February 11, 2011 § 10 Comments
To my cousin Sam with whom I grew up and who lives now in Florida, I offer up these ice-y pictures.
Yes, there’s beauty in wicked frozen Winter, but truly, living with it for weeks at a time,we become inured to it after a certain amount of early mornings shoveling, chipping, scraping and sliding around, on foot and in the cars.
…and then you witness a downy little bird on the bench or the furniture that is otherwise ice-bearded and yet you marvel at even their claw feet that somehow seem immune to the cold.
The frozen little “fir” tree that stands sentry at the front porch was crispy and in the wind, rattled and threatened to smash into a million little fir pieces…but it didn’t.
And the cardinals have a way of making snow look fabulous, even romantic, with their red crests a sharp silhouette against the snow. and for a moment you recall the holidays but you’re on the other side of Xmas songs and snow, and you realize with relief that Spring is just around the corner.
From left to right: 1958…Me, my (big) brother Barry, and our cousins Sandy (Sam), Greg and David. Betsy, the 4th cousin, would come along soon! Oh, and note the long sled.
Yup, this is when we REALLY loved winter and got out in it every chance we could, bungling clothes notwithstanding.
April 27, 2009 § 10 Comments
It was Thursday night. Along with friend LaCarr and my daughter, I pointed the car at the City and we rocketed downtown, dressed to impress (insert hilarious laughter here because I was wearing my “Charlotte” aka Connecticut prep). We were going to the annual St Louis Fashion Show, a “be scene” whose fashion really interested us. Nights out o take a certain amount of planning but throw some fashion in there and I’m downright giddy.
The food (which we did not expect) was excellent, shishi, cunningly served in black lacquer to-go boxes. Tommy Bahama now has its name (honestly people, he is NOT a real person) on rum. So rum punch was the drink of the evening. Adn there were goodie bags on our seats with very cool stuff inside!
The music was loud and mod. We talked. We nibbled. We walked around. We sipped. We saw one or two people we knew; they didn’t see us. We wondered where everyone came from who was attending , after all, St Louis is a big small town and you will invariably know someone when you go out.
Enough. I have nothing bookish or writerly to offer other than a wee bit of reportage on the show, from the point of view of what people were wearing to the show, not on the runway.
Black is the default wearable. Except for one vagrant hot green with ruffled sleeves …
Mid-length is most popular; above the knee is considered too short.
Dresses win out over pants/trousers for evening wear.
Shoes are flats or pointy-toed heels. Nope, no laceups, beltups, boots or gladiator wedges – not yet.
Lots and lots and lots of blond. All having fun, too.
Tidy hair, not a lot of the messy look. It’s bobbed, chic-ly pony-tailed or straightened.
Heavy eye makeup – very dramatic. Surprising, really.
Nothing extreme (except that green dress). I do like extreme, though.
Two beigey-silver dresses. They looked perfect on their owners, and that’s not an easy color to wear.
Only one (visible) tatoo.
A whole lot of smiling going on.
I have to give Nordstrom props for putting runway looks that were livable, too. The trick, always true of great fashion, is in putting things together, because separately, nothing was “drop dead.” In combos, though, the pieces turned the crowd into “cooers, “with plenty of ooh and aaahs.
No, Lisa, Nory and I weren’t shopping. We were all about a night out and seeing what’s what. I have returned faithfully to my closet, without a single stop (so far) at a single store.
I have neatly re-arranged my shoes, moved the winter “pieces” to the back room closet and stood staring at my standard wardrobe stand-bys, in black, white and tan. I have thought about what to replace. But for now, I’ll wear my black trousers and soft thin knit cardigan again with my fave patent leather flats until the weather really changes.
October 20, 2008 § 6 Comments
A week ago ( a week ago already?) Clarksville was celebrating its Apple Festival. (hmm…didn’t take pictures of any apples, though.)
HM and I cruised into town unsuspecting. It was a nice surprise though locals said attendance was down. Likely thanks to the flood, the economy (no, I’m not gonna go there!) and gas prices maybe. Still there was a fine little art gallery exhibit, some local foods, carnival stuff and lots of local mingling, talking, calling out to one another. Kind of a Norman Rockwell afternoon, sun out, dogs well behaving and skittering here and there, babies laughing, and “folks” gathering to chat.
And the river was behaving. HM and I are fascinated by the Big Muddy. We’ve traversed the river roads on both sides; east, in Illinois and west, north of St. Louis. We found an old farm road that ran to the river and a boat launch. Several small crafts were coming in.
Looking downriver, we noted a tug. “He’s bringing up a barge,” HM said.
“What? I thought that was an island out there in the middle of the river.”
Sure enough, pushing along at about 30 knots, there it was, the quintessential red and white tug, pushing a barge loaded with coal.
I pointed my camera and started snapping. The tug was in front of me in no time. The captain blew the tug’s horn and waved.
I waved back.
“Nice bit of Americana,” HM said, without sarcasm.
We’ve been in the MIdwest long enough; we are comfortable now; we own it.
A motorboat came zipping down the river, looking really close to the tug.
“Don’t worry. They see each other,” HM said, anticipating my whoa, look out!
All enamored of the river, we drove around along the edges, looking at property for sale. Why? Because it’s there. Because there is a natural inclination to live by water. Because it would be cool to have a river getaway when we wanted to get out of STL. One we could drive to.
Aha! Strolling around Clarksville, we spotted another household that was tricked into getting a beagle (like us. I mean, they’re just so darn cute!) This one ballyhooed at us, just like Huck does, and again, we felt right at home.
Clarksville got hit pretty hard by the floods about two months ago. There are a lot of For Sale signs around the area. And it looks like some of the artists may have moved out which is a shame. The area was on its way to becoming an artist stronghold – pottery, paintings, handmade furniture of all sorts, candles. No bookstore yet. While a good place to write, it might not be populated enough to support a bookshop.
We are still debating the annual pumpkin “issue.” Get one and carve it? In the meantime, I have my 2-foot inorganic commercially carved jack o’ lantern just in front of the porch, looking all natural and un-scary and it lights up. One would think twice about smashing it, or reducing it to pie.
October 18, 2008 § 2 Comments
September 3, 2008 § 6 Comments
How about you? How does place figure in your writing? Do you feel comfortable in the place you live, or do you feel at odds with your atmosphere? Do you convey that in your writing? What stories does your location have to tell?
Oh, boy, Becca opens a Pandora’s box with this one…but I will endeavor to be brief.
Generally: It’s quite complicated, I think. But if I’m sitting in a good place, I can better get to the place I want to write, and then “place” is always, always, a very important part of the writing. I totally blank out on my immediate surroundings as I go to the place I’m writing about.
I’m a camera.
The page is my film.
I am a sincere believer in “setting.” Even if it’s via one line. One good strong simple line.
Writing in the Midwest: If you had asked, I would never ever have guessed I’d be a writer in the middle of the country. Everyone knows it works well in Iowa. But, Missouri? And yet it is working out fine, but keep the following in mind (and no, they are not complaints, but hey, I’m an urban Pisces who adores a skyline with an ocean view):
Here there are no mountains. (like the Adirondacks where I grew up)
There is no ocean view. (like Florida, another place we lived)
There is no pulsing honking uptown downtown 24-hour energy. (like NY or Atlanta or LA)
There are no green rolling hills (like Vermont)
And yet it works. It’s working. (It’s the people and the approachability.)
Nutshell: So, am I at odds with my atmosphere/surroundings? Usually, no. But I tend to step back and observe, rather than to throw myself into the Missouri fray (so to speak). So, maybe that shows in what I write. Or, maybe it’s missing.
Stories my location tells: hmmm…er…well aside from the Twain thing, what stories are told by this location? many…many…many…as there would be in any place, I think. It’s not just a river thing here. Nor is it simply fields of wheat and corn. Or catfish. It’s rich.
Geez, I should get busy telling some tales of “here.”