon, really, really. I have so much to show you! Now, where did that ball bounce to....?