Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

A Lazy Day

Beautiful cool breezes blowing when we first rose this morning, -moved me after breakfast to cut the side lawn and give the bedded plants along side it a good watering.

That done nothing else really inspired me, - a lazy inspection of the flowers in the raised bed and a bit of deadheading the roses and the canterbury bells, which have now finished their second blooming.  Some musing about the weeds that have squeezed in between the raised bed and the fence which I can't reach to remove, and then I picked a small bouquet of white phlox, scarlet bergamot and yellow daisies, and went in to make coffee for mid-morning.

After which I did nothing!  Well, that's not so, - I read an essay written by Molly Peacock, -  'Passion Flowers in Winter" from the best American Essays of 2007.  And when I had read in this essay of the life of Mary Delany,  and how as a widow in the year 1771, when she was in her early seventies, she became passionate about creating what she called 'flower mosaiks' - flowers created by snipping with small embroidery scissors the most minute petals and tendrils and leaves and sepals from paper, to emulate the flowers she gathered around her, I had to go online to read about her.

Molly Peacock has written a book entitled "The Paper Garden" and excerpt from which can be found here,
in which she gives a wonderful description of the make-up of the Passion Flower.  There are also many more details of Mary Delany's life - her marriages, her place amongst the aristocracy and her friendship with Queen Charlotte and George the Third.

In addition Wikipedia has this to say about this artistic woman and the beautiful work she created.

"Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants.  She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces.......from the age of 71 to 88 when her eyesight failed her.  During this time Mary made nearly 1,000 paper flowers...... which can still be seen in the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum".

"With the plant specimen set before her she cut minute particles of coloured paper to represent the petals, stamens, calyx, leaves, veins, stalk and other parts of the plant, and, using lighter and darker paper to form the shading, she stuck them on a black background.  By placing one piece of paper upon another she sometimes built of several layers and in a complete picture there might be hundreds of pieces to form one plant.  It is thought she first dissected each plant so that she might examine it carefully for accurate portrayal."

I found this all extremely inspiring,  and thought what a strong, admirable and sensitive woman Mary Delany must have been.  Imagine, still doing this painstaking intricate work at 88! The patience and perseverance, and the incredible imagination.

In the afternoon I had a little nap and then I followed Kim Klassen's instructions on how to create a light, painterly picture with photoshop, and sighed a bit that I had to be content with this, not having any talent for painting or creating marvelous mosaiks.....

I should at least start a pair of knitted socks, or something equally as practical and prosaic......

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

As I look at the blank sheet in my daily journal and consider the forecast for hot sun and blue skies it passes through my mind that this might be the day to reconnoitre my clothes closet.

Reconnoitre....  being a military term I ask Charles if I am using the right word to describe my intentions.  We consider this together, with the help of the online dictionary.

The online dictionary indicates 'a foray into enemy territory to make observations'.

Is this enemy territory?  Well, if you consider the little men who are said to occupy clothes closet and spend their time taking in seams to make the garment in question too snug to wear, yes, that's 'Enemy Territory'!

However, reconnoitre doesn't go far enough.  Once I have finished the patrol there arises the question of what to do to clear the territory of unwanted and unused  garments, and those  that have been stitched one size too small....

Charles declares his intentions of going over town to purchase a fluorescent light bulb, and after considering the project from all angles I plunge into the closet and start removing blouses and skirts and jackets and dresses that have not seen the light of day or any other territory besides the one in which they hang since moving day!  And then they just made a quick journey from the hill house to town in the back of the van, still on their hangers, from one dark closet to another, so to speak.

They got jammed into the lovely spacious closet, along with Callie who needed the smell of something familiar to keep her happy and out of the way of the movers.  We turned on the light for Callie, - gave her food and water and turned our attention elsewhere.

The floor of the closet has a trap door which goes down into the low crawl space where all the Christmas decorations live, along with other objects that had no immediate use or space to store them on the main floor.  Occasionally we have had to clear things away and open the trap door for workmen to reach the various switches and taps that keep the mechanics of the house going, but as I keep adding baskets and boxes there is less and less room to operate smoothly, and its terribly embarrassing in an emergency to have to clear all this paraphernalia away from the trapdoor to unveil the steps that lead down below.

So, the job of reconnoitering completed, I start taking clothes off hangers in a determined fashion, letting neither nostalgia or false hopes that that they might one day fit deter me from my task.

How about this lovely sea-green dress I wore to Kate and Will's wedding (no, not the Big Wedding, - this is our granddaughter Kathleen Rose, and her husband Will.  Will anybody ever get married again, or will they all just live 'in a relationship'.  I think about this a bit, and leave the sea-green dress hanging hopefully in the closet.  Fair game for the seam stitchers....

There are a couple of eyelet blouses that caught my eye in the shop, but never quite made it out of the house to any event.  I think of prospective new owners, about my size, about my age (so they won't be embarrassed and have to say 'a little too old for me, I think, Grandma'.....  No one comes to mind, - off to the Bargain Centre with you!

Here is this lovely pink and white silky skirt and shirt ensemble that I loved and have worn for ten years - still fresh and washable, - and a trio of long cotton Indian skirts of which I only really need one.

There are some shorts that have somehow shrunk a size, and a plethora of jackets that haven't been worn for a number of years; a couple of peasantry type dresses that I used to be fond of wearing around the house
and two or three extra bathrobes that are quite respectable but don't ever get worn.

I put out the washable garments for a run through the washing machine, noting with dismay that the white shirts will need to be ironed, and pack the rest into a couple of boxes for their journey around the corner to the Bargain Centre, where hopefully they will soon find a new closet to hang in, and perhaps new adventures out on the streets, worn by new owners who will find them a refreshing addition to their wardrobe.

Tomorrow, maybe - Charles' collection of shirts and pants.  He has a different army of little men who sew, but they all follow the same instructions - TAKE IN THE SEAMS AT LEAST ONE SIZE, - AND MAYBE TWO IF YOU ARE FEELING PARTICULARLY DEVILISH!

I feel quite virtuous about the look of the closet, except for the boxes that live on the top shelves and are full of mysterious things that got shoved there when we moved, and which I must investigate someday......

Monday, August 06, 2012

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Off to the grocery store early this morning,  
we are still in holiday mode.
The traffic is all going in opposite directions as everyone heads home -
or if not home along the road to their next destination.

Today is a tad cooler.
Yesterday was a scorcher....
About ten-thirty we made our way to the big car show
being held in the park, just a block away.

Me with my cane
and Charles on his cart!!

It was about 35 degrees Celsius when we left
and when we returned  a couple of hour later it was well over40!

All sorts of wonderful old cars and proud owners

and I wondered why we hadn't the foresight to hang on to the 1932
Chevy Roadster complete with rumble seat and wire wheels -
our first car after Charles returned from the war, and we were married.

(This was VJ day, hence the cigarette and the bottle of scotch and the smiling face)

We wandered around, admiring the shine and polish as well as the mechanical restoration.

It got hotter, and hotter, and hotter, and my legs called out "enough, enough"!!!!

So we adjourned to the Legion, where they were serving beer and hot dogs,
hamburgers and leftover cold meat and buns from the big Elvis celebration the night before.

I don't often drink beer, but on this occasion it would be hard to describe the wonderful cooling
effect it had upon me, and how
it changed my mood from one of
desperation to pure pleasure!!!


Charles had his usual Scotch, and then we indulged
in a hot dog with all the trimmings.

We saluted all the young and vibrant people who were still sweltering at the Car Show
and took a short cut home behind the Roman Catholic Church.

We had seen the cars, and talked to friends.
The house was cool, and the lay-back chairs seduced us
into having a nap!

Lovely day...