Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear love, satisfying day, very productive, and a storm has just rolled through, figuratively clearing the air after the daylong buildup though it remains muggy. Birds are singing and the sky is a lit blank gray. I'm up in the aerie in my bare feet, chiffon skirt, tank top, hair pinned up, happy to be seated after spending the last hour on my feet rolling out dough and assembling a strawberry-rhubarb pie, fruit from a farmstand, whose pastry aroma now wafts deliciously up the stairs. A very productive day, though unusually for me no workout and no walk, it was just too hot. But I had a lot of energy (maybe because I hadn't expended it on exercise) and did a mountain of cooking, very enjoyably. I organized bowls, washed & peeled vegetables, laid out cutting board & knives & various ingredients so that - the reverse of watching a cooking show on TV - I could do the food prep for various dishes while watching, at first, what turned out to be a mediocre movie, Time Travelers Wife. (The concept had promise but the dialogue was weak, and overall the whole thing - soundtrack, gauziness - was nauseatingly treacly. I said as much to D when he came home for lunch. He glanced at the caption on the Netflix sleeve and snorted. What did you expect? It's by the same director as Ghost. Which I haven't seen in many years and, yeah the two films are in a similar vein, but I lamely defended it - I didn't think it was so bad - back then. Are you kidding? Patrick Swayze as a romantic lead?, was D's rejoinder. Okay, maybe I was thinking I had liked Whoopi Goldberg in it, her acerbic, knowing presence cutting through all manner of crap - at least in that movie, because her mojo isn't strong enough to battle the forces of The View.) I abandoned the movie in favor of KZE, enjoyable accompaniment to my kitchen labors, George Harrison timelessly singing, when I turned it on, I really want to be with you...

In a time past I might have been a phone person - now I blog. I've been reading the wonderful Caws book on Dora Maar. (I recommend it highly, it's like looking through a wonderful, comprehensive photo album, with all the images thoroughly explained in just enough but not too much detail as you page through.) In her later years Dora became a recluse - and a phone person - so she didn't have to leave her apartment and face people, mostly, it's speculated, because, crippled with arteriosclerosis, fragile in some ways, indomitable in others, she was very sensitive about her appearance and protective (some say proud) of her privacy and of her dignity - she was keenly aware of who she was, with regard to all posterity - onetime self-sacrificed muse to the altar of the god Picasso. In a backdoor way, I am becoming newly fascinated with the whole world of Picasso, of his art, and of the muses, wives, mistresses, mothers of his children (each individual woman in his wife fulfilling one or more of these roles). Reading about Dora Maar (a fascinating, instructive even, figure in her own right) has been a way into that vast wormhole of considering his art, getting a clearer appreciation of his biography. I'm just getting started, I've reserved a couple more related books from the library. But I have to say that in the excellent Caws book, Picasso - once he breaks off from Dora Maar - comes off as a complete asshole. I mean, that is not exactly a newsflash about him - he was after all a worldclass narcissist, in the sense of his being always ruthlessly at the center of his universe. As Picasso himself adduced: "for me, there are only two kinds of women - goddesses or doormats."

My complaint is that after he left Maar for his subsequent mistress - and that's not necessarily my objection - he couldn't just leave the brokenhearted Maar alone (she had suffered a cataclysmic nervous breakdown). He seemed to enjoy, in the years following their breakup, humiliating her, subjecting her proud self to his flaunting of the love interest who had replaced her; to cite but one example, he purchased for the two of them an identical outfit, which he presented to both, but somehow with tags switched so that each knew she wasn't the sole recipient.

Poor Dora. I feel for her. And I don't mean in that "Weeping Woman" way. It seems an unfair legacy of nomenclature. She seems rather, despite her fragilities - and she had, after all, been enormously hurt by him - to be strong and indomitable. (I'm sure Penelope Cruz could play her to perfection.)

Darling, this is threatening to be yet another loquacious ramble, and I should go downstairs and check on the pie. But to catalogue my industriousness today in the cooking sphere, I made taboulleh salad, so healthful with bulgur wheat, chopped tomato, red onion, parsley, cucumber, feta, lemon juice, EVOO, and mint from my windowsill; and potato salad seasoned with homemade vinaigrette, mayo, yogurt, and dill. I have so much food in the house - which I plan if the heat breaks to do my biweekly cleaning of tomorrow - this weekend would be the perfect time for you all to descend. I know you won't, but wouldn't it be nice if life could organize itself that way - (picking up phone) hi - my restaurant happens for the moment to be open for business!

Very many kisses, my love, I hope all is well with you and that I haven't bored you to the point of somnolence unless insomnia is an issue for you, in which case, so glad to be of service, dearest - sweet dreams.

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