Friday, January 28, 2011

On Mexico, Museums, and Millinery: It's Alliteration Friday

These are absolutely mad pairings, but in an attempt to cover three weeks of activity in three pictures, some jarring must be done. You'll go from the peaceful tranquility of a beach to a cold and windy night in London in the span of about five seconds, and for that I apologize.

But here we go!

You see this lovely beach? This was my home in Mexico last week. It was * amazing. * The first day was gorgeous and blustery and all the consequent days were sunny and hot and just...perfect. They asked for nothing more than a good book in a lounge chair, which I happily obliged. 

And then the return to London four days ago. I somehow thought that in my time away an entire season had passed (my vacation was that leisurely and drawn out) and that I would return to a balmy pre-spring 50-something, but instead there's been a recent cold snap and the wind is even more biting than before. My defences against it are woefully inadequate. I'm constantly finding chores to do around the house so as to avoid going out.  (Errands wha? Look at that piling of ironing!)

On Wednesday night, though, I had tickets to see Stephen Jones at the Design Museum, and no cold front was going to keep me from that front row.

Despite the wind whipping off the Thames so fiercely that it made me understand why people curl up in the snow to die, I couldn't resist stopping to take a photo...I love Tower Bridge.  It makes me think of princesses and castles and wedding cakes.

The event at the Design Museum was a conversation between Colin McDowell and milliner Stephen Jones. The closest I've ever come to a milliner is my sister, who knits fantastic hats. And Stephen Jones was a glorious piece of work. He and Colin (I'm totally on a first-name basis now) gossiped wickedly away about fashion industry peers, Stephen's design process, and who said what to who at that one show that one time and ohhhh was she mad! They kept stopping guiltily in the course of these stories--'oh, I shouldn't say this'--and then after a second pause, with a small laugh--'well, what can it hurt? So THEN she...' The entire audience was in stitches. And the whole thing made me want to sprint right down to his shop at Covent Garden and spend a thousand pounds on a hat for the races. The races that I don't go to, but will once I get my hat.

Isn't he dapper? He was also wearing some knock-out lavender shoes that I regretfully didn't get in this photo.

I've got to jet now, but here's one more picture for the road. Big hugs,

Friday, January 7, 2011

on middle school, the lake district, and yet more homework

In the sixth grade hall of my middle school, now many moons ago, each of the teachers had decorated their classroom door. Some of them were clearly inspirational: 'Hang in there!' with a construction paper monkey hanging from a construction paper tree. Encouraging: 'Have a beary nice day!' With the requisite cuddly teddy with arms outspread. And then there was the door that I never understood. It wasn't inspiring. It wasn't encouraging. It wasn't even explanatory: 'Welcome to the Wonderful World of Math!' No, it was the following: 'With one foot in cold water and one foot in hot water, on the whole, you're average!' I tried to get it, I really did. But to this day its meaning (or perhaps intent is the better word) is lost on me. And because this door confused me, and because I spent every day looking at it in passing and trying to figure it out, it is permanently embedded in my memory. And random things will trigger it. Just the simple act of putting my foot in a bath of hot water now and I hear: 'On the whole, you're average!'

It's really nice.

Almost as nice as this container of extra crunchy Jif from Jenn that I am currently spooning to death. So...gooooood... * insert sound of Homer eating a donut here *

I think I like rain. But only aggressive rain--the sort of rain that streaks the window panes and makes a pattering sound and darkens the sky. This is good rain. Intentional rain. It's doing that right now, and between that and the gentle hum of the washing machine, soothing things are happening.

Though I don't need to be soothed as much as I need to write an entire research log on materials and processes in the woodmill and metal shop. The biggest problem with this task--other than lack of time and interest--is that all my note-taking while in these places happened on whatever nearby writing surface I could find--one of ten notebooks in my purse, on my hand, up the sides of handouts. So now I'm rifling through all these scraps and trying to make sense of things like 'cross-cut against grain, ripping cutting with grain, 40 mm, plinth, chamfered edge.' I don't even know if half of these are actual words.

Did you know that first year marks don't count at my school? I don't know if that's a UK thing or specific to my particular Uni, but I think it's bizarre. Also, unmotivating. Also, wonderful.

This is totally unrelated, but which of these two pictures do you like better?


I took them a couple months ago in the Lake District. Did I ever post those photos? I don't remember. This dementia is killing me. Just in case:

The best time to love the Lake District is on an early morning walk from the cabin to the village for a hot croissant and coffee at the one cafe that may or may not be open.

* sigh * To be there now. Big hugs, and back to work,