Friday, November 30, 2012

four seasons, one kitchen


Blues and greens, touches of pink and yellow. 
Those are the colors I gravitate toward, surround myself with,
that my Massachusetts house is filled with.

The Catskills house is stone, tree bark, moss, and autumn leaves.

World's ugliest kitchen has been demolished. I've been imagining a barn red island with a dark soapstone surface. These floors. Natural cherry cabinets. This weekend I have to make choices. Orders must be placed. 

I have these tiles that I got at an auction (where else?) and badly want to use them on the walls/ backsplash. Cabins, canoes, pine trees...they are perfect. Except the colors.

Perfect in a white kitchen. 
But the Catskills house is the colors of autumn.
Please tell me--

Can the colors of spring and summer

exist in a kitchen with those of autumn and winter?

(Such a frivolous dilemma.)

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I went to an auction

Although I don't miss the work of the store, I do enjoy auctions. So I'm going to rent a cabinet in a group antiques store. There are four large shelves, perfect for pottery.

 At last night's auction I bought several lots of vases,mostly mid-century. I don't know much about the pottery of the era, but love the fun shapes and colors and look forward to learning more. (As always, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

 The mustard pitcher is marked Pigeon Forge Pottery Tenn (Tennessee). The one with flowers appears much older than the rest. The orange one looks very 70's. But I'm not sure--I have a lot of research to do.

Some are from small studios, some are marked with recognizable names. Many are unmarked, and I imagine a lone potter shaping the vase, choosing the glaze, caught up in creation. Some are smooth, others are heavily textured.

 I love the spiky bumpy green--it looks very 50's-60's to me. Sort of space age Beatnik. The large purple one is from West Germany. The green vase behind the little striped one is hand signed (as opposed to a stamp) Palshis Denmark, along with something I can't interpret.

These black, sculptural pieces look wonderful together.I was surprised to see that the third one from the left is Bennington pottery, which I associate with blue spatterware in traditional shapes. The one with the leaf is from Arabia Pottery in Finland, made in 1967.

I also got this small Persian picture, which I may keep. The figures are incised on bone, which is mounted on paper with a hand drawn border.

The work is quite delicate. I especially love the trees and gazelles (I think that's what they are.)

I don't know anything about this type of work, how old it is or who might have made it. But I only paid $20 for it so I'm comfortable that I didn't make an auction fever mistake. I just hope that I didn't overdo it with the vases.

On another topic: If you, like me, love libraries, this will warm your heart (and is also poignant).


Friday, November 23, 2012

meta at MOMA

I used to get annoyed at people taking pictures in museums. Because:

1.  Looking at art through the lens distances you from it.

2. Your camera is distracting to others.

3. You can buy a better image on a postcard in the gift shop (or find one online).

Then I went to the Museum of Modern Art last week
and saw this crowd taking pictures of The Scream 
and found myself pulling my camera from my purse 
and taking pictures 
of people taking pictures.

Observing the observers through the lens of my camera.

So apparently I am now one of those annoying people. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chopin in the park

I packed a lot into two days in New York City.

It will take a few posts to unpack it, but here are some highlights:

 The train ride from Boston.

Mosaic on a project apartment. 

 Chopin in Washington Square Park.

24-hour everything.

 The Museum of Modern Art.

"Do you know who Marilyn Monroe was?"


 Quiet streets in Brooklyn.

Manhattan cacophony.

Also, dinner, brunch and a long walk with my son; the first brussel sprouts I've ever liked; wandering through the flower district, the button district, the West Village, SoHo, and Brooklyn; one blister; flaming Greek cheese; Chelsea galleries; Cezanne, Matisse, and pumpkin soup with a chicken wing in it.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Annie Hall

Breakfast at Tiffanys


West Side Story


Saturday Night Fever,  Desperately Seeking Susan, Do the RIght Thing


Tomorrow I'm off  for a few days in New York, and am looking forward to the intoxication of that mad and beautiful city. New York was the inspiration for so many great movies--I've put some of my favorites above. Do you have a favorite New York movie?

I will leave my computer at home but will take camera and notebook and try to capture some New York minutes. Hope you have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the dog stars

So I read The Dog Stars, which I mentioned in my last post.
 It kept me up all night. 

Let me get this out of the way: it is a post-pandemic/apocalyptic novel. 

 It is also beautifully written, with a poet's sensitivity to language and way of seeing things in a new perspective. It is dark and violent, but also filled with great love and beauty. Reverence for nature. Finely drawn characters. A wonderful dog--if you like dogs you will fall in love with Jasper. It will make you worry about climate change, but doesn't use that phrase. It doesn't lecture, it reveals. The prose is delicate for such hard stuff, and slightly unconventional.

 It is Peter Heller's first novel, but he has published three non-fiction outdoor adventure books, about surfing; an eco-pirate ship hunting down a Japanese whaler; and a kayaking expedition in Tibet. He also studied poetry in graduate school, and those experiences can be felt in The Dog Stars.

I feel fortunate to have read two books in a row that I feel so strongly about. And isn't it a little bit interesting that both have Stars in the title?


pictures taken by me in Hudson New York, Andes New York, and Wellesley Massachusetts.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

my thoughts are stars

Last night I was reading The Night Circus for my book group, but midway through I got bored--I like the story, but the writing and characters weren't engaging me--and went to my winter reading pile. Sometimes I just want to spend the rest of my life sitting in a comfortable chair reading, getting up now and then to take a walk and make some tea. Maybe eat a sandwich, then back to chair and books.

Anyway, I have an ongoing infatuation with books about India and by Indian authors, and there are three in the pile--I was trying to decide whether to read A Suitable Boy, A Fine Balance, or The Satanic Verses, but I was kind of sad and none of them felt quite right. My eye fell on The Fault in Our Stars. It was written for young adults and the synopsis sounds depressing, and I don't remember why I bought it--I think I meant to buy The Dog Stars--but I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading it; it's sweet, sad, soulful, angry, funny, and the writing is damn near brilliant. It was just what I needed.

Today I spent time sorting through my books--I am giving away many (let me know if you want a surprise package of books) and selling some of the older ones. I need less stuff in my life. It's true that a 1919 book on the principles of floriculture makes my heart flutter, but I'm never going to actually read it.

Now I have to decide what to read tonight. Usually I follow a good novel with nonfiction, but I'm in the mood for another novel. In addition to the India books, Telegraph Avenue and Cloud Atlas are in my to-read pile, as is The Springs of Affection, which I read about here, on Jane Flanagan's blog. I also have a stack of classics to read (or re-read). I should try to finish The Night Circus. I want a well-written book with compelling characters, a book with heart and soul. Is that too much to ask for? Do you have a favorite book that meets that criteria?

"My thoughts are stars that I cannot fathom into constellations."
                                                               --- John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

 I think I will read The Dog Stars soon. I wonder how many books have stars in the title, and how many of them I should read.


Monday, November 5, 2012

embody the grace

In The Wasteland T.S. Eliot wrote, most convincingly, that April is the cruelest month, but I think perhaps it is November. In April we have May to look forward to, and all those flowers. But November slams the door on autumn. Autumn feels like the shortest season, and summer is the longest. Of course I'm speaking from a New England perspective. If I lived in California or New Mexico, I'd be complaining about something else.

And I have nothing to complain about. Winter does have charm. Especially if I am inside with a fire in the fireplace and a good book. Or out enjoying all those pretty holiday lights and trees and music. But that still seems far off.

I need to work on being more optimistic. This week I'm drawing inspiration from Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker who has been incredibly hands-on with taking care of his constituents (see here) 95% of whom lost their power for a week or more, whose schools have been closed for more than a week, and whose struggles are many.

"Give the respect you want to receive; embody the grace you hope to encounter; and help others with no expectations whatsoever."  --- Cory Booker

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