Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Scavenger Hunt

Time for another Scavenger Hunt hosted by Greenthumb at Made With Love. If you like to cook, she posts lots of recipes, or just go check out some of the other Scavenger Hunters!

Okay, this month we have:

L IS FOR
Labyrinth


This particular labyrinth is outside a Lutheran church in a small town near here.


And there's a Long story that goes with it, but I'll save that for the end.

7PM
Going to see a film at the art museum on campus at the University of Oregon.




LEFT
The western coast of the United States is sometimes referred to as the Left Coast. I love that! It has a hint of Parisian glamor (Left Bank), it's accurate as far as map-reading, and it sums up the way the West Coast usually swings politically.



GADGET
This is made for measuring hems, but I find it a handy gauge for just about anything.



PUZZLE
We got there in the end!



LETTER
Taken from a previous post (some might call that cheating - I call it efficiency) about the Griffin and Sabine books.




REFLECTION
This photo was also used in another post, but then I noticed the reflection in the old, wavy glass and I decided to use this again. My efficiency knows no bounds!



FRESH
I wish you could have smelled this!



TINY



HIDDEN



DEMOLITION (passive)



ANTIQUE
This little plaster statuette was in my grandfather Valdemar's home when he was a child. I'm not an angelic type of person, but I like her flaws and her broken wing and her history.



Now about that long story -

That Lutheran church is about 13 miles from where I live now. When I was little I lived right next door.




My dad was the pastor there. (And I grew up to be un-angelic - the shoemaker's kids go barefoot.) We moved away when I was eight years old, then moved twice more before I was out on my own. And then we all moved again for good measure. Eventually my sister ended up back in this vicinity, then my parents moved back, then I moved back - my brother's the only holdout. So when my dad died he was buried at a cemetery in the country outside this small town.

As we were coming back from the cemetery that day, my family stopped here at our old home and we walked the labyrinth.

We entered one at a time, and we went at our own paces. There's only one way in and one way out, and there are sharp curves and gentle curves. We would occasionally meet each other as we passed on different parts of the circuit, or we would walk side by side for a moment before one of us would turn. We were all moving on the same path, but in different places and different times. Sometimes together, sometimes far away, but coming back together at the end. Just like life.

Val

Update - linking up with Creative Mondays.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Operation SpyGirl: The Western Edge



Here is my report:

My initial communication with Agent AMB was carried out in code to subvert the potential for eavesdropping. We had an arranged meeting place - the large anchor installed as a feature next to Bay Street in Florence, Oregon.

Source

It was a public place, so we could blend in. However, there were risks involved, too, such as coming into contact with tourists in Harley-Davidson T-shirts, women carrying small dogs, and sullen teenagers trying not to be seen with their parents.

Our rendezvous was scheduled for 14:00 hours. I arrived early and carried out a quick sweep of the nearby restroom. There were no listening devices or cameras (I think). As I was leaving, I received an electronic message from Agent AMB saying "I've just parked in Florence and am walking to the anchor." I decoded this and understood it to mean that AMB was in Florence and had just parked her car. She was walking toward our rendezvous location. The code was fairly simple.

I soon spotted her. She was wearing an absolutely adorable hat I had seen in photos taken by our Russian agent, Natalia. This made it easier to recognize her, as well as her trademark glasses and smile. We exchanged the secret password and she slipped me the encoded disk as we embraced. No one suspected that we were anything but tourists with a little more flair than those around us.


I wore a purple scarf that had been given to me by Agent Bella Q. The scarf could be transformed into a jump jet if it was necessary to make a quick getaway. It was not necessary.

AMB and I went to a nearby restaurant, sitting on an enclosed patio where we were sure there were no bugs (ha ha). We discussed our experiences within B.L.O.G. (Blog Ladies' Organization for Good) and our communications with other agents. We talked about our cover work, and she brought me up-to-date on her recent trip to the borders of our territory.


We then decided to survey the coast for invasion by enemy agents. We saw none; all was secure.


Soon AMB was on her way to her next destination, a location I cannot divulge. I found her to be the consummate agent - polite, friendly, and very sweet. She has beautiful eyes and a disarming smile that encourage confidence and candor. She has already won over several agents she has come into contact with, both friendly and hostile, and I'm sure she will continue to do so.


I hope her mission has been successful; I feel honored to have played a small part in it.

In full disclosure I must add that my report has been inspired by AMB's Fake Journaling project.

Agent VS

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Oops, I did it again



Remember last month when I posted pictures of my nephew-in-law Kenji when we had a family get-together (Easter)? Well, here are some more photos of my nephew-in-law Kenji at another family get-together (Mother's Day).



I was trying to crowd in on his hipness then, too.

His vest, which his mother sent him from Japan, has a striped back and striped lining in the pockets. The label actually says "University of Oxford." Maybe they're branching out to make some extra money?




Remember in my last post when I was wearing a red dress? Here I am wearing another red dress. I bought both dresses the same day at the thrift store, so I'm linking up - again - to Secondhand First at Citizen Rosebud. I'm just going around in circles here!

Since the dress is red, I'm also linking up with Share-in-Style: Red at Mis Papelicos.



I wore the leopard-print cardi to work twice that week, and then again on the weekend. Madness!

Remember when I told you about my blogger meet-up in my last post? I'm on my way to another one!

It's just like Groundhog Day, lasting all week.

Val

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Visible in Seattle

Look at these beautiful women I met in Seattle!



They're gorgeous, aren't they? They're also really naughty.


I know, I was as shocked as you!


It's not like I was encouraging them or anything.


There's just no taming these women, bless their little cotton socks.

Merci to the lovely French woman who took pictures for us, and I can't wait to see what photos Joni and Bella got!

I had met Bella before, and she is just as bubbly and open and friendly as I remembered. Joni is laid-back, sweet and very cool. I miss her personal style blog, Walking Colors, but at least she can still be found at her art blog.


I can't remember what all we talked about, but I know we had a lovely time sitting outside at Fremont Coffee Company, and I know I didn't allow enough time to really get to know these lovely ladies! I hope there'll be a next time. And very soon in blogland I'll show you the gorgeous shawl/wrap that Bella gave me.

My outfit? Thrifted boots, thrifted slip and thrifted dress by Devawear, so I'll link up with Bella's Secondhand First on Friday NOW.

Saturday update - also linking up with Share-in-Style: Red at Mis Papelicos.

The belt is from my raincoat because I forgot to pack one. Necessity is the mother of invention!


I also saw some other friends in Seattle, Mr. S met one of his online correspondents from Piano Forums...


and we went to see a trapeze show where said correspondent provided some of the music.



It was really hard to get decent pictures, but the show was amazing!

Seattle had sunshine, puffy clouds, its usual Pacific Northwest buzz, funky neighborhoods and street art.













Someone once asked me where my spiritual home was, and I said Seattle. I haven't lived there in 18 years, but I'll always love it - intensely!


Coming in a little late, but definitely linking up with Visible Monday!

Val

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 1994 - Suddenly the Sagittarius



Twenty years ago today I met a man.

My friend Zoe said she knew this one was different because of the way I said it.

I was in Victoria, British Columbia, traveling alone and minding my own business. I went to a Greek restaurant the first night, and it was pretty early so I was the first one there. Soon afterward, a single man came in, and I could tell the host was making a joke about seating him with the single woman – me. Yeah, ha ha, very funny. Anyway, they seated him a few tables behind me. I got my moussaka, which was cold in the middle so I sent it back to get reheated. The place started filling up a bit, and I finished my meal and left.

The next night I decided to go to an Italian place. When I went in I was seated in a little alcove at the back, but I asked if I could sit further up where I could look out the window. So they moved me. Awhile later a single man was seated at the table next to me – they had also tried to seat him at the back, but he asked to sit nearer the window. When I got my meal he leaned over and said, in a lovely British-accented voice, "I hope your meal is warmer than it was last night." I did a kind of double take, and said "Were you..?" He nodded and said Yes, he had seen me at the Greek restaurant the night before. Yada, yada, yada, a little chit chat, and then he left me alone to eat in peace. When he got his meal, I noticed he had ordered the same as me, so I commented on that. A little more chit chat, then back to our privacy. By the end of the meal we started chatting again, asking where each other was from and all that, so he asked if I'd like to go have a drink. I had to weigh up whether I was going to miss watching Seinfeld back in my hotel room, but I figured I could catch it in reruns. (In fact, I didn't see that particular episode, "Even Steven," until 2007.) The hostess and waitress were grinning and nodding at us as we left together.

We walked, we talked, we had a drink, we wandered through The Empress Hotel.

Mr. S at the Empress Hotel

We exchanged addresses and decided we would meet for breakfast before I went to the ferry and headed home to Seattle. He was in Victoria for one more day before flying back to the UK after being in Canada for a month.

me in front of Victoria harbor - you can't see the lights of the Parliament building behind me

We met for breakfast and talked some more. He walked me back to my car, and we hugged and said goodbye. I got on the ferry and felt so sad - I'd just met this man, but my life already felt empty without him. We started writing to each other right away, and he eventually phoned me. More letters, more phone calls, then trips across the pond. A little more than a year and a half later he proposed by sending a humongous flower arrangement to work with a note – Please marry me. I replied via telegram – Yes. And the rest is history!


the proposal bouquet

Except there's all the spooky, psychic, Holy-Shit! stuff that surrounded the whole story. Do you want to hear that? Do you have time?

Well, okay then.

I had been to see a psychic astrologer few months before. He told me I would meet a Sagittarian man, and that a Gemini woman would be involved somehow. Right before I went to Victoria I had been staying with a friend on Orcas Island in Washington State. I actually rearranged my travel dates to accommodate her, and although that might not have made a difference, she is a Gemini. So when I met Mr. S, I managed to steer the conversation to astrological signs, and I found out he was a Sagittarius! My jaw almost dropped.

The night we met, I dreamed that I was on a movie set in an Asian land. The setting included a pergola with ornate carved and painted designs, and there were also silk banners. The predominant colors were red and yellow. There were lots of actors (including Meryl Streep) who were in a scene for a group wedding. I stepped up to the pergola to be married, and Mr. S was by my side. In the dream I was thinking very clearly, "This isn't a movie, this is real."

Mr. S had also been to see a psychic. As soon as he walked in the room she said she had an impression of lenses. He'd been working with cameras and video production ever since video cameras were made, so he was inclined to listen to what she said after that. She told him America would figure prominently in his life, and she mentioned a name that began with V - Valerie or Victoria, he's not sure which one it was.

He was at a turning point in his life, and he got this very clear mental message telling him to go to Canada. He started planning a trip, and he received a tax refund for the exact amount of money he figured he would need.

The night we met, he dreamed that we were in a red sports car together, driving away from some ruins.

After we'd been writing to each other for about a month, he surprised me by phoning. He called on the day my favorite uncle had died. We talked for about 45 minutes – I hate to think what it cost. More letters, phone calls, trips back and forth.

I spent six months living with him in England before we got married, the longest I was allowed to stay as a tourist. He was working on a video program about a Buddhist group who lived in an old stately home. I was with him on the shoot, and then we spent a weekend reviewing all the footage. I realized I was looking at ornate Asian designs in carvings, paintings, and silky fabrics, mostly in red and yellow - exactly like in the dream I'd had on the night we met!

The date we picked for our wedding turned out to be the birthday of my late uncle - I didn't know it until after the date was set. We were married at my parents' house, and then I moved to England.

In 2001 we were back in Victoria. We did a home exchange that included use of a car - a red sports car.


2001 in front of the Empress Hotel
  
And today is Victoria Day in Canada - is that perfect or what!

Just one other thing I have to tell you – after the first night Mr. S had seen me eating alone in Victoria, he stalked me. He figured I was traveling alone and would be eating out again, so the second night he was actually looking for me.

And thank heavens he found me!

Val

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An Extraordinary Collage



I just read Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, a story that's told in a trilogy of novelty books. The first book was published in 1991, and I was aware of it at that time, but never read it. Now I've just read all three.



If you don't know about the books, Griffin is a postcard designer and Sabine is a stamp designer – a match made in heaven, right? That match is manifested in letters and postcards within interactive books – some of the correspondence is in the form of letters that are tucked into envelopes.


All the pages are illustrated to show us the postcards, writing, envelopes and stamps. The books are works of art, and the cryptic love story is told from alternating points of view and various locations across the three, short books.


There's an inherent intensity to the writing, which you can feel in this quote from Sabine:

Foolish man. You cannot turn me into a phantom because you are frightened. 
You do not dismiss a muse at whim.


So here's me in my collage room, writing furiously away on correspondence that will be stamped, postmarked, flown around the world to a mystery location where it will be handled by strangers and then put into someone's letterbox.

Or will it?

Does that address exist?

Is there someone there to read my missive?

And why do I have a goldfish on my head?


I think the author/illustrator, Nick Bantock, can easily be credited with creating the collage style that dominates paper craft these days (see Altered Pages, Altered Bits, Alpha Stamps, Piddix, Stampington magazines and products, etc., etc.). Those of you in western Canada will be interested to know that he lives on Saltspring Island.

And I can thank Maricel for bringing him to my attention in a comment she left me a few months ago. So I'm linking up with Maricel and Selah for Thoughtful Third Thursday - come check it out!

I've got some blogger meet-ups coming up soon in the "meat" life!

Val