Friday, March 17, 2017

Five Things Friday

 1. Sometimes it's the little things.  Simple daily pleasures.
 In this case, a beautifully wrapped soap brought back from Florence to be used for daily showers. The same soap that was a lovely amenity in the Casa Howard we stayed in, in fact all three of the Casa Howards I've stayed in now, two in Rome, one in Florence. We bought the soap in the magnificent Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence, so it also holds a trace of that splendid building for me. . .
Even the empty box becomes another small pleasure, releasing the rich fragrance when I open it to search for a button or a spool of thread I'm now storing in it. And with every shower I'm transported to a white-tiled bathroom in an extravagantly decorated room on Rome's Via Sistina. . .

2. My sister-in-law linked to this Kale and Sweet Potato Brown Rice Bowl recipe the other day, and I jumped on it right away. It was so healthy, yummy, and relatively quick to make that I'm thinking I'll double the recipe next time. So good was it, in fact, that when I came home for lunch today looking forward to the leftovers, I found they'd already been nabbed by Pater who didn't look nearly sheepish enough as he scarfed down the remains of the bowl....

3.  I keep thinking about the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition I took a quick tour through a few weeks ago -- a prime benefit of having a gallery membership is the ability to pop in for half an hour, even just fifteen minutes, if I'm downtown with a bit of time to spare. I don't feel as if I need to stay longer to justify the price of admission, and I get to layer my experiences of an artist's work over a number of visits rather than trying to take it all in at once.
The current show of Coast Salish artist Susan Point's work, an exhibition called Spindle Whorl after Point's lifelong fascination with the carved spindles of her culture's very long history, is a perfect example.
 This single piece would be reason enough to travel back to the VAG several times, to glory in the contemporary rendition of an ancient idea, an idea made manifest in material and practical ways, art serving daily life. Colours, shapes, pattern repetitions, an overall sense of integration, of a holistic approach to the natural world. . .

And, as I say, this is only one piece, in one room. . . there is so much else in this stunning exhibition. If you're in Vancouver, and you're not a gallery member, plan at least an hour -- better still, plan two, with lunch at the Cafeteria upstairs as a midway break. . .

4. The gallery visit I've suggested above would be a perfect Artist's Play Date, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way.  I can't find the post in which a reader's comment suggested this book to me, but if that was you (Carol?), thanks so much. I've been skimming my way through it, trying to get a sense of it before committing myself to the twelve-week program Cameron sets out. But I have begun to carve out some time for the "morning pages" she stresses as centrally important to discovering or recovering one's creativity.  That may mean changes ahead. . .

5.  This guy, almost Two, and the Choo-choo Train he drew. . . and the way he told me where the Pencil Sharpener was, even though the poor chap had to repeat "Pencil Sharpener" several times before I could understand his "accent." He kept telling me it was "not in dere" as I rifled through the crayon bin looking for it, and then pointing up to the shelf it was tucked away on. And he was very patient while he waited for me to catch on. . .  Heart-melt. A cliché, I know, but still. . .
That's all for now, although I could easily add Five More Things . . . about our spring travel plans, for example, or a visit from a certain beloved set of ex-pats that begins next week. . . But I think that's enough about me. Your turn, now, what are you up to? Perhaps you could add one or two or three things to our Friday catalogue. . . . 

26 comments:

  1. After a very full on few weeks we have the luxury of a weekend entirely free of plans. Bliss.

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    1. That is bliss indeed. More blissful because of the preceding busy-ness. Revel in the peace!

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  2. Ceri,I agree with you,enjoying the free weekend in one's own home-pure bliss!
    But,talking about art (I love the art in your photos),I'm finally going to see the exibition: The Modern Challenge-Zagreb -Viena circa 1900
    There are some Klimt paintings as well as Vlaho Bukovac and some sculpures by Ivan Mestrovic (there are a couple of his pieces in US,f.e.in front of UN,as far as I can remember)
    It is great when one could spend 15 minutes in an art gallery or museum ,taking some time between other errands. Everytime when I was in London I visited British Museum,sometimes only to see one room (and have a tea :-))
    Dottoressa

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    1. I looked up that exhibit -- wish the dates were just a bit different. It looks wonderful!
      And I love that about the London British Museum. The National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery as well (and then Builder's Tea with scones in the cafe downstairs, a perfect afternoon!)

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  3. Melograno...a favourite word. :)

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  4. I've been meaning to go over to the VAG to see Susan Point's work; working across the street from the VAG, and having a membership, I really have no excuse! :-)

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    1. None at all ;-) Enjoy! (The membership is such a good deal, isn't it? and lucky you having that terrace cafe across the street, one of the best in the city, I think)

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  5. Salish artist, cute grandson. Cute grandson, Salish artist. An abundance of food for the heart.

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  6. The Susan Point exhibit looks divine. As I've mentioned, I love her atypical works—pencil drawings, some prints, more than some of the pieces she is most known for—but I revere her for her role in the resurgence of Salish art. I agree with you about museum memberships and visiting the same exhibit over time. It's much richer that way for me. I use the initial visit to get acquainted with the lay of the land. Your soap and its box are glorious. I don't use soap, I use body washes, but I buy decorative soaps for my bureau drawers and my linen closet. I love that unexpected fragrant waft of jasmine or lavender or sandalwood when I open a drawer or a door, and I love the beauty of the decorations humans thought to add to soap. Sometimes we are wonderful. (Love the sweet pencil sharpener story.)

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    1. Of all this great comment, I love your observation that "Sometimes we are wonderful" elicited by the decorations we add to soap. It's true -- we need to look for the good in these details, these indicators of our potential to be better...

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  7. Your soap is a lovely luxury. I enjoy imported soap at home. Here, in Oaxaca, water is a luxury. We have to activate a pump outside to transfer the water stored in the cistern to a rooftop tank. The water pressure is minimal and seldom warm. We do a lot of dabbing/washing. The VAG membership is great value. Do you remember when the Provincial Museum in Victoria was free? Little guy is very cute.

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    1. Thank you for reminding me of the privilege we have (although right now I might trade some of it for some of the warmth you're enjoying ;-)
      I do remember that about the "Royal BC" museum -- so many of these places are prohibitive for many families now. . .

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  8. What an adorable little dumpling! SMN Malagrano is 'our' shower soap too. I use the sturdy boxes as 'stops' behind our sofa so it doesn't hit the wall. The things are strong as suitcases.

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    1. I've been trying to think of the perfect use -- "strong as suitcases" indeed, and that dense cardboard holds so much fragrance still...

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  9. We have the terracotta melograno which smells so sweet in our hallway. The box is kept open and empty in the wardrobe for its vestigial scent. I used to have the pot pourri too from the original shop in Florence. We are lucky to have a little branch of the Farmacia in London now near The Royal Academy for occasional treats and presents.

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    1. That's where i've put my box for now as well -- getting every penny's worth from the precious purchase. You are lucky to have that branch nearby -- I think I'd be tempted to walk in occasionally just to sniff the air ;-)

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  10. Darling grandson! I retired on Tuesday, burst into tears once home, met with chair and am now thinking half time for at least a year since husband will still be full time. I was so surprised to find myself sobbing at the thought of leaving my students -- I had carefully thought everything out -- I thought. Who knew this would be so difficult?

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    1. Oh no, Lynn! How shocked you must have been by those feelings -- so interesting the many ways that retirement hits us. I'm glad you've got an understanding chair (at least, I infer that from your comment). And I understand being distraught at letting go of the contact with students. I still feel quite bereft at times. I hope that easing away via a part-time position will work for you. Take care.

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  11. I too love to pop into a museum repeatedly - I tend to see different things in a re-visited piece of art. We are very spoiled in my city by free museums.....I always feel a bit shocked when I have to pay, and of course that does make the odd half hour a bit less possible. Wonderful pencil sharpener story - I can have great difficulties understanding small children also, especially if the voices are soft, which makes me pretty sad when its the adored grandson. Enjoy all the treats you have upcoming!

    ceci

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    1. You are so very spoiled. Some of the fees for some of the museums are far too high to consider if one only has time for a short visit. Even in the little city where we babysat my granddaughter last week, the charges for the accompanying adult were in the high teens, dollar-wise. We did take her to one, or rather, my husband did because he could claim the slightly lower senior's rate -- we knew she was unlikely to last much beyond 25 minutes, and so it was....

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  12. I'm curious about you doing - THE ARTIST'S WAY. I did the twelve weeks years ago with a group.

    Ali

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    1. So far, I'm just picking my way through a first browse of the book, Ali, and testing out the "morning pages," trying to suss out the general philosophy and to make room for a 12-week commitment. The book is a library-borrowed copy, and I think I'll want to pick up my own before I start for real. I'd love to hear more about your experience with a group -- do you care to say anymore here? or you could email me: fsproutATgmailDOTcom.... Did you find it a worthwhile commitment of your time? Did it yield results? Did it change your overall approach to your creativity, and has that change been sustained over the years?

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  13. Oh, that soap! I can practically smell it.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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