some people look at Internet porn.
Other people look at this:
Start me up indeed.
some people look at Internet porn.
Other people look at this:
Start me up indeed.
Every year Christmas seems to get a bit less, well, climactic. I think it’s because we don’t have children. It’s gotten to the point where I can feel us casting around for ways to make it mean something. We have to blow ever harder on the tiny embers of Christmas spirit to get even the smallest flame.
We’ve tried to implement a few new traditions to help impart a sense of specialness to a holiday that for me, anyway, is increasingly unbearable. I make a (local, organic) roast instead of a turkey. I make Yorkshire pudding popovers, which we all call pucks, because they never rise. This year we tried decorating our biggest houseplant instead of a Christmas tree. We donate to local charities. But still the excitement withers.
One thing we tried this year that may have some potential was a Christmas Eve walk. We took Frank out for his constitutional on the waterfront at around 9:30 p.m. The idea was that all the lights and so forth would make us merry and joyous.
The evening was weirdly balmy. Thirteen or fourteen degrees, down from a high of sixteen earlier in the day. (I should point out that at this time of year the average is more like zero.) We had the waterfront mostly to ourselves. Other families were probably eating Christmas dinners, preparing for midnight mass, or drinking heavily, as is the tradition in many homes at the holiday season.
The only other people in evidence were a smattering of young men. In big pants.
What were they doing down there? Good question. Some were walking very slowly, bobbing their heads gently to whatever was playing on their IPods. Some sat languidly on benches. A few leaned against walls.
We really became aware of them when we had to go through a section of the board walk that was under construction. Pedestrians who wish to pass have to detour through an underground parking garage that is, itself, under construction or, more likely, abandoned. As we made our way toward the parking garage I noticed one of the big pant amblers in front of us. He looked back as us out two or three times before he reached the black maw of the concrete building. Just as he entered the building he slowed and then stopped, just inside the shadows.
I tugged on James’ sleeve.
“Jimmy, stop here a second.”
“That guy up there. He doesn’t seem right.”
That got his attention. James has taken a lot of martial arts and instead of instilling him with false confidence, it seems to have made him aware that danger is everywhere. He’s constantly warning me not to get abducted when we go to the movies or when I walk the dog. Apparently in the self-defense world, every third person is an abductor and you simply can’t be too careful.
“Yeah. He was ahead and he just stopped. I think he’s waiting for us in there.”
We were nearly at the entrance to the parking garage.
Frank, festive in his holiday bandanna, continued trotting toward the building.
“Stop!” we both yelled. What if the skulker was after our dog!
“Come on,” I said. “Let’s turn around.”
“But the lights are all on that side,” James pointed out.
“I think that guy was waiting in there to mug us. Maybe abduct us.”
“Totally. He was behaving VERY STRANGELY.”
We turned and walked quickly back the way we’d come. And I felt this little surge of happiness that we hadn’t been attacked on a freakishly warm Christmas eve night and left for dead in a parking garage. Soon we broke into a run.
“Is he following?” I asked when we finally slowed down.
James turned and looked.
“I don’t know. I think I see someone back there.”
That was our cue to sprint back to the car as though the hounds of hell were on our heels.
When we finally got home, I was extremely relieved and grateful. I realize that the skulker was probably just trying to score some drugs or make a (most likely ill-advised) love connection. Or maybe he was scared of us and our dog. But it was still damned exciting. So next year I’m going to investigate other potentially dangerous Christmas eve strolls in trouble spots around the world. We might even expand the time frame and get really adventurous and try to attend a WalMart Boxing Day Sales Event. Something death defying like that. When you think about it, feeling grateful is what Christmas is all about.
As childless-types, we’ve had our usual low-key Christmas eve day. A nice sleep in, cookies for breakfast, then I headed out to exercise my horse, Tango.
I guess he knew I wouldn’t be visiting tomorrow, so he gave me my presents today. These included: four bucks (to show me that my seat really isn’t that bad, after all, I didn’t fall off.), two nibbles (to help me with my humility), three spooks (to make sure I was awake for at least part of the holiday) and, best of all, one dash for freedom (so I could admire his speed and my own good judgement in buying such a fast horse).
As I was putting him into his stall, he rushed past me, and out of the barn. There he stood, blowing mightily. To show me how he would look as a wild horse, he galloped back and forth over Robyn’s lawn several times. In order to allow me to admire his high spirits, he sped up every time I went near him. So I could admire his daring and agility, he galloped all the way down the driveway, sparks shooting in all directions as he slipped and slid on the slick pavement. Then he cantered up and down the street, his green blanket flapping majestically in the wind.
When he was finished, he gave me the gift of not getting hit by a car as he finally pranced his way back onto the property.
All in all, I’d have to say he really went overboard this year. I know he’s new to the family, but he needs to understand that he doesn’t need to put himself out so.
Frank has been informed that he really doesn’t need to give presents this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah all.
The new reality show starring Great Britain’s Daisy Donovan: two thumbs WAY up.
I finally received a bid! A bid! For my paintings! (Well, painting, singular. Fruits and veg to be specific.)
I was overwhelmed by emotion when the bid came through. I laughed. I cried. But most of all I immediately felt like selling more stuff over the Internet. “Hey, we don’t need that couch! I should try and sell it! Frank! Get over here. You’re going on the auction block.”
Then I was hit with suspicion. Was this wonderful bidder my mom? (Mom? Is that you?) But then I realized that she’s not really the type to a) make up a disguising false email address or b) spend money on a painting by me when she knows perfectly well that before long I’ll be giving her paintings as gifts for all significant occasions. Such as Tuesdays and the beginning of March.
Finally, it occurred to me that it’s Christmas. The bidder, marvelous maven of good deeds that she is, is doing a charity to my painterly self-esteem. (The other option is that she actually likes the painting and well, there’s no need to get ridiculous.)
So, dear, kind (successful) bidder,
I’m going to offer you a couple of choices here.
1. When your bid came through the bidding was closed. So you can say that you made my day, encouraged me in my burgeoning art career, and save your money due to a technicality.
2. You can send me your address and I’ll send you the painting. If I receive payment (I hope this hasn’t been one of those elaborate art scams I’m always reading about in Vanity Fair) I’ll donate the money to a local charity.
If you choose Option #2 you won’t be sorry. Imagine the conversations you can have with your friends!
“Hey, what’s that on the wall?”
“It’s my new painting.”
“Oh my god. What is it?”
“Fruits and vegetables.”
“Hmmm. I don’t see it.”
“It’s by Susan Juby.”
Oh, you’re going to enjoy that painting no end.
And may I say that you are obviously a person of some taste. I know because you chose the fruit and veg painting. We had a guest over last night and he suggested that the crane painting looked like a dog using the facilities, which was… very rude but not altogether untrue. I must hurry and paint the other panel. Once that crane has a dancing companion no one will say he looks like a poodle’s tail.
*You will note that I’ve recently turned on the “Comments” function on this blog. I doubt I’ll leave it on due to the fact that even one rude comment will freak me out and I’m already unstable enough, but for now feel free to drop me a line.
I’m not going to say it’s due to lack of interest, because I’ve been very interested. But I think it might be wise to wait until the second painting in the pair is complete before I once more offer my beautiful, ONE-OF-A-KIND, paintings for sale. Then perhaps the offers might get more impressive. (And I would like to point out here, in my most disappointed tone, that the canvases ALONE are worth five dollars!)
Yeesh. You’d think people didn’t want ugly beginner art to litter up their homes… I think anyone who’s looked at the home interior photos on the MLS (real estate listings) knows that’s simply not true.
Those who read this blog semi-regularly may have noticed that I’m a bit obsessed with the weather. Actually, I’m obsessed with global warming. Small wonder, when I read things like this from the Dec. 12 edition of the New Yorker:
“America’s failure to ratify Kyoto is widely viewed as a scandal. The Administration’s effort to block a post-Kyoto agreement has received less attention, but is every bit as dangerous. Without the participation of the United States, no meaningful agreement can be drafted for the post-2012 period [when Kyoto lapses], and the world will have missed what may well be the last opportunity to alter course. ‘If we don’t get a serious program in place for the long term in this post-Kyoto phase, we simply will not make it,’ Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton, told reporters last month. ‘We will be crossing limits which will basically produce impacts that are unacceptable.’ Such is the nature of global warming that the problem is always further along than it seems. The kinds of changes that are now becoming evident–the rise in sea levels, the thawing of permafrost, the acidification of the oceans, the acceleration of ice streams–mean that much larger changes are rapidly approaching. To continue to delay is not to put off catastrophe but, rather, to rush toward it.”
– Elizabeth Kolbert
Just over a week ago in my home town of Smithers, B.C., it hit 14 degrees during the day. When I was growing up the thermometer routinely dipped below 30 below for days at a time at this time of year. It almost never gets that cold anymore and it certainly doesn’t stay that cold. Vast forests across northern BC are infected with the pine beetle, an intruder from warmer climes. The only cure for the pine beetle: several weeks of twenty below or colder weather. The solution currently being employed to deal with the devastation of the infestation: clear cutting, clear cutting, clear cutting. I’m not sure what the replanting plan is. Perhaps BC can switch to palm trees or something.
When reading about the devastation climate change is wreaking around the globe and seeing its destructive effects in my backyard (forest fires in rain forests, anyone?), it seems impossible to overstate the tragedy we’re in the midst of. My current strategy of waking up at 3:00 a.m. several nights a week to worry about it doesn’t seem to be particularly helpful.
Perhaps a good start would be a new approach to weather reporting. Instead of reporting that unseasonably warm and sunny days are “glorious” and “beautiful”, reporters could do us a favour and refer to them as what they are: freakish and disturbing. Maybe then the magnitude of the change that threatens all of us might seem more real and immediate.
(I hope you’ll sign any petition or take part in any movement to get the current American Administration to get involved in a post-Kyoto plan in a meaningful way.)
Okay, rant over.
There comes a time in every art auction when the auctioneer takes a step back and says, “Wow. That didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped.”
The next step is for the auctioneer to offer up compelling human detail about the art being sold.
We have now reached this point.
Interesting human detail about still life with fruit and vegetable:
As noted earlier, the vegetables involved went rotten halfway through the painting process (we forgot them in the going-to-painting-class backpack we left, untouched, in the hallway for a week.) So the painter, employing the kind of selfless dedication rarely seen since Leonardo da Vinci roamed, painted most of it with HER EYES CLOSED! More accurately with her eyes squeezed almost completely shut against the horrendous smell of decaying onion and eggplant. Holy fart factory, people!
All around her people were complaining: “Teacher, the shadow around my kumquat is too opaque”, “Teacher, I can’t get the perspective on this mound of squashes right.” And meanwhile, at the back of the class, an artist was painting BLIND, not to mention unheralded and unappreciated.
Until now. You are in a unique position to show you appreciate the results of blind painting. It’s the Christmas thing to do.
Aren’t they gorgeous?! I’m speaking now as a parent…
Would it be inappropriate for me to become the president and treasurer of the Alice, I Think fan club? Hmmm. Probably. But not much more inappropriate than me trying to sell my own beginner acrylic paintings over the Internet!
to do something for YOU this holiday season.
Yes, I’m talking about buying yourself a one-of-a-kind piece of ORIGINAL art.
I couldn’t help but notice that the bids for my artworks have been, well, non-existent. I understand. You want to see the pieces before committing any significant funds. Fine. You are canny art buyers. I’ll give you that.
Please keep in mind that these effulgent works are virtually unreplicable! Especially the still life with fruit and vegetable. The eggplant and onion were well on their way to a liquid state by the last session. (The red thing is a pomegranate, which I’m here to tell you is damned hard to capture in acrylic. Be assured it’s the last pomegranate I’ll ever attempt. As such, it should be worth quite a bit.)
Another thing to note is that the bold and original painting of the African crane will soon be joined by a matching painting of another crane. The second crane will be doing the crane dance. This is a dance reminiscent the chicken dance practiced by members of the Bluth family. It’s fully out of control and should inspire you to bust a move every time you pass it. Thus, the painting will be decorative and will enable you to forgo a fitness centre membership.
Here they are: My first paintings. Bidding starts at $1 plus shipping and handling. Movie passes to Brokeback Mountain, the latest White Stripes album and/or packages of good quality spaghetti will also be considered.
Please note: these painting are going to be involved in an amateur art show in January so delivery will have to take place after that. But don’t worry. I won’t sell them out from under you, even though I imagine I’ll get quite a few offers.
© 2008-2011 Susan Juby, all rights reserved