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Dappleage

April 14, 2012

You are correct ~ it isn’t ‘really’ a word. Leastways, neither Google, or Dictionary.com, or Webster or any other ‘respectable’ source recognizes it as a word. And yet ~ it exists ~ I have living proof (well, photographic proof at any rate).  See? It’s alive and well and intermittently checking in ~ across my all white window and bed coverings.

IMG_5655

Some people might call it ‘sterile’ ~ my all-white bedding and window coverings ~ and sometimes, on those typical days when the familiar soggy gray blanket lays draped across the sky, I have had occasion to wonder if I might like to give a duvet cover in, say, a sunny yellow a try. But then, one of those rare and wonderful mornings in the Pacific Northwest takes place ~ when that unique alchemy of sunshine and fresh green shoots and crystal blue skies and the pristine canvas of my white bedroom come together in a dazzling display. And I gotta tell ya ~ it’s a sight that, for some mystical, elusive reason, lifts my spirit and feeds my soul and makes me so happy I’ve followed my plain and simple instincts ~ at least when it comes to my choice of window and bed coverings.

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Good M*oh*rning!

April 12, 2012

This is what I woke up to this morning….

Testing panorama capability

I decided to test the MS version of the panorama-making software I recently uploaded and lo and behold – this is what I got! And at the same time, I discovered Windows Live Writer, which apparently is allowing me to play with a range of fonts not available on the WordPress site. If this works, it’s very exciting as it seems to be incredibly user-friendly.

I’ve got more on the ‘to-do’ list today than I care to enumerate so I best move on – but suffice it to say, I’m more than excited!

Who’s This ^

March 19, 2012

Czech artist, T. F. Simon, “Vilma Reading A Book”, 1912. From Wikipedia: “Tavik Frantisek Simon…was born in Železnice (known at that time as Eisenstadtl) near Jičín. As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, he received a stipend that allowed him to travel to Italy, Belgium, England and France. He had his first solo exhibition in Prague in 1905, and a Paris exhibition in 1906. His extensive travels would eventually also bring him to New York City, London, the Netherlands, Spain, Morocco, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, and Japan, images of all of which appear in his work…After spending 1905–1913 based in Paris, Simon returned to Prague and became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague. In 1917 he became a founding member of the Hollar Association of Czech Graphic Artists, which he later chaired…Many of his most notable images are of Prague, New York, and Paris, but also include portraiture and self-portraiture and images of the Czech and Slovak countryside. Šimon’s style was strongly influenced by the French Impressionists and, perhaps through them, by Japanese printmaking techniques, in particular color aquatints with soft ground etching. Šimon was also a master of the mezzotint but completed very few prints in this difficult medium, most of them being female nudes in subtle tones of black…He died in Prague in 1942. Largely ignored during the Communist era in Czechoslovakia, his work has received greater attention in recent years.”

About Me

March 19, 2012

Hello, welcome, bienvenidos, fàilte, aloha,

I’m intrigued. What exactly is it you’d like to know “About Me” – and why? Could it be that you, too, are intrigued? Well there y’ go! Apparently we have something in common – and I believe that’s as good a reason as any to delve deeper – to see if we have more in common. Because finding ‘commonality’ with others is a fundamental part of being human – it’s part of what creates a sense of ‘belonging’, which, as we all know, is the third most important human ‘need’ or ‘requirement’ (after the physiological ‘basics’ and safety). And that brings us to why I decided to create this blog.

I’ve no doubt my reasons aren’t any different from those of most others who blog – it’s all there in Maslow’s Hierarchy  (after the basics and safety), specifically, ‘belongingness’, ‘esteem’ and ‘self-actualization’. Obviously, this covers a lot of territory and each individual strives to have these needs met in his or her own way. It just so happens that I’ve reached an age where I’m especially concerned with aspects of ‘self-actualization’, (though, don’t get me wrong, while I’m more than covered in terms of the first four, it’s not like I’d reject more ‘belonging’ or ‘esteem’).

It’s just that at this stage in my life, I’ve become a bit more ‘discriminating’ in terms of how my higher needs are met. Sure, I need to ‘belong’ – but I don’t need (or want) to attend weekly meetings or join ‘a club’. I’ve been blessed with rich relationships – wonderful husband, lovely children (3), precious grandchildren (5), loving parents (both alive and running circles around me with their youthful vigor), eight younger siblings and their children and their children’s children, and a fine bunch of spunky girlfriends – so I’m pretty good with the ‘belonging’ part. I’ve had a relatively fulfilling and remunerative career, with some nice promotions and awards along the way and I’ve earned a couple of decent degrees (achieved after age fifty, I’m not embarrassed to say). So, I’m pretty good with the whole ‘esteem’ thing.

No, for me, it’s this matter of ‘self-actualization’ that concerns me. You see, there’s what-I-consider-to-be a myth ‘out there’ these days that has women achieving ‘self-actualization’ by the time they reach their fifth decade. Surely you’ve read the magazine articles and seen the images – whether it’s Susan Sarandon or Oprah or Diane Keaton – they, along with a bunch of their contemporaries, have contributed to what’s slowly become a key issue for me. I certainly don’t feel I’ve ‘arrived’! I’m far from ‘self-actualized’! I feel like I’m learning more these days than I ever did in my twenties and thirties. And I’ve become more painfully aware every day that the more I learn, the exponentially more there is left to know – and precious little time left to learn it!

“My Personal Hermitage” is the ‘safe’ place I go (in my mind) to process and internalize the daunting onslaught of inputs – learnings – I’m encountering these days. By definition, a hermitage is a retreat, a shelter – sanctuary – asylum. For me, it’s where I can take the time I need to card, comb, draw, spin, and weave daily learnings into the complex tapestry that is the life and psyche I’ve assembled over the last fifty eight years. It’s also the place I’ve chosen to share with a select group of ‘like-thinkers’, individuals with whom I have a few things in common – like you. My hope is that you’ll glean your own insights and learnings to weave into your own pursuit of self-actualization, which, as it happens, includes the longing for and appreciation of things that are ‘other’ (outside fulfillment of the first four ‘basic’ needs) – such as beauty, form, justice, love, contribution, kindness, etc. Enjoy, and thank you, gracias, móran taing, mahalo for choosing to visit from time to time.

Kathleen (Katalina, Caitlin, Kakalina)

How it was I decided to paint the coat closet – or – how (I thought) I’d finally overcome my aversion to aqua

March 5, 2012

Be forwarned: it’s kind of a long story, spanning at least half a century. (If I was Nora Ephron, I’d probably write a whole chapter about it.)

Originally, I was going to say, “It all started about five years ago”, when MOTG surprised me by finally authorizing a real, live, _adult_, not-just-for-family, _couple’s_ holiday party – in our home – where we live. For anyone who knows MOTG, they understand the magnitude of this monumental occasion. And for anyone who knows moi, they know how momentous it was for _me_, after twelve years of party-hosting deprivation (aside from the requisite family gatherings and occasional ‘hen’ parties). But really it started over fifty years ago, when, as a child, I was subjected to year after painful year of – you guessed it – extreme _aqua_ immersion.

Oh, I’m not talking a few pieces of melmac or rick-rack or knickknacks or pom-pom ball trim. I’m talking intense, relentless, _total immersion_ in aqua. Aqua kitchen cupboards. Aqua flower-power flowers on _top_ of the aqua cupboards and on the lighter aqua soffits _above_ the aqua cupboards. I’m talking aqua curtains, aqua table-cloth, aqua napkins and placemats, aqua towels, aqua pillows, aqua valances and, wait for it, aqua _kitchen bar stool covers_. I am so _not_ exaggerating! And yes, there is a point to my telling you about my aqua aversion – but that comes later – _after_ my story about the party of the decade (plus two years).

Realizing this was most likely going to be my one and only opportunity to flex my almost completely atrophied hostessing skills, I was determined to exploit it to the utter extent of my abilities. Within days I’d put together a well-crafted action plan complete with Hawaiian ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ theme, (including decor, buffet/beverage layout, lighting and music); long-overdue interior design updates; complex menu and beverage planning; spring-cleaning in December and more. (All this _before_ I’d earned my master’s degree in project management – how I could have used a work breakdown structure and Gantt chart then, right?) And so it was that right about the time I’d gotten myself good and over-extended (what with the concomitant full-time job and post-graduate workload), enter my baby sister. (I know the grammar isn’t right, but I like the drama of it.)

You’ll recall that my sister and I had shared ownership of a small apparel and interior design business back in the early 90’s. She was a new mom and still getting used to the whole ‘settling down’ concept, and, at the time, it was everything I could do to get her to sew a straight seam much less manage a business together. Well, here it was almost fifteen years later, and she’d (metaphorically) gone from apprentice to journey[wo]man to master working in a popular local workroom while I’d been busy building a career at Alaska. She came ambling into my little condo one day only to find me ankle-deep in Hawaiian bark cloth, trying to slap together a half-dozen throw pillows two days before the big soiree. I’m stressing and fussing away as there’s a whole mess of shopping and cooking and setting-up still to be done, and she, bless her, offers to take the fabric home, whip up the pillows and bring them back to me, complete and fabulous, the next day.

Now mind you, I’d very carefully selected the Hawaiian bark cloth to coordinate perfectly with my  _existing_ interior color palette – muted tones of light and deep khaki, pale tan and  dark brown, warm rust and soft cream. When my precious baby sister returned with the finished pillows on the day of the party, her craftsmanship was exquisite, warps and wefts perfectly aligned, corners crisply turned. The Hawaiian print on the fronts coordinated perfectly with the contrasting rust solid on the backs – exactly the way I’d envisioned them – except for the neat, extra-thick piping trimming the edges – in _aqua_!

Now, granted, there were hints of aqua here and there in the Hawaiian print – but they were well-behaved hints – barely noticeable amidst the soothing shades of khaki – a necessary evil I’d inured myself to in order to achieve my ‘Hawaiian’ vision. I certainly hadn’t planned on making that particular color ‘pop’ within my neutral, sedate, ‘safe’ palette). But, of course, I accepted the pillows graciously and gratefully, expressing due appreciation for both the beautiful workmanship and the much-needed aid. The party was a smashing success. MOTG was a delightful host (turns out he makes a really mean mai tai.) And my little condo looked great, if I do say so myself, complete with tiki torches on the deck, palm and Monstera leaves lining the tops of sideboards and serving trays, an abundance of pupus and tapenades displayed decorously in tiered platters and koa bowls – and aqua-piped Hawaiian bark cloth accent pillows.

Fast forward a few years. The interior of my little condo is much the same – cream-colored sectional, deep rust chenille throw, dark khaki arm chairs, deep brown leather ottoman, pale khaki walls, dark walnut casegoods, warm wood flooring – and aqua-piped Hawaiian bark cloth accent pillows. And little by little, a few more ‘pops’ of aqua have made their way in to the scene. There’s a wonderful, nubbly throw (a gift from MIL) on one end of the sectional in a soft, dusty aqua, and we’ve acquired a couple of framed prints (from our various trips back to the islands) with subtle swipes of aqua in water and sky. And, then, so – a few weeks ago, it occurred to me, after nearly fifty years, I may have finally outgrown my aversion to aqua.

So what did I do with this stunning revelation? Why, what else but decide to paint the coat closet aqua. You see, the coat closet has been _screaming_ for its own accent paint color ever since we moved into the condo at the beginning of the millennium (I know, sounds dramatic and portentous, doesn’t it, ‘the beginning of the millennium’, but, as you know, that was really only 12 years ago – it’s just fun to say). It was actually my SIL who correctly interpreted the signs when we first moved in. There the coat closet sat (sharing a sliver of space with the kitchen pantry) at the top of the stairs – a vertical, rectangular structure attached on one side to an adjacent wall. Painted the same color as the rest of our place, it gets little notice. And therein lies its problem. It _wants_ attention. It _craves_ attention. And, of course, once Jason brought it to our notice, it was all so obvious.

But there were always other priorities – kitchen cupboards to be replaced with open shelving; twelve-foot custom-made wall-hung bookcases to be installed; window seats to be built. Not to mention grandchildren’s births, and trips to Europe and then back to the islands, and back to the islands _again_ with the grandchildren (and their parents) and, well, life! And still, the coat closet sat at the top of the stairs, year after year, in a perfect position to serve as an architectural feature – an ‘anchor’, as it were, for the entire space, if only its owners would _take action_.  And while, by this point, the coat closet is, no doubt, screaming, “Duh-uh!!”, last week, I realized I could accomplish two long-overdue tasks – allowing the coat closet to achieve its full potential and evincing my personal victory over aqua-phobia – by painting the coat closet aqua.

And so it was that, after several days of consternation over deciding on the _exactly_ perfect aqua _shade_ and a false start when Lowe’s sent me home with a can of white _base_ instead of “Blue Shamrock” _and_ I discovered I’d lent out all but one of my dozens of paint brushes (and that _one_ a ratty, rusty, crusty 1 1/2″ joke) – only _after_ I’d gotten home from the second trip to Lowe’s – I (finally) finished painting the coat closet, and _finally_ resolved my issues with aqua…

Or so I thought. Because, while I’d purposely selected a very soft, subtle, subdued _shade_ of aqua, even as the paint began to dry, I watched it slowly become not just the normal “slightly darker as it dries” color I anticipated, but slyly, inexorably, insidiously, _maliciously_ deeper and – most egregiously – downright _vivid_ . At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Hadn’t I put away my long-held reservations about aqua? Hadn’t I made ever attempt, in good faith, to set aside our differences, to look past the scars of my childhood and not just _accept_ but _embrace_ the enigmatic hue? Hadn’t I thus earned a reciprocal response? Having waited for over half a century shouldn’t the shifty shade be so happy to be reconciled that it would do _anything_ to maintain our new-found affinity, playing nicely with its counterparts, basking in carefully orchestrated harmony? But even as I stood transfixed in incredulous horror, I watched as the faux oak veneer bi-fold coat closet and pantry doors started writhing in hue-clashing agony! The heretofore innocuous white melamine contractor grade kitchen cupboards and bottom-of-the-line-but-inoffensive white appliances began groaning with ghoulish incongruity. And, in a final blow of unbridled brutality, the unscrupulous pigment rendered every smudge, scratch, spot, stain, smear and splotch on all the other walls utterly and abhorrently  _apparent_.

So there it sits, the coat closet, cloaked in green-blue glory, awash in the color of a tropical sea, no longer innocuous, no longer so easily dismissed. And here I sit across the room on my cream-colored perch, wrapped in rust chenille, cloaked in ignominy, awash in shame the color of incredulity, incensed at my own naivety. They’ve done it to me again – each in their own way – acting in concert, though ostensibly oblivious of their tandem temerity. My sister – and aqua. It seems our existence is inexorably bound together. And, somehow, it’s up to me to figure out how to get along with them both. I’ve made progress with my sister. We’ve both endured and prevailed after exacting and painful lessons learned. We’ve mellowed with age. Hmmm, I wonder if aqua can do the same. I’m thinking this is a tale to be continued…

Let’s not name this post as all possibilites are trite…

February 28, 2012

One day left in February (and it doesn’t really count cuz it’s a leap day). So, technically, it’s the last day of February – and of the year 2012, to date, the one thing I can report is – if nothing else, I’m consistent. “How so?” you ask. “Why, in terms of my ongoing, perpetual character flaws”, I (humbly) reply. Yep, this post is my official confession (and concession) to yet another year’s failure to uphold the New Year’s resolutions.

Like hundreds of thousands of others across the planet, I had the typical list. I’d resolved to exercise more regularly – well, daily, actually. I’d vowed to post a new blog entry regularly – and a dozen or more ‘to-do’s’. Yes, there’s still time to complete the ‘to-do’s’, But, sure enough, approximately sixty days into the ‘new year, of my top two resolutions, I think I’ve managed maybe six exercise sessions and about the same number of blog entries.

Oh, I suppose I could come up with a host of excuses. If ONLY we’d gone on our Maui vacation closer to the end of January which might have allowed me the twenty one days supposedly needed to form a habit. Not only was preparation for the trip a big distraction, re-entry was particularly difficult this time. I just couldn’t seem to shake ‘island time’ – likely because I didn’t have anything pressing such as a regular job to force me back into reality. Then I caught Craig’s cold which I milked for another weak of self-indulgent indolence. (And, bear in mind, my head is still congested). And here I sit with little to show for the past two months.

I did make it to two photography classes before I let the cold keep me home. But I’m taking fewer shots than I was before I started the class. Why is that? Too much work? I finally completed ‘phase’ two of the Drumheller project – only three months after I was asked. And though I was personally satisfied with the quality of the design and materials I presented this last Saturday – I can’t say I’m confident I got the gig. (I might not have paid enough attention to the modesty of the client’s requirements). Time will tell. And I’ve more or less given up on getting a ‘real’ job. Week after week after week of rejection…it will be nice when my obligation to the government is over and I can just start collecting my little pension checks and finding ways to make a little extra pocket money each month.

It’s like going back thirty years in time – back to the days when I worked from home for a few hundred bucks here and there – except, at the time, I was full of inspiration – and energy – and passion for those things that interested me. Now, I can barely register a passing ‘awareness’ of an idea or occurrence. Depression? Maybe. Maybe it was inevitable given two years of rejection. But, this, too – ‘been there, done that. And what my previous experience taught me is – the best you can do is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And there was an almost sunrise this morning. The gray blanket is a little thinner than it’s been since our return from paradise. Maybe I’ll get up the gumption to take a short walk – and we’ll go from there.

Re-entry…

January 26, 2012

January sunset over Lanai

So we’re back from Maui. And this is my first attempt at inserting a photo into my blog. OK, not my first – my first attempt was earlier today AFTER writing an entire 500 word post only to LOSE it after my connection went down.

It might have been for the best what with the subject of the post being – yet again- about ‘creative procrastination’. So, we’ll leave this iteration at that – an exercise in attaching images and a last look back at what was a very wonderful 10 days…