A Thing for Angels

I have always had a deep attraction to depictions of angels. I especially have a fondness for angelic depictions created during the time of the Italian Renaissance. Sure, the figures are basically human with large wings and halos included in their visage, but there is something so rich about these figures. True, they are representing messengers of God, but they are far more akin to the Greek ideals of beauty and ideal human form than any creature that would inspire the fear that the Bible describes. True, there are examples of such frightening angels in this era. However, when I think of these creatures, this piece is always the first to come to mind.


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This is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Annunciation, which depicts the angel coming to tell Mary that she is going to bear the Son of God. Aside from my general amusement at Mary’s expression ( “Pardon me? Are you quite certain?!”), I personally love the gentle force born in the angel. The drapery of his costume is luscious, his whole body active, and you can actually see the wings joining into his back. I can’t help but feel compelled by this creature. The fact that the artist used a very human looking angel does not eclipse the fact that he carries a divine essence. Even if you took away the halo and the wings, I still feel as though I would know him for what he is because the artist imbued him with the rich energy that I associate with angels. In sooth, I think true angels might appear more like this:

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These images come from the fabulous fairy artist Brian Froud. In a section of his book Good Faeries/Bad Faeries he shares his thoughts and depictions of angels. He writes something that I find interesting, “All phenomena of thought or emotion that are subjective to us are objective to angels. Angelic emotions, aspirations, and consciousness are all external, visible, pulsing and flashing through their bodies. the exquisite beauty of angelic faces is due to this: these beings are literally open and transparent, revealing pure intent.” Tis this “pure intent” that I see in Da Vinci’s angel, but strangely enough, I also strongly recognize it in people. For me, every person I meet is pulsing with energy. True, most are very keen on masking that energy and keeping themselves wrapped in their own false complexity. Perhaps that’s why I am so attracted to the simplicity of angels within the art world. They are uncomplicated, purely about their business of bringing whatever message is assigned to them. Their energy is unclouded by self-doubt, suspicion, and lack of direction. Funny thing is, as I said, that energy is very present in people. I once read a book that said something along the lines of (major paraphrase), “As long as we are brave, and hold fast to who we are, and what we love with all our strength, then we are greater than angels.” Our beings our strong, because our beings our loved. Our energy has every potential to be transparent and powerful. Perhaps, once we fully embrace such an idea, that’s when we find our wings.

Outakes (simple joys)

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The way the colors are striping in the heel of this sock makes my mouth water. All I can think of is daytime sky meets twilight water.

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I know it’s just lotion, but this stuff seriously allows me to feel luxurious. Not only is it made in an environmentally conscious manner, but it also manages to be a heavenly product. My skin sings when I use it, and it smells ever-so-gently of vanilla cake. Not the vanilla cake smell that slams you with a craving, but rather the gentle scent that comes from a cake that has been cooling. Marvelous stuff, couldn’t recommend it more.

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If those colors do not make your mouth water then go and eat something feisty and delicious and view it again.

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This is copy of The Wind In the Willows dated 1966. Fully illustrated and utterly charming, I am happily pursing this delightful world in just the type of volume it should be viewed.

Slices of Perfection

The last few days have been perfect in a way that I have missed. Perfection in totality is not something I ever expect, but hiding in various places is not too much to ask.

The first place where I am gifted a slice of perfection is that I am working this week. My sister was kind enough to get me a brief gig as a sound board operator/sound technician for a show which she is the music directing. It’s been so long since I actually have been a part of the actual run of a production, let alone running sound. Last time I did that kind of tech work consistently was in high school. Yet, I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy running a show in this venue. Sound production, at least the very simplistic type that I am capable of operating, is one of things where I feel a full competency and rhythm that even painting doesn’t always afford me. You have your mics, a schedule, and many little knobs before you that can manipulate the voices in such a way that they sound as if the person/people is/are singing in the seat next to you rather than from a faraway stage. As I said, I’ve only operated shows where I only had to worry about a few body mics, some stationary fixtures, and possibly an effect or two. The show here is incredibly simple, but it has offered a chance to enjoy myself and get paid while doing so. Tis and excellent reminder of why I seek to consistently have a job where joy has a place.

 

Second slice of perfection is being with my sister. I will not pretend that we are those 50’s-TV siblings who get along so swimmingly it would inspire a live-audience to an “Awwwww.” However, we are unusually close for being so completely different. I have not spent such a long period of time with her since I went to college, and it is a special brand of lovely to actually stay with her for more than a couple days. Again, we definitely have our points of disagreement, but those points are eclipsed by the fact that we do love and like each other more often than we argue.

 

The third slice is simple. Alone time. While my parents have been awesome about leaving me to my own devices, the fact is that they spend a great deal of time in the house (I know, the nerve of them spending time in their own home!). Anyhow, I pray this does not sound whiny, but going from my own apartment to a shared house where I am never really alone is a difficult adjustment. I am an introvert, and I am used to spending large chunks of time completely by myself. Not a matter of  being anti-social, just a simple matter of needing not to be in anyone else’s energy space for a time. While my rents, as I’ve said, are excellent about leaving me to myself, just the sharing of space is hard for me. While staying with my sister, I have been granted the unexpected treat of being left alone in her place for large chunks of time. Between her various jobs, and the fact that she is an extreme extrovert who abundantly enjoys going out, my sister is not always here. Thus, I have blocks of time where I can just languish in solitude with only her wonderful cats for company. Right now, I stare out the front window of her place (totally awesome window, huge with a view full of trees and sky), just savoring the rain outside. What more luxury could be desired than sitting cuddled in a blanket, cup of tea in hand, as a dreary day melts the world around you into a monochromatic wash that so nicely contrasts your own circle of light?

Kentucky Journey Part 2: Good Food, Good Company

My journey did allow for some time to enjoy myself. What better thing to do on such a trip than to have excellent food in even more excellent company? So, starting from the beginning….

If you go back a couple posts, you will encounter a whopping helping of chicken and waffles. Handsome found this tiny little hole-in-the-wall called Hammerheads that served this monstrosity, and holy mercy was that dish one of the best things I have ever tasted. I could not do it more than once a year, but once I dug into the thing with my bare hands as my only utensil….let’s just say I was lost. In terms of the next wonderful meal, it starts with the fact that a portion of my former professors were at the conference. While I certainly enjoyed seeing all of them, one professor (who will henceforth be known as the Alchemist) was someone whom I shared a strong relationship as a colleague, professor, and friend. When I discovered he was at the conference, I immediately contacted him. After a series of texts, we agreed to go to dinner on Friday night. I told him I would be accompanied by Handsome, and with that said I eagerly awaited that evening.

We had decided to do Ethiopian food, because rumor had it there was a particularly good restaurant near the hotel. I will be completely transparent with you and say that my palette is extremely limited, particularly when it comes to ethnically based foods ( in my mind that means things like Indian, Thai, Afghan etc.) It breaks my heart, because when I taste such food, I can tell it is really delicious. The problem is that the taste is just not jiving with my personal buds. The usual culprit? Hot spices. Yup, I have the same tolerance to spiciness that a seagull has to Alka-Seltzer (supposedly seagulls explode from the inside out when you give them this fizzy product). Despite my misgivings, I knew Handsome and the Alchemist would enjoy it, and I usually always try all types of food regardless if I think I will like it or not. Thus, I found myself in a tiny Ethiopian restaurant called Addi’s Grill in excellent company. The man who ran the place also took our order, and after many apologies for the wait (apparently he was not used to the amount of customers that an influx of theatre-people can provide), he recommended that I get the vegetarian dish as it would be the least likely to burn my mouth off. I gratefully agreed, and this was what was given me

20130315-184549.jpgYah dude, I was a little speechless. That bread type substance is called injera, and it was kind of a cross between a flatbread and a pancake for me. You break off pieces of the injera and use it to scoop/grab various things on top of the even bigger piece of injera underneath. What I will say of the meal is that I really enjoyed how you have to eat it with your hands. Again, I could tell the food was good, and while I did eat a generous portion of my meal, I do not think I will be seeking Ethiopian food again outside of rare occasions. As for the company, I could not have picked two better gentleman to hang out with for the evening. Not only did I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a meal with two people I know, but I also introduced two kindred souls. We were having such a good time that (naturally since we are all beer lovers) we went out to a local brewery that the Alchemist had visited the previous evening. My heart was warmed not only by the excellent drink (suggested by the Alchemist, I got a beer that also had mead mixed in, which is probably one of the best things ever!), and the fact the Handsome and the Alchemist were clearly getting on as if they had been friends since college. The evening ended on an excellent note, with a suggestion from the Alchemist on where we should go for brunch the next morning.

We decided to take the Alchemist’s suggestion, and mercy alive we were not disappointed! What do you get when you combine a kitchy atmosphere,

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scrumptious brunch food…..20130315-192307.jpg

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and the most sensuous tea I have ever encountered?

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why, that would be this place 🙂

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Hillbilly Tea, is a most lovely place, and I truly wished I could have gone more than once. I did purchase two of their excellent teas to enjoy from my own loose lease infuser, and both have proved most fitting choices for my tea tastes.

That’s that then. Truly a most glorious collection of experiences indeed.

Kentucky Journey Part 1: General Outline

Ever driven from New Jersey to Kentucky? Kind of a long stretch through a couple big, cow/farm infested, states and then (Insert magical sparkly noise) you’re there. The plan was that Handsome would come in late Tuesday night, we’d leave stupidly early Wednesday morning to arrive in Kentucky (11 hr. and 12 min) by the evening, and then come all the way back on Saturday. Do I even need to tell you that the plan did not go according to itself? Probably not, my readers tend to be smarter than the average bear. Instead, they may wonder what on earth I would be doing in Kentucky for only a three day stint. Well puddleduck, I was at a gynormous theatre conference (the largest one in the country supposedly), interviewing for jobs like it was a profession itself. See, the conference offers a rather excellent job fair where a goodly number of theatres come to interview for their upcoming seasons. For a small fee (and by small, I mean not really), you can get a shiny badge and a booklet with all the theatres, the positions they are looking to fill, and specifics about those positions (pay, duration, etc.). Tis, and excellent opportunity to meet people rather than just a cover letter, and while I don’t know if anything will result from the conference, I really would prefer to speak of the highlights of the trip itself.

Supposedly, the route we intended to drive was supposed to get slammed with snow on the day we hoped to leave. Handsome and I agreed to put the leave-time off until Thursday and I would just accept the cut in time. Well, come Wednesday morning, Handsome was awakened by an adventurous rolly-polly (in case you don’t know what they look like, ta-da!). Although harmless, awakening to a bug crawling on you is quite unpleasant, and therefore he found himself checking the weather conditions rather than falling back asleep. Upon investigation, he came to wake me up, suggesting that we should leave as soon as possible because the weather looked a lot less nasty than supposed. Choosing not to argue (for once), I hurried to get ready, and we soon flew away. The drive was uneventful and we made it safely to Louisville Kentucky.

I will not bore you with the details of the conference. Suffice it to say I interviewed a bunch and Handsome did fun things in my absence. We both really enjoyed Louisville, dubbing it a chill city that we would definitely consider returning to in the future. Rather than drive all the way back Saturday, we split the drive, taking a rest at a simple hotel for the night. We came safely home with nary a scratch, and another state to check off the list of places we have visited. For the more endearing, food/people-related adventures (not to be confused with anything remotely cannibalistic), you should check out the post above 😉

Strange Creatures

"He's Mr. Green Christmas, he's Mr. Sun..."

“He’s Mr. Green Christmas, he’s Mr. Sun…”

For those who are unfamiliar with the character above, he is Heat Miser from the fantastic claymation movie The Year Without a Santa Claus. If you want to hear a fantastic song, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did a cover of the song that is originally sung in the movie by this character and his more wintry brother. In case you’re of my generation and have a certain expectation of linkage, here you are.

Why is this fiery personage making an appearance? He is merely an exaggerated illustration of the friend I met with in Philadelphia last week. He will henceforth be known as Heat Miser, but that is not nickname that is new to him. Considering he is an outstandingly large (as in tall and broad, I am not calling him fat…the boy is 6′-5″ for heavens sake), burly, irishman with a size 17 shoe and carrot red hair, you can see the comparison. The only differences being that he is a little less grumpy (mostly) and tends not to be caught in sparkly things (unless attached to a utilikilt). I met him in high school, and he is basically the closest thing to an annoying older brother that I have.

It had been a long time since we had seen each other, let alone talked. Then, one evening, it just occurred to me to call. Heat Miser is currently touring as a master electrician for one of the larger shows, so I figured he probably wouldn’t have time to chat. Well, fun fact, he did have time to text. Turned out he was in Philly, which just so happens to be extra close to me right now. I had never driven into the city, but I found myself doing so with less than a day’s notice. Philadelphia is a really close city. No, I mean close, as in the streets are so tight I felt a new kinship with bottled ships. I managed to make it without incident, and Heat Miser and I had an excellent time drinking excellent beer and racing to know the last year of the other’s life. Friends are strange creatures. Some can basically be absent from your existence, and then enter back in and barely ruffle the drapes on the windows. Heat Miser is just such a person, and I am the same for him I should think. We are both restless, and therefore keeping constant track of one another is less of an issue because we know the truth. We will find our way back to a good talk, good beer, and…..

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…a damn delicious oreo cheesecake 😉