nibbling, not gnawing

Sailor Jerry Flash Such a beautiful dawn. Pale skies with peach and salmon fading to a clear yellow. The lake was spectacular—a blend from oyster grey to a brilliant blue. To reiterate a phrase Rob reminds us daily:”We live in a place people go on vacation.” And with a morning like this, his sentiments are confirmed. The fragrant Luckystone hosta are blooming with large, Easter lily scaled flowers —scenting the air and reminding us that fall is coming, and that the are celebrating the summer we had, and the transition at hand.

I am up early with Rob—he had to leave for an early meeting so I have time to start a batch of recycled soup, sometimes called garbage soup chez moi. This soup is one of the few that number one son requests—and devours bowlful by bowlful which makes a nervous mother proud. Plus, this soup is the standby when we all of a sudden have 4 more mouths at the lunch table and nothing worth noting to serve up to a crowd of ten. Recycled soup is made up of all the leftovers in your fridge. It is good if you have a couple of links of left over sausage—and some left over veggies. I sauté a few onions adding peppers or celery (organic) if I have it and then start adding. Sometimes fresh tomatoes, sometimes a can. Sometimes a can of white beans. Sometimes a heap of left over basmati rice. Sometimes a container of new tortellini and a walloping dollop of pesto. I have a range of good stuff from a half a dozen ears of gorgeous white corn that I have cut off the cob, the requisite sausage, some left over zucchini, glorious and flavorful celery greens. And I have stock. Which reminds me that with fall coming again, the boneyard can open, and stock season can happen. Love the magic of stock.

This is part of the prep for getting the dear one ready for college. We went to get big plastic totes and toiletries yesterday which was amazingly quick and to the point unlike the other college prep where we discussed and considered every item in the store. Mr. Cassetti is a focused decision maker that really doesn’t want to admire and consider every item in the store. He just wants to get and go. I hope, now with the totes, it will be the right prompt to get cracking on the packing. A girl can dream…right?

Kitty is back into the swirl of the Pioneer Valley with interesting work during the day and contradancing all over New England in the evenings. She has engineered a series of people who are gracious to take her wih them—so she can be in Concord MA one evening, and Amherst the next. She is embracing all of it, catching up with the contradancing friends she has and planning on the early September dawn dance which is a favorite for her. Dawn dance and Flurry are the apex dance events in her life which she sets her calendar around.

Kitty has been given a huge, and exciting opportunity to help work on a project to identify (only using border patterns) a collection of shawls from the 1700s to 1900s. This two week period is a test to see if this work is viable, and if so, it could grow into a larger scope project that perhaps Kitty could assist with as a job while she studies. The project is led by two Smith professors (one retired, one current) who are costume people with the passion of the retired professor being establishing a document that details fashion transition and change through the compilation of fashion illustration/.plates on a month by month basis. She has remarkable paper files of all of this information that this shawl project and the work the three students are doing will lead to the beginning of a digital version of her personal work/files. And Kitty is being pulled into this vortex— learning quite a bit and really enjoying the work. Two really positive job experiences this summer plus a summer of sewing made a great summer for her.

Sketchbook page by Sailor Jerry from Tumblr.I am nibbling, not gnawing yet, at the edges of tattoos. I am intrigued by their obvious iconography—yes, its illustration, but it illustration and style take a back seat to the message that the symbols, or arrangement of symbols convey. I am intrigued by the mismash of religious, cultural, limited community symbols that take on a whole other import when personally embraced becoming a personal brand (in two ways). I am intrigued by the sacred and profane in the imagery from having a pinup on one arm, and the Virgin Mary and “Mom”on the other. I am fascinated that the brands a sailor or exmilitary guy of my childhood has transitioned to body fashion today with young girls upon their eighteenth birthday running down to the tattoo parlor to get her first tattoo, a modern right of passage. Friends are getting marriage tattoos to strengthen their bond beyond the ring and contract with the Almighty. Another friend wants a tattoo to confirm her strength through an unforseen divorce after a massive move with two young children. Modern symbols branded in ink to recognize personal change, personal triumphs, personal growth. Visible marks to identify this moment during our life journey—reminders of these significant moments that manifested individual change. So the symbols are important. And the design and drawing of these symbols make it distinct and singular for the individual while still keying into the aesthetic that comes with tattoos. This is where the art comes in—designing and detailing the symbols into something that expresses the individual. And quite honestly, if the individual tattoos are designed and drawn well, it sets the stage for the next tattoo, the next personal statement that could happen on the same canvas—helping to render the entire human canvas as a symphony of imagery and not, as we see so often, a disparate collection of “spot” illustrations that do not relate or inform the others.

I am not considering getting a tattoo as it is a commitment I cannot make as I am a vacillating Libra, and find that today’s passion, is not so tomorrow. Committing to the visualization of a personal brand is a step I cannot make—as I have been working on just understanding what makes me, me…forget making a picture or a symbol of it.

And so the day begins. Soup is started. Dog is snoring (clean from yesterday’s flea shampoo). I have to wake to sleeping boy. Work is out there to attend to. I am thinking today might have a holiday card in it!