I LIVE WITH A LIAR

Undependable.  Exaggerates and embellishes.  Bossy.  Rather than using the ugly characteristic of “liar”as our reference, let’s just use the initial  “G”.

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A gift really, at first, I have become a bit callous to G’s reality.  Pushy on one side, and when I aim to fulfill direction, overcompensation is the result.  It is like having a relationship with a chameleon.  For me, anyway.  There is no anchor, no fact. How can one have a true relationship with an ever changing partner?

I can feel in my bones that I am being prodded.  And judged.  Am I sleeping too many hours?  Too lazy?  It is my overwhelming desire to keep G happy.  But can G really be so or is it just manipulation?  Where is the truth here?

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G’s bigger footprint, interacting with 21st century tools is just not that great either.  Creating our conversation was just such a chore.  Things are not changing in this venue, and I get false feedback.

garmin

Above is an image of my new Garmin.  A minimal millennial.  Less is supposed to be more.  On average, on some measurements it is a pretty consistent 20 percent more. I know my run is four miles, and it measures the same five miles every day.  With stair climbing, who knows?  Sometimes when I am actively climbing to the second floor of the barn just to make Garmin happy, it refuses to record my work.  What does it use, barometric pressure?

I love that when in the proximity of my phone, I can read email on the watch.  And know the weather.  It could do more than I ask of it in this way, music, for one.

Is it worth having?  Yes.  Does it work well?   Kind of, if you know your own statistics.  It DOES tell the time.  I think devices like this are why some are saying that people are starting to wear watches again.

 

 

 

THE PEOPLE WHO STARE AT WHEAT BREAD

We will have ice today.  Glenn went to The Pig to participate in the bread and milk ritual just to experience a true southern impulse.

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He came away from it just as “other” as ever.  There was a knot of people around the bread section, which shares a wall with the restaurant, with the entry just beside.

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There was a gaping hole in the bread inventory.  No white.  People were milling around, checking, rechecking, making sure.  Not sure what to do about this discovery, they hovered.  A cook came through the door of the restaurant to get more white bread for the customers.  She went back to the kitchen with nothing.

Glenn plucked a loaf of Martian bread, commenting to the crowd that it was healthier anyway, and left the group still trying to make a dollar out of 99 cents.

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COWS AND EARRINGS

There is a lot to look at as I wind down Scott River Road on my four mile run.  The run is especially nice now that the road is getting re-graded.  Currently only loose stone is applied and cars using the road are helping to push it into the base of asphalt or something like it.   I wonder if this was how it felt to run on cinder, the old low tech surface.

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There are stoic cows, marked in the ears electronically or not, stating who they are, where they will go.  Branded.  I used to think they looked cute and silly with earrings, but these symbols are so much about their future.  Uneasy about this.

Cows love jazz. 

Cows like to look nice and wear earrings.  They are curious and non-judgmental.  Often, I am running by as they cross Scott River Road.  They have their minds on that destination of new green grass across the road,  and are mot much interested in me.  They are huge and very tolerant beings.  The babies are wobbly.  One day, all crossed the road but one cow.  My friend was closing the gate and I asked why she didn’t come.  She had just dropped a baby, just then.  I had the feeling that if it had been even an hour before, that baby would be walking across the road too.

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Over the road, often I see enormous cargo planes that seem to be just over my head.  It is always strange to see them.  They are so big that your mind tells you that they are much closer than they are.  Strangers to the area get upset that the planes are getting too close and are moving way too slow.  These planes are from a so-called “secret” air base at North, SC, very near here.  When Strom Thurmond was still alive and  pushing his power, there would always be three cargo planes doing maneuvers in the sky, then the base closings started in the 80s? 90s?, and the planes would only travel in twos.  Now only one at a time.

The image above is a still from a video of a cargo plane crashing.  However it records exactly the feeling one gets when running or driving around here.  About five years ago, maybe ten miles of US 321 was widened to four plus lanes near North, leading to here.  Some say this is for emergencies related to the (secret) North air base.  My daughter had a science teacher who told her it was planned to be an auxiliary landing site for the shuttle.  Strom Thurmond/the Senator/ Columbia?  It was after Columbia, SC that that  shuttle was named.

This is new on my route.

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In a field that has always had cotton, this year peanuts were planted.   Don’t know if this is normal crop change so as to not delete the soil too heavily from any one nutrient, or if this is change related to our wet spring and summer.    They are turned out on the ground now, laying like this.  I have wondered about peanut farming ever since Jimmy Carter was elected.

Way back when, my stepfather, Sidney, was flying by air from St. Louis to NYC.  The man next to him said to him,  “Hello, my name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for President”!

NEW USES FOR OLD WINDOWS

Never having considered myself window-crazy,  looking at my past posts may be revealing.  Doors are special; whenever dreaming about my high school, doors and passageways are the predominant feature.  Have been back there twice in the last couple of years, and man, seeing the doors was the highlight!

Now windows are looming large, in my renovation, my furnishing and my art.  Wonder what Freud would say.

In  my 1939 built farmhouse, much of the painted history of the house is left  intact.  This window is one example.  After starting to strip paint at the beginning of the renovation, the act of stripping revealed many colors, and it was exciting to see all the different ones.  I decided to keep many things in a half-stripped state to appreciate the history of color in the house.

Above is a detail of the laundry room window.  Below, molding in the old master bedroom.

The molding in the master bedroom is so beautiful, it was not difficult to leave it the way it was.  But painting the tongue and grove walls was then not an option.  The contrast between newly painted walls and the partially stripped molding would have been confusing.  The answer was to sand the walls as well, revealing several colors that they have been as well (although not as many as the molding—wallpaper had been used in the house a lot).

So here is featured what some would call “shabby chic”, but my preference in terminology is “a shabby aesthetic”.  This is NOT the beach.

Above the image shows the opening between the great room and an auxiliary sitting room, before all the wallpaper was removed.  All the layers were so interesting, and like the linoleum we removed, each wallpaper pattern seemed to be specific to a certain decade.  We were amazed.  With everything on walls and ceilings and floors, (think particle board, 1970s paneling, and worse) we had no idea that we had purchased and moved a total tongue and groove house.  I hate to admit the stupidity of our lack of research.

Above is the same opening which is now framed by columns, and a window is hanging between them to further separate the two spaces.  The columns and window now define a kind of corridor between the two rooms as there are few walls in this house.

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The cabinet in the laundry room is a simple window covering for a series of shelves.

More next time on windows creeping into my collecting, and into my art.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE CHEAP METAL

A personal seminal event occurred in NYC years ago when traveling with my friend Clay.  We went to a commercial gallery associated with the Whitney, and on the back wall they had installed metal outdoor roofing.  OMG, it was one of those moments where you worry about not having had that experience because it looms so important in your life story.

Since then, and that was the eighties,  old fashioned metal roofing has been used in traditional or nontraditional ways on every building I have built or refurbished.  It is such a statement about southern culture.   Above is Glenn’s sculpture studio in the new barn.  He brought this old roofing from his acreage in Missouri, so installed here is part of his old homestead in his new space.  You can see a bit of the actual tin roof that covers the whole barn at the top of the image.

This is the entry to my old studio, now more of a guest house, and this building is also covered in and out, with metal roofing.  Below, we are under this porch roof, and looking out to the “big” house, which is glowing under its tin roof.

When my daughter was about seventeen, the two of us installed the ceiling tin in the guest house.  What a job, cutting and drilling above our heads.

At the table above are two examples of aluminum side chairs from WWII.  They are light as a feather and were made for use in submarines.  They introduce my other cheap metal love,  aluminum, especially “hammered”.  Below, Glenn’s latest piece stands in silhouette along with a couple of my camera-shy mosaics.  The ceiling illuminates the window to one of the gardens.

Don’t get me going about the aforementioned hammered aluminum, or old chrome tubed dinette sets.  We will be here forever.

Synchronicity:  As I write this post, the building supply company’s truck just drove up with the metal roofing for our new addition.  Isn’t it grand when actual life is like a strange movie? And the movie is about tin roofs?

TILE PIMP

You already know that Zoe finds great junk on the street.  Sometimes she can walk the stuff home, but often she has to drive back to the discovery site with the car.  One of the labors of love we did last weekend was load up my car with fine architectural tile, all in warm neutrals with different textures, about seven boxes in all.  I am already composing for our new bathroom,which is just being built.

Whether in construction or in the making of art, new materials are my influence to create.  The universe presents me with stuff, and it is my challenge to get them to work together to state a theme visually or intellectually.  This is why I get up in the morning.

At the end of this construction will be the new master bathroom, and beyond that a deck, projecting into the woods.  On that back wall will be a collection of different kinds of mismatched windows, from 14 inches off the ground to the ceiling.  All free, of course.

About ten years ago, Zoe told me that she needed a cement seat for two pedestals that she already had.  A year later, we had it.  I found an old septic tank cover in the yard of some rentals we bought at one time.  It was perfect, but two women couldn’t lift it.   We got a wretch out of bed to lift it for us and Zoe gave him twenty dollars.  He was thrilled!

Above is the septic tank cover disguising itself as a fine bench! Below is a brass deer head that Zoe and her husband found in France.  They had it shipped back here to use in the garden, and it is very heavy.  Right now, instead of hanging on the side of the little screened in building, it is leaning and waiting for installation.  It will take some work to deal with this weight.

I told you Zoe and I had similar tastes, but mine tends toward cheaper materials, and a less elegant selection.  Below is MY deer example, boasting a dress from Bonwit Teller.

So Zoe emailed this morning, and has found some more tile.  She will pick it up when she goes out again to the gym.

A PAIR OF FINE CHAIRS

My friend Zoe has been my garden guru for years.  She happens to live in a funky little neighborhood in Atlanta, where it seems that many clever people live.  Or, they have clever gardeners.  I am filled to the brim whenever we work in her gardens, almost unable to wait to get home and implement ideas that flood in just by being in that neighborhood.

We have a similar aesthetic, but Zoe goes for the fine old sometimes British things, and I, wallowing among the working poor, have to covet newer things, but cool.  We both like rust.

This pair of chairs is near the back of her fine garden, near the alley.  If I had these chairs, they would be inside, used as side chairs.  This is the difference between Zoe and me.  Her side chairs, recently acquired, are from the French countryside and are leather.  They tour old barns in France!

I am pretty sure that she picked these up off the street.  Much of her early morning time is taken up with exercising and street cruising for good junk at the same time.  She finds the most wonderful stuff.  It is truly amazing what some people choose to throw away, but no complaints here!  If it weren’t for the bad decisions of other people, this hacienda would be bare.

The swinging movements in these chairs are intact and moving well, made more amazing by the fact they are always in the weather.  The series of lines that make up the seat are body-loving and feel great.

Opposite the chairs, and still back by the alley is a sturdy little structure that is the potting shed. Made years ago by Zoe and her husband, it houses tools and pots and the roof is open.  The plan for this year is to put some kind of opaque plastic roofing material on the existing structure to close it in a bit.  It now has an inside door for its outside, and it is weary of the misuse.  That will be replaced, although still attractive in its disintegration.

It is amazing what one can incorporate in a small city backyard.  The potting shed is not the only roofed structure in this one.  The second one is near the house, separated from the house proper by brick pavement, hand set.  Below is a picture from the kitchen, looking out to the screened structure to gauge the distance.

You can see a bit of the screened building over the hydrangeas and the purple bottle collection.  It has a tin roof, and houses a table for outdoor eating.  Right now, it has cat bones in it waiting for reconstruction.

Above is the back of the  screened building from the garden.  It has a weathered tin roof, and the climber on the screens turns red in the fall.  Japanese climbing fern is on the arch in the foreground.

Wait!  I just thought about a great idea for my garden here…