Monday, May 31, 2010

it's 4am in the morning

How many times have you sprung out of bed at 4am, happy to be awake? That's how I felt Saturday morning all because of this young man....


Countrymouse and I, along with two of the other pups, got up before the sun and drove 90 minutes to BWI airport to pick up our very own Private First Class.


Pup #2 is home on leave for 2 weeks from the US Army before deploying to Iraq.  We've missed him so much.  It's been a very tumultuous year for my family and all of our hearts ache to be with those who are still here... like being with someone you love will somehow reinforce their place in your heart and in your life.


Matt's deployment will be at least for 12 months and most likely will stretch to 15 or 18 months.  I still can't begin to imagine not seeing one of my children for that length of time.  (We last saw him in November and that feels like a life time ago.)  We are very proud of his commitment to serve his country.  Matt could have chosen any number of career pathways in the Army, but he went in knowing that he wanted to be in the Infantry... to be a warrior... the person who really does fight for our freedoms and way of life.  At 19 years of age, he already has more courage than I have.  He awes me.


The fact that this is Memorial Day weekend is not lost on me. Today we honor our fallen heroes... those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us.  I don't think there are words enough to describe the debt we as a nation owe these people and their families.  I pray every day that my family never joins this group.  


The wonderful Bossy Betty shared the following quote this morning.  I loved it so much, I wanted to post it myself.  

I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration (Memorial) Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. 


-Benjamin Harrison
Today is a day we celebrate being Americans and we honor those who have played a role in making us great. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of those who had a part in that.


In the meantime, I've got some loving to do on a certain good looking young soldier!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

rhyme and reason

What makes something beautiful?  


I find beauty in many things... generally there is no rhyme or reason to what appeals to me.  I actually like it that way because I am open to seeing beauty in places others may overlook.


I love beautiful things. (Doesn't everyone?) I admire people who can take a concept and craft a thing of beauty, whether it's a poem, a song or something visual.

Designer Mary Huang created her project Rhyme and Reason as...
"an exploration in using light as a material to create transformative fashions. Reflecting on the change from day to night, inconspicuous white knitwear is enlivened by illumination, creating a sense of magic and mystery for the wearer."
I love the ethereal  ambiance these garments create.  It's amazing that something as ordinary as lights and lace can turn into something extraordinary. (Wouldn't this be an amazing wedding gown or veil??)











There is no doubt in my mind that I would feel beautiful in these garments.  What about you?


All photography by Michael Sun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the universe is laughing

I frequently write about the Irish folk/pop duo, The Guggenheim Grotto, because, well, frankly, I adore them. I've seen them live several times and have had the opportunity to meet and chat with them. Not only can these boys sing, but they are really nice guys

(This was Spring 2009 and yes, my hair changes that often.)

The Guggenheim Grotto has just released their new CD, The Universe is Laughing.  Their spring tour featured a preview of some of the songs from it and they were really good. (And it was nice to hear some new stuff, since I have just about worn out all their other CDs.)  Here's a little taste of what the CD has to offer...




The Grotto are doing two "residencies" this summer... one in NYC and the other in Philly.  Both of these cities are close enough to be a temptation for me.  Countrymouse's sister lives in New York City and my baby brother lives in Greater Philadelphia, so I have no excuse.  I've determined I'll make one of these show, just have to decide which one (or two or three).  The poster for the residencies (below) was designed by Kelly Dyson.  Whatcha think?  You can check out more of her work here.  Me?  I love it and think it would look awesome hanging in my kitchen.  It's available as a tee shirt for a limited time.  I don't really do graphic tees, but I am seriously considering making an exception.



Have a listen and let me know what you think and if you live near Philly or NYC, go see them in June.  It'll be worth the effort.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

i prefer to use rice for sushi





I really don't have much to add to this except that my boss would have a hard time seeing this as business casual (and I really am not on an Asian kick.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

geishas

While bouncing around the Internet this evening (instead of doing the laundry...I know, I know...) I stumbled upon Okinawa Soba's Flickr photostream (via Kyoto Observer).  He has an impressive collection of photos from the late 1800's to early 1900's of beautiful, young Japanese Geishas.


Soba writes,
THE WORD GEISHA = GEI SHA 芸 者  (GEIKO is a Kyoto term for a GEISHA. Same thing. Six of one, Half a dozen of another). The first character GEI 芸 is usually translated into English as Art, or the Arts. The second character SHA 者 simply means Person.   Together they mean A person of the Arts. Therefore......ARTIST. That's simple enough.  But, sculptors, painters and potters are also "people of the arts". May we call them "Geisha" as well? No. 
The two Chinese characters for GEISHA are specifically reserved for the women in this so-named Geisha profession who have been trained from childhood in the Performing Arts such as Music, Dance, Speaking, or Singing for the purpose of entertaining others in venues clearly defined for them. 

ENTERTAINERS is probably a better translation of the word, but that, too, is far from sufficient, and is more likely to conjure up images of Stand-up comedians or Lounge Singers in a Las Vegas Night Club act. Besides, there is already a general Japanese word for TV Personalities and "entertainers" in this category : 芸 能 人 GEI NOH JIN.(Notice that the first part of that word also uses the same 芸 GEI character used in GEISHA).
Actually, there is no good English equivalent for 芸 者, as the Geisha is purely a Japanese phenomena. Not even their neighbors, Korea and China came up with the exact same thing. Thus, it is simply better to use the word Geisha, and simply know what the word entails when you are talking about her.


The photographs are beautiful and capture a culture and time I think many of us know little about. You can read more about Geishas here.





























Sunday, May 16, 2010

i was made for sunny days



One of my favorite bands is The Weepies. I've mentioned them before (and Countrymouse's coinage of the term Weepie Girl Music). Their newest album, Be My Thrill, will be released on August 31st. In the meantime, they will be releasing cuts off the album... the first "I Was Made For Sunny Days" officially debuts this Tuesday. If you're like me and can't wait that long you can listen to it here.  This will be their fourth album and will have collaborations featuring Colbie Caillat, and Meghan Toohey. I already love it and am looking forward to hearing the entire work. (How can you not like a song called, "I Was Made For Sunny Days"?)

For their last album, Hideaway, The Weepies sponsored a video challenge for fans to produce and submit a video for the title cut. Michael Warner's video was the winning entry. Since I can't share the video for "I Was Made For Sunny Days" (yet), here's Warner's video for "Hideaway". It's a sweet little treat and certainly a nice way to end/start your day (whatever the case may be).

Friday, May 14, 2010

if shoes could kill

Now, I am a lot like many women. I love shoes. I also love a bargain, which means shopping in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. This is a dangerous combination because I have this little agreement with myself. If I find shoes that I like and they fit me, I can buy them. This might sound crazy until I tell you that I wear a size 11 (on the wide side) so the chances of me finding shoes anywhere that I like and that fit me are slim to none. I do, however, stick my feet in many  shoes in the process. (Kinda like a Cinderella story, huh?)


I own a lot of black shoes. This is for three reasons: 1. I wear black most days, 2. they match everything and 3. they disguise the actual length of my feet. (Have you ever seen a size 11 foot in white pumps? Not an attractive sight.) My current favorites are a pair of black ballerina flats and a pair of black patent leather loafers.


I recently came across the website If Shoes Could Kill.  This site is outrageous.  I can appreciate high fashion and every woman worth her salt has a pair of CFM pumps somewhere in her closet (even if she never walks in them), but these shoes take the cake!  Here are a few of the most over-the-top pairs.








And a couple of pairs by "real" designers.  (Wonder if Carrie Bradshaw would wear these?)

 

Thank you Balenciaga.



Ditto, Christian Louboutin

Thursday, May 13, 2010

good for what ails you


I'm laying in bed with my laptop catching up on all the bazillion posts in my Goggle Reader cause that's about all I have energy to do.


My head hurts, my chest hurts and my throat hurts.  My nose is giving Niagara Falls a run for it's money and I might be suffocated by the mountain of tissues next to the bed at any moment.  All I can think about is how wonderful a nice cup of hot coffee would be right now. Sigh. It's too late and I'm feeling too lazy to do anything about it.  Sigh.


Even back in 1699, folks knew that coffee could cure what ails you...
“Moderately drunk, coffee removes vapours from the brain, occasioned by fumes of wine, or other strong liquors; eases pains in the head, prevents sour belchings, and provokes appetite.”                                                                  ~England's Happiness Improved

The "moderate" may be a problem for me...


"Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis - a good hot cup of coffee.”                 ~Alexander King  
                                    
In my world everything is better with either coffee or wine (or on really good days, both). This makes me think of Jason Myles Goss and his song Coffee and Wine.  




At least the promise of hot coffee will give me some motivation to get out of bed in the morning (cause we all know climbing out of bed at 5:00 am, even on a good day, is hard).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ten little pieces of randomness





Here's some randomness on a random Tuesday in May....
  • I have been cold... no, chilled to the bone, since Sunday.  I have lived in Maryland long enough to know that the weather is never what you expect.  The headline in our local paper said the farmers are praying for rain.  Are you kidding me?  It's been mostly gray since yesterday and there's rain in the forecast every day through Friday.  (Maybe longer... that's all I have on my iGoggle page.)  
  • My dinner tonight consisted of homemade guacamole and potato chips (someone left the tortilla chips open so they were stale) and chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with fresh, local strawberries and whipped cream.  Everyone else had leftovers.
  • I "won" a bottle of wine today for responding to a Facebook status posted by Hair O'The Dog.  I love Dave and Joe.  If you live anywhere near me, you need to shop there.  You will love them too.
  • Countrymouse is listening to "Uptown Dance" by the French jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli over and over and over.  I like the piece well enough and since there's no words you don't quite realize when it starts to play again, but I am fairly certain the song is not 30 minutes long.
  • I saw first-hand tonight that stuff you put on the Internet really does stay there forever.  (This is always Countrymouse's big warning to our pups.)  I am thankful it wasn't my stuff that turned up unwanted and unexpected but I know who it did (does?) belong to and I know she wouldn't be happy.
  • Google = The Oracle
  • Pups #1 and 2 will be home for visits soon.  (Yay!)  Their visits will overlap one week so I am looking to do something at the beach for a day or two.  (With any luck, it won't be so freaking cold in 3 weeks.) When Pup #2 goes back to Hawaii, he'll be getting ready to deploy to Iraq.  Keep him and all our soldiers in your prayers.
  • I need new patio cushions (and would like to have them before above mentioned visits).  I don't like the ones at Lowe's or Target. (I'm not into the whole tropical theme thing).  Help!  Any ideas or secret connections?  (Of course, I am scouring eBay like my life depended on it.)  I need a minimum of 6, so that complicates things slightly. I should mention I also don't want to drop a week's pay on them either. (Like these from Frontgate.... sigh.)
  • Last month I made a music sampler for a girl I know and I still haven't sent it to her.  I keep thinking I should post it as a playlist here (or maybe part of it).
  • Oh and the picture at the top of the post isn't random at all. Today is Salvador Dali's birthday (May 11, 1904 - January 23, 1989).  I am intrigued by surrealism. My mind doesn't function that way so I am fascinated by those that do. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

ephemicropolis

Ever wonder what to do with extra time on your hands and 100,000 staples?




Enter Peter Root. Mr Root spent about 40 hours constructing the metropolis he calls Ephemicropolis by breaking up stacks of staples into varying heights from almost 5 inches all the way down to single staples. (Personally, I doubt I could even sit on the floor and/or kneel for 40 hours, let alone have this kind of vision.)




I find the name Ephemicropolis an interesting choice.  The word ephemeral means lasting only one day.  Micro obviously means very small and polis is a city. How clever. The whole project is just so fragile... a mistaken step or strong wind could be catastrophic.   




Root has used staples to create works of art in the past but says, "I wanted to create a more refined piece using a single type of unit"  He noted that his work is inspired by architecture, maps, computer games and toys he played with as a kid, among other things.


The making of Ephemicropolis from Peter Root on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

mothers

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take."
~ Cardinal Mermillod



Today is the day we celebrate mothers.  I miss my mother every day, but today I miss her just a little bit more. This is my first Mother's Day without her and the first I will spend without all my own children home.  


In honor of all mothers, whether you are one or just love one, I share some art work by one of my favorite artists, Mary Cassatt. While not a mother herself, Mary Cassatt was able to capture the mother-child bond in many of her portraits. Looking at the simple slices of motherhood in these paintings makes my heart grow a little larger.















Saturday, May 8, 2010

wind

When we renovated our old house, we joined an old sun porch to what is our bedroom, creating a lovely windowed sitting area.  It's one of my favorite parts of the house.  On days like today when there is a strong wind, it is so calming to sit here and listen to the leaves rustle and the wind chimes sing.  I feel like I am actually in the huge 100 year old pecan tree that shades the entire back of the house.