Saturday, January 1, 2022

Sandhill Cranes at Cherokee Marsh

2012 It felt like summer in November on Sunday 8. Antonio and I drive over to Cherokee Marsh, formed by the Yahara River that is the mother of the five 5 lakes that make a chain here. At the marsh the river is short of a quarter mile across with forest on the other side. Since it is November bare tree branches etch the sky. The meadows show russet, faded gold, brown, tan, beige, gray and combinations of all these colors. Walking into the nature preserve we hear the distinctive call of the Sandhill Cranes echoing to south. We walk down the gravel path to the overlook and climb the stairs to watch the tequila sunset. Heading back to the car a lone crane stretches its long neck overhead. We hear another crane conversation, this time to the north of the path. They were close by. We stopped talking and walking to listen. They take off, flying low in our direction. They veer to the east when they see us, flying away into the dusk.

"Coco Before Chanel", short movie review

Dec 2012 "Coco Before Chanel" was a charming movie. The plot was changed from the biography I read (for example, the other mistress was not in the manor house) to suit the movie storyline. Childhood was just two brief scenes, one in a carriage and the other in the orphanage. The movie was in French and they talked very fast, so sometimes I missed a word at the end of a sentence in the subtitles. It showed her artistic development and the romance with Boy C (whatever his name was) the rich English playboy who fell in love with her and then bankrolled her hat shop in Paris. It featured her actress friend (who reminded me of Karen/Kadima) who was her patroness and brought many rich women to her to buy the hats she made (it didn't show the clothing part of her venture, which was much later). There were some scenes of popular French theater, and of course the amazing fashions of the time, which she never liked. There were lots of beautiful horses in the movie, as Baron B, her main guy, was a horse breeder who played polo and raced his horses. There was a race track scene with the wealthy women dressed to kill. Baron B gave her his favorite horse in the movie. The costumes were great - hers were plain of course - as she was rebel and this was her aesthetic that the House of Chanel was based on. There was one segment of a costume ball, a debauch, at the manor that was fun. I didn't like the end, as it shows her sitting on her famous mirrored staircase at her fashion "house" in Paris (she lived there upstairs) featuring 30 or more models walking down it wearing her creations. This was a break in the chronology of the movie, as it happened years later, probably after WW II, which she "sat out" commercially. Other than this scene, all of the movie takes place way before WW II and maybe even before WW I. This fashion show probably happened in the late 40's (??), which was after the period of 95% of the movie and was "after Chanel," as opposed to "Coco Before Chanel" - the title of the movie. I guess they wanted to show some of the creations that she became famous for, many of which were lovely, but I never liked her suits which were her trademark.

December - First Snowflakes

Dec 2012 Tiny, dry snow flakes are falling today on this gray day. It is finally cold as one would expect after a very warm November for southern Wisconsin. Some migrating birds gather in the bare trees by the yellow back gate to our neighbor Karen and Jeff's house. Aslan, my gray tiger, chirps at them from his post at the back window next to the red blossoming Christmas cactus that was once my Mother's. Surprisingly, a light pink holly hock still blooms out the back window and a few Buddhist reds maintain, as well as the parsley and Italian oregano in the garden beds. Some burgundy colored raspberries were still on the canes right up to the end of November! A lot of milkweed - which I LOVE! - came up by the driveway. They are so common, yet so lovely and other worldly. What would you expect for the food of Monarch butterflies? A couple of stalks with the pods split, spilling out their downy gift, were on the ground. I picked them up and waved them like a fairy wand, as the fluffy skirts lifted in a light breeze and wafted on their way. Lots of the pods are left and love to attach to people as they get out of the car! Behind my yard is a moped shop that has Christmas lights on an evergreen tree placed on their roof with a lighted moped mounted on it! In the night it looks like a large angel has alighted. I have recently rediscovered Eckhart Tolle (pardon a description of "New Age Guru"). I hope to get his book "New Earth" from Towneley for Christmas. He is very Buddhist in his approach and I'm working at staying in the NOW, which is working pretty well. Last night was a re-run of Wayne Dyer on PBS. One thing he said is something like - look around you and you will see the world that you have created is not what you wanted, but what you are. Another good thought from that program - Virginia Wolf said "Just keep putting the pieces together." This is good advice, as I have brought some of my stuff that has been so kindly stored in my sister Chris' basement up north since 2001 (!) when I left to teach in Istanbul. It must be sorted and stored. Since the house is pretty much full, I will have to make sense of the "pieces" and work at getting rid of some things which can only improve the Feng Shui around here. I just moved a bag of my skirts from yesteryear, that had landed for a day or two in the prosperity corner of the down stairs here, next to my built in buffet. The phone rang immediately with two massage appointments - Mel, my longest standing client and Al, another guy who has been coming back from the same era - 1994, when I first set up in business in my home on E Washington Ave. Going into the winter holiday season I am on low and slow, but have picked up a few small gifts and will make and decorate cookies to give again this year. I got a new box of cards at Target yesterday - a white dove on a blue background - with the message of Peace. I'm skipping a tree again this year, but have a lot of nice decorations that I will bring up to display later. The Christmas lights have remained in the living room - a festival of lights all year long!

Birthday 2009

I now have had two months worth of birthdays! My mother Shirley said inside every "old" person is the young person you have always been. Looking in the mirror I realize this must be true! It was a relaxing birthday which fell on Sunday. I made a carrot cake with help from Amir who grated 3 cups of carrots! He came up from Chicago to help us celebrate. Towneley hosted dinner at the Lao/Thai restaurant in the photo and we came back to have the B day cake. I lit a lot of candles at the dining room table and put 6 candles on the cake. With Towneley, Amir, Antonio and Signe It was a party of 5. Signe gave me a hat box full of gifts including a book on Feng Shui, lots of wooden massage gadgets, a piece of silky cloth and two clear glass angel candle holders. T got me a vacuum cleaner(my choice, which I picked out), and later brought me a dozen pale yellow roses. Amir got me a fall bouquet and gave me a great massage. He offered to go shopping with me, but I had already gotten myself some fancy imported Provance Sante French Eau de Toilette from the Coop, so I declined. He paid for my new business cards instead. Antonio gave me a sparkly red agate stone the he found when we went to Cherokee Marsh. He is going to tumble it and I will wear it as a pendant. I got cards from Dorset, T's mom, sis Chris, Amir and Tana and Brad. Aunalee called from Florida, Dorset from Houston and nephew Ben from Minneapolis and Chris from Iola. I Got email greetings from Isaac and others. To me the number of B days don't mean too much. I am "fit," feel good and still look OK. I don't think much about "mortality," but this morning I figured that if I live as long as my mom I might have another 26 years, so that is a lot of time to dance, read, write, dream, travel and do anything else I love.
2009 - A Muse, amuse, muse,

The Frozen Pumpkin

Dec 9 2012 Wisconsin in Winter. How do the small animals survive? It has been zero, somewhat above and below for the past few weeks. Today it may get up to 30 F. A heat wave! I have an informal compost in the back yard. It provides some excellent soil in the spring. This area also attracts the interest of a number of animals. My decorative pumpkin of October and November was still on the front porch this week - frozen solid of course. I know the squirrels and other animals like squash and pumpkin seeds. I brought it indoors to defrost and then cut it in half to make the seeds available to what ever creature might find them. I hoped they might arrive shortly after I put it out in the compost area, but they are used to eating frozen food. The back yard is full of rabbit tracks. I noticed the rabbits had visited the compost area shortly after the 18" snowfall last week. They nibbled on the salad and other greens I had put out there on the top of the snow. I just checked the pumpkin and so far no takers. The coffee cake I put out to the side of the compost, has not been touched by the fat, blonde eared squirrels who are out there nearly everyday when it is not winter, so it seems they are in semi- hibernation mode. Other animals that the next door neighbor mentioned he had seen out there at night from his second floor balcony include raccoons and even an opossum! Who knew? I have also seen the dark mice, maybe they are voles (?), racing around the area in the warmer weather. They live very close to the compost, I think, to avoid the local cats who also regularly hunt there! Last year I got some black sunflower seeds that I hoped the birds might enjoy. Alas, lacking a bird feeder, it was the squirrels that feasted on them, boosting their body heat with the protein they contain. Right now - thoughts of the cave people who survived the ice ages. Here I am, warm in my home, so near yet so far from the cruel mistress of the frozen northern winter.

Long Hair and Wtichy Women

FASHION & STYLE | October 24, 2010
The Mirror: Why Can't Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair?
At a certain age, cutting your hair is considered the appropriate thing to do, as if being shorn is a way of releasing oneself from the locks of the past.

One commenter said they think that long gray or white hair looks "witchy" on women - maybe this was a guy? What does this mean? That they are powerful, mysterious, dangerous or??? More power to the witchy women!

This NY Times article now has 1266 comments (the most I have ever seen on there, they usually cut comments off way before this point), so it seems like everyone has something to say about this. It was interesting to read the comments made about women it the family and hair as something beautiful and something that many people had fond memories of. How their hair was a big part of collective memory and individual identity.

Well, I have long hair because that is what feels the best to me. My mom was always hounding me to "get a hair style" after I turned about 35. I did have it cut a jaw length and wore it that way for a few years, but after I went to Jamaica when I was 43. After that I just let it grow and it is halfway down my back. Too bad that my hair is thin as it is, but tho I am an "older woman" I am lucky that it hasn't gotten thinner as many people commented on in the article, and now needs a bit of a trim now. My friends cut my hair which only takes a couple of minutes and after it is trimmed a few inches there is just a few tablespoons of hair.

I started coloring my hair in the 60's. I was a teenager then when we lived in California and I wanted to be a "real" California girl. I used "sun in" which you just spritz on. It has always worked well for me and is fast, cheap and easy. Since I was a blonde as a kid that type of coloring worked fine and looks pretty natural (or at least I think it does).

In the 50's the "pixie" hair cut was just the "thing" and my mom made my sister and I get one. I cried and didn't want my hair to be cut. I could take care of it myself and I tried to talk her out of it. No dice. But I did win honorable mention in a "Cute Kid" photo contest due to that hair cut - that and my chubby round face and pixie smile to match.

The last 3 years I stopped coloring my hair, but I am going to color it again in December. I did it last June for Isaac and Angie's wedding. Sister Chris was commenting on it - repeatedly. She goes to some stylist due to her thin hair and has spent a lot on color and cuts, but that era is coming to an end since she is retired and doesn't have that much to spend on what I would call a luxury. I used Garnier "natural (honey) blonde" shampoo-in color and it said that the color would wash out in 4 weeks. It never did...hmmmm.

In Jamaica fair hair is prized, as it is in Turkey, thus so MANY bottled blondes there. But when they see someone that they suspect has natural blonde hair that is really something to stare at. (Staring is considered "normal" there.) What they expect is "true" blond is apparently truly "exotic"...

At the Willy St Fair in September I saw so much beautiful blonde hair on women (probably 90% of it colored) that was shining in the sun. I decided I would do it again this winter before my trip to Jamaica. I am going to try to avoid my white forelock, which I love. It was one reason not to color my hair recently since my hair is now such a dark "ash blonde" and there is a good contrast that makes it more noticeable. In my 20's a friend's mom had a white forelock that I thought was so cool. I didn't think I would "get one" as neither of my parents had one, so was very happy when that came in a few years ago.

Of course women's hair is considered their "crowning glory." And in the late 60's and early 70's my mom grew her hair long - almost down to her waist. She was about 50 at that time. You could see the progression of the gray from top to bottom that was very noticeable as she was a brunette. I have a picture of us out in the garden with me holding out her hair out in a cascade for the photo. I think she got tired of taking care of it after a few years and went back to her shorter hair style. I cut her hair on many occasions. She cut the family's hair on the "old days" and I learned how to do it by watching her and also from watchin stylists cut my hair when I did have a "style." Now I cut my friend Antonio's hair. One year many years, ago, I cut almost five or more family member's in successionhair one Thanksgiving while the turkey was roasting including. The last to be cut was my nephew Isaac's golden locks - he was about 2 and it was his first haircut. He cried the whole time.

Well, let's hear it for the witchy women, and hair as an object of memory, beauty and identity!