Tuesday, September 25, 2012

rug unrolled

What can I say but we moved.
It was successful.
We like the place.
Old boxes were opened.
Treasures were found.
Many are silly.
Objects hold memories.

I'll be back soon with pictures
and a story or two
now that I've found my pencil sharpener.

 How do you decide what's worth keeping?

Monday, September 17, 2012

rolling up the rug

I hope you don't mind seeing an old favorite picture of Crow and company but at the moment all of my art supplies are packed up in cardboard boxes again. We've been a little too busy packing and doing odd improvements (curtains!) in the new place for me to have found any time to draw these past few weeks. No matter how much practice I've had, or maybe because of it, I really don't enjoy moving. If I add up all the abodes where I've abided and divide them by years, it looks as though I should have attached wheels to the furniture ages ago. In truth, there have been a few memorable places we've inhabited for up to seven years and a few forgettable ones that didn't make the grade beyond a year or so. At least this way one never has time to get tired of the view.

We're not entirely sure which category our new apartment will fall into but we'll have a better idea by the end of the week. Moving day is Thursday. When we finally got the keys, nearly three months after signing the lease, we walked in and discovered it's actually somewhat smaller than we'd remembered. How much smaller, you may ask? Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed our stuff fits and we can still close the door. Really, the kitchen is so tiny it has a ¾ size stove and fridge that pretty much fill up the space. It's going to be like cooking in a ship's galley. The rest we'll sort out one way or another. I'll have a little studio space in front of one of the windows in our L-shaped living room - a spot that's actually nicer than the area I set up here. We already know where to tell the movers to put the big stuff but I have a feeling we're going to be shifting other pieces around the way you play one of those frustrating puzzle box games. It should be fun so long as we're not in divorce proceedings before the bookcases have been arranged to our mutual satisfaction. When I come to think of it, moving is actually a very good test of a relationship and something people should probably do more often than is usual.

Hopefully, most friends who've known us for any length of time have been wise enough to write our current address in pencil when updating their little black books.  For years my email and blog have been the easiest ways to find me and that remains true. We may love the new apartment for all the other reasons we liked it to start off with, but even if it turns out not to be the best place, there will always be another. So long as we're together and laughing is the important thing.

By some magical process of his own design, Crow will still have his own gracious lodgings close to mine - a place where I'm always welcome to share his brandy and fruitcake while he regales me with stories. There may even be some I write down and draw for you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

off-campus frolics

One day last week I decided to spend an hour or so making a color version of the drawing done the week before. It's far from one of my best efforts but, all things considered, it's okay. Just lately we've been busy getting ready to move to our new apartment so I've excused myself from creative projects until we're settled.

Meanwhile, I've come up with a short quiz for you.  How can you tell the students are back when you live in a college town?

a) Water balloons from high elevations bursting on the sidewalk?

b) The park fountain is frothing from a late night detergent run? *

c) Evidence of MFWMS (my first washing machine syndrome)?

d) Frequent visits from the fire department after cooking mistakes?

e) Loud parties after the bars close?

f) All of the above?

I've also noticed you can easily detect which apartments have students in residence by the window treatments. Kids seem to consider sheets held up by duct tape are perfectly acceptable decor, as are blankets, newspapers, or tin foil glued directly to the glass.

Next thing you know I'll be in 'Get off my lawn!' mode so I'd better finish and spend some quiet time before those bars close.

* I wonder why nobody ever thinks to put rubber duckies in the fountain?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

not so long ago

While wandering around online yesterday I happened across this picture of Louis Armstrong playing a song for his wife. Do you remember him? Silly question - how could you not? Since Louis Armstrong was my Dad's favorite musician, when it was announced he'd be playing at Toronto's CNE Band Shell in the mid-60's, Dad insisted I accompany him just in case there wouldn't be another chance. Naturally I was a bit more interested in seeing other bands at that point in my life but my father was so excited at the idea  of seeing the great musician again that I agreed to go. I was glad I did. The music was wonderful on a bright and sunny afternoon but best of all was seeing my Dad so transported by the infectious joy that Louis radiated. As well as being a musical genius, kind and generous too, he was also very funny:

When I was a kid, that um.. My mother - we lived in an old town in Louisiana named Butte Louisiana - she sent me down to the pond to get a pail of water one day, and I came back, and my mother was on the porch, and she wanted to know 'where’s that water?' I said, 'Well momma, there’s a big old rusty alligator in that water. 'She said, 'Oh boy, go and get that water - don’t you know that alligator’s as scared of you as you is of him?' I said,'Well, if that alligator’s as scared of me as I is of him momma, that water ain’t fit to drink.'

There are many stories if you go looking, including one about the fact he never had a Christmas tree until he was 40; he was so entranced with it he took it on tour and only gave it up when his wife insisted it was dead. Here's another one I enjoyed just because it highlights his kindness:

One afternoon in the spring of 1928, Louis Armstrong was strolling through his South Side Chicago neighborhood with a young friend, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, when they came upon a group of street musicians. They were playing 'Struttin' With Some Barbecue', a recent hit song by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five band, and the trumpet player was laboring his way through Armstrong's own song note for note.

When the man finished, Freeman remembered, Armstrong clapped politely, then stepped closer, not wanting to embarrass the performer, and murmured, 'Man, you're playing that too slow.'

'How would you know?' asked the trumpet player, indignant.

'I'm Louis Armstrong. That's my chorus you're playing.'

When he and Freeman passed by the next day, the musicians had put a hand-lettered sign next to their tin cup: 'PUPILS OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG'.

Not remembering the particular song, I looked it up and found this youtube clip of Louis at a 1950's Paris nightclub when he jammed with Claude Luter on 'Struttin'. They don't make them like this anymore:

Louis Armstrong  Claude Luter- Struttin' With... by redhotjazz

I'm old but not old enough to have seen Louis Armstrong in his prime. Still, I feel very lucky that I did get to see him laugh and play with my own eyes.

Is there anyone now gone you feel glad to have seen? or anyone you wished you could have seen?