Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four Letter Words: GREY

If I were a color today, I would be GREY 

- neither here nor there, right smack in the middle of the whole range of colors, fence-sitting on a rainbow.

But I am rather liking this grey state - the ambiguity of it all, the expecting-something-to-pop-up feeling, the waiting, the half-awake, half-asleep state.

It requires nothing from me and I seek no instructions from it.  The greyness covers me and blankets me in an unexpectedly warm cocoon.

It whispers -- WAIT and REST

A soft light keeps me company and it helps illluminate the shadows lurking in the grey mist so they are no longer as frightening as before.

I move around as usual, and no one really notices I am covered in grey and that is fine. I don't want them to notice and ask.  I don't want to have to explain the words WAIT and REST.

Today I lost my voice. It started yesterday with an uneasy scratchiness and a dry cough and when I woke up this morning, no sound came out of my throat.   Hmmm - the greyness is whispering something else to me -- BE QUIET, LISTEN, WATCH.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shopping Sunday

One of the things I like about Sundays is that I get to go to the organic market that sets up shop a few minutes away from where I live.

First stop, the veggie and fruit stall to get our week's supply of greens

A few steps away are the fruit stalls

 where I fill up my market bag with these sweet, golden ripe mangoes

and pick up a few green ones -  tart but yummy made into a salad with fresh tomatoes, onions and a splash of fish sauce and eaten with grilled fish.
 Then it's off to see the nice man who sells the most delicious whole wheat pandesal --  large buns the size of small saucers that we usually eat for breakfast, warm with sweet, fresh butter, a cup of rich, dark brewed barako coffee to wash the sleepiness away.
Today he told me that my favorite white cheese is available so we hurry over the the stall that sells it -- you have to hurry because it only takes a few minutes for shoppers to snap up the available stock.
I guess mangoes are really on my list -- I picked up a few tubs of mango yoghurt too.

A quick browse through the section selling plants refreshes me despite the hot, humid weather.

And I could not resist picking up a few of these darling ground orchids -- I already planted them in the little corner just by our front door, a cheery welcoming committee to all who enter.

There were stalls selling vintage items like this little teacup --

Woven baskets and colorful capiz windchimes  made a pretty picture grouped together
 And sundresses paraded in a burst of bright color

I was delighted to find a stall that sold bags made out of flour sacks -- I had been searching for these for the longest time and I could not resist purchasing a couple
There were rows and rows of native preserves -- not the sweet kind, but rather the savory sort for dipping. 

These bottles contain fermented fish and fillets of milkfish drowned in olive oil.

And these beautifully packaged ones hold vinegar spiced with red, hot chilis, onions, ginger and kernels of whole black pepper.  Don't you just love the woven packaging on that bottle!!!???

A trip to the organic market would never be complete without the purchase of the "contraband" --- pork rinds deep fried to a crisp, a thick layer of fat still clinging to the skin and plump garlic sausages from Vigan (a town in the northern part of the province of Ilocos).   My mother would have a hard time hiding this from my dad.

We pass on the dried fish -- but the display was so pretty I could not resist snapping a photo

A search for my hubby found me in the area where the food stalls are set up, a sheepish grin on his face, a plate of freshly grilled tuna belly and garlic rice set before him.

And that is one thing I like about Sundays.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Write It Down

Not too long ago, back in the days when no one had thought of putting the words "inter" and "net" together and the letter "e" was not yet affixed to the word "mail", people wrote each other notes and sent each other letters.  Now in those days, owning a fine writing instrument was the equivalent of having an iPad.  A well-made pen, whose ink flowed smooth and was not given to blotting was much coveted and anyone who was anyone carried the finest.

It is, therefore, a wonderful discovery to learn that the art of making handturned pens has not disappeared altogether.  Scott Zrubek, owner of the shop with the quirky name of Mad Moravian on Artfire, has not let this craft die. 
A visit to his Artfire shop will show you the array of pens he has made from different kinds of wood.  All of these are well-crafted and Scott makes sure that the personality of the raw materials shine through. 

He was introduced to the lathe while taking some woodworking classes with his wife and has been woodturning for about six years now.  Scott also makes bottle stoppers and wands aside from the pens and has moved on to more complex designs after taking a few short classes to add to his knowledge.

The idea of selling his pieces came to him while he was running an art show at a science fiction convention.  Seeing all the artists' work -- images and form that were products of their hands and minds -- he had asked himself which one of his talents could he make use of so that he could create items of beauty and function so that other people would benefit from them.  His quick answer -- his skill and talent at woodworking.  At the next art show he ran, he put in some of his pieces and and was happy to note that that response to them was quite good.  He started selling online in December 2009 and although his day job (which he enjoys and has not considered giving up) is in the line of computer programming, he says that his foray into online selling has proven to be quite interesting and educational.

It is the discovery of the hidden shapes and patterns that lie within the wood and its grain that delights Scott and it is what keeps him creating.  His color palette is mostly in the blue range but he is gradually moving toward colors that are not in his current "crayon box" (like orange - a much disliked color in the past that he is slowly getting to know).

"Each piece of wood has a different story to tell.  Some tell their story pleasantly.  Some tell theirs explosively, refusing to be captured in a pen or bottle stopper", he says.

I am certain that he tells their stories well -- looking at the pens and bottle stoppers he has made, one cannot but notice the care and attention to detail he put in every piece.  Even the metal pieces used to accessorize each pen or stopper are chosen carefully and used to compliment, never overwhelm, the graceful lines of each piece.

As for where his muse resides, he has this to say:  "The wood often determines what happens".

If you are interested to see Scott's work, just visit his studio on Artfire.  You can also find him at the science fiction convention (Armadillocon, in Austin) and at his first craft fair on the 4th of July week-end in Friendswood, Texas.

Now, write that down so you don't forget.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four Letter Words: TIME

I wish I had more of this so I can attend to things I like, to things that matter.  The day goes by and I find myself consumed by tasks that only eat it up and leave me wanting more.

Mornings are spent rushing to get to school, to work, to a meeting, to another day.  I have no more time to lie in bed for a little bit to listen to the sounds a house makes in the early hours, or watch the sunlight trace a fine glow of rainbow colors along the floor.

The day's first meal is eaten at a run, or not at all, the smell of fresh coffee lost in the mad race to the car.

The children are given a quick hug and kiss goodbye and it is only after they have left that I realize that I had not wished the youngest one luck in his math quiz, or reminded the oldest daughter to be careful while on the road, or the teen-aged son a thank-you for helping me with something computer related.  Soon they will grow out of my reach and I will never have it like this again.

 It would be a fine thing if I could, if only for a day, sit down and watch time pass without worrying about how much of it has dribbled away.  I would sit and watch the leaves dance, the wind an invisible partner.  If I am lucky, I might even get to know the little bird who sits often among the branches of the lime tree and get the little birdhouse finally put up as a gesture of friendship.

No matter that my coffee has turned cold - it only means that I had the leisure to sip it slowly, cradling the cup in my hands till all the warmth had gone away.

Never mind that I am hearing the same bit of trivia about space from my youngest one -- I am glad that I have the spare moment to listen to it again and again and delight in the look on his face as he explains to me how a star dies and how a new one is born.

And as the house winds down in the evening, I can go from room to room to say goodnight, taking the time to linger in each one to look back on the day that was.  The day when I had enough time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This Made Me Smile

I had a rather ordinary day, complete with the usual rants about how stressed out I am at work and how my tired body aches for rest.  But the Universe has a wonderful way of reminding us that we are watched over and that it magickally brings forth pleasant surprises to let us know that our dreams are on their way to manifesting. 

Just as I was about to call it a day, I received an email from Andrea, a lady who is known to "adopt" unheard of shops and promote them.  She told me that my shop on Artfire had just been featured on her blog.  What a wonderful way to end the day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four Letter Words: WISH

WISH.  Believe it to be true.  Just close your eyes and feel it happen around you.

WISH. Nothing is impossible.  All you need to do is know that it is, and it will be.

WISH. You have the power to change things.  It is in your hands to create the life you want.

It is also in you hands to destroy it by choosing unwisely.

WISH. Look deep in your heart and see what dream sleeps there.

It wakes to your voice for it has waited long for you to call it.
WISH. A whispered prayer takes flight on the wind and is carried upward and skyward.  It is heard - it is ALWAYS heard.  And it is never unanswered.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pencil Pushing

When I am not stringing or wire wrapping gemstones and beads together, I draw.  Faces mostly, sometimes a lone flower

Or little pieces that show signs of life in an otherwise empty space

Faces number the most though.  Some of them are faces of real people I have seen and they stare back at me as if to remind me that they live.

In some, one face stands for many people, the eyes of that one face reflecting all at once their collective pain, the unsure smile telling me that they all hope for something better.

Some of these faces come from dreams and, as with such images, these are quite surreal and have a rather strange edge to them.  Usually imprecise, their features a little tentative, sometimes mixed up and exaggerated.  Snippets of form snatched from deep sleep just before full wakefulness takes over.

Others are drawn from something I've felt - a picture that tells a story of me, as the face will tell you, if you will listen closely,  what went on inside as I put pencil to paper.

I do not know yet what it is that makes drawing faces so satisfying for me.  I can lose myself for hours trying to capture just that one expression, that tiny tilt of the head, the fold of a brow.  It may be that I am unconsciously looking for my own and that in drawing them over and over again, I will come to see who it is that really stares out from the other side of the mirror when I look at it in the morning.
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