Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Texture

I like the natural elements that abstract into light, texture, shape and shadow.
Herb Ritts

Today seemed to be about texture. Texture has a lot of possibility for definition. The one I really liked beyond the obvious of tactile sensation (more about this in a minute) is that texture is the "essential quality of something". This seems to have a compact Zen outlook. So maybe a good combined definition is "the feel or shape of a substance or surface that leads one to its essential quality".

We had a party for staff birthdays for the month of August. One of our staff had carved this incredible bowl and the bowl was cradled in a tripod of interlocking wood. He had looked at a pine stump in his yard and went to work to produce it. The bowl was full of white peaches from trees in his yard. A couple of peaches had leaves still attached. The immediate draw for me was the texture...the silken smoothness of the wood contrasting with the soft velvet of the peach was irresistible. I had to stroke and touch....

That carried over to a time spent with someone this evening. Smooth, moist, hard, soft, liquid, heat, all of this throughout the time we were together. Being present to the being of another leads to the essential quality of connection.

Is it any wonder I love texture.

Catherine Wheel, "Texture":


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Illumination


Most striking at first is the appearance of sudden illumination, a manifest sign of long unconscious work.
Henri Poncaire

A gentle day. The weather turned mild and a trip to the local farmers market provided a bounty of seasonal produce that ended up with an impromptu dinner with a friend. Before that though I spend the afternoon reading and reflecting on the patio, Bella curled up on double Adriondack chair next to me.

I adapted Jamie Olivers "Caponata" recipe since I had all of the ingredients on hand from said market visit. Some bread and fresh organic raspberries topped with marscapone and drizzled with a bit of blackberry honey completed the meal.

It was an illumination that sometimes the seemingly simplest days are the most complex and rich.
Caponata

Ingredients

• olive oil
• 2 nice large purple eggplants, cut into large chunks
• 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• a small bunch of basil finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed, soaked and drained
• a handful of green olives, stones removed
• 2–3 tablespoons best-quality balsamic vinegar
• 5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped


Get yourself a large pan, pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil, and place on the heat. Add your eggplant chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat for around 4 or 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and then. (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to cook the eggplant in batches.) When the eggplants are nice and golden on each side, add the onion, garlic and basil and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if you feel it's getting too dry. Throw in the drained capers and the olives and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar. When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender. Taste before serving and season if you need to with salt, pepper and a little more vinegar.

And it's just that easy and delicious.

Anne-Sophie Mutter, "Vivaldi, Four Seasons, Summer":

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sentry

Repulsion is the sentry that guards the gate to all we most desire.
Salvador Dali

Despite my hopeful post of last night, I must admit lately I feel like a sentry on duty when it comes to issues with my Mom and how it affects my life. In the last couple of weeks she has had an especially tough time. I've been in touch with her every day. I've been hard at work trying to repulse any negativity so I can do both my work at the clinic and be available to meet her needs.

The last 48 hours really tested that. It's been small things, but often it's the smaller things that come one after the other that can push you over rather then one major event. We had a tough week at the clinic with several patient codes and deaths (very unusual). After we had cleared the last one, I went to leave for home and found my Jeep had a tire that had lost air pressure. Luckily there is a dealer close to the clinic and they took care of it so I could do the 35 mile drive. Got home, went with a friend on a local art walk and then found the tire was loosing pressure again. I had been parked at my bank and used their ATM machine, found out that I left my card in the reader (second time in a week, when I had never had it occur before in 7 years). Made it home and suddenly heard a string break on my large harp. Then got a call from someone I've been seeing to cancel our plans today. Sigh. Went to bed.

I got up this am. Sure enough the tire had lost significant pressure. Went to the dealer and the tide began to turn. They fixed the tire and washed my Jeep at no charge as apparently the loss of pressure was due to something they had missed when I had it in a couple of weeks ago. Found out that my harp string was located on a lever that we thought had been broken. Instead it was that the string had been installed wrong when they strung it last fall after building it. So it's fine. No need to make a trip to get the lever fixed. The someone called and we're getting together at a far better time next week, given the craziness of the morning into afternoon. The bank had my ATM card and I was able to get it without getting a new one. So the day ended up better. I even had a good catharsis with a friend to let go of some of the emotions concerning my Mom. I put on some Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and got my groove on again after that.

So it's better and I'm breathing deeper again.

Hope all is well for all of you.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, "Tell Me":

o


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Old Habits and Then The New

There are two types of habits:
ones which comfort us, and
ones which would be a comfort if we stopped.
Catherine Pulsifer

I'm finding times of stress force us if we're lucky to look at how we're living our lives. The last year has shown me that I'm living it far too safely to achieve some of the things I want. In other words, some bad and old habits have formed. So I'm trying new things, trying to view the world a little bit differently. Take more chances. Created a bucket list. Be more positive and indulge in more pleasures without the puritanical guilt that seems to be such a hallmark of being an American. And in taking more pleasure I find I have more energy to give and cope. I'm at the start of finding a deeper voice in art. Still love photography, but now shaking it up into mixed media. I haven't made time to take photos in recent months, so I'm trying to find things in the walks I take nightly around the neighborhood which I inhabit. I've formed a bad habit of not really seeing it and so maybe I'll find it again through the eye of my camera.

There are different connections with some people I've known for a while, some are ending, and I'm making new connections. So I'm working on forming "new habits". I'll let you know how it goes.

So what bad and old habits are you going to shake around?

Jeremy Fisher: "Cigarette":



Saturday, August 7, 2010

And I Wandered and Danced....

So we follow our wandering paths, and the very darkness acts as our guide and our doubts reassure us.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade

It's been a long while since my last post. As today is my birthday, I felt it time to resurface and speak a bit of my wanderings. After the last post due to a number of issues, life as I wanted to live it stopped. I went inside, did a good deal of reading, meditation and exploration about the direction of my life. There wasn't photography/art being done and music was sporadic. My mother was a on a plateau so I didn't have to travel....

The results have been amazing. In letting go and not trying to attempt to direct the direction of my life, the direction of my life became clearer. Some of the things that came, an opportunity to work with a collage artist in a workshop (I had been trying to do this for the last three years), an opportunity to use my music in a creative way at work in coming months and an series of intimate encounters with someone that taught me much.

I don't fully know what is next....I've been putting out the what I hope for and the how seems to come. I'll be going to Michigan again in a month to spend time with my Mom. We know her time is limited. She is entering into a round of chemotherapy to keep her going for a few more months (she hopes). I have hope for more travel in 2011 and perhaps a life/career change, but again I'm letting the sign posts guide me as I come to them rather then trying to map the whole journey.

So my last year has literally been about life and death. There has been and is a dying to the old, but the new rumba I have with life is incredible. I hope that I can model to others the steps I've learned.....

Jesse Cook, "La Rumba D'el Jefe":


Beauty Is...

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