Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe & beyond...join me!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

grafitti good time

Samy. Sam. San. I’m not exactly sure what or who is written on the stairwell outside of our house. What I do know, is that it’s bright, fluorescent green, about four feet high, and so obnoxious that the moment I walk out my front door I see it out of the corner of my eye, as if it’s screaming at me “Hey, here I am!” Right, it’s not as if I want to look at the river, the cathedral or the swans. I want to see this flaming green eyesore when I go outside.

Grafitti can be beautiful, don’t get me wrong. I do consider it art when I see it on a funky warehouse door in New York City or on a train car for three seconds, as it zooms by. Most sprayers are artists and I’m sure they are talented, interesting people. But, I honestly don’t think art should ‘happen’ on private property without the owner’s consent. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that crosses a line.

Anyways, Sam or whoever wrote his or her name on our stairwell, for only us and no one else to see, also happened to leave his prescription eyeglasses lying at the foot of his artwork. It was dark while he was creating; must have been the middle of the night. He was probably tired and so it serves him right that someone else should benefit from his, dare I say it, vandalism.

I got into a discussion about this subject with friends of ours who were over for dinner a couple of nights later. One opinion was, of course, that I should just enjoy the art; the poor artist was just practicing. I wasn’t really aware of how graffiti ‘happens’. Apparently, spray-painting hooligans, or graffiti artists, practice on random surfaces before painting their ‘real’ artwork somewhere special. No one disputed the fact that our private stairwell was a random surface and not the special, ‘public’ area he/she was practicing for.

A couple of weeks later, I was on my usual way to work where I have to walk through an underground passage-way into the centre of town. This underground walkway, where the trains pass overhead, is decorated with town-sanctioned graffiti. And sure enough, I saw some new pieces ‘hanging’ on the wall. There, in all its fluorescent-green glory, was a huge, six-foot, artwork by ‘SAMY’. I stood there for a moment, and I kid you not, the thought ran through my mind, “I could probably contact the town office, find out who this is so that we can return his glasses.” Sometimes, I do think Canadians are just too damn nice.

Two deeper thoughts to leave you with, on this glorious, sunny Sunday:

Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing,
the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things so that I may
enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear
and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun.
-Lakota prayer

A friend told me I was delusional. I almost fell off my unicorn.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

germany's next top models

A couple of days ago, after an especially invigorating pilates class, I came home to find great guy gone. He had left a note (the first time ever) saying that he was with peter rabbit, “…auto und fotos.” So, not thinking much (I figured it would take a while, as it usually does it if has to do with his car) I showered, made myself some dinner and settled down to watch (the first time ever) Germany’s Next Top Model.

It turns out, that while I was watching models posing for Ms. Klum while hanging from a skyscraper 50 metres above Dubai, great guy was posing for peter rabbit in a sad, empty bar in Bad Kreuznach. I’m itching to see the photos. Peter rabbit said they are some of the best photos he’s taken for his photography project (he’s in a two-year, professional photography program, commuting twice a week to Cologne). But, he did say that the photo is so sad and depressing that there’s no way we will want to hang it up in our house. It’s not because great guy is so sad-looking; it’s intentionally dark and lonely and depressive. The photo will be part of a series called ‘nachtschwärmer’ (nighthawks), where peter is re-creating some famous oil paintings by Edward Hopper.

Last night was my turn. Peter showed me the painting that he wanted me for; a woman wearing a hat, all dressed up, sitting alone in a café, darkness outside. I spent about an hour rummaging through my closet trying to find some old-fashiony clothing; a dark-red wrap dress; a dusty pair of black, mary janes; fancy pearls from step-mum; a black wool coat; and a soft, turquoise cloche. I was feeling a bit sickly and so spending the next hour or so, sitting in an empty café beside the river, staring sadly into a red wine glass, was actually quite easy. Peter rabbit zipped around, playing with lighting and tri-pods and flash angles, while I stared out the window into the darkness…feeling sick. Apparently he got the photo he wanted.

When I returned home, great guy was studying, and I proceeded to accidentally make a really great salmon for dinner. Well, God made the salmon but I somehow (and I’m not sure exactly how) made a fabulous crust on it. I’m a bit insecure cooking fish because I don’t really know how or what to do. But, to go with our new healthy living plan, I had bought a large, beautiful, salmon steak, rubbed salt, pepper, rosemary and (for a healthy kick) sesame seeds onto both sides.  Then a dusting of flour, into the frying pan and voilà, excellence! 

Even the new, totally crabby, non-smoker in the house loved it.

I will end this post with 3 thoughts:

1) I have a new, glorious nephew. I’m completely in love with the first one (who I saw on skype grab his mommy’s baby belly and yell “Hi brother!” – is there anything cuter?) and so I’m very excited about falling in love with this one. It’s just a crying shame (literally) that I’m so very far away. I’m thinking we need to make the ocean just a wee bit smaller.

2) Today I received an email with the following piece of advice:

Lent Day 24: Look out the window until you find something of beauty you hadn’t noticed before.

So, I did. I’m sitting at my desk, in the stellwerk (signal tower) where we live, and from here I stare out onto three train tracks with a wall of cliffs behind them. The cliffs are covered with all sorts of greens and browns; I’m not the best with foliage names. But, I notice that there are also long, trailing willowy branches hanging down, all along the cliffs, and one section is, for some reason, a lovely shade of pink. I have no idea why, when all the other branches are brown this large section in front of me is the colour of Helen Mirren’s new hair-do. It’s a soft colour, like pink cotton candy. Pretty.

3) I’ve been doing quite a bit of procrastinating lately. My two online writing classes through the U of C have kicked into high gear, and I’m feeling the pressure. It’s good, but it’s hard. So yesterday I cleaned out all of the cupboards in the kitchen. I realized then that I must be experiencing an extreme case of procrastinitis, because I don’t usually care too much how clean my cupboards are…even though I am living with a German man.

Then I decided to finally sit my butt in the chair and start writing…while rewarding myself with a cookie after each paragraph. Super bad idea. Now, if I actually want to write the novel that I think I have in my head…I will also need to join a gym.

Finally, I started writing the first chapter about Hattie.
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