Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mexican Hat Dance Kitties

Sombrero Kitties!

My Kingdom for A Pollock?

My friend M & I have been volunteering at the Chelsea Theatre Works in downtown Chelsea for about a year. We've worked on the set design for several plays. It's been a fantastic experience. For the play "Self-Torture & Strentuous Exercise," (by Harry Kondoleon) back in March 2006, we had to 're-make' several modern artists' works. M did the Picassos below, and I did the Pollocks. We had great fun. At the moment 'our show' is hanging in the gallery of the theatre. For more information on the Chelsea Theatre, see

Saturday, December 30, 2006

To Emily, The Belle of Amherst

For years my sister Jennifer and I have had a great reverence (in an almost biblical, goddess-worshipping way) of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

Over the years we've collected and quoted her poetry, read obscure books about her life, watched documentaries & plays about her, & tacked photo postcards of Emily on our bulletin boards.

Of course we have both made the pilgrimage to the Dickinson homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. My sister has made this sojourn twice.

The highlight of the trip for Jennifer was to procure a charcoal rubbing of Emily's gravestone. This morbid display hung on her bedroom wall for some years! (true love)

I enjoyed the tour of the homestead. As I walked about the creaky 19th century floorboards I thought: "Here I walk upon the same floor that Emily walked upon!"

Also memorable was to see a white dress of Emily's, encased in glass, in the foyer of her house. A small pocket was sewn into one side of the dress. The lore is that while baking or tending to household duties, if Emily thought of a snatch of poetry, she'd scribble it down for later editing.

Emily Dickinson--- the Belle of Amherst, an iconoclast, a dour recluse dressed like a schoolmarm, a diminutive woman, ----and undoubtedly one of our greatest American poets.

Below is a very few of her over 1700 poems:


I reason, Earth is short --
And Anguish -- absolute --
And many hurt,
But, what of that?

I reason, we could die --
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that?

I reason, that in Heaven --
Somehow, it will be even --
Some new Equation, given --
But, what of that?


We play at Paste --
Till qualified, for Pearl --
Then, drop the Paste --
And deem ourself a fool --

The Shapes -- though -- were similar --
And our new Hands
Learned Gem-Tactics --
Practicing Sands --

If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Yin & Yang of Kittydom

The Yin and Yang of Kittydom!

The Artist Formerly Known as Zach

My Nephew Zachary (the artist formerly known as Zach) is only six years old, but he's already got quite a series of paintings and mixed media works completed. Recently his pieces were shown around his house in Windham, Maine. Favorite showing areas include the refrigerator, hallways, and the bathroom. Attendees to the show included Nana, Papa, Jack the cat, Dad, Mom, Auntie Norma, Gavin, Natalie, and Eric the boy next door.
Zachary is proud of his work, yet humble. "Yep. I did all those," he commented recently. "I just painted them." Zachary's style is whimsical, and colorful. He has worked with finger paints, watercolor, tempra, tissue paper, construction paper, and elmer's glue. Some recurrent color themes include purples, greens, indigo, and various shades of orange. Subject themes include a bug series, a self-portrait, and some abstract work. As Zachary lives in Maine, and spends a great deal of time idly running around outside, nature is a recurrent motif.
For the future Zachary simply plans on continuing to develop his art, as part of the first grade curriculum at his local elementary school.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Are Left-Handers in Their Right Mind?

LANGUAGE: I’m a lefty, are you? Chances are about 89% you’re not. If you’re a woman, chances are even less—92%.
Lefties or ‘southpaws’ have a long history of being put upon by the right dominated world. And we’re not just being big cry babies about it. In almost any language or culture, there are words or phrases associated with ‘the left hand’ that mean evil, awkwardness, or outright madness. On the other hand, (pun intended) the right is always ‘skillful,’ ‘correct,’ or ‘good.’ (except in politics of course).
Greek Skaios ill fated
Norwegian Ventrehandsarbeid (left-hand work) Sloppy or unsatisfactory
Latin sinister Left-handed
Irish Gaelic ciotog Strange person
French gauche Awkward, clumsy
Portuguese canhoto Devil
German linkisch awkward
Chinese zuo improper
English Left-handed compliment A veiled insult
English Two left feet An awkward dancer
PRODUCTS: Language sometimes translates into reality, so believe it or not there are some products or activities that are difficult (sometimes even dangerous) for lefties.
Can openers. Scissors. Knives. Calligraphy. Pencil sharpeners. Many musical instruments. Writing in notebooks. Corkscrews. Door handles. Key slots. Vegetable peelers. Power saws.
There are a couple of good websites devoted to products for lefties. If you have a couple of wayward relatives, a left-handed cork screw might do them wonders as a thoughtful gift.
FAMOUS LEFTIES: Despite the horrible burdens of left-handedness, many lefties have managed to rise up in the world and lead, create art, write, etc…. Some of my favorite fellow southpaws include:
Leonardo Da Vinci
Queen Victoria of England
Bill Clinton
Benjamin Franklin
David Bowie
Greta Garbo
Pablo Picasso
Matt Groening
Carol Burnett
HANDEDNESS QUIZ: If you think you might be left-handed, or want to join the club, like me, then you need to take a ‘handedness’ quiz. ‘Handedness’ is determined by your hand preference for completing different tasks. As you may know, (especially if you went to Catholic School), you can be left-handed and not write with your left hand. Sister Josephina made sure of that.