Monday, December 29, 2008

The Glamourous World of Art Slides Dangerously Close to Pornography

That is a post title designed to enhance traffic. To really sucker people into my blog I have included this seductive photo of my naked dog.

The back story is that I had an artist cancel a show- very last minute- but being a woman of resilience I threw together a group show to open at the end of January...designed to take advantage of the Valentine's Day Holiday. The theme is "Love & Desire." So I braced myself for the submissions.

Today I was reprimanded by an artist for rejecting a piece that I felt was too explicit. I worry that the subtext to our disagreement is that the subject was homoerotic and that I am a prude when it comes to homoerotocism.

The truth is that the line between pornography and art is mighty thin and I am not always sure where it is drawn. Regardless of the subject of lust and the sex of the lustee, there is a point where the viewer no longer is invited to share the beauty of desire and merely becomes a voyeur.

But I also struggle with artists who ask us to look at the uncomfortable. While there are pieces I may not want to look at over my mantle, it does not mean they are without merit or meaning. At the other end of the spectrum are artists who vie to create the most novel or shocking image. After the novelty has worn off, what are we left with? Does the work of art still stand up as a piece of beauty? Or does it become a dated marker of the taboos of its day?

Sigh.... I wish I didn't have to think so much about this and could just accept this show as a real PR blockbuster. Just think of the headlines...."Gallery Director Busted for Peddling Porno in Main Street Shop. Mayor, in Adjacent Condo, is Disgusted."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who Me?

Don Kreis tagged me (in another forum).... a term I am still coming to grips with. What exactly is tagging? But his terms are: "Once you've been tagged, you have to write a note with sixteen random things, shortcomings, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end choose sixteen people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them. You have to tag the person who tagged you." I couldn't bring myself to force my friends to perform this exercise...... you know who you are. Get to work.

I am not usually big into these things, but a chance for self reflection can’t be all bad. These are not huge revelations, but they are the stuff that makes me sigh and shrug my shoulders about myself.

1. People think I am disciplined. The truth is that I am a creature of habit. Once I start doing something, I can't stop. I know this about myself.

2. I am petrified of snakes.

3. I have a very high palate, which caused problems when I use to play flute.

4. While we are on the medical stuff- I have a heart murmur too.

5. I wish I were a nicer person. That is a struggle for me. My mother is my role model.

6. Despite being a bit of a fainter when I see blood, I am very good in an emergency or in times of crisis. I react quickly and do what needs to be done. I hope this makes up for the fact that I am not always the nicest person.

7. I have very little to no sense of smell. Yet being a Chaffee, I love food and drink beyond compare.

8. I would like to walk from my house to Montreal. It is a dream, but I think it is doable.

9. I cry frequently while listening to stories on NPR. Actually, I just cry frequently.

10. In my heart I wish I believed in God. I think it might help me, but my head says "No can do."

11. Clutter has always been anathema to me. I can't think when my visual field is muddied.

12. I am a voracious reader.... sometimes indiscriminately so.

13. I am cyclically moody, unforgiving and suffer from terrible anxieties which make me unsuited for shacking up with. The rest of the time I am happy-go-lucky. I apologize to all past & present partners.

14. I am not at all sentimental... but I can be very highly symbolic.

15. I like cookies way better than cake, but maybe not as much as ice cream.

16. I have grown to love the birthmark on my arm. It feels like a part of my story.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pennies From Heaven

I went to a funeral yesterday for the husband of a woman I don't know well enough, but probably should. Her name is Marcia Herson. I met her about a year ago in conjunction with a show at my gallery.

I was drawn to her personality as much as her beautiful glass beads. Over the course of a few months of working on some projects together we got to know each other better. She taught herself jewelry making but her life was consumed with taking care of her elderly husband, who was nearly 20 years her senior. She talked, I listened. I could tell she loved him very deeply.

I shared with her that I had been widowed and that I understood her fear for her future. I think sometimes older people fail to understand that someone younger might have an experience to share that they have not yet gone through. It was an instant connect for us- the terrible sisterhood of being a widow.

The funeral was held at her Temple. I don't think I have ever been to a Temple. The casualness of the Rabbi and people felt different, but many of the trappings and readings felt very familiar. There was a lot of laughter while remembering Shelley Herson. Marcia stood to eulogize her husband in a show of bravery I never could have summoned. She told the stories of his handing out lucky pennies to friends, family and strangers. He would get addresses of customer service people at Comcast & PSNH to send them four leaf clovers from his yard. At the end of the service Marcia handed out two pennies to everyone and told them to "keep one for yourself and pass the other to someone else." I opted to give my second penny to my good friend, Louise, who turned 50 yesterday.

Today, while walking to to my car, I spotted several pennies in the snow by a parking meter. I walked past, but had to turn back to pick them up. I even had to kick a few which had become frozen into the snow. They seemed too highly symbolic to leave behind. I thought of Marcia & Shelley's magical marriage. Shoving them into my pocket as I continued on I had to smile and thought "I feel lucky." In light of the economy's effect on my business, I wondered where this optimism came from. I came to the quick conclusion that if you feel lucky- you are lucky.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Louise!

Louise turns 50 today... go wish her a Happy Birthday!

46% Of Women......

This isn't this weekend's snowstorm.... but, hey, they all look alike.

Yippee! I finally have Internet. It has been a week and 1/2 and I finally have it. Ironically the Sunday paper had a short article on how 46% of women would rather go without sex for two weeks than without Internet. For men- 30%. I suppose having no connection left me free to shovel the foot and 1/2 of snow that was dumped here. It sort of added insult to injury after the major ice storm.

But I am still glad to have Internet! Yippee!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Mother, My Self Redux

I gave my mother a 5 minute lesson in blogging and she is off and running. She loves photography- especially of her grandchildren and mushrooms so you can expect to see a lot of that in the future. She is retired so has a lot of time to spend on it too. Next thing you know she will probably out-widget me.

Go check out her blog!

I love my mother.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The First Dog

You know what I think? I think the rest of the country should stay out of the first family's decision on what kind of dog to get.

That is way too personal a thing to get a committee involved in- especially a committee of over 200 million. The Obama family has to live with this decision long after they leave office. They should decide. It is a long term commitment and one that should be done out of love rather than obligation.

Whether they chose a mutt, a purebred, a golden doodle or a fish I will be watching to make sure they treat the animal with dignity. Beyond that- it is their choice. Period.

Henry and his elephant having a private moment.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doing The Right Thing

I am trying this post her before I put it on my business blog. I feel as if it might be a little incendiary... so I am looking for feedback. My friends who love me despite my flaws, know my penchant for getting on a soapbox. I have tried to take the hectoring tone out of this post. Let me know what you think!

I have recently begun to read about the Buying Local movement. It is far more complex than I imagined bringing in the opinions of economists and talk of issuing local credit cards. It requires an understanding of how money works and moves through a community.

It is, nevertheless, an idea I feel whose time has come. It is an idea in response to the sprawl of markets getting larger and less responsive to its consumers and to the world they inhabit. It is something that my mother instilled in me as a young girl. She would have me walk down to the local clothing & shoe stores at the beginning of each school year. I picked out what I needed at these stores and they would bill my mother. She was buying goods and services from her neighbors.

I currently serve on the board of Main Street Concord, Inc., an organization that is devoted to the historic preservation of my city through economic development. Main Street communities can be found throughout the US. They are the more public face of the National Historic Trust. One of their basic tenets is to support your local businesses. People might recognize these communities by their updated building facades, noticeable hustle & bustle and a certain amount of je ne sais quoi ...... civic pride.

But buying local goes beyond civic pride, it is about economic determination. It is about taking the money you earn and making a difference. By buying local you can "maximize local ownership and minimize the leakage of income, wealth and jobs" in the words of a friend who wrote so eloquently about it. Locally owned businesses are owned and run by your neighbors, who in turn will spend their money supporting other businesses, and perhaps even buying your goods and services (thanks Mom!). That money also goes into the tax base which, as much as we might hate government we all love the services they provide- snow removal, garbage removal, street lights, educating children, fire & police protection and on and on. It keeps all that money circulating in your economic ecology instead of sending it away.

But what is local? Is it your town, your state, your country? I think it is all of those things, but more importantly it is independently owned businesses. It spans the market from your neighborhood farmer to your neighborhood bookstore and even art galleries! When your money is spent at small, independent stores it goes towards the employment of people at a fair wage rather than into the pockets of shareholders. Can you always buy this way? Sometimes it is really tough and occasionally impossible. I don't beat myself up about choices I make, but it is something I always keep in the back of my mind- money spent locally is money well spent.

There are lots of resources out there to tell you why buying local is important such as BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), Worldwatch Institute, or National Cooperative Business Association. Check it out yourself.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What City Please?

"Do you do family portraits?"

"Ahhh... no, we don't. We are an art gallery."

"Me and my fiancee want a family portrait and I just called a place here in Laconia. That's where I am. And they want $400." Very high pitched whistle through the phone and into my ear to indicate that $400 was a lot of money.

"Well there use to be a place up the street who did them, but I believe they are gone." I am quickly going through my mental Rolodex to come up with a solution to this gentleman's problem before he whistles in my ear again. I can't think of another portrait photographer.

"J.C. Penney use to do portraits. Do you know if they still do them?"

"Well, you might try calling them." I am still scanning my mental Rolodex... does J.C. Penney still exist?


So this is the glamorous world of directory assistance art galleries. I suppose if he gets stuck I could help him out in a pinch. I have figured out how to use the auto timer so that I can get portraits of my family.... all two of us. You get a pretty good sense of what my dog looks like from this photo- aye?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


For those of you unfamiliar with Fiddler on the Roof, that is one of its more rousing refrains.

It is that time of year to bake pies. I have been promising to bake the boyfriend a wild blueberry pie for many moons now. Thanksgiving seemed like the moment to pull out all the baking stops.

As a small girl... I mean really small... my mother would pull out the bottom drawer in one of our pantry cabinets so that I could stand on it to watch her make pies. As soon as she felt I could keep my balance on the drawer and do a task she handed me a small pie tin, leftover pie crust, a rolling pin and a dullish knife to cut apples. I was probably four or five.

I am not sure why I was singled out from all the girls in my family to learn this skill. Perhaps I showed early promise? More than likely it was just my mother closing her eyes and deciding which virgin to throw in the volcano. My mother hated baking and she figured the best thing to do was to teach a daughter so she would never have to perform this Thanksgiving Day task again. By the time I was eleven I would bake several pies for my family and a few to sell to neighbors.
Maybe my mother felt guilty about this (although I doubt it, she is probably still snickering at her cunning) so a few years back she bequeathed me all of her best baking tools. Her pastry cloth- which you cannot make pie without, a big wooden rolling pin, some antique pie plates and her beat up, old measuring spoon set.

Handling all these tools again takes me back to the magic of my childhood holidays. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, the Macy's Parade, playing games with my wicked Uncle Rufus, noise, confusion and food, food, food!

While I have never learned to properly roast a turkey, in a pinch I probably could. I would watch my mother intently- daring myself to touch the skin of the raw turkey-ewwww! I would help her mix the stuffing with my hands- the raw eggs were so slimy. She also taught me to brush my pies with milk so they would turn a golden brown.
I think she taught me pretty darn well. Especially how the chef always needs a glass of wine to ensure a good product. How did that sneak into the top photo?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And Brought To you By...

...Monsieur Henri's delectable muffins. Small but tasty- and nutritious!

He can curl up into the world's tiniest dog- like he has retractable legs or something. It makes me smile and it certainly makes me call him The Grande Muffoon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Plumbing the Depths of My Nerdiness

So I decided to plumb the depths of my nerdiness by rereading Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates which I had lent to my friend Louise. It wasn't due back at the library for two days. There are so many historical characters and historical events she referenced that thought I would benefit from a second read.

The second time through I was once again struck by the figure of Anne Hutchinson. She was a Puritan who arrived around 1635 and immediately caused trouble. She was also a religious visionary and an exceedingly bright and outspoken woman.... so this references my previous post.

The unfortunate aspect of Anne Hutchinson as a historical character is she only exists through the words of others. She never wrote any tracts or pamphlets, she was not a magistrate or minister so no one thought to write her speeches down. And most of the people who wrote about her also hated her. So we get her side through the lens of another.

You can read some of the transcripts of her trial though. She comes off as a very skilled debater... as a matter of fact, she runs circles around the magistrates trying her. They were left with one course- be rid of this witch before she poisons the general population. The irony is that this crazed female visionary forced the hands of the local powers who thought they should establish a college to educate their populace (men) against the tyranny of ignorance. Soon after Harvard was established.

Now I am not a particular adherer to the "OMG, we are the downtrodden" school of feminist thought. I find it self defeating and not to mention, EXCEEDINGLY humorless. But I do find there are lessons to be learned from our past. So....step up to the plate or quit 'chur bitchin'.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Mother, My Self

My mother is 72 and both a mentor for me and an occasional pain in my side, but she has taught me everything I know and she is still busy trying to teach me everything she knows. She is now retired and is throwing herself into whatever activities interest her. She is currently involved in an educational program for the elderly run through a small division of the state university. She called me the other day to ask about e-newsletters and how it might help this program promote their classes. She has been agitating for the school to make some changes and to update themselves. She let out a big sigh...... "I think I am just a loudmouth."

I could hear myself sigh. I had just been contemplating the possibility that I might be a loudmouth.... then I hear her admitting to a streak of loudmouthness. I am sure this must be genetic. Right when I had just gotten over the hurdle of looking like my mother, now I have to deal with behaving like her too?

This self reflection on loudmouthedness started about 3 weeks ago when I attended a board retreat for a non-profit I volunteer with. I feel I spoke up more than might be seemly... especially for a little old art major in a sea of lawyers and bankers. And this is my own twisted view of the world, but there was only one other woman on the board who spoke up with any kind of consistency and in a challenging way. I know the other women who serve are bright but they seem to lose their voice in these situations.

Sometimes I think I speak up not just to make a point but to get a seat at the table. If you don't speak up you are relegated to the role of do-er or assistant. Doing is a good and important thing.... someone has to get the work done, but I want to be part of the policy making. And I definitely see this as a gender based difference. A difference that I am not immune to..... so I struggle to behave like that woman I imagine myself to be.

Does this make me a pushy bitch loudmouth?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Am I Having Fun Yet?

I went out to eat with my friend Jen last night. We ate good food and had even better conversation. She makes me laugh so hard I need to change my underwear when I get home. She thinks this photo makes her look like she only has one eye. I disagree.... but maybe it looks like one of them is a glass eye. What do you think?

This is pretty much how I decide who I want to spend my time with. Do they make me laugh? Hard? Life is too short to not be laughing all the time.

Well.... if they feed me creme brulee I will spend time with them too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Command!

Silly Me. I have been wanting to know how to do the strike through command. Gut it! Goot it! Goht it! Got it!

Not only am I a nerd, but I am pretty easy to amuse.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Big Fat Government

One of the bonuses of getting off of work at 6 o'clock is being able to hop into my car and listen to Marketplace on NPR during the commute home. It is a show that takes a look at the daily news through the lens of the economy. It is done with wit which makes the 45 minute drive fly by rather quickly.

Tonight they did a quick story on a soldier in Iraq who called home to clandestinely plea with his parents to help get armor for the Humvees he and his buddies navigated through the war with. Unfortunately this young man was killed the following week. Fortunately his parents took him at his word and tried to find the equipment to help these young soldiers. They developed a "land shark" which is a small motorized vehicle which could pour water over road bombs until they were rendered useless. They recently received a government contract for $800,000 to manufacture these simple devices, but they ran into difficulty finding investors because the war may.. or may not end.

I know that the congress recently passed the budget for 2009.... with well over 1/2 of the budget going for defense: $515.4 billion for the Department of Defense’s (DOD's) base budget—a nearly 74-percent increase over 2001 as quoted from the US Budget. This doesn't even get into the few billion here and few billion there it takes to support all the other facets of the military.

Now- not for nothing- but shouldn't an army with these kinds of resources be running circles around a bunch of hooligans on horses in the middle of a desert? I can't help but think that the money is being spent on equipment to fight the type of war that no longer exists. Don't our soldiers need the sort of equipment for how war is conducted now? Namely a war fought by terrorists hiding in plain sight using IED's and suicide bombers. Why isn't our defense money being spent in a way that actually defends our soldiers? Why are they asking their parents for the equipment they need?

I am all for a strong military. I am certainly for providing all the care our veterans deserve. But I can't help but think of how Russia bankrupted itself in its quest for military might.... and all done at the expense and to the detriment of the people it was supposedly protecting. Are we headed down that same highway and does our new government have the gumption to say ENOUGH?!

Image of the installation of a new toilet at my father's camp in Vermont- and it cost under $100,000,000!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just In Time For Thanksgiving- Puritans!

I have just come up for air after finishing another book- Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates. When I say come up for air, I mean it. I gulped it down in two sittings. Her writing is that good.

It is a book about the Puritans, but more importantly it is about the roots of our country. I am reluctant to say that it is a history lesson for that diminishes what she is trying to say. The Puritans were complicated people not simply defined by the more contemporary interpretation of their religion. They were idealists and they were truly willing to put their lives on the line for what they believed in. Ironically what I was alluding to in my previous post is how willing people are to forsake their country for a simple political upset. Where would our country be if people hopped the "train to Montreal" every time their candidate lost? Apparently the Puritans were leading the way- hopping the boat for the New World because they thought England was a goner- what with all the barely disguised popery of the Anglican Church.

Even though the events took place almost 400 years ago it all seems so eerily present and personal. She has fleshed out the players- Governor Winthrop, Reverend Cotton, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson- so they become more than the two dimensional characters we were introduced to in 4th grade. Things are never as black & white as grade school civic lessons are forced to teach in order to fit 400 years of history into 260 45 minute periods. Once you start digging things really get interesting. Winthrop kept everyone placated while trying to establish a new home in the new world. Anne Hutchinson paved the way for our modern day Evangelicals. The most interesting character is Roger Williams- who founded Rhode Island after being banished from Massachusetts. He was a VERY early agitator for separation of church and state. But his chief concern was a state meddling in the affairs of the church. An unusual interpretation that had never occurred to me.

And somehow we think that Lee Atwater was the inventor of campaign mud slinging. He took his cues on digging up Willie Horton for the Dukakis/Bush showdown right from the Deputy Governor of Massachusetts Bay's playbook. Apparently Governor Winthrop wasn't fast enough in chasing a banished member out of the territory so his deputy started spreading word that he was soft on crime. Sounds way too familiar- ay?

As I read what I write I realize I don't do Ms. Vowell justice- her writing is witty, engaging and thoroughly readable. She will make you feel proud and patriotic about this country we have cobbled together.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still Hopeful

My hell dog wreaking havoc on some unsuspecting foreign power or global economy.... more powerful than one small, furry dog, suspected he could ever be.

No regrets, no second guessing, no diminishment of the thought I put into my vote.

I love my country the way I love my family- unequivocally.

I would never run to another country in shame for how we acted- but put my head down and move forward with the most dignity I could muster. Even conservative writers recognize how good we have it here.

I hope this works.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Since Time Immemorial

Or at least since toilet paper was invented the local teenagers have covered this tree with it.

Inspirational- hardly. Unique- pfft. Diversion of pent up sexual tension- no doubt.

But it is certainly a huge display of tradition. I am okay with it.... especially the beautiful way the tissue blows in the wind.

Goes to show, it doesn't take a weatherman.... at least at Halloween.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Separated at Birth

I have always described my dog, Henry , as a terrier-beagle mix. He has a muscular terrier's body but the coloring and Baroooo of a beagle, but I think I have changed my mind.

A couple of people have suggested he is a PBGV- or Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. (Big shout out to you, Mum.) I have disregarded this suggestion because he doesn't have the wiry coat of a PBGV.

It all of a sudden occurred to me that he doesn't have the wiry coat of a beagle either. I did a little reading and he seems to display the exact character traits of a PBGV- independent, untrustworthy off leash, big baroo voice like the hound dog that they are.

So what do you think? I have put in two pictures of PBGVs & two pictures of my noble terrier/poodle/whatever mix.

Whatever- I love that dog to death!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blogging Ala` Andrew Sullivan

This photo has nothing to do with Andrew Sullivan. It is my friend, LYC, trying to figure out a really difficult children's toy. It is the best illustration I could come up with for problem solving. She looks pretty serious- huh?

The Atlantic Monthly has a lead story on blogging. It is written by Andrew Sullivan, a thoughtful thinker & writer.... and too damned cute by half for a gay guy.

I always struggle a little with what it is that I am doing here. I have never been particularly good at writing, but this feels like so much more than that. It is communicating.

Sullivan sums up blogging by calling it broadcasting and not publishing. It is spontaneous and has plenty of room for error, but it also contains an element of conversation. Readers are fast to react, correct, respond and join in. I think that is what is so appealing. I am not always looking to get positive feedback ... just feedback in general.

I would like to think that I am not so dogmatic in thought that I couldn't bend a little due to a persuasive argument. Writing about Sarah Palin allowed me to take a non-traditional stance and listen to the comments. It was eye opening. I think when I struggle with ideas it is helpful to toss it out there for people to comment on. This goes right to Sullivan's point that a blog does not exist till it has readers, and more importantly, commenters. It underscored the importance of joining in the dialogue and linking to original source material, dissident views and anybody whatsoever to get the maximum benefit of blogging.

So what are you waiting for?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

All God's Creatures

It was a stunning Autumn day- warm, sunny and perfect. Henry & I did the usual five mile loop and then spent about 1/2 an hour in the cemetery hunting for mice. Actually Henry hunted for mice, I just lolled in the sun.

We saw our usual friends on our walk, plus some. The Pileated Woodpecker was too fast to get a picture of but the llamas obliged me by staying still. I use to let my Golden Retriever go into the tall grass of their field to hunt for mice. Eventually the llamas would get curious and come up to sniff her. It scared the Dickens out of her. Henry thinks he might like them but is a little leery.

These baby horses are Mouse & Buddy. They are brother and sister... and about 7-8 months old. They are still quite frisky and come out to greet us. Buddy in front is much more brave.. Mouse always hangs back a little. I call these two the kids to distinguish them from their brethren across the street.

Across the street are two Haflinger Draft ponies. I thought they were just chubby until the owner said they are draft ponies meant for hauling stuff. They are stocky but have beautiful manes and tails. They are very handsome and friendly. I call them either the boys or my pretty ponies. I suppose that is a little humiliating for them, but they seem so forgiving.

I see lots more animals- Red Squirrels, Cedar Waxwings, Chickadees, Snakes and more. They make my day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Day In The Life Of My Garden, October 25, 2008

After a very long week at work I had a beautiful late October morning to tend to my garden. It as overcast but in the 50's.. which to me is very desirable. The colors are especially stunning when it is overcast- like the boyfriend's Brussels sprouts- grown for my personal delectation.

I whacked back a lot of things. Woody things like asters, Baptisia, and shrub hydrangea made their way to the dumping grounds ...over the edge of a banking. Good stuff like sedum, day lily & hosta were carted to my compost pile for future reference.

I was specially pleased to see small sedum sproutlets when I whacked the Ruby Glow Sedum .... signs of Spring and it is only October! Hope springs eternal.

The whole garden scene is reminiscent of Spring when the garden was so barren, but these are all plants being put to bed- clipped to their minimum. A few things are saved because of their greenness... so difficult to resist.

But the Peach Tree is stunning.. ruby branches and brightly colored leaves. The boyfriend persists in trying to grow fruit despite our poor soil. I am thankful- we had some juicilishess nectarines this year.

With all the trimming this thuja stands out like a solar flare in my garden .... thank goodness for evergreens in the drab months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Forewarning to all chicken lovers out there- there will be chicken killing in the next few paragraphs.

Our friend the organic farmer had some old layers to get rid of. They had outlived their productive life and it was time to become chicken stock. The boyfriend is an old farm boy and does not shirk from the realities of our food cycle, so he retrieved the hens and brought them back to dispense of them.

I have not moved over to the vegetarian side so I understand that an animal must die in order for me to eat meat. I have not stepped up to the plate when it comes to the actual killing. I conveniently had to work that day.

The boyfriend knows that I love chicken livers (don't ask) and he thoughtfully saved them for me. But I have to admit when they don't come packaged in a plastic tub they are one step closer to where they actually come from- a dead animal. I sucked it up and fried them up for breakfast, and they were good.

He also saved a couple of "eggs from the chute" as he puts it. They are like yolky ping pong balls- perfectly spherical. I fried them up too. It took a bit of poking to break the outer portion which I assume would have become the shell. They were also good.

It is a funny feeling being so close to the food chain instead of buying your food in Styrofoam packages. It was vaguely uncomfortable yet I also felt somehow more honest. I felt grateful to the animals for sustaining me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fashion Forward

I wasn't going to post this, because it is a bit silly. But I haven't got a more developed thought in my head right now. So here it is...

I sometimes feel I have to apologize for my interest in fashion. Such a girl thing ... but there it is ... I am a girl. I think fashion is one more way for a person to project their personality. Is that any more shallow than other pursuits?

All that being said I am not a very daring follower of fashion. But I have decided to set myself a small goal. I want to pair two patterns together in a way that makes sense. I have bought a couple of pair of patterned tights recently. I figure that like an art collection, whatever I am drawn to will probably mesh with other things I already have. I am dying for a really good pair of argyle tights... like Wouldn't Shoe, but I haven't found the pair for me yet.

My friend Louise has got a certain devil-may-care attitude when it comes to pairing patterns. Her fashion insouciance reflects her quirky view on life. One of my favorite accessories of hers was a child's baseball cap worn at a jaunty angle. It sat on top of her head (because it was so small) like a cocktail hat. This was back in the late 70's/early 80's when jaunty baseball caps were not the fashion bailiwick of inner-city hoodlums.

So yesterday I had to get dolled up for an event and I thought it as the right time to put my plan to work. Out come the tights, herringbone jacket, black skirt and wonderful red shoes. But I am thwarted- first one pair of tights has a hole in it and then another pair which is listed as medium/tall will barely make it past my knees. Sigh... back into the sock drawer for a pair of tights which has a subtle tweedy pattern. It looked good and I felt snazzy... but not as snazzy these girls in red.

I am such a fashion plate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day Of Domesticity

Happy Columbus Day! Thank goodness North America was discovered or I might be an English peasant or something.

I spent the day washing all the windows in the house. It is not as terrible as it sounds- after a week of whining to my friend Louise about the impending task. I put on a selection of cleaning music:
Annie Lennox- Bare
Kristen Hersh- Strings
Paris Combo- Attraction
Jane Siberry- Bound By the Beauty
Bossacucanova- Brasilade
Somehow music played loudly makes many tasks bearable. A little something to shake your cleaning booty to.

Then I was left to make a side dish with our leftover bounty of eggplants and peppers. I was recently taught to make capanata by my godchild, Hannah. It is a wonderful thing when small children grow up and can teach you a thing or two. She is 26 now, but I remember her clearly at 4 years old. She was wise at that age too. She helped me with my computer skills when I was trying to write my thesis in graduate school. It is a very humbling experience to have a 4 year old help you.

I am pretending I am Pioneer Woman here- what with the beautiful cookery & photography. So you dice up peeled eggplant and saute with olive oil, garlic, shallots (from the garden if you are lucky). It is suppose to have Kalamata Olives. I didn't have any, so in go the black olives. In go the capers too.
Fresh tomatoes are best, but what we have is rotting instead of ripening... so in goes the canned tomatoes.

I'll be serving this with roasted chicken.... mmmmm.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Dreamers

It is that time of year when my state looks like a bad calendar down at the heating oil office or local grain store- stunning vistas wherever you look. This is my neighbor's house- the big building is actually a barn- a classic dairy barn. It is cavernous inside... enough room to store a... barn! Or a big herd of cows.

It also means the state is lousy with leaf peepers from away. You can tell by their out of state license plates, but even blind folded you could tell. They drive at least 20 mph below the speed limit, yet still manage to miss stop signs. I don't mind them so much, but I do give them wide berth. After a while they notice the train of cars on their bumper and pull over. It is the price we pay for living in a place so beautiful that people travel large distances to see what we get to see every day.

I have to admit, despite 46 seasons of this, I still slow down periodically to soak it in.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Periodically even the great and powerful Sarah needs an attitude adjustment... what with all the financial turmoil and the fact that she deals in an expendable commodity. A commodity an awful lot like dancing, or live theater, or puppetry, but with less motion.

So Sarah tries to concentrate on those things that make her life fabulous and worthwhile.

The accompanying image looks a little bleak- no? Actually it is quite lovely. It is to help you visualize her nightly walk with her dog after dinner. The vernal Equinox has passed making evening walks a little dark. Normally this might be depressing but our optimistic hero & heroine make the best of it. It is an opportunity to rely on all senses. As we near the river a cool breeze rolls around us. We can hear the rustle of the birch trees towards the far side of the yard. And the earthy smell of turned soil tells us we have neared the most recent gardening project. And the most favored of experiences- We can see the slender stalks of Karl Foerster Grass, despite the dark, swaying slowly letting us know to take a sharp right around the end of the garden.

Things feel uncertain, but there are still pleasures in life. And as Henry would say- still plenty of things to piss on.