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Thursday, November 22, 2012

What's the Plan? My Left Brain and Right Brain figure out Thanksgiving Dining

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I thought you'd like to listen in on my School Marm Left Brain and my Wild Child Right Brain as they get ready for this Food Fest of a Day.

emoticonLB Happy Thanksgiving to you! How do you feel?

emoticonRB Thanks, pretty good. How do you Think?

emoticonLB LOL It's not HOW I think but WHAT ... and I think we look pretty durn good compared to a year ago - which was an improvement over the year before. Doin' good girlfriend

emoticonRB You know what? That's just how I feel too. I'm really proud of how slim I look and I really love that sparkly shirt we bought

emoticonLB Yeah - even though we DON'T NEED ANY MORE CLOTHES! I think we look good in it too, though. So. I am thinking also about how to keep on looking this good. I have a plan.

emoticonRB Why am I not surprised. I hope it isn't a Nothing Good To Eat plan

emoticonLB of Course not. I wouldn't ruin Thanksgiving for us. My plan is this. Let's figure out how many calories/points a modest thanksgiving dinner is and then decide how to eat around it the rest of the week. AND figure out how much more exercise we're going to have to get in to counter the "weight" of that dinner.

emoticonRB ...uh. OK. There will still be pie, right?

emoticonLB Absolutely. And thigh meat and dressing - but .. how about skipping the gravy?

emoticonRB What about the jello?

emoticonLB You betcha.

emoticonRB And cranberry sauce?

emoticonLB If you want it.

emoticonRB hmmm. and wine?

emoticonLB yep

emoticonRB Well. It doesn't look like I'll have to give up anything. what's the catch?

emoticonLB I think we might pass on the whipped cream with our pie.

emoticonRB well... okay. I'm always sort of sick by pie time anyway

emoticonLB And if you decide to NOT put butter on your roll - that saves something ... but that one is up to you. I've factored it in.

emoticonRB What about the surprise dish our guests are bringing?

emoticonLB I've factored that in. Plus the hour of housework we have to do and the 2 mile after dinner walk we'll take.

emoticonRB So. what's the damage?

emoticonLB Well - dinner will be about 2400 calories or 50 points. give or take

emoticonRB oh. that's a lot

emoticonLB It will be less if you eat less turkey thigh - but that's about the only place I can see you could cut back and ... even I don't want to do that

emoticonRB Me neither.

emoticonLB But we can shave off 4 points by taking that after dinner walk and cleaning this house - the floor looks awful!

emoticonRB LOL but we always do that anyway.

emoticonLB Yes - we do. But listen - this means we have oatmeal with apples for breakfast and only carrots and apples the WHOLE rest of the day.

emoticonRB I'm good with that.

emoticonLB I'm glad. It also means we only have 15 bonus points and 10 activity points .... about 1,000 calories of wiggle room the rest of the week and there will be ALL THAT PIE in the house.

emoticonRB Couldn't we give some of that away?

emoticonLB Yes! We can! And I plan to cook only enough mashed potatoes to eat up in this one meal. No Leftovers of that. You know that - it's not really this one big meal that causes so much damage. It's all the aftermath. The snacking. The pie for breakfast.

emoticonRB Yeah. I know. I wish ...

emoticonLB Don't go there. It's NOW. and it's HERE and TODAY deserves as much fun and attention and enjoyment as ANY Yesterday!

emoticonRB Okay. I won't go there. Besides, I'm looking forward to getting to know the K's better.

emoticonLB Me too. And sharing the beautiful autumn colors with two artists. Won't they love the views and the colors and the fresh air smell?

emoticonRB Yeah - I'm so thankful we could invite them this year. And really really thankful it's such a pretty day.

emoticonLB I'm thankful too - for the opportunity to have a smaller feast.

emoticonRB LOL I bet.

emoticonLB and we'll be taking long walks on Saturday and Sunday and maybe even going to the gym on Friday. We can rack up some exercise points this weekend. But we really have to eat only healthy nourishing food the rest of the week - in appropriate sized portions.

emoticonRB Yeah yeah yeah. I understand. But talk to me about THAT later because ... I can't care about Saturday when there's today to live in. Remember "It's NOW. and it's HERE and TODAY deserves as much fun and attention and enjoyment as ANY tomorrow!

emoticonLB Touche! And thanks for having this talk with me. I'm really THANKFUL for it. I love you, you know.

emoticon RB I'm thankful for it too. Love ya right back

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Better'n 3! It's a 5 Day Weekend!

Of course, it is Thanksgiving too - and I am thankful for both the day and the reason for the day - thankful for the thousands of blessings I enjoy - but most of all - I am thankful for some time off.

And just typing this makes me pause and wonder why I feel that way. This way. This is more than the usual delight-in-goofing-off sensation. This is a taking-off-tight-shoes feeling. This has a soupcon of relief to it. And it's been a long time since I felt relief at escaping my day-to-day world. But this has been a very challenging year. I love that word - it's such a good euphemism for rotten. And of course, this hasn't been a rotten year either. But for a ENFP Virgo - which is already such a conflict - I've had to spend more days than I like doggedly getting through whatever I had to get through.

Percy JacksonBut not this week.  This week I am going to savor my time, enjoy my family, explore new foods and read the Percy Jackson series.  My traditional holiday weekend reading is usually the 4 high school books in the Betsy/Tacy series - and I'll read them, too, but they are fun all the way up to - and through - Christmas.  The last of my 12 in 12 habits is to read YA and older children's fiction 20 minutes a day. The underlying intention is to be better grounded in that genre and I'm not going to get too weird about the 20 minutes a day thing after December .... though I will stick to it during this final month of 2012. And since I'm thinking of using minutes of reading instead of number of books read for our Summer Reading Club, it will be interesting to see the effect of monitoring my reading time.

I like this series - it's got a lot in common with Star Wars and Harry Potter - the same 'special' kid, the same fight against the dark side, the same enigmatic teachers who won't lay it out, but insist upon their charges risking their lives while figuring it out. I have always found that last aspect sort of weird because if I were coaching someone who's life was at risk, I'd give him all the tools he needed to reach his quest  - but there - it's a guy think, I think. BD used to do the same thing to LD and I, at least, had the good sense to stay out of it.

The GiverI also recently, and at last, read Lois Lowery's The Giver - a different sort of book - with much less of the quest and a much greater development of an alternative culture. In many ways it was a far more horrific book because a single soul was expected to contain all the feelings of an entire community while everyone else buzzed along in neutral.

The initial books in both of the series are good enough to tempt me to continue reading - even if their structures are very predictable. They are, after all, intended for young readers.  In fact, that's part of why I enjoy reading children's literature. I like distilling stuff down to clear lines.

But before any indulgent reading happens there must be HouseCleaning and Feast Preparations. I have silver to polish. I have pies to make. I want to go to the gym before lunch. We have New Guests coming for Thanksgiving. First the Feast - then the Fiction.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chahuli at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Somewhere in the library's collection there used to be a DVD, probably from PBS, about unique artists in America. One of them was Dale Chahuli and when I saw his work my mind boggled. I am sure my eyes bulged out like a cartoon character about to be crushed by a falling wall or run over by a train. That's how I felt after seeing this man's amazing manipulation of color and glass. Obviously I sent the right prayer out into the universe because last spring the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond, announced that he'd be putting an exhibit up in the fall. I have been chomping at the bit, waiting for it to be open and for me to have a day off so I could go wallow in the magic. That happened yesterday. Sigh.

BD had a crack-0-dawn eye doctor visit and we were free to play in the city by 9:15. We took a lovely walk around the neighborhoods west of The Boulevard, around St. Gertrude's HS - where I spent the 3 most awkward years of my adolescence. It's a dear part of the city - almost as dear to me as The Fan and if I were ever to move back to the city I could imagine living there. Love me a walking distance neighborhood.  

Alas, his eyes were so dilated he couldn't see anything. Museums aren't as much fun for him anyway, now that he has only the one eye. Also, he couldn't remember who Chahuli was or ever seeing the dvd, though I've watched it twice and he doesn't usually miss anything I'm looking at. So after a cup of coffee on the cafe deck, where we could see the first - or the last - of the installations, he strolled off for another walk around the city while I dipped myself in visions of colored glass.

My favorite of everything I saw was the boat filled with snaky lass dancing in the air and reflected in the black plexiglass platforms. Mind now - I liked just about everything he did - but that was my mostest favoritest of all. I can't describe what it did to me - how it made me want to become that object - to absorb it, subsume it, eat it, just everything. Meld! That's the word. I wanted to become one with that glass.

I also, particularly liked the way the lighting caused magical shadows on the wall behind the exhibit.
My second favorite was the ceiling of glass objects. More than 1000 individual objects are set out on the clear glass ceiling so that you can see through one to another. This was one of the types of installations I saw on that DVD - though my memory says he has a FLOOR!!! like this in his house. And if he doesn't .... he ought to! LOL. Can you imagine waking up to look at this every day - or entertaining guests beneath it? I don't know if I'd ever leave the room if it were in my house. I might just fade away there and leave a pile of shadowed colored bone dust.... 

There were also some collections on walls. One was of his drawings which, though they did not thrill me, showed me how his eye and mind worked when he wasn't making glass. The arrangements of Navajo blankets and 100 year old Native American Portraits were interesting. In fact, I was inspired by the blankets to come up with some stranded colorwork designs ... comparing Navajo weaving with Shetland Island knitting - that would be a fun art student's  graduate's thesis.

In contrast to the vivid color of the first two glass displays was this series, inspired by baskets, of mostly clear glass vessels. I'm not sure which impressed me the most - the Douglas Fir table cut from a single slab or the fragile glass vessels. They were beautiful - almost ethereal - but not as effective in capturing my heart - my soul. These were pretty - but they never owned me.

The next room held these huge bowl like shapes ... and now I forget what he called them - I thought of them as flowers, but he called it a spotted forest - only in a foreign language. Forgive this reporter's negligence and lapses. What he said in the audio comments was that he had gotten a collection of 200 color rods and he wanted to use all of them in something. He used some colors  inside the shape and different colors outside the shape, with a layer of white glass sandwiched between. The sheer size of these things made me shiver.

I had seen him making them with his studio team on that video. While one man is twirling and blowing this enormous circle of hot glass, Chahuli would tap it with these giant paddles to push it into the bowl like shape. Alas - my photographs were way too muted - the room was quite dark. Just know that these giant flowers are 3 feet across.

And then

And then you step into the garden. It is a garden of unimaginable (so you have to see it with your own eyes) intricacy, color, shape, and movement. It's an enormous display, each object worth an hour's study and all of it reflected in the black plexi-glass, giving you two places for your eye to visit.

I probably spent the longest time in this room, even though I still love the boats full of colored snakes the best. There's just so much to see in this room it's hard to fall in love. Too much to do with your eyes to let your heart stake its claim.

But sometimes art takes time. It's possible on my next visit - for you can be sure, I am going back again - I will have a more emotional reaction to this room. But here I was all intellect - looking, seeing, thinking.

I did not photograph his neon and glass tumbleweed. It is actually a very interesting thing and if it had been earlier in the exhibit I might have felt its impact, admired it more, loved it some. But after the giant garden, I was really not able to appreciate it - and didn't think I could photograph it well, either.

Instead, I went into the next room where blue candles had a Zen effect on me, calming me down from all the energy in the garden.

Can't you hear the music of that blue fringe?

The last display is one I had glimpsed already as I drove past the museum in the early evening last week. It hangs in the window at the front of the new wing - and it is classic, Medusa-like Chahuli - all sinuous snakes of glass arranged in perfect proportion.

I think that is one of the amazing gifts Chahuli brings to his work - beautiful, musical balance. He calls them "Installations" and that's an apt name but I think he could also call the symphonies.

Like the other installations, this one hangs above a black plexiglass platform so you can look down into it or up.

Thank goodness for zoom lenses, too, because this is such a big piece and so far away  you can't really enjoy the details and they are also such an important part of any Chahuli exhibit.

Richonders are so lucky to have something like this right in their own back yard. Virginians who can get to the capital city really owe it to themselves to come see this. I am so so so thankful for the whole experience. I feel blessed to live in a time when this sort of beauty can be created, shipped, and displayed. Lucky Lucky Me.