Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cappuccino Art VIII

Squirrel in a Storm.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Progressing forward

"Things are gonna change, I can feel it." - Beck

After more than a week of being in a pretty foul mood, today I turned a corner.
I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I have been injured and, as a result, as cranky as a feral cat.
Meanwhile, Martin, the painter, has been here for a while, painting the walls "Shaker Beige," as recommended by Nate Berkus; and "Straw" as recommended by Madame X. The house has been in a state of disarray, which, is fine -- you must destroy to rebuild. But it's really been a non-stop-go tour here in the past few weeks.
When we were in Venice, I bought these sconces for our hallway, and finally they've been hung, and look glorious to me.

I think this is the first time, since we lived in San Jose, that I've started to feel "at home." It feels good for a change! I pound a nail in the wall and think maybe I"m going to stay here for a while.
The books were all taken down off the bookshelves in our bedroom so that the walls could be painted,

and when Martin was finished painting, I was left (to my delight) with a new shelving system to ponder. Previously, I had all the fiction in alphabetical order, and all but a Dewey Decimal card catalogue, but now I thought it might be a good idea to add a "to read" shelf made up from the growing stack of books on my nightstand. I like it.

It rained hard today, all day long, which was perfect weather for the tasks at hand. I made the "Tunisian" meatball & veggie stew from Feast (using ground beef instead of lamb).

As I was stirring the pot, I remarked how much I enjoy making soups and stews, leading Troy to suggest that perhaps I was a witch, with a cauldron, in a previous life. I agreed.
In my next life, I can vow I'll use half as much cinnamon and allspice in these meatballs, because the overall effect was overpowering, and I prefer Greek-stylee subtlety.

I've been reading Anderson Cooper's book, "Dispatches from the Edge," which was sent to me by Jody, simply because I expressed an interest in the book and said "who doesn't love Anderson?"
Little did Jody know how precise and profound her timing was for this particular book. I really appreciate how this happens in life: the serendipity of books and stories. This book has a lot to do with how we deal with loss and grief, and how the world continues to revolve, even when we can't. Cooper openly writes about the loss of his father and brother, framing his personal tragedies with the intense tales of life in the world's hottest and hardest-hit war and disaster zones, including Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Sarajevo. And lastly, he talks at length about Hurricane Katrina.
I can relate to being haunted by death and propelled to keep moving forward in a sort of escape from "everyday life" or ordinariness, because the thoughts going on in your head are so removed from daily concerns that they -- the concerns -- almost seem trivial, regardless of whether they are or not.
Katrina hit the Gulf Coast a few days after my mom died, and impacted me personally in ways that I have harbored internally ever since. The mention of Katrina causes my face to tense up in bitterness, and it was good for me to read Anderson Cooper's frontline account of the devastation and his thoughts on the whole event, as well as his interactions with affected residents since then. It's perfect timing, as the anniversary is soon upon us. I have a lot more things I need to do as I move forward, and it's nice to know I'm not alone in thinking these thoughts about life and death, family and home. I leave you with a quote from a book by Anderson Cooper's dad.
"We must go rejoicing in the blessings of this world, chief of which is the mystery, the magic, the majesty, and the miracle that is life."
-Wyatt Cooper, "Families: A Memoir and a Celebration"