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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

Every fall the apples are more beautiful than the last. The Ida Reds. The Macs. The ever-popular and only-available-for-a-little-while, not-very-good-keepers Macouns. All of the ones I never try. The glaze, the sheen, the burnished surface covered in beads of moisture. In all my life, I have never eaten apples as delicious and crisp and prettily dewy as the ones we get in the Valley. Pleasure is not an adequate word.

Yesterday morning, in the front yard, no mushroom. Yesterday afternoon, this:

School has begun. She never rode a bus to school before. Strange, hunh?


Did we experience our last beach day of 2012? I’m hoping not. I know it’s not a very beachy photo, but it’s my favorite-ever-in-the-world bracelet or at least one of them and I love the way it washes and shines after being in the ocean. How about those age spots? It doesn’t get much hotter than that. Can’t we think of a better name than age spots? Do you think the home remedy that I found on the web that involves lemon juice and vinegar would really work?

I remember the first age spot I ever got. Hawaii, 1995. Yup. I can still identify it. It’s the biggish weird-shaped one to the far left just above the bracelet.

I’m not sure any more of the names of the 8 wrist bones. They are small, cute, important, intricately formed, and a wonder of evolutionary advantage. I know I could look them up, but I’d never remember the names anyway. Here’s a mnemonic for them in case you want to try. But you kinda hafta know which bone you’re starting with. Good luck!

Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can’t Handle

I’d like to hear this speech at one of the Conventions.

I am thinking of changing the photo at the top of my blog, as bored as I am right now. Possibilities include photos of other rocks.

Here are some of the mini-cairns I’ve been making in my garden. It’s not so easy to balance a stone with a rounded surface, but by gum, I’ve done it. Even in the heavy, heavy rain of 2 night’s ago, the 2 top stones didn’t tumble off and no stones have dislodged (I just wanted to use the word dislodge cause it makes me feel smart).

Here are some more of my garden rocks. I love the long, oddly-shaped one that looks like a tool, but it’s just a natural ocean rock as far as I know. Not like the arrowhead I have on my desk that was shaped by human hands.

See the little rock of Ohio? It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s greyish-clear. You cannot believe it. I wish you could hold it, it’s really quite lovely.

Okay, another [final?] beach photo, because I am so vain

FIN

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Hubby, my older daughter, and I went to see Gogol Bordello in Boston last night. I figured out a little bit more why this is the best live band I’ve ever seen, and, when you go, the best live band you will ever see. It is their interaction with and inclusion of the audience in every move they make on stage. That’s not the only reason, but it’s one of the overarching ones.

One of my favorite things last night happened after the concert. We were driving back home on I-90 and we stopped at a rest stop to grab a bite to eat (I try, I really do. I had a cooler and food bag packed with healthy stuff, but McDonald’s fries and coffee won out in the end). While waiting in line, a 20-something man noticed my [new] Gogol Bordello t-shirt and asked, “Were you at the show?” He was in a state of bewilderment, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, a halo of bliss above his head. I answered that yes, I’d been at the show. We began to chat. It was nice to see the reverence in his face, the gears clicking in his head trying to figure out how it was possible for such a band to exist.

I also struck up a quick conversation, still in line at McDonald’s, with a teenage girl (14-years old, maybe) who had the same happy, dazed look on her face.

“Did you just come from the concert?” I asked.

“Yes. Weren’t they amazing?” she asked.

“Yes.” I answered, and: “Had you seen them before?”

“No, have you? Does he tour a lot?”

It was all so endearing.

♦ ♦ ♦

Just 2 hours ago, I bought tickets to see Gogol Bordello on Lake Champlain for a mid-August concert. This time, I’m going for it. Up in front of the stage with all the pretty young women and raving young men. RIGHT UP FRONT. That’ll be me backstage, the only sober person in a throng of groupies trying to share a bottle of wine with the band. Maybe Eugene will let me massage his hands. Or forearms. Or the twisted erector spinae muscles of his back. Yeah, that’s how fantasies work around here: me massaging famous rock stars.

It’s like my kid, clucking at me to Stop it, Mom when I was bounding, fleet-foot, up the aisle last night, dancing around, twirling my new t-shirt in the air. Nobody cares, Violet. Nobody cares what I am doing. They are not looking at me. She danced next to me the whole concert, her face glowing and carefree, safe with her parents, buoyed up by the good will all around her.

I’m here to be happy, to fill the empty spaces with energy and heat and vibration. Just like that band up there, biding our time and asking everyone to join in the ecstatic moments.

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I have been to Prague once, in December of 2008. Paul had a conference, not a mandatory thing, but we decided, due to decades of stories of Prague’s beauty, to seize the opportunity and go. The kids seemed old enough to leave for a week with my mother; it wasn’t Winter Break yet, the kids would be occupied, my mother would still have the middle of the day to herself.

Indeed, as much as me and jet lag don’t get along, the city proved to be worth dragging my ass a ways ’round the globe for.

Although Christmas Markets in Europe tend to be in Germanic countries, Prague, with its proximity and on-going trade with Germany, also has a one in its huge town square. I have mixed feelings about angels and for the most part find the concept to be overly saccharine and alternately creepy. But this one was truly enchanting. I use it as my Facebook photo sometimes around the holidays:

I went to a Christmas Market in Germany once, a small one, near where my cousins and aunt live in the Rhine Valley. It gave me the creeps. When I think of the Glühwein and the pretty decorations, the lights, singing, and trees, I think of my drunken grandfather, of rape, and of the Nazis. Friends sing the praises of the German advent season, but I want to scream. I am not trying for this, but growing up with a German mother who herself grew up in Nazi Germany, and having had an aunt who was a survivor of Auschwitz, I come by it honestly.

Prague, however, was different. Because I was not in the country or culture of my mother’s birth, I was able to “take what I liked and leave the rest.”

Certainly, our favorite thing was trdlo or trdelnik (from the treadle onto which they were traditionally rolled). We spent every next 3 or 4 bucks on one every time we got more money. They are ridiculously delicious, piping hot and smoky, rolled in ground nuts, cinnamon, and sugar:

Not all of the booths had live coals; some of the trdlo (we affectionately referred to them as “turd-lo,” because who puts t-r-d in a row without a vowel? Damn Slavic languages!) were cooked over electric coils. They were all the same damn delectable though.

Here are some more photos from our visit to Prague in 2008. If you have a chance to go, do. Everywhere you look is beauty.

There are 4 quarters in Prague, if memory serves. The following photos are from the Castle Quarter and the Old Quarter:

details, baby, details:

who doesn’t succumb to the temptation of a little golden serpent once in a while?

wealth:

wealth, in detail:

Crazy Euro-Christmas shit, in case you think Americans are the only ones with a tacky sense of the season. This was outside the huge castle on the big hill overlooking the whole of Prague, an entire straw nativity scene. Dig Mary’s crazy straw boobs:

No no no, my pets, the beauty doesn’t end there:

The penitent are all over Prague. I never saw a woman doing this, but plenty of men, real ones, not the cast-in-bronze kind:

A blind accordion player on the Charles Bridge

Crazy medieval Death, right on the wall of a church, where Death should be:

Prague is not averse to modern cool. Dig Frank Gehry’s Ginger and Fred:

And the last beauty of Prague? Yours truly, complete with ugly green down coat, on one of the bridges spanning the Vltava (again with the Slavic consonants!):

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Remember Twofer Tuesdays on FM radio when you were in high school? This is like that, only just another (real) song for Music Monday (as opposed to the spoof song from earlier).

This is a song I’ve looked for for a long time on the internet to no avail.

My lovely daughters taught this to me; they learned it at their school over the years and I fell in love with it all along. It’s a beautiful song about autumn turning to winter. I’m just getting it in under the wire here (well, I guess we have a couple more weeks until the official start of winter and who knows how long we’ll wait for snow down here in the Valley).

Now before I go embarrassing myself without effacement, I am not planning on doing these solo singing videos too often. I love to sing and I know a little bit about it, due to being an Alexander Technique teacher and all, but I’m no paragon or virtuoso or anything of the sort. I don’t relish the way the videos look either. I think it’s goofy to sit in front of my computer and sing. However, no longer being a virgin at it, it was a bit easier this time. Also, as I understand it, a few people think I’m actually brave for doing this and I’ve got a reputation to maintain.

The chorus should absolutely be sung in a round, but my younger daughter is away on a class trip and my older didn’t want to be seen on a video. They both sound really good singing along with me. Maybe another time.

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(Buckle in, it’s a long one….be brave, take your time, know that if you make it through, you’ll be blessed with knowledge of an Italian song so romantic, you will be able to woo and win over even the most unshakeable heart)

In spite of the overabundance of rain (and dampness and cloud-cover), I do like to look out my smallish kitchen window at the leaves. Perhaps the most tolerable thing about all of this rain is that the leaves’ colors are more intense when they are wet.

Cat update: I have switched to a grain-free canned food (they had been on kibble) based on a recommendation from an alternative-medicine vet (I’m not kidding, people, this is the Happy Valley after all). And guess what? It is dramatically improving my fat black cat’s coat and demeanor. The other cat, Willow, well, she’s as sweet as pie and seems simply hungrier for her food than before. They both apparently love their new food and seeing them eat with gusto is satisfying. Now sometimes I wonder if I could just feed them rabbit and chicken meat (and livers and what all other organs). It would all be locally-raised and the money would go straight into the pocket of the farmer, right here, right now. Hmm…..

Socks. This is one of my great weaknesses. I love socks. I love all sorts of them–cotton-blend, merino wool, little short sport-socks with a pink collar and plush terry-cloth interior that I pad around in on the cold (and dirty, it is true) floors of my kitchen, the discount wool-and-synthetic blend ski socks I find every fall at TJ Maxx, the hand-knit socks made of bamboo that I bought at an art fair in Maine in the summer, the Sock Lady socks I bought 3 years ago at our school’s annual Holiday Fair (for my mother who didn’t like them, so she gave them back to me) made from mohair wool which comes from angora goats that the Sock Lady and her husband raise. We call her the Sock Lady and I mean no disrespect because I actually know her real name (Cynthia) because I’ve interacted with her quite a bit over the years, but really, the people who have been at the school for years and years and years and into a decade or more simply call her that because they love and crave the socks she sells. They are warm, they are colorful, they have a beautiful sheen to them, they last and last as long as you don’t wash them on hot or dry them, they make you feel heavenly because you have seen the beautiful black-and-white photos of the goats that the wool comes from and you know how much Bob (the husband) appreciates the goats and how much he loves his wife (by all outward appearances).

I like the discipline it takes for me to NOT plug in my computer on occasion so that the battery can almost run out of juice. You have no idea how compulsively I would like to plug it in and how delicious when I accomplish this goal, as per recommendations I’ve found on the internet.

Loving being involved in the Occupy movement and love watching it evolve via an email list I’m on and the weekly gatherings I attend. Democracy in action. DAMN it’s good, deep down inside.

What the hell’s a stornelli you ask? I can’t find out much more than that it is some sort of traditional Italian song played in a drinking establishment and they all seem to have a similar tempo and similar style of guitar strumming, but I did find some stornelli on youtube that weren’t even played on guitar. You can see the whole stornelli concept could be moved to a Music Monday post, but I love this so much, I couldn’t wait.

I’ve had the song for many years on the soundtrack to “Big Night” (a twinkly favorite and highly recommended). I listen in my car, melting, trying not to cause accidents due to being swept away so fully.

I found a translation for about half of the lyrics, but couldn’t find anything more all over the g-damn internet. I don’t know who wrote the song. I don’t speak Italian. I am so not Italian it shocks even me. But I sure wish I could understand the words to the rest of the song. Being somewhat familiar with many Latin roots and knowing a little bit of French like I do, I can piece out little bits, the moon, and thoughts and breath and song and the four winds, but I could also be wrong, as I am wont to be. Although it may seem like it, I’m not really a fan of Italian culture, but how can you resist quattro venti? Even italicized is Italian. Such beauty. Sigh.

E’scritto nel tuo cuore
Il mio destino,
Anche se l’esistenza m’avvelena.
Anche se l’esistenza m’avvelena
Voglio restare sempre a te vicino.

Per quella bocca rossa
e bella profumata
Ci perdo volentieri la mia vita.
Ci perdo volentieri la mia vita
Per poter dire al mondo l’ho baciata.

Se tu fossi regina
Ed io regnante,
Ti colmerei di perle dell’oriente.
Ti colmerei di perle dell’oriente
In cambio del tuo amore affascinante.

It is written on your heart,
My destiny,
Even though its existence poisons me.
Even though its existence poisons me,
I will always be near you.

For that beautiful and fragrant red mouth
I will gladly give my life.
I will gladly give my life
To tell the world I kissed it.

If you were the reigning queen
And I like a prince,
I would cover you with pearls of the Orient.
I would cover you with pearls of the Orient
In exchange for your enchanting love.

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I spent the morning “swimming” in 60-degree ocean water with a pack of happy teenagers, cleaning up a house rental top-to-bottom (that’s a lot of dishes and laundry, my pets!), and driving back home with me mum and a tide of New Englanders heading west.

Sun setting on orange-dusted tree tops, low rolling mountains layered dusky purple, tangerine, and gray…Oh, New England! Oh, Fall!

I love this song and began singing it to keep myself awake on Route 2 because, you know, it’s near full-dark at 6:30 now.

I learned this from my kids, but it’s nowhere to be found on the web so that I might share the tune with you. Perhaps my Annie and I could record it so you could hear it.

I would love to know if you know it, have heard it, know anything about its origins. I rarely ask for things from you, my doves, but I ask you now.

Autumn Roundelay

Here I sit and wait for you, ‘neath the spreading branches,
Cool the grass with shade and dew, sunlight ’round me dances

Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
How my heart is ringing,
Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
Songs to you I’m singing

Fall is in the air today, hear the wild geese crying,
Don’t delay, come while you may, snow will soon be flying

Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
How my heart is ringing,
Ai loo lee oh lee oh lay,
Songs to you I’m singing

The verses can be sung in a round. It’s the most lovely song, gives me shivers and tears

Happy Fall and Happy Deciduous Leaves Turning Color!

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Dear Readers,

I don’t have an iPod (RIP Steve Jobs) and even if I did, I couldn’t play it through my 2000 Toyota mini-van’s stereo system (see, I used the phrase stereo system, so you know the dinosaur part about me is true).

I bought the new Wilco CD yesterday and I played it in the car on the way to the high school open house I attended last night. I listened to this track twice, once on the way to the school, once on the way home. Wilco played this live when we saw them in Boston last month and it stuck with me…I kept wondering which song was that?

During our 15-minute Geometry “class” at the open house, I tried sneaking reading the lyrics, but no worries, my daughter will probably get an A, unlike me who flunked high school Geometry (or was that Alg II?). Sneaking lyrics wasn’t the only thing I did in high school to get into trouble and I can only hope my amazing, intense, creative, energetic, artistic daughter goes a better way than I did back then.

This song, I don’t know what it’s about, but I think this is the true gem of the album, the one for the ages. There are a couple of lines that kill the hell outta me:

Outside I look lived in/like the bones in a shrine–it’s immediate, sharp and soft at the same time, and reminds me of churches in Prague and I am cold for my father/frozen underground

I’ve lived without my father for so long, lived without knowing him for so much of my life, but I was missing him and picturing him yesterday. I pulled out a bin of old photos.

I forget the damage, you know, the damage of losing a parent when you’re still pretty young. I don’t grieve for him any more, but I am today. How death defines us, underneath all of the geometry and the words and anything else we layer on top.

One Sunday Morning

This is how I tell it
Oh, but it’s long
One Sunday morning
Oh, one son is gone

I can see where they’re dawning
Over the sea
My father said what I had become
No-one should be

Outside I look lived in
Like the bones in a shrine
How am I forgiven?
Oh, I’ll give it time

This, I learned without warning
Holding my brow
In time he thought I would kill him
Oh, but I didn’t know how

I said it’s your god I don’t believe in
No, your Bible can’t be true
Knocked down by the long life
He cried, ‘I fear what waits for you’

I can hear those bells
Spoken and gone
I feel relief, I feel well
Now he knows he was wrong

I am cold for my father
Frozen underground
Jesus, I wouldn’t bother
He belongs to me now

Something sad keeps moving
So I wandered around
I fell in love with the burden
Holding me down

Bless my mind, I miss
Being told how to live
What I learned without knowing
How much more that I owe that I can give

This is how I tell it
Oh, but it’s long
One Sunday morning
One son is gone

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