Tuesday, January 27, 2009

current affairs

I'm so confused - let me get this straight - we are prosecuting Maddoff (sp?) but approving Geithner for sec of treasury - I'm not sure why - he seems as great a liar and cheat but apparently the inept and confused in the house and senate have been persuaded that he is just the ticket to set our little world aright. Apparently he can readily pipe up with 56 when asked 8X7 - or more trickily , 7X8 - the house and the senate are agog. A consensus of the members would have answered 49 and thus, would have had to hang their heads in shame.

we are prosecuting Blago yet Murtha and Rangel are assured that their downy heads will stay firmly on their shoulders. Just wondering how these tenacious electees of the people = devoted to the people's work- come into their careers relatively po and leave so velly velly rich.

All this talk of millions of jobs. The infrastucture. Roads, bridges, ditches, rest stops - riveting - hewing - hewing ???? forget hewing - reconstituting recycled products. It's so 30's - so Woody Guthrie - so Job family. What about the 5,000 laid off by Microsoft. Can their intellects be diverted to citrus picking in california? Poor saps went to college - majored in Computer fields - vied and struggled to get into meaningful schools so as to position themselves to be attractive to top echelon comapanies in their chosen fields.

These saps were duped into a skies the limit mentality - technology was king. Wealth was based on knowledge, intellect, a facile nimbleness and adaptability in the ever changing internet. So much for their love of the coffee shops, micro breweries, fine wines and labrador retrievers - their faux country squire ways - ix nay on the intelligentsiayay.

We are into a new world which is beginning to take shape- in my humble o- in disturbing ways. Blue collars are in for the folk. If you feel the guvment should take care of you and your'n - you're in. If you have never paid income tax - you are golden. You will get the benefits- because why - you pay sales tax, and payroll tax - so do the people who will now support you but we will reward you for your choices in life. You are unfortunate and pitiful and we will pay you to continue to be so.

If you are Muslim with a grievance - you are in. If you are in any way Arab or know an Arab you may find yourself a candidate for an apology from our president. We will apologize because we are hardworking Americans whose great toil and ingenuity has produced a nation of amazing wealth which we by and large distribute throughout the population. We are so sorry that your leaders, by and large, tolerate their own lands being run on a potentate fiefdom where the wealthy leaders require 127 jumbo jets to vacation with their extended families. while Achmed watches his children die of disease and hopes the hell the camel lives for another year. We understand that any dissent or bitterness you feel cannot be expressed to your leaders- the consequences would be far reaching and final, not only for you, but for your future generations. Far better to cast your eyes to the united States - kill a few of us - wrap your robes about your loins and blaze with sanctity at the very rightness of wiping out Mr. Weston, husband, father of three, Methodist, and owing $85,000 on his house, $12,000 on his Mastercard, $11.583.29 on his automobile. His widow was luckily able to claim the $532.10 in his Christmas saving account. Not quite enough to bury him.

No we are moving into an era of road builders, ditch diggers, riveters, union men. Folks with a grievance. Folks who has big shoulders with bigger chips on "em. Folks who just hates rich folks. Now we're gonna get straight.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sweet Caroline and what to make of this Obama bird

I feel so bad for the daughter of Camelot - La belle avec merci - reminds me so much of my feckless self, Dipping a toe - withdrawing a toe - oh well, I trust I will no longer have to think of her or have her vacillating self nattered on about. i like to watch the news but I generally avoid tragedy - Me i always read the last chapter of a new book first to see if the protagonist dies, or is maimed or in any way is diminished - I'm too squeamish to abide it. I do love Gong Li of the Chinese cinema and have seen her immured, driven crazy, buried alive, dyed to death, opiumed to senility - but with her I make an exception. Gong Li aside, I like to watch the news without having to cast a sigh over the demise of camelot. A load of crap foisted on a a nation longing to shop at harrod's. I well remember the same crowd confident that her mother would assume virgin mary satus as the widowed mother of the messiah and the shock to their vapid systems when she,(Jackie), appeared on the cover of LIfe Magazine in a skin tight spanish gaucho number on a firey steed complete with a bobble hat sombrero and if I remember correctly hoisting a glass of wine. Then that unfortunate marriage to that Greek man whose unhappy daughter hated her. A little too human for the millions so willing to confer sainthood. Now the daughter - thank God she took stock of what was important in her life and raised the third finger to one and all involved in the folly of suggesting she be appointed the "elite maven Senator." IF she took this step to please or live up to family expectations, I have a little experience in that foolish enterprise and say hail - oh retreating daughter of Camelot.

On to the anointed one. So far not so good. Closing Guantanamo - memo to O - our standing in the world depends a great deal on what we have done for the world lately. small point but important - I just read an account of ladies of the Raj and in the late 1800's "two fat American ladies" made a visit to India and provided a welcome diversion for the British ladies who were able to turn their scorn on these gormless and gauche nerds. I think the world sees us as J C Penny shoppers of no pedigree and no table manners. A people who would blurt "gosh all fish hooks" at seeing the winged victory in the louvre or "gosh it ain't that big" while in the presence of the Mona Lisa. We are but baby Huey to the rest of the sophisticated world. Its so amusing to think that this revulsion encompasses the bluest blue blood in Boston and that the intelligentsia of Europe makes no distinction between an American Brahmin and a member of the school board in Sandusky, Ohio.

Mr. o is determined to apologize for our gaucheness and get right with the world. Fie on W and his cowboy ways. We are walking a new path - an enlightened path - a path where we fall in well behind the United Nations - say behind Belize. Nobody in the world is going to like us any better and indeed we may inadvertently be upsetting the "world". Think how convenient we have been to shoulder the tough going in the war on terror. oops now there is no war on terror. If we say that these guys at gitmo just got a raw deal and were in the wrong place at the wrong time and let them all go - to where we don't know - the world (what world O is thinking of he hasn't made clear) will have to take them back to wherever they came from. Not so fast say world.

Tonight Khadaffi set us straight - there is no big terror movement - just a little grievance. He thinks O should meet with Bin Laden and see what's up with the dude. what's the problem? Is it madonna, Brittaney Spears, Donald Trump = just what? I'm sure o will accomodate where he can. O has bigger fish to fry than a misguided holy man in a cave in Afghanistan. Someone has apprised o that fat people are the crux of America's health problems. By taxing them for every pound over the scientifically approved profile for their height and weight we can turn the economy around, save their fat worthless lives and reduce green house gasses or something or other.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

another cheerful design

some fabric designs of mine

My adventures in fabric design

I have been looking for a fabric printer for ages - all very expensive and out of touch for me. However a kind lady who bought some of my cards qued me into Spoonflower. So far i have had six of my designs printed. You cannot imagine the gratification of seeing your design on a yard of fabric. Of course, in my case, as always, there are unforeseen bobbles - like scaling problems and patterning problems but I am new to it all and feel sure that I will get the hang of heading off any little awkwardnesses that occur. One little thing concerns me. Some people upload "found" images. Hope the hell they don't "find" mine.

That is always a worry. I am definitely on the side of the artist - Let me say again - the artist - not the bird that "finds" the artist's work. I once attempted to purchase some children's illustrations on ETSy. Dealt with a most unpleasant woman - it has soured me on the whole enterprise really. It was one of those download a disc deals and two weeks had to go by before her bank statement or something was delivered to her hot little hands. I had never experienced such caution over a $9.00 purchase. Nonetheless we corresponded - at first amicably - then acrimoniously as the time went on. I was charged immediately on my account. Indeed, the statement showed the transaction and still the dope would not remit the goods.

As we went on, I began to form a mental picture of the lady. A fat, fussy cat owner, with many a ruffled lampshade. Someone who darts in at 7:59 AM at estate sales that start at 8:AM. Sadly, i never got the goods. MIND You, she couldn't create something if presented with a canvas, the original pallet of Sargent, and a how to book by John Nagy. She claimed that these images - some by Lucy Atwell amongst many others were copyrighted by her. Jesus Wept. Anyway, when I told the "entrepenour" that I no longer wished to purchase, she threatened to blackball me on EtSy unless I gave her a satisfactory. Hark to that. Since then, I have been very awake to these "copyrights" or so called. One group on the internet - I looked up circus posters to get the feel of what the 19th century considered a circus poster for my dog piece- was charging $300 for a download of circus images by a German lithographer. Streuth, I'm hardpressed to get $10 bucks for my stuff. Jesus Wept again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tina Fey and Camenot

I was in the grocery store the other day pausing twixt the hunting and gathering to linger at the books and magazines. I guess quilting is out - 3 bead magazines though for those of us with real time on our hands. Anyhoo, what do I see but a cover of Tina Fey tricked out like she is a patriot. Funny gal. Right then and there the idea popped into my mind that since Sara Palin has died the death proscribed for her and that there, and all, she and her fellow jesters at SNL should be craving some fresh meat about now.

Who pops into my head but the legatee of Camelot ya know. Like she is perfect for like what SNL calls parody. Caroline ya know Von Schlosberg. Sour note there ya know, but we'll forget that last name and go by Kennedy. She's real qualified ya know. Been to the best schools, has long blonde hair ya know, and appeals to the right kind of society. And she says, ya know, the time is right for her to step into her ya know, destiny and lead the great unwashed. She has been sheltered from the great unwashed her whole life, but if you could just point out a real housewife or cab driver, or public school teacher, she's ready to lead 'em, for their own good ya know. Cause she is good, ya know. Been doing good deeds and charity her whole life ya know.

A real blue blood ya know and you can see it in her face. There is real strength there and a faint touch of the hunt - a face that combines not only the horse but the hare. Tina can make much of that. A combination of William F Buckley and Edna Mae Oliver, only toothier.

I think Tina has a lot to work with and I look forward to the hilarious send up I know she will do.
Not only does she have the physical actuality of the daughter of Camelot, there is that funny pulsing vein that pops out when la belle con merci is actually asked a question ya know, by a reporter other than one piddling down his leg at the heady notion that he, a nobody from DuBuque, is in the presence of honest to God American royalty. La Belle princess, turns a bit , sarcastic. Any question is apt to elicit this turn - oh say, "do you think your lack of experience will hamper you in leading the great unwashed."

Out of bounds, ya know. Jesus Christ, who let that bastard in here, can be read so easily on the formerly placid regal brow. Anyway, I'll endeavor to stay up for SNL and look forward eagerly to the Camelot segments.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Landing in clover

another hopeful - but enough of these dog show hopefuls- I must tell of an amusing incident. I live in Savannah - a city in the South of the USA that is just dripping with colonial history, antebellum history, and ghost history. The whole beautiful and haunting place couldn't have been designed better by a Hollywood set designer. Spanish moss, ancient oaks with their resurrection ferns and the land itself interlaced with lazy rivers whose many tributaries empty into a sometimes treachurous sea.

Savannah, a city said to be built on the bones of the dead, has many ghost stories. To this point, we had a young lady stay with us who solemnly swore she had "an encounter". She said that in the evening she felt a presence. She was staying in an upstairs bedroom in one of the twin beds. My son was in the other twin bed. Restless and feeling thirsty, she went downstairs in the middle of the night, got a glass of water and then brought it back upstairs, placing it on the nightstand between the two beds. Sometime in the night the glass shattered. She and said son brought me up to see the very evidence of the visitation by some unseen malicious hand. Well the glass was certainly in a million little diamond looking shards but what to think.!!! We are living in a relatively new house - true we are on ancient land and within a short walk to the river and the marsh but still.

I mentioned it to my regulars at the quilt shop and instead of laughing outright, the native Savannahians nodded solemnly and said that our house and the others in my neighborhood, were built on the grounds of an old plantation =we are across from Rose Dhu island and Vernonburg. And they added, there are old burial sites all over there. Lawsy mercy Says i to myself - that explains the mushroom fairy rings that appear in our yard with persistent recurrence. (I read somewhere that mushrooms growing in formation indicate the presence of buried organic matter - massa in the cold cold grave says I).

Figure all this into your assesment of what occured last night. I was up very late - in my headquarters of all things creative. This headquarters is actually the guest bedroom. It is upstairs and has lovely wide windows looking onto a primordial forest beyond the backyard. It is a nature preserve and there are wild magnolias, live oak, hickory and palm and bo coo spanish moss, as well as a great horned owl. It was well after midnight and I was tickling the old computer trying to get her to print my little creations. She has become quite fiddly to work with - so well onto 2 Am, I was aware that I was not alone in the room. A slight rustling - said I to myself -aha, a squirrel has penetrated the fortress that is the roof and has made a home in the attic overhead. But lo, there was a definite shifting sound. It sounded like a heavy body turning in the double bed and making itself more comfortable.

Could this be the glass breaking presence! I froze in silence and listened intently. At first faintly, then with greater volume, I distinctly heard heavy and rhythmical breathing which soon gave way to definite snoring. I broke out in a cold sweat and tried to think how one greets a spirit. Was it some pookah who erased my email, jammed my printer, caused the treacle like pace of my hardrive? I sought the comfort of my own snoring husband and fled to my little bed downstairs.

The next morning, I fed the outdoor cats. What's this - only two arrived for breakfast - grumbling and showing their displeasure at breakfast served at 7 Am instead of 5 AM. The third, it transpired - had been the midnight snorer. They are Burmese and adore their ease. What's a down comforter unless you are under it. I never saw her go upstairs - she generally stays out with her cranky hellacious son and her maiden cousin. The three bring down a squirrel a week and lay waste to the little chameleons and snakes that dare bask on a sunny day. Normally, they prefer stalking and patroling the tropical jungle that is our yard - you couldn't tempt them indoors with a fat mouse. Last night, however, it was a bit chill - and lady cat deigned to come in and squirm about in all her sensuous splendour under the down comforter on the guest bed in the temple of creativity. Even as I write this - hell cat has decided that he too should stretch out and eventually snore under the down comforter. Such is winter in Savannah - a place of ghosts or not - but definitely a place whre three little cats are in jungle heaven.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

enoough is enough

Another piece for the dog art show - and maybe not a good idea. Sometimes, I have found that some dog folk have scant humor when it comes to depicting the canine in a less than flattering light. I have "beagled" many a time with my old Dad. He loved to hear them bay. The little terrier is a nod to the wire fox we had when I was a girl = though she never saw a field or rabbit for that matter. Dad would never kill the rabbit and the beagles were so sweet they never could kill a thing. he just loved the music they made, the tramp in the fields and setting them onto a likely trail in the sedge and furze. He was a talented draftsman and a romantic. he found an old steer horn and carved a running beagle (which I copied in this little panel) and carved all the names of the Beagles he hunted over the years - Bess, Major, Bo, Belle and Bonny. He found a brass mouthpiece to set in the horn and carved his name next to theirs. Next to his name he put " W. S. His Horn". He would call the hounds in with it when it was time to go home. If he had the money, and lived in a different age for that matter, he would have been part of a hunt club. One of his favorite books was an account of the Pytchley Hunt. I have it but it is in fragments - several chapters are missing. Still it is fun to read all about the Masters, the horses and the dogs. Real John Peel stuff. hard to look at a rabbity bit of countryside - especially in the Autumn on a moist chilly day - and not imagine him just over the hill following Bo and Bonny through the honey colored grass. Then see him turn to you when the hounds gave voice and say with never ending delight -"listen girl, they've got one - just listen."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

circus poster and more thoughts on "Injuh"

I am trying to get into a show featuring dog art. Working like a fiend - here is one piece I will submit. It's really quite large so you can read it like the billboard its supposed to be so a witty bitty jpeg loses some of the humor because you can't read the type. Some of the dogs in the poster are, or were, mine. the peke, the wire and the cairn. Their names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I wanted to expound on the expat thing I started last post. It is a very odd life and not without a great deal of pleasure (and some pain.) It was the first time I ever had to deal with servants. I was a dismal failure. i never had the heart to fire any one - some of the old hands went through 5 and six cooks and maids in a two year period. Many maids and cooks over many a posting had hardened them to the degree that if one didn't suit, or was late, or was careless with possesions - they were out the door toot sweet.

i was such a newbie that the first lady i interviewed, i hired. Not only she, but her daughter, her nephew and her husband who did odd jobs. She assured me that they were essential. The nephew was our night jaga (guard). He seldom came on time and then when he did he would sit outside all night with some pals and they would build little cookfires for their satay. He eventually took care of his own problem by eventually not showing up at all. As for our lady's husband - we believe he was mainly unemployed so that she had the responsiblity of him, his father and the other children not yet employed by us.

Our lady cooked and did the beds and floors - her teenage daughter was supposed to be the cuci or washgirl. She was a languid thing. Her main role was to act as Greek chorus when her mom went into the fantastic stories requiring a "loan". She would nod emphatically as her mother told of the people in her life who were hit by buses or had lockjaw or some awful incident in which her employers needed to fork over a couple of hundred or the worst would happen. We often did. It caused no end of hard feelings for my husband's driver. He was a devout Muslim - honest as the day is long and never asked for a thing. He was assigned to us by the Indonesian Goverment. I miss him and think of him often.
I miss our lady too but by the end of our tour we were so beleaguered by her financial requests, I found myself roaming the streets of jakarta just so i would minimize my time with her. We did pay for one of her son's circumcisions and the festivities surrounding this momentous event. We got to go to her house and partake of the cakes and appetizers. It was great. We were even shown a picture of the wounded member. The boy was 13 or thereabouts and he posed shyly as you may well imagine. It all looked quite angry and hurtful - but i suppose that is the way anybody would look after the operation. I don't know if Indonesian moms take those pictures as a milestone event to place in the family scrapbook, or she was just trying to show us that our money had indeed gone for the purpose she needed it. (a great deal of money in my opinion but maybe it was expensive) All I know is that she hadn't made a dint in the relative vs. bus loan yet and didn't seem likely to.

Many is the time, i would find myself silently singing the Petual Clark song - "Downtown" as i rode the escalator to the ethnic section of Pasaraya. Many people's maids lived with them - ours went home after the evening meal was served. All i had to do was tramp around the shops and neighborhoods until the children came home from school. more later

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A passage to India

I had the best Christmas - now - reality - definitely a downer. I've done some art work - sewed some and had some of my designs printed on Spoonflower. I was enchanted - oh the cleverness of me as P pan would say. I got two books on the Indian Raj for christmas. I was a companion/victim of my old dad and we read many a book together and then had our little reviews. We ranged throughout Africa, India and the English/American experiment. We tried to be scholarly but usually ended in an argument viz a viz socialism/communism/capitalism. I could not tolerate a system which sought to take $100 from the rich and then distribute it so that everyone - including the formerly rich - had a penny. I've always thought communism was a system in which the undeserving got to shove a stick in the eye of the diserving. All those sick block monitors reporting on their neighbors. And socialists breeding a needy sickly class of gimme's or I'll sue you's. Ah, too deep you say for this little soufle of a website.

Well the thing i loved reading about the first raj book, Women of the Raj by MacMillan - was that in many aspects, it coincided with the experiences I had in Indonesia running up against the State Department. No sooner had the sleep been wiped from our new comer eyes than our near neighbor - a lady born and bred in the State Department - bounded over our tropical hedge to inspect the new conscripts. Nose aquiver, she asked what my husband's rank was because that rank would denote how many bookcases we were allowed. She imparted such inestimable knoweledge that if I were in anyway unhappy in my situation and it could be attributed to the state department - I could write a letter of complaint - it would not in any way alleviate my unhappy situation - but it would serve to act as a cumulative indictment in the file of the official whom i chose to attribute my unhappiness. Eventually, it was assumed, a thick file of censorious revues would force a change in position for incompetent official.

Was i unhappy - well not with Indonesia - but with the very state department that held my fate in its flabby and ineffectual hand. We were sent over as envoys of the USA, but as advisors to the Indonesian Gov/t. As such, State departmant wished to foist on the Indonesians any expenses regarding housing, upkeep and my children's education. Upon our arrival, we were treated much like a Rumanian Refugee in Putin's court. Games were played at our expense regarding who would incur expenses down to appliances - but most importantly the children's education. Some bright light threw down the gauntlet and said - we will not allow (my) children to attend the Jakarta International School. Leave at once, says I. Backtrack say they. To be fair to State, they were apparently operating on a 25$ budget in a 1,000$ world. They just simply could not afford to take on a family of 5. Besides the last guy holding my husband's position was so much fun and didn't have any chillun. he was a great fourth for bridge - marvelous as a double for tennis and, though deemed immenitely replaceable by his own hires who wished to rid the role books on which he appeared - a great favorite with the expat community in which he had made himself indispensible within the social doings. Little did it matter to the denizens of the American Club, that jobwise, a change was deemed necessary.

And so, we arrived. We fought the school fight and won - fought membership into the American Club and won but they had me licked in the appliance department. State would not find us lodgings but they would impose their heiarchy rules on the lodgings that the Indonesians would provide for us. So be it. I walked the neighborhoods and found a perfectly charming house in an Indonesian neighborhood, alas, without air conditioning. Still we were turned down so many times by State that we grabbed it. The bedrooms were air conditioned and the landlord was a sweet Indonesian. The back wall of our dining room was a waterfall with a fish pond. I loved it.

The landlord provided us with a washer/dryer. A product of Italy - I can only think to humble the Italian housewife. The wash cycle was anemic and half hearted and the dryer simply meant that your clothes were whirled about but that no real heat or air was applied to them. Consequently, we all had pink eye as a result of mildewed wash towels and bath towels. The monsoon season prevented any air drying of clothing or bedding and towels.

I decided to appeal to the side of State Department that actually could identify. I laid out the course of events we had endured and my plea was heard. A kind lady official, saw to it that the children were properly enroled in JIS, that we were allowed to partake of the hamburgers and ceasar salads at the American Club, and that we had a proper, correctly working washer and dryer. What did I care that I was lower than low on the State Department ranks. I had seen their number and were pretty sure of what stuff they were made.