Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Normal life dooms over the horizon (with symbolic pictures of hair)

Dear sisters,

The chemo is over. Yeah!

I didn't feel yeah, but by just leaving my post in draft for long enough, things slowly sort themselves out.

I had managed to catch a popular cold, which slowed the recovery. I didn't feel up to much at all, especially posting. Fed up, fed up. But now two weeks after the last treatment, my body is starting to realize the poison is finished, so the expected elation is finally coming. I practically feel normal, except for the hot flashes and the afternoon dips. It would feel like a holiday, were it not for the rain.

Rain,rain, rain. Thick drops of never ending rain.

Except today. The sun came out and it felt GOOD!

The parents were here, of course. Mother took every opportunity to teach me new recipes. It is her opinion (and that of her book club) that our generation should be eating more peasant food. We would be sitting in a cafe and the rudiments of a basic roux sauce would be whispered in my ear. We would be in the car on the way to the supermarket and the makings of a nutritious lentil soup would be explained. "..So you fry the onions in the bacon fat..", as I pulled up to the traffic lights. After a few days, she noticed the glazing over of my eyes each time 'nutritious' was mentioned, so she bought a little box with cards and wrote the recipes down for me instead. I am very happy with my box. Really, mam!

On sunny days, we went out for walks, each armed with a camera and sometimes fighting over the same shot. The other days were just rainy and cold. Knitting was a theme this visit, again. The various hand knitted blankets came in useful in our badly insulated house. We compared symptoms, because many had caught the same cold.

Father has been converted to Apple. I have drunk red wine. All this is GOOD, I tell you.

This weekend we had some more old friends over, on their way to emigrating to Australia. Sometimes you have to move far away to get people to visit you.

Twee weeks off, before radiation starts. It feels like a luxury.

Love S1

warm pictures for the winter

Dear all,
Prague is doing well, it is warm inside my flat and warm in my studio at artschool, which is where i am spending all my time at the moment. So not much to report on the wild nightlife and discodancing dumplings but im hoping to make up for it soon. Am also going for longish walks along the river with Yeti after he cooks me lunch now and again.
With our atelier we are preparing an exhibition in the east of Czech republic in a funny named town that i havent quite yet discovered how to pronounce yet : Valasky mezi Ryce . it is suposed to be situated between two rivers.
The theme of the exhibition is Scandal and we are supposed to each do a scandelous painting, piece, performance or whatever we want. I've almost finished my paintings but they are absolutely not scandelous, so i suppose i will do a performance. I do not know what yet.
Do you have any ideas, which doesnt involve poo or being naked ? Please let me know...
A lorry will be arriving on thursday morning to ship all our art works to the gallery ( which used to be a farm house for drying wheat)
And on friday we will post ourselves in a train to the place , which will take four and half hours to get there and we will be staying there for four days and we will each have to talk about our work. In czech, so you can imagine that it will be a very interesting experience for me.
I will give you a detailed account of the whole event and photograph all the scandals !
But in the meantime i send you some warm pictures for these dull winter days.
Sending you all lots of positive vibes,
All my love

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where's Latvia?

Europeans often exclaim in disgust that "US Americans" cannot locate Belgium on a map...the 50 states game in a previous post got me thinking. Here is a similar online game for Europe. I shall leave it to everyone's own discretion to decide how perfect Europeans supposedly are...

Inside Out

Finally there is something online of Clarina Bezzola's performance Inside Out as enjoyed by S2 and S3 at Lokaal 01 in Antwerp last year. It was a rare treat. She spent up to two years sewing those objects. Enjoy the film. More on the artist can be read on her site. As she is also very much a transcontintental, she might be coming somewhere near you!
Hope you are feeling well, and keeping the chins up! Both of ye.
Love from S2

Monday, January 14, 2008

the scapegoat by William Burne-Jones

Seen recently in Ghent at the British Vision exhibition, which I am sad to say fell below my expectations as a whole. It was a peculiar selection of pictures which had me thinking they weren't able to secure better loans. It demonstrates yet again how curators are really capable of missing the ball completely. What worries me is the responsibility they carry, and how this or that supposed 'vision' resonates and trickles down into the general consciousness. On a positive note, I shall enjoy deepening my knowledge of the artists presented further.

And yes, families can be horrible places, but the good things always outweigh the bad, don't they? Don't they?

On a positive note, regarding Christmas, which, I will concede, was a little bizarre, the shirt S3 gave me with the flowery sleeves has me singing unusual melodies and brings out a whole new side of me, and the make-up from S1 has me discovering the new experience of swishing a make-up brush all over my face. Soft and delicate. Dr. Hauschka is great for my skin, and my new headphones are a treat. Thank you, all.

On a positive note regarding the few days in Normandy,I enjoyed very much the walk at dawn, the excellent food by our mother and auntie and also yours truly, and the crackling fires, a fabulous walk by the sea which always inspires our father(rounded off in Sarajevo with two Belgian beers, which inspires both our uncle and our father, and the bar is indeed an attraction in itself), a strip tease by Auntie A. in the street, the rainbow explosion of knitted colours and the stereoscopy of Auntie A. and our mother doing synchronised knitting into the new year, the day in Paris with one macaron glacée visual discovery after the other (more about that later perhaps), mother's stellar performance on the train home, with her and auntie A. bopping to the music on my iPod, being able to share a fantastic day in Paris in which, with S3, yes, three exhibitions were seen, despite prior disbelief, and the time with Aunt & Uncle who are always a delight to see.

PS: I'll also recommend when in Paris to sit down for a honey pancake.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This is what we had for lunch at christmas....

Dear siblings,
I must apologise for my delay of correspondence, something came over me :I wasnt able to sit down quietly at the parents' nor even in the quiet haven of Normandy to write a post. I think i can blame it on my lack of concentration , or maybe on all the christmas films they were showing on the box, but i think i just needed to digest all those brussels sprouts, big chicken, sausages, roast potatoes and whipped cream dessserts AND Kipley's christmas puddings.
Now we all know that nobody cares what we had for lunch,but it was a delicious feast that was made by our mother, so i think it is worth mentioning.
The food was brilliant but our present giving moments were a bit tedious. We first tried by being civilized , sitting around the table and giving one present one by one so that we could all experience this present giving moment all together in peace and harmony. At one moment i think we ressembled a happy and loving family but then we moved into the living room and then we were given more and more presents , all at the same time. It went so fast , there was no time to notice that we were sinking in the unwrapped wrapping paper and then that was it , it was all over and no digestion rennies for all the beatiful presents.
We had somehow decided to do the " supriesjes" last , which in my opinion was the mistake of the day. We all got a bit offended by our families poem writing abilities, and yes some of them did end in tears.
But i think it was to be expected, with all that wine and antibiotics for coughs and the fact that there were no little children to pick up and cuddle. Dear sister 1 , this christmas was definately a bit strange without you and A. and J. and R., but we tackled on through and eventually we all made up and bonded by watching the new Doctor Who on television under beautifully knitted blankets.
And that was that , poefff! as you say , Alladins christmas genie back in the lantern till next year. A few days after this event we all went to Normandy to get some fresh french cow's air therapy. This consisted mainly in drinking lots of french wine and eating smelly french cheese. The food was heavenly as usual but our getting on as a functional family was a bit pongy. But i wont go into detail , letting the world know to what extent we are disfunctional, i just want to say that despite everything we do really love each other and personally i dont think we are a disfunctional family at all. It just depends on how you look at it and if you can empty a dishwasher. easy, nestce pas !
But its not all gloomy news, i have a nice story to tell from when we were driving down to Normandy from Belgium. It was really raining hardly onto the little car of our mother , that we could hardly hear each other speak. But it just so happened that i was reading an article in the newspaper out loud at the same time, it was about how to be happy in the new year in four easy steps. They were basically saying stuff that we already know but i suppose it never harms to hear good advice again and again.
Step one , allow yourself to be unhappy, angry , sad etc. if we cant accept these emotions then its a bad thing.Only psychopaths and dead people dont cry.
Step 2, give yourself time and dont take on too many jobs so that you can enjoy the time you are spending with friends and family without worrying about all the things you need to do.
Step three, excercise regularly. Yes we know that one by heart !
Step four, be grateful for what you have and say thankyou. Basically positive thinking !
After i read this article out loud we both started mentioning all the things we were grateful for in our little lives, for example mama said she was grateful for having such a handsome husband and i was grateful for having a hairy boyfriend, we were both grateful we were going to Normandy with the family and we were grateful for having nice cats and so on and so on and you will never believe but after we had mentioned all these things mama saw a rainbow coming from the exhaust pipe of the car. So you see it really does work !
Anyway, Normandy was beautiful as usual and the new year was relaxed and easy going which is what we all wanted. We all sat in the front room joined by our Aunty and Uncle from Newcastle , who were great fun to be with. They had brought this fun game called " Articulate" down which consists of describing certain words of certain categories to your group without mentioning the word itself. It was a lot of fun and the box even farted when you took the lid off! neverending fun i tell you.
Mother and aunty didnt want to let go of their knitting into the new year, so as we were sipping champagne they were knitting their blankets. Everyone was in bed by one and i was reading Peter Cook's autobiography when Yeti phoned me from the mountains round about three. He was in a little hut with lots of friends, singing and dancing merrily and after wishing me a happy new year he asked me what i was doing, i said" Im in my pyjamas reading a book" I think he then fell off the terras in amazement of my action packed evening. To be honest i think he was jaelous, i mean who wants to be with lots of good friends in a romantic hut in the mountains when you could be reading a book.
I love books by the way, I have just joined a really good book club thats called bookcrossing ( look it up on google) and it basically consists of recycling books all over the planet. All you have to pay is the postage of sending your book to someone and although i havent sent a book yet, i think its a really good sight, take a look at it!
Well, to continue my storytelling line , the next day we went to the seaside which was very refreshing , especially in Bar Sarajevo where it was the official last day of smoking in french bars so everyone was puffing away except us , the tourists ofcourse.
After all that clean country air we decided we needed some city life pumped into our blood so the next day we got up very early and drove off to Rouen train station without running over a little deer , hopped on a train and within an hour we were in Paris , the big P .
We got to see three art exhibitions which were amazing but i will keep it short and now give you some visual evidence instead of all this blabla of mine .
The silver jacket is in Paris ( where else)
Wishing you all a lovely new year and hope to see you all soon ! All my love S3

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And a happy new year to you too!

Dear sisters,

The back to back guests/helpers are all gone, the children are back at school and although quiet is good these days, I am readjusting to this quiet and felt a little sad yesterday, sitting at the kitchen table. Although it will only be brief; the parents are on their way.

It is grey and rainy in San Francisco.

California has had the worst storms in a long time. We got the wind, the rain and a power outage of a day. I have bought a few torches now.

For these indoorsy days, I have found a new hobby. The
American primaries have temporarily become my new obsession. In the car I have switched back from vintage pop to National Public Radio and follow any new snippet of information on the bids for the nomination for presidential candidate. I run into the house and put on the radio there, which, thanks to the owners of the house, can be heard through speakers in the front room, kitchen, study or combination of the three. I cook the kid's dinner listening to NPR, feed the kids listening to NPR:" Shshsh" I say, "I can't hear." "Be quiet". After the children have eaten their dinner in silence and left the table I stay a little longer in the kitchen. I empty the dishwasher and hey, while I'm at it I might as well sweep the floor, because a new interview is coming on.

I watch CNN, read the newspaper and the internet and find the media can't keep up with my need for fresh information. It's a bit like Wimbledon and the World Cup.

It is quietened down now a bit as we wait for the next primary, but I will be in there. Don't want to miss another emotional moment by Hillary. Getting very excited about Super Duper Tuesdayon February 5th, when 24 states will be voting at the same time!

One problem is that my topographical knowledge of America has diminished since 1986, when, for a few months, I knew the states off by heart. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina can only be vaguely placed. I play
this game to get better.

So, recovering from treatment #7. It is not so bad, considering. New on the scene are the frequent hot flashes, with accompanying urge to tear all clothes off in public, and my eye lashes are falling out after all, Just a few measly ones holding strong, which my mascara can't make anything of. I am also a bit spotty here and there, but that could be the chocolate of the past weeks. A sad sight, indeed. I can't wait for it to be over.

Love, S1

The risk of taking Risks

Dear sisters,
A quick link to a site of a very fine and clever artist, Risk Hazekamp, whose opening I had the honour of attending this Sunday afternoon in Rotterdam. The pictures deserve to be looked at in large. They look even better in their real size in the gallery. I especially think the Bio Drag Queens are funny and could see it on your living room wall, S1.


Favourite picture from San Francisco #2

This, taken of Rosie, age 2, climbing two storeys up a slide, needing a little hand to get over that last bit (pictured); sliding down, hurting herself, getting up again and going for another go.
And a very happy new year to all of ye.