Saturday, October 2, 2010

Van Morrison on KZE right now. Brilliant sun out. Oh the water. Oh the ironing. D & I are doing a house/apartment swap next weekend with our former neighbors in Brooklyn, so I've embarked on a "spring" cleaning, getting to things - such as laundering curtains - that I rarely do without a swift kick of impetus. It's a good thing. Well not so hot this morning. D & I are having an extremely hard time in our marriage, in case anyone following this blog for long hasn't noticed. Not that I want to go that route in today's post - oh never mind. I just would like a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen walls before our friends come so that I'm simply not embarrassed. Things weren't supposed to turn out this way. D & I each used the word "disappointed" this morning. Yeah.

Ahhh, be that as it may - all this is nothing so new for today. I should say again what a perfectly gorgeous afternoon it is today - after two days of heavy, soaking rain - today it's brilliant sun. So I was laundering curtains, and had to take up the lengths of a couple of sheers. I stood at the ironing board of our walk-in closet with needle & thread. I should have done it by machine - I have an old Singer - but it's in the bedroom where I sleep where (northfacing) it's dark, and as "simple" as the Singer is I still haven't mastered it and really don't know at all how to care for it, i.e., oiling it. So needle & thread it was, which I enjoyed. As I Stood There (Not) Ironing but rather sewing, drawing the needle & thread through the sheer grown-and-woven-and-embroidered-in-India cotton, I thought about all sorts of things.

About how little acquaintance I have in my life with anything Finland. My best friend from high school, 35 years ago now, spent a junior year abroad as an AFS student with a family in Helsinki. And for some reason, as I stood ironing this afternoon, I remembered about my Cambridge, MA days (a couple of years after that), a tiny little soap-import shop in the same building that housed my favorite hangouts, Café Algiers & Casablanca (late '70s). I think my friend K must have brought me some sauna-related items from her thrilling adventure abroad, and I (ever the armchair traveler, for the most part) stood in this tiny shop perusing the vast array of international soaps, each displayed in a beautifully designed wrapper, completely dust free & pristine propped just so on shelf after glass shelf. I picked one out from Finland, brisk piney/sprucey, in a brown wrapper with pine or spruce design in green, labeled completely in Finnish, complete with - well, whatever Finnish is for umlaut, in the form as might have been purchased at the time any place in Finland, as opposed to "homogenized" through some middle-man distributorship in New Jersey.

So I stood at the ironing board with these silly white cotton sheers, drawing the needle in & out of the cloth. Pricked myself slightly - now there's a tiny dot of dark brown - but no one will ever see, it's at the seam, up top where it'll hang from the rod. A bit more troublingly - I put down my needle (thread spent), went downstairs to attend to laundry - couldn't find the sewing needle again. Where did I space it off?

Oh, had a lot of thoughts besides - how I thought a David Gray song had come on and it was Ryan Adams - that's okay, fine. How when it's so beautiful and sunny out it's hard to imagine how it could be anything other than that. How I love the damp earthiness of terrariums. How as decadent a five-hour lunch at Daniel sounds - there's no way I can suddenly wax Marxist/Swept Away over it - of course if offered I would enjoy just such a dreamlike decadent repast. I don't know enough about Wm. Blake. I don't know if E.D. had epilepsy or not. I agree with Dr. Hirschhorn's take via clerihew about Higginson.

The angels play Hemingway, plays a song this very second.

It's funny I was thinking about that. There's a beautiful photograph of Daphne du Maurier on the back jacket of the Branwell Brontë biography that she wrote. I couldn't find the image on google to post, but she's just so striking - fit, vital, athletic-looking, a bit androgynous perhaps - slimwaisted, flatchested, mohair sweater, angular profile and wavy angular hairstyle. She reminded me of Hemingway's description of Brett in The Sun Also Rises - Brett's English, built like the hull of a racing yacht...

Sorry, my beloved ones, I can't haul out the quote this very moment -

I hope that I have left you with a lingering impression of lovely music, buzzing fly, glass of wine, beautiful sunshine, soft cashmere pink sweater, Beatles song ("I'm a Loser" - I'm not what I appear to be), and --

It did feel nice to stand in the soft light like a Vermeer, spending the afternoon simply hemming the sheers that needed to be shortened. Of course an ice-filled glass of La Vielle Ferme 2009 helped...

Kisses all. Love you. Hitting send.

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