Friday, August 3, 2018

Five on Friday -- Making Me Happy Lately . . .


 1. That orange leather bag (deadstock/vintage) I bought in Portland this past spring and began second-guessing immediately. I decided that since I purchased it, I'd better make a point of using it, and it's earning its keep as a summer tote. Cheery against my apparent default to neutrals -- I popped this dress (by Minimum) and grey Topsider deck shoes on very early to drive a family member to a 6 a.m. appointment. The "outfit" got me through a day that also included a visit to the library, our local patisserie for lemon tarts (book and tarts popped in the tote) and I wore it that evening as we hosted dinner on the terrace with good friends --

Also note that I spontaneously/goofily decided on a SelfieVideo rather than SelfiePhoto. . .Let me know if this is a problem technically -- i.e. takes too long to load or doesn't play properly, and I'll not try it again, but it's fun to experiment, and I think this simple dress looks too shapeless in a photo -- needs a bit of movement to come alive. . .

2. My first Scrabble game with a grandchild -- no points for now, but we're getting familiar with the rules (Nana believes, with Wordsworth, that creativity can find ample room within structure, that the "prison" of rules "no prison is," but rather "solace" for those who have "felt the weight of too much liberty").  So that the word she's testing, bottom right, was rejected. . . Mean Nana.

 3. We've been in our condo for almost two years now, and I have complaints, absolutely, but I still experience shots of joy when I look through these windows at the green wall of foliage outside, at the particular quality of the light.  And increasingly, I know that it's important to settle in these moments as they arise -- do not be dismissive of joys, however brief, however fleeting. . .
4. We saw the marvellous Angela Hewitt perform Book I of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier -- two hours of this intricate music rendered in all its intellectual and technical and emotional complexity. This just-turned-60 woman isn't worrying about invisibility! (and oh, she cuts a brilliant figure on the concert stage, as she has every time I've seen her over 20 or so years -- long, slim evening gown and beautiful shoes).

5. Plein air sketching with my good friend Alison (who still has one spot left in her Lyon workshop next month) at VanDusen Botanical Garden -- where you might not expect to find an antique tractor. It's set in the Urban Garden, which comprises numerous vegetable beds arranged attractively all 'round. It's used for Community Education -- workshops on food-growing in city gardening -- and while we were there, a delightful romp of children scrambled all over it, one of the cohorts from the Summer (Day) Camps offered here.

May I admit that this experience wasn't all fun, despite the pleasant company? My first attempts to render the tractor in pencil lines clearly demonstrated my weaknesses in perspective and determining angles. Even after Alison moved into my spot on the picnic bench and showed me how to set up the governing lines and the important ellipses, I foundered a bit, and then struggled. But I give myself credit for persevering -- especially tricky after I'd sneak a peek at her page (Comparison truly is the thief of joy! although inspiration can be found in others' work as well, of course).

I could easily point out ten problems with the resultant sketch. Fifteen, if you push me.

But I also can imagine Peter Rabbit hiding at the feet of those sunflowers. . . .

And yep, that makes me happy. . .

Your turn, now. . . What makes you happy these days? What joys, however fleeting or small, are you celebrating?
Or feel free to comment on any of my Friday Five. . . Thank you in anticipation!





24 comments:

  1. Peter Rabbit friendly sketches are the best!
    SelfieVideos are very welcome
    Happy? Deep blue, beautiful sea,to swim,look at,meditate when there is no border between sea and the sky....make me blissfully happy
    Dottoressa

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    1. That is perfection, that borderless blue. . .

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  2. I took an introduction to drawing class and I can appreciate how difficult it would be to
    draw a tractor. But you sketch and I like the finished product. Your video loaded quickly enough. This week I spent a lovely day in West Van with a friend. Cooler temperatures, planning travel, sorting clothing make me feel happy.

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    1. I had so much help sorting out the lines and angles and perspective for this. The test now would be if I can go back and do it on my own. . .
      I keep wanting to get out to wander in Ambleside and Dundarave -- but I'll admit I'm not willing to far in the warm weather. . .

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  3. I like the fountain sounds in your video. And the dress...it does have a nice swing.

    Happy: I spent the morning and well into the afternoon visiting my cousin-friend, maps spread out, laptops at hand, planning a trip for our 'big' birthdays next year. With consideration to literary points of interest and some ancestor sleuthing. Maybe a flower show. Beer research.

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    1. Those fountain sounds redeem city life for me!
      So exciting to have a trip like that to plan -- Beer and flowers, hmmm, I'm trying to guess your possible destination. . .

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  4. Shortly after reading your blog this morning, I opened our newspaper to find a picture of Angela Hewitt practising on a grand piano in Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, for a concert.... last night! How did I miss it? Definitely not happy!

    However, your sketches make me very happy. They are absolutely charming and I would be hard pressed to find a single problem.
    Frances in Sidney

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    1. Ooooh, that would have stung! I've been the same way, actually, not so good about keeping up with the cultural offerings all 'round, and I've been making a bit more of an effort lately. We had friends for dinner that night, but honestly, if we hadn't or if I'd known about the Victoria show ahead of time, I'd have caught a ferry to see her perform Book II (still can't fathom how she manages the feat 24 Preludes and Fugues from memory one night, another 24 the following night!)
      Thanks for the kind words re the sketches.

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  5. I love the sketch. I'm not looking for flaws. First scrabble game sounds fun. I don't know that I've ever played scrabble with my grandson, even though his grandpa and I used to play scrabble all the time.

    Joys right now: my cat and dog cuddling close to me at night during the transition upheaval of the move, I hadn't realized how much I missed a warm body..... but already they are off to finding their own sleeping spots.

    Also a lovely chat with a neighbor who saw me walking by and came out and called out. Those are the things to hold onto.

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    1. I must admit that I've never been tolerant enough to allow cats or dogs in my bed, but I know their nighttime cuddles bring joy to many, and I'm glad you're all finding comfort in the upheaval of the move.
      Those kinds of chats with neighbours are always so heartening. Hold on, indeed.

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  6. Adorable video which uploads fine. I have a bright orange bag - I LOVE orange. Also, how awesome that you can play Scrabble with your gdaughter! What a milestone. In truth, I hate Scrabble (and all board games). For a person who loves communicating, I'm terrible at it. As a kid, my friends used to let me win, just to shut me up.

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    1. It's a good colour -- my reservation was that in the shop I read it as Hermès orange and it's not (more yellow to it). . . but I've adjusted ;-)
      I'm not keen on board games either and I get so impatient with strategic players who take their time. But she was restless and I was heading off requests for paraphernalia to be hauled out ;-)

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  7. I don't dare put the video on at the moment, reading this in bed while someone else is snoring. I will watch tomorrow.
    Comparison IS the thief of joy. I am constantly reminding myself of this at an age when I thought I wouldn't have to remind myself:)
    What gives me joy these days? A great book I've just finished called After the Party. There's even a Mitford link in the plot. Stu's incredible patience with my nasty bout of shingles which hangs on and hangs on. Thank goodness for the medication which blocks nerve pain. What a relief that was! My Mum's good humour in our phone calls lately. Air conditioning! Ha.

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    1. "at an age when I thought I wouldn't have to remind myself" -- I know! I'm so disappointed at the wisdom I've failed to internalize . . .
      I'm very impressed that you're finding joy despite the shingles. Glad you're finding some relief from the pain and are able to read and that your husband continues to be a gem.. .

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  8. What makes me happy these days? Given my husband's recent cancer diagnosis, I'm not sure that "happy" is the word, but these "things," listed in no particular order, have brought me gratitude, strength, peace, and/or pleasure in recent days: After our 10-day heat wave, a beautiful day like today, where low humidity and moderate temperatures allow me, among others, to do everything comfortably. Actually getting some work done. Swimming and playing in, and kayaking on, the Columbia River or a pristine mountain lake, with my husband and dachshund. Reading a book that moves and teaches me (right now: Masha Gessen's "The Future is History.") Friends continuing to check in as my husband completes the biopsies and scans that will tell us as much as possible about his melanoma before next Friday's surgery. Reaching out to someone in need. Encountering and giving kindness. Taking care of our garden. Thank you for asking!

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    1. Leslie, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. I hope that the surgery goes well.

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    2. I'm also very sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis, and I hope that you will continue to be able to find some solace in the world around you, in your beautiful surroundings. We redefine and reaffirm--and reject--so much at points like this. Take care. Best wishes for the surgery and ongoing treatments.

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  9. Love that bag. I have had three orange bags over the years and they gave such pleasure. A bit cheeky. Happy? The heatwave that broke last week has given way to cooler, damper and easier temperatures but still lots of sunshine. The garden springing back to life after the punishing heat, especially my jasmine which has never been better. The thought of seeing my children next week. My new soap - Persian Lemon - which was a gift and will soon become a fixture. Gardeners' World on BBC iplayer. And I do like the Wordsworth quote, which I echo heartily. Life without any rules is no life at all. Good morning.

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    1. Cheeky, I like that! The colour definitely makes a statement
      Our own heatwave didn't bring temps as high as yours, but we enjoyed the two or three days respite this past week. Sadly, we got no rain with it, though, and now it's sunny skies ahead for at least the next week. Do enjoy yours.
      Oh, and I saw your jasmine in one of your IG photos, and was smitten with envy -- it's gorgeous.
      Persian Lemon, mmmm....

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  10. We are our own worst critics! I think the tractor sketch delightful.

    Joy this week is purchasing tickets for my daughter (35) and I to go the UK and Ireland in several months--just the two of us. I grew up in UK (British mother) and return as often as I can. She wants me to take her to my favorite places in London first and then we will spend a couple of days in Dublin. Can't wait.

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    1. We really are -- I'm trying to get my Mean Inner Critic to hush up ;-)
      That is truly a trip to feel joyful about -- brilliant to have your daughter to yourself and show her Great Britain through your eyes!

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  11. Joy in buying New Jersey tomatoes early this morning that were trucked in by a church member to Georgia yesterday. Joy that when I got home my son had vacuumed the house and done some laundry. Joy that it has stopped raining here and the sun is out. We had 2-8 inches yesterday depending on where you are in Goeorgia. Joy that there are no flash floods!

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    1. Fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes -- what a treat! I did a bit of reading about New Jersey tomatoes after I read your comment -- the designation doesn't signify much up across the border and way across the continent. We're able to buy vine-ripened heritage tomatoes at the Farmers Market here -- as long as we get there early enough, before they're sold out!
      Whoa! Two to eight inches of rain?! No wonder we're not getting any ;-)

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  12. First let me say that as much as your inner critic raises its voice comparing your efforts to your instructor, my own critic screams in frustration when I compare my own sketches to yours. (That's meant to be a longwinded compliment)
    What makes me happy: watching hummingbirds at the feeder; dappled sunlight on the porch herb garden; finding stray feathers as I walk out to the mailbox; first morning tea on the porch; the sound of wind in the trees.

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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?

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