Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My interior designer self

In my next life I will work with design and color and not words.  Maybe I shouldn't wait for the next life.  This is one of my all time favorite creations: this corner of my kitchen on Prince Edward Island.  The cupboards were all a terrible dark brown, much too dark for someone like me, a greedy light hog.  The walls were yellow like pee.  A terrible yellow.  We painted everything white and added stars and enamel pots and pans and a checker board from the Folk Art Museum and a cow sculpture from one of the island artists.  There is a black chest that anchors the room on the right and above it are black and white photos of my Dutch ancestry and some kind of boat gauge that looks like a clock and STUFF.  All of it good stuff.  We took down the immense and ugly fan and put up those hanging lights (eight dollars a piece from Ikea).

Out of that window was a wide open field of hay surrounded by trees, and mid-summer, someone came to cut the hay and roll it into bales to dot the landscape and catch the evening's magic golden light.  Down the road  a mile was Blooming Point Beach which went on forever.

I think the reason I like to move so much is that each house, each apartment is like a canvas to create a personal space.  Now I'm going  through this house room by room.  I've painted five doors this week.  It's a project that should last many years.

Seeing my PEI kitchen again has made me completely happy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I didn't paint a door or write

 I took the Christmas tree down.  The home teachers were coming.  Shame is a powerful incentive.  I got all the decorations stored in two plastic boxes, which I scrubbed thoroughly.  Then I hauled the full-sized tree down the stairs and into the basement and felt like one tough babe.  I vacuumed, dusted, waxed, took out garbage, and sweated like a wrestler during it all.
It's the first day I've had any real energy since the nasty virus hit on Christmas Day.  It felt good to get physical.  It was like channeling my mother.  My wonderful wonderful mother.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm moving to Holland

In my dreams.  The white house next to the brick is for rent for $1800 right now.  It's in Breukelan just a short block from the drawbridge, which is a short block from the bakery with the pasteries with the almond paste fillings.  Isn't it picturesque?  Isn't it perfect? Three bedrooms, two baths.  We can move right in.

I'm restless, obviously.  I'm on my fourth novel in the last seven days:  THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER by Ann Packer.  So far so good. I read a young adult novel by Ann Dee Ellis this morning.  It was excellent.  Spare language and silences.  She was my student and is now in my writing group.  I didn't teach her a thing.  I just said, keep doing what you're doing.  And she did.

Tomorrow I will write and paint one door.  I promise.  I will write and paint a door.  I will.  I will.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Really old photo

I am five and my sister, Janie, is two.  I have been sent to the store with my two-year-old sister in tow.  Maybe it wasn't far; I'm sure it wasn't, but still what was Mother thinking?  Gerard who was four was left at home and Toni must have been a new baby.  A photographer stopped us and took our picture and then sold it to my mother.  Did we get to the store?  I imagine we did. I was RESPONSIBLE.

What I really wanted to say about this photo, before I got my knickers in a twist, is that the dress I'm wearing was my favorite dress.  The dress with the anchors.  It came in a box from America after the war, and I remember seeing it come out of the box and Mother holding it up to me.  It was my favorite favorite dress.  The box also contained canned peaches.  Looks like I ate quite a few.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I have a cold--again

My immune system seems to have gone on vacation.  I got a terrible cold right after Christmas which put me to bed.  The cough lingered.  Then Saturday night a second cold knocked me into bed and by Sunday afternoon I was surrounded with used tissues and empty cough drop wrappings.  Tom went to sacrament meeting and then joined me in bed.  Charles called to invite us to dinner but we were in bed to stay. Later he brought over two pieces of chocolate cake that Erica had made. Fabulous. He hung out on the bed with us for awhile, discussing quantum mechanics, Joseph Smith and The Pearl of Great Price.   Like old times to have a son sprawled on our bed.

Tom just told me that one of the 7-habits of highly effective people is that they work right through illness.



I didn't realize how thick my eyebrows were, how I look like a man.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's late and I'm awake, of course

I'm awake and in bed.  The furnace just clicked on and I'm having a hot flash.  Soon I will take half an Ambien and be asleep like Tom (who will awake about 4 p.m)  Today was a good day.  Tom and I met with Bard D. our mortgage guy--actually I don't really know what Bard does, but he's always pleasant about it--and we signed the papers to refinance our house at five-per cent interest which will save us a few shekels every month.  Then we had lunch at Nordstroms (the pistachio and chicken salad) and I used Ed and Dede's gift card and bought a black pencil skirt which actually fits me.  The black skirt I've been wearing, I can pull up over my hips without unzipping or unbuttoning it at the waist.   Thank you, Ed and Dede.

Then Tom and I drove to BYU where I taught the 5-minute a day journal to his memoir class.  The students were so lively and awake and I realized how much I missed teaching.  It's such engaging, satisfying work.  I have to get back to teaching.  I know this.  I'm not finished with it.  Tomorrow I will update my resume and send it out to local colleges.  I can do that much.  

Or I could be a bagger at Harmons.  I really like the store manager there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Mountbattens

Last week Tom and I watched "Mountbatten:  the Last Viceroy of India," a 6-part series that aired years ago on Masterpiece Theater.  He was known as Dickie and she was Edwina.  (There's a name you don't see anymore).  They were rich, beautiful and smart.  His job was to get the British out of India post WWII after more than 200 years of colonial reign.  Churchill never spoke to him again after he took the job, because it meant the end of the precious British Empire.  Like Gandhi, Mountbatten wanted to keep India in one piece but soon realized that it would have to be partitioned so that the Muslims had their own country: east and west Pakistan.  All of this "change" created horrific violence throughout India and especially in the Punjab which now borders Pakistan.  Edwina, who was an experienced Red Cross worker, spent her time travelling from one refugee camp to another trying to relieve suffering.  They were a strong and powerful couple.  The series hinted at a spiritual love affair between Nehru and Edwina (with Dickie in the photo above).  

When the series was over I googled the Mountbattens together and separately and found out that these two sophisticated people were sexual acrobats.  Both of them bisexual. Their marriage was an "open" one and they each had countless affairs, some of them outrageous.  She was accused by a tabloid of having an affair with the black American singer Paul Robeson, who it turns out she had never met in her life, (she was really having an affair with a black nightclub singer, the details of which made me blush).  The Windsors (the king) forced the Mountbattens to sue for libel and through considerable lying and deceit (and because it wasn't Paul Robeson but someone else) they won the case and were not socially ostracized as they would have been if they had lost.

She died at age 59.  He died in his seventies, blown up in his sailboat in Ireland by the IRA.

So there you have it.  Learn history from Masterpiece Theater.  Learn the scuttlebutt on Google.  Education is so broadening.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Leftovers from Christmas

The tree, the wreath, the creche (one of them) the greens, the table center, the cards, a half sack of spinach, a half cup of crushed pineapple, a plastic container of brussels sprouts, my Nordstrom's gift card, a cough with phlegm, and snow.