Category Archives: Art

Ethics

We returned on Sunday night from Santa Fe having purchased 1.5 pounds of ground Chimayo chili, woven place mats that came from Guatemala, a Green Chili cook book, a New Mexico history book, and two Pendleton baby blankets for some new arrivals of our acquaintance.

A person could sure spend a lot of money in Santa Fe on all sorts of Native American  jewelry and clothes with Indian motifs, but there is something about them that make me very hesitant to wear such things. I don’t normally like to draw attention to myself, and I would feel so fake and pretentious wearing silver and turquoise jewelry.  I think one of my problems with all this is that we have so many Indian friends.  I would feel so odd and out of place if I showed up wearing their sacred cultural symbols on my clothes and jewelry.  If we had more time and luggage space I would have bought pottery.  I love the rugs and textiles. I know that many native Americans depend on the tourist trade for a living and want us to buy their wares. This makes me conflicted. I think I would rather donate to the American Indian College Fund.

We purchased a kachina corn god figure many years ago at the Mesa Verde National Park gift shop. I find the kachinas fascinating, but now that I know more about their meaning and significance, I would be hesitant to buy one, and I now know that I have to care for the one we purchased and not treat it as a decorative object.  Sometimes knowledge can ruin all a person’s fun.

How do your ethics influence what you purchase?

 

Overwhelmed

Today we toured the New Mexico Museum of International Folk Art. The main exhibit is in the room the size of a basketball court. It is filled with part of the Girard Collection, the life time acquisition of Alexander Girard and his wife. Mr. Girard was a designer who worked for Herman Miller.  The room we toured had 10,000 pieces of folk art, toys, miniatures, and textiles. It is only 10% of the entire collection, which the museum has stored somewhere. Mr. Girard arranged the collection display.  There are textiles on the walls, and cases of incredible miniatures and folk art figures from about 100 countries.  It is arranged to demonstrate the universality of folk images and folk life.  We were so overwhelmed with the sheer visual density and the colors and places of origin crammed into interconnected display cases that we could only view a small part of it.  It is not something you can ingest in one visit. Every display was full of meaning. If you get a chance, look up Girard Collection for some photos of this overwhelming collection.

 When have you been overwhelmed by art? What art is accessible and what art is difficult for you to appreciate?

Little Potato

I went to a Cantus concert last night. The first time I ever heard them sing was on the LGMS, doing Ave Maria by Franz Biebl – it brought tears to my eyes.  Even after all these years, it is still my favorite piece that they perform.

Last night they did another song that I also know from the days of Dale and Jim Ed (maybe even as far back as Garrison and Jim Ed – Little Potato by Malcolm Dalglish and performed by Metamora.

I love it when different parts of my world come together.

Do you have a favorite food song?

A Wonderful Life?

Today’s trail post comes to us from Occasional Caroline.

My aunt died at the end of January. She was ninety-onederful and a truly remarkable woman. She lived her life with purpose and gusto. In the late 60s, she created one of the first on-site daycare centers in the country, for the children of employees at a large hospital in her city. She marched with MLK in Selma. She was a trailblazer, a world traveler, an adventurer, a humanitarian, an influencer, a sailor, an animal lover, and an avid reader who instilled a love of reading in countless children. She had strong beliefs in justice, equality, and human rights, and she didn’t just believe in them, she lived them.

My cousin’s son wrote a wonderful tribute to her, that he read last week at her memorial service. Another eulogy read at the memorial, was written by the minister of the church she had attended for many years, before moving to Florida about 4 years ago. The eulogy started out normally enough, stating her date and city of birth, the names of her parents and sibling (my mother), and some accurate biographical information. Then, random events from someone else’s life began to be interspersed with the things we all recognized. I thought throughout the reading that there were things there that I didn’t recall, but I had never lived in the same city as my aunt, uncle and cousins, so even though we kept in touch quite well through the years, I accepted that I might have missed out on hearing about some aspects of their lives. However, the description of a family road trip when she and my mother were children, I couldn’t explain away.

My cousins and I discussed the service later that afternoon and we had all had the same reaction; WTH? There were life events scattered through the eulogy that none of us had ever heard of, and certainly had not submitted to the minister for inclusion in the service. When I got home, I went to see my mother, almost directly from the airport, and read a copy of the eulogy to her. My burning question was about the story of my grandparents and their two daughters taking a road trip to Mexico, having car trouble, eventually locating a mechanic who was able to order parts but couldn’t get them for several days, so he (the mechanic) invited the family to stay at his home until the parts arrived. When the car was fixed, the road trippers bid farewell to the kind mechanic and continued on their journey to Mexico. Enroute, they saw a man painting a mural and stopped so my grandfather could chat with the artist, who turned out to be Diego Rivera! My mother assured me, in no uncertain terms, that this was not something that had ever happened in any family she’s ever been a part of, or known about.

It’s a mystery, but we have two possible theories as to how this and several other heretofore unknown “family” events made it into the memorial service. Perhaps my aunt wrote her own augmented obituary, left it at the church with instructions that it be opened in the event of her death, just to mess with us. Or, more likely, the minister used a eulogy for another recently deceased woman with the same first name, as a boilerplate for the one she wrote for my aunt, and forgot to delete all the bits about the other dead lady.

In any event, the random additions to my aunt’s life story make for a quirky memory that will live on (and possibly be embellished) in family lore for years to come.

How would you “enhance” your obituary?

What Day Is It?

In December I picked up (on sale) the 2019 National Day Calendar: The Official, Authoritative Source for Fun, Unusual & Unique National Days. Thought it would be good for possible blog posts, but I’d kind of forgotten about it till now. I notice that March is full of them –  we’ve already missed:

– Read Across America Day – March 1, also called Dr. Seuss Day, and

– Fat Tuesday – March  5 – which was also Multiple Personality Day. (I wonder how you celebrate that?!)

However, we haven’t missed:

– International Women’s Day – March 8, of which you may be aware. And we know

– Pi Day – March 14 – is coming up next week, thanks to VS’ parties.

Here are more holiday highlights from the rest of March that you can still celebrate. I’ve found online explanations of how some of these “holidays” came to be. (I’m not taking time for details on all of these gems, so feel free to give us details on the ones I’ve neglected.)

 – Worship of Tools Day – March 11 ..“a day to go out into the garage, the tool shed, the storage closet or where ever it is you keep your tools. You can clean them, reorganize them, make something new with them or maybe go to the store and buy a new one.”

– Plant a Flower Day – March 12

– Good Samaritan Day – March 13

– Corned Beef & Cabbage Day – March 17   (not surprisingly)

– Awkward Moments Day – March 18

– Common Courtesy Day – March 21   (also French Bread Day)

– Near Miss Day – March 23 ..“an annual reminder of the day in 1989 when an asteroid nearly collided with the Earth.”

– Tolkien Reading Day – March 25 ..“organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.

– Joe Day – March 27  “Enjoy a cup of ‘joe’ with all of your friends named Joe, Jo, Josette, Joey, Joseph, Josephine, Johanna, Joann, Jodie or any variant of the name Joe every year”

– Take a Walk in the Park Day – March 30

What holiday do you wish we could celebrate? When on the calendar would you put it?

Modern Heraldry

The family crest in the header photo is that of my Great Grandmother Cluver.  The Cluvers were a very old family of knights and landowners  from northern  Germany near Bremen.  The crest shows a black claw of a bear on a golden field. The open helmet has a ball with a wreath and a column of peacock feathers.  I’m not sure what the seven flags represent. The family was in its  heyday in the 14th and 15th centuries.  You can see the crest on Cluver family memorial plaques from that time period in the Bremen Dom, or cathedral. They chose to remain Roman Catholic during the Reformation and lost most of their property and land when the region  was occupied by the Lutheran Swedes during the Thirty Years War.  By the time my great grandmother was born in the late 1800’s, they were small farmers and shop keepers. My great grandmother was a domestic servant before her marriage. That crest hasn’t reflected the status of the family for several hundred years.

Daughter rescued a hapless Yellow Lab from a busy intersection in Tacoma last week, and managed to track down the owners since the pup was  microchipped. When she told me about it I thought “well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”,  since she saw us rescue many a dog and cat and get them to safety. That is when I thought about our family crest and what an updated one would look like.  I think it would have the profile of a Welsh Terrier in the center encircled by cats. Husband said a rolling pin and a garden fork would be appropriate symbols, too, as well as the Greek letter Psi, a symbol for psychology.  We should have a violin or cello worked into the design. Of course, there would be a baboon, too.

What would be on your modern family crest?

Attention Span

While I was standing next to my car last week, filling up the tank, I realized that the screen embedded in the fueling station didn’t just have some pop-up ads showing but an actual video stream of a basketball game. TV.

At my gym, there is a speaker OUTSIDE that plays music as you are approaching/departing the building. Equipment like bikes and treadmills all have individual tv screens and for the weight-lifting machine there are big screens hanging from the ceiling.  There is even a TV in the locker room.  In most airports you can’t find a space that doesn’t have something blaring at you. With everyone glued to their phones these days, it seems a waste of electricity.

It made me think that we have become a society with such a limited attention span that we need 24/7 entertainment. There are several folks here at my office who use earbuds all the time – even when they are away from their desks and I often see people walking along, looking like they are talking to themselves, but of course they are on their phones.

In college I had a professor who had memorized all of Paradise Lost by John Milton.  Today he’d have it downloaded to his phone so he could access it whenever he wanted!

What the largest thing you have memorized?