Monday, December 22, 2014

Finding Light Without Searching

Affectionately known as Drunk Santa.
It is a symptom of how time flies that Drunk Santa has remnants of both Halloween and Thanksgiving still on him (he came out early this year).  But, at last, his true moment has come and he is decking the halls, or at least the corner by the bookcase, and making merry.  Also a symptom of how time flies is how I practically had to corner Finn and Lucy to get our tree and then get it decorated.  In years past, they would be on me to get the tree right after Thanksgiving.  This year, I had to schedule it with them a week in advance.

My ginormous project, in which Studio Love bitch slaps Richard Serra, is on hold for the holidays (really, almost the entire thrill is to write those words) (even as the term "bitch slap" might be among the most offensive in the English language) (but damn, it is so effective sometimes).  For better or worse, I set aside my spinning and picked up my knitting needles.  A week ago, I had a minor crisis when I realized that one project was definitely not going to be finished in time.  Plan B was enacted and I feel confident that it was the wise choice even as I am still working on it.  More detail than that, I can not share.

Also filling this holiday season for me is that I am part of a team of goddesses offering care and support for a friend who has been recently diagnosed with late stage cancer.  Goddess is her word but I'll take it.  At the moment, there is not a lot of hands-on care to be given, rather I think we are all mostly in the stage of simply adjusting to the news, and it is an adjustment that takes its own toll in a way.  It feels eerily familiar, as much of what is going on is very similar to what happened to Colette two years ago.  At the same time, this friend is very different and part of my challenge has been to not take Colette into the room with me, or at least, to notice when I am doing that.  Of course, this is my reality of it.  Her reality is quite different - for her, it is every second of every day, without the luxury of taking a break.  As another friend put it, we are enjoying our NYD status (Not Yet Disabled).  It is simply a matter of time.

Darkness.  Light.  I love this season because it is so dark, and in that way, so filled with potential - the light is always there.  No need to go searching for will come.  It will come.

Speaking of light, may I extend my sincerest thanks to you, dear readers, for hanging out with me for another year!  Drunk Santa and I wish you good cheer and good health for this holiday season - see you in the new year!  XOX

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Thing About Grizz

Meet Grizzwald aka Grizz

Since we returned from Newfoundland in August, there has been a cat coming around our backdoor.  While he looked somewhat cared for, it grew increasingly clear that he had been abandoned.  He was a sweet thing who seemed to come around for the love and attention as much as the bowl of food we put out.  Occasionally, he would disappear for days at a time and we thought we had seen the last of him but then he would reappear, as sweet as ever.  As the weather grew colder, we realized that a decision had to be made - is he in or is he out?

Lucy came up with a name - Grizzwald or Grizz.  I guess that was our answer.  I got him in the carrier last week and took him to the veterinarian's office.  Grizz needs his balls cut off (to put it bluntly) but he also needed to be checked for anything else that might infect our two felines in residence, who are quite healthy and happy, thank you very much.

Long story short - Grizz tested positive for feline leukemia.  It isn't clear yet whether he has it in his blood only, which is not necessarily a terrible thing, or if it has gone into his bone marrow, which is a terrible thing.  There also is debate about whether it is ok to have him around other cats - most vets will say definitely not but if you dig around the interwebs, things are a little murkier, especially if he is a carrier only (not infected to the marrow).

Grizz has been living in our basement while we get all this sorted out.  He is a very affectionate cat and, mostly, has not shown his testosterone-driven nature.  I have allowed Olive and Webster to have a little contact with him and mostly he seems ready to cede the Alpha status to Webster.  I am afraid Olive was determined to be below him on the food chain but her attitude seems to be "that's your problem, not mine" so I think it is ok.

This morning, I thought I would give them a little face time but that turned out to be a mistake.  Grizz was hungry and if there is one place where he is alpha, it is around his food bowl.  This guy has known hunger and he isn't about to let some posh, bourgeois, fancy cats elbow in on his eats.  He didn't even wait for Webster to make a move before he was giving him some threatening gestures.  Webster's reaction to run down into the basement was a bad idea - Grizz was hot on his heels.  Then: silence.  I ran down after them.  Still silence.  Then I hear a pathetic little Webster meow back behind the laundry drying rack.  What happened next, well, let's just say that Tabby is the new orange is the new black.  Or something like that.  Webster gave me a look that said, "hello?  yesterday I was King of all I surveyed and today?  Buddy has me pinned down and he clearly is mistaken about my inclinations.  What have I done to deserve this??"

Oh, Webster!  I am so sorry.  (Although I am surprised that you use the term "Buddy" since I always thought that was a Newfoundland thing.)  But it won't happen again.  Buddy (his name is Grizz, by the way) will have that situation fixed, so to speak, and you will reign again.

I swear.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Cut It Out

Can you forgive me for that post title?  I hope so.

Finally got myself to MoMA to see the Matisse cut-outs exhibition.  It is my good fortune to have a friend who is a member so not only was it (almost) free to get in, we were able to get in an hour before the museum opened to the great unwashed aka non-members so the galleries were sparsely populated and viewing the works was easy and enjoyable.

Growing up, my family was not what you might call high cultured.  There was not a lot of art around the house, indeed, there was almost no art around the house.  My mom knits - and a most excellent knitter she is! - but looking at art, going to museums, talking about art and art-related  Art was a foreign land and I am sure it was more than once that my parents shook their heads and wondered how a foreigner was born into their family.  But there I was, burbling on about becoming an artist from the time I was able to put those words together.  Hey, it happens.

Within that distinctly non-art atmosphere, very few images of artworks creeped in.  For reasons I will never understand, the only artists that I had really ever looked at by the time I left for art school were Georgia O'Keefe, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Pablo Picasso and Claus Oldenberg.  Weird, right?  But imagine the amazement and joy I felt when I discovered Matisse and Cezanne and Delacroix and Giacometti and....and....and...the world was my oyster in the first year of art school.  Everyday was a good day, for sure.

And yet.  I distinctly remember two images from my childhood the fell outside these narrow confines.  These two, in fact:

Blue Silhouette II

I don't remember how or why postcards or posters of these two works were around our house, but they were and I don't remember even knowing that someone made them.  They were just kind of there - some kind of anonymous example of Art.  Well, today I saw them for the first time in the flesh, so to speak.  As always, when I look at anything by Matisse, the first word that enters my head is virtuosity.  He's got it.  In spades.  These two pieces are wonderful, and they bring back childhood memories, however puzzling.  But I have to say, they feel minor to me compared to other works in the exhibition.  

Yes, this man was a virtuoso.  I especially love that he left things looking unpolished.  The feeling of the hand is there as much as if he were wielding a brush.  They are complex and sophisticated.  And simple and playful.  They are a kind of crowning achievement of his life's work and they are humble and even functional - there are program covers and book covers among the masterpieces.  

There are two short videos of films made of Matisse making the cut-outs.  He sits in a wheel chair with a pair of huge scissors.  He has his assistants doing the legwork of putting the pieces he is cutting together up on the wall (we will overlook the fact that all the assistants are beautiful, young women...ahem).  Truthfully, there is almost nothing remarkable at all about what one sees in the films.  He doesn't have flashy technique.  He doesn't look particularly special or wise.  But, oh my, look what he created!

Seriously, look at what he created!  Go!  Especially go if you have a friend with a membership and get in an hour early.  It's worth it!  The exhibition is on view until February 8th.