Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Single Girl's Christmas

This is about the extent of my ability to vamp.

The boyfriend took off on his annual sojourn to Florida about a week early leaving me alone for Christmas this year. I didn't know what I would do for Christmas but I figured I would find someplace to go and someone to share the day with.

Christmas eve arrived and I was working the late shift at the gallery meaning I would have to stay until 2 to make sure everyone had picked up their last minute framing. At 1 pm an artist/friend stopped in to wish me a happy holiday on her return from food shopping. We started yakking and she suggested that a glass of wine would be nice. She also suggested a little cheese and crackers to make it truly celebratory. Out to the moving larder that is her car and she returned with the victuals and our party began.

After a while we both started whining about the sorry state of our wardrobes and how we had allowed ourselves to not dress up to the best of our abilities- all lubricated by a glass of wine. While we hadn't stooped to wearing sweat pants in public, we certainly were on the slippery slope of "well, this is good enough."

Two o'clock soon rolled around and we packed up my dog and headed over to a boutique that was having a big Christmas Eve sale. It is a store that I rarely go into because it specializes in tight, shiny, sparkly, ruffly clothes. My friend and I tried everything on, spurring each other onto ever more body conscious clothing. (Mind you- she is a size 4 and my height plus she takes ball room dancing classes which requires tight and shiny.) We helped a young man buy some necklaces for his wife and kibitzed with the other women who wandered through the shop. About 5 o'clock we made our choices, untangled my dog from a clothing rack and left giggling.

I walked out with a tight hip length angora sweater with a rather plunging v-neck (among other things). I teamed it up with a new lacy tank top and a low slung wide, black belt. It is a decidedly sexier look than I usually wear, but I thought it made me look a touch more continental. She left with a pile of skirts, sweaters and necklaces. We had a ball.... sort of Pretty Woman minus the man with the credit card. I think if I am going to be a single girl on Christmas Eve that this should become an annual tradition.

Now for a better pair of jeans.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Art, Bad Art

I believe I have written previously about how to tell good art from bad art. Many people are stymied by this skill and think that experts are trying to pull the wool over their eyes. A good rule of thumb is if it makes you say "Awwwwww, how cute" or "You can see every little feather (hair, pore, blade of grass)" you are probably looking at bad art. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. It just means it doesn't belong in a museum.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the Italian Renaissance recently as I am preparing for a trip to Florence this spring. The Stones Of Florence by Mary McCarthy, while in general a terrible book, contained some tidbits of information that got me thinking. In particular that with the rise of wealth for a few merchant families who patronized artists, there was a concurrent rise of bad and simply sexually provocative art. (Art being the word that pornography often hides behind.)

Sometimes in my reverence for the great cultures of the world I forget to consider that they had their flaws too. I hope as I wander through the Uffizi and the Duomo I remember to keep it all in perspective and look with critical eyes. Were these artists the Thomas Kinkade or Peter Max of their age- spinning out product for their clammering public?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Celebrity Spotting- NH Style

I was walking in downtown Concord this past Thursday and saw a real live celebrity- Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of NH. It was one of those moments usually experienced in New York City. The sudden sense of recognizing the person in front of you and the overwhelming desire to shake their hand and say "I know you." You will be glad to know that I resisted. I can only imagine that Lorraine is somewhat relieved too.

Most people don't know the face of our Commissioner of Agriculture but my boyfriend happens to subscribe to the Weekly Market Bulletin. You can find it on most news racks next to People and Us. I generally check it out to see if any maple syrup condensers are for sale in Plainfield or working Corgi pups are ready to help me round up the sheep. I think the boyfriend likes to keep up with the wholesale cost of eggs. It is also an important source of gossip and info ready to help you identify people leaving the Legislative Office Buildings in Concord. Celebrity spotting in NH is light on the Versace and Prada and pretty heavy on down vests, jeans and muck boots. Puffy down outerwear tends to mask the sartorial accouterments of a celebrity so it is crucial to memorize the faces.