Thursday, February 28, 2008

Looking for eyebrows/style consult

Dear sisters,

All through my chemotherapy treatment I thought: "oh, well, I may feel as sick as a dog, but at least I have my eyebrows".
But last week I looked in the mirror and thought: "there is something not quite right."

No hairs on the brow, that is what!

Suddenly, just like that.

I don't like looking like a plucked turkey.

So, today I went to the specialized wig shop and pressed a bell to be let in.

-"yes?" I heard over the intercom.

-"Uh- I've come to buy some eyebrows..?".

- All right, someone will be with you shortly."

Apparently women usually opt for a "stencil on' version. The men prefer the stick-on hairy eyebrows. Now, I have bad connotations with pencilled on brows, so I refused to take his word for it.

I bought both options and would like your advice. Please let me know which you prefer.

The classy stencil and powder version (sorry, I left my eyelashes off this morning too..)


the elegant stick on brows

The third option is to continue wearing big sunglasses day and night and just hope my brows will grow back soon.

Please let me know. You might take into consideration that my hair is growing back GREY. This grey. Really, father's genes again. It might influence your decision.

Love, S1

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bearded ladies and blossom in San Francisco

Still digesting the creamy cafe lattes , the rainbows, the ocean, all whilst wrestling with my jetlag here in Czech Republic. Wow , what a trip that was !
Have found out that african dancing and gin and tonic are quite good to deal with the lag , i slept like a baby lastnight. And a friend told me that wrapping oneself in a blanket in an open space with lots of fresh air also does the trick but unfortunately it is raining here so i will save that one for next time. I must say dear sistars , i had an AMAZING time in San Fran ( american accent please for the real effect ) It all felt like a Jarmusch film with funny but friendly characters in it. I especially liked the girl doing her shopping with her woolly hat pulled over her face,feeling for the bread whilst peeping through the knitted wool, maybe she was hiding some unexpected hairgrowth but i like to think she was just feeling free to feel her way round the supermarket, looking at things from a different perspective.
Talking of hairgrowth we saw lots of bearded women for some reason , it felt a bit like a nineteenth century circus.
I loved the bookshops and the cool coffee places where S1 took me , Coffee for the people ! yeah !
And the roller coaster ride roads seeing breathtaking views from every corner
I also developed a bad habit of buying things
I think i got about ten books but its all for a good purpose, that of making me even more clever than i am now.
Yes San Francisco is definately a good source of inspiration ,with its fresh ocean air , its lovely shops and colourful streets . The people are also very friendly especially when they want to sell something to you
Me as a cold english girl was quite suprised by this californian human warmth.
In any case i loved it there and didnt really want to come back
i was getting quite used to our daily routines of going to the hospital for ten minutes in the morning and then having coffee and then doing a plan B or plan 23. I enjoyed very much being with the little monkeys and making submarines out of plastic bottles and cereal boxes.
I am definately coming back! Looking at my pictures i feel i took a few too many of cars and not enough of family so i am feeling a bit guilty. Next time we are doing a photo shoot for the oscars, okay !
This is just my first report on San Fran but there will be more to follow as having been to the other side of the world sinks in.
S1 i was glad to see you doing so well and you have a great family and great people around you there!
How is the pink toenailed yoga going ? Im going to start a class next week and give you a report on how my bird of paradise is developing . Thankyou for everything ! you are all sooo amazing ! ( american accent please) no but really you are!
All my love

Friday, February 22, 2008

walls and ribbons and bamboo prints

Dear Sisters,

The sound of stretching, I like! It sounds like something we could all benefit from doing from time to time. I have always wanted to be a bird of Paradise. That is something to look forward to.

Speaking of birds, there comes a time for things some may say are trivial. But I have just, by chance, discovered an amazing website specialising is mouthwatering paper and fabrics and ribbons. Some of them are really good!

The website is and it is bound to cheer you up in a frivolous way. Or feed your obsessions. I so want the bamboo print paper to paste onto a wall. But as with most things I want I think I'll just paint it.

I have recovered more or less from my travels or should we say consumptions, and the wound on my hand has almost healed. It seems since then as if the universe has done a few turns already. All in a week's personal transformation. Oh hang on a minute, it always turns, doesn't it?

I have been scrubbing walls for a change, for a presentation I have to do next week; the space is mintgreen and the walls had, please note the past tense there, had, many years' accumulation of dust on them.

Now they have been washed with soapy water even though they still retain a hint of grey. I have filled in the holes and smoothed over the imperfections. I found myself feeling sorry for the walls and what they have endured through time. Maybe it was projection. Although I am okay on the wrinkles front. I quickly stopped that thinking as they are only walls. The walls have mud in them under the paint coat. It may be that like in the Verschansingstraat, my old street where I first lived in Antwerp, the walls were strengthened with horse hair. There's all kinds of strange things protruding from them and it seemed as if they were trying to tell me mumbled stories. I also couldn't help thinking they were grateful for their timely wash. Now the space smells really nice too. As of Monday the walls will no longer be mint green/grey, since they are getting whitewashed. By me. My hands deserve cream. But there's nought so pretty as colours on a white wall. So it's jolly well worth it.

Love from S2

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pink laquered toenails and other things

Dear S2,

Just being here long enough, makes you want to do yoga. I have been hesitant, but now I want to do yoga too. S3 and I went to a yoga lesson today. I am feeling good. Stretched.

In fact, I have been singing in the car and feeling generally elated on an otherwise dreary day. I think we will go back to our pink toed, fuschia headed (male) instructor tomorrow. I have a long, long way to go. I was very impressed by the positions some people could manoevre themselves into. If I ever succeed in doing this or this , I will buy you both dinner! At the end of the class, we prayed - to all mankind, if I heard correctly - and ommed together in the heated, candlelit room.

This morning, in the radiation waiting room, we met two San Francisco policewomen. One of them was about to start treatment for a form of cancer "down there". She pulled up her Obama '08 shirt and cheerfully showed us the tubes coming out of her back, being used to flush her kidneys. They were both very near retirement age but couldn't assure us enough they liked a smoke of a joint now and then. Yes, I had just told them I came from Amsterdam.

On Presidents day - that was Monday -we went to Muir beach for a bit of fresh air and Allard flew a kite for Jip, but Jip was too busy looking for shells to show any interest. We were not alone on the beach.

Hope you are well and recovering from your travels, S2.

Love, S1

S3 says hello and says she will be posting as soon as I get off this computer.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Dear sister 2,

While you were galavanting around Europe (again!) in your patent blue cork platform wedges, I was hearing about the joys of facial hair growth, pig slaying and mountain bear wrestling from S3, who has obviously learned a great deal in the past year.

S3 has joined me for my first week of radiation, which has been smooth running. I may have watched too many cartoons because I was expecting a visible red beam scorching my breast every day. None of that. I walk into treatment room B, wearing my blue and white striped gown and hear classical music playing. When I lie down on the bed I see a starry lit ceiling. It takes a few minutes to align me with the help of my seven tattoos, but when in position my radiologists say: "Here we go" and run out the room. The machine passes over my head and two minutes later I am done. I don't feel or see a thing. I think the skin looks a little more wrinkled after a week and I think I am feeling a little more tired, but nothing definite yet.

The rest of the days are spent enjoying views from hilltops, sniffing in the spring air, drinking coffee in coffee bars called The Progressive and Coffee for the People and rummaging through second hand stores, trying on bright blue dresses in cupboards.

The theme for this visit is cars. We take pictures of them.

I took S3 to the indie filmfest. We saw a film in the Roxie theatre, that was so depressing that even S3 will no longer join me in the cinema any more.

So all is well. I still have to take S3 on guest program C and D, but we still have all of next week.

Love S1

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rotterdam Corridor

Dear sisters,

Hope S3 arrived safely in SF, I am waiting for your reports. The Project(or) fair in Rotterdam I was participating in was a jolly good thing. Not only did I have some works in it, I also went along to help install the shows and look after the stand. After hanging not one but two booths of art (oh joy to see the colour) the organisations involved had a nice dinner and then wine was drunk copiously. So much so in fact that the cigarette burning my hand was but vaguely noticed by me and ignored until the next day when I discovered I had a blister on the back of my hand. Pro Secco with Aperol is obviously a killer cocktail.

I remember walking back to my car to get my luggage and taking a long time since I was doing loop the loops with my feet patterns on the pavement. I don't remember behaving this way since I was a teenager. Luckily I slept very soundly and the next day was harmless and spent in a comfortable woolly if slightly dithery hangover blanket. The next day I wrapped the hangover of the previous day in a new one, which was milder and therefore my senses were sharper still.

Rotterdam is really okay. We were in the old Art Deco post office, which is beautiful. There were arts organisations from all over the world. I was working with a curator who kept saying "curation is a process of slow starvation" even though I kept giving him sandwiches to eat and feeding him lattes. We stayed at Bazar which is a great hotel (see photo) and gives amazingly restorative breakfasts...

Fast forward a few days to London; the Pakistani boy in the bag shop where I buy a yellow seventies wrist purse for 4 pounds to take with me to the Wound magazine second issue launch party (you guessed my last post about it was not just a distant appreciation thing) at Selfridges, to go with my bright red silk Dirk Van Saene dress, red tights and my blue platform cork sole sandals...this boy asked me if I was a nun because I was wearing an orange/pink scarf covering my hair, which I sometimes do cos it helps me think straight and it also means I'm not all in black.. I told him no, and then he asked me how I got my wound on my hand and I told him and then I said so now you know I'm not a nun.

The party was good and the people were really nice. I met some lovely people including an icon (when I told him that he loved me) and some other people who were really friendly. The art people stood out rather nicely. My friend the starving curator wore opposite colours to me: blue lufthansa blanket pants by Bruno Pieters and a blue Vivienne Westwood Tshirt with...pointy red lacquer shoes, so he said we were the Mondrian brothers since we were planning to boogie. Before leaving the house when we were busy matching our outfits we had some Cava and when I almost fell off my platform shoes like Naomi Campbell once did, he generously said I should blame it on the slanting Georgian floors.

Outside the party there was a plague of strange luminous red jelly fish floating above the streets. And then we did some dancing although it must be said the company I was in outshone anyone on the dancefloor, self included, with their at times avantgardist, clearly formerly of a contemporary dance company or something to do with being a DJ called Kinky in a former life, moves.

Love from S2!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

It was a scandal !

Dear sistars, This is the building i was zapped into for the last four days with my art gang , we were preparing our joint exhibition that will be there for the next two months but at the same time we had to each intensely talk about our artworks, starting at 9 in the morning and ending at midnight each day. WOW ! I must admit i felt a bit gaga afterwards but luckily Yeti came to rescue me and i was whisked off into the snowy mountains where he comes from. That definately helped clear my head.
Yes and here are my paintings of this first semester. Basically i got good feedback , i was told i they had never seen anything like it before and that it was all very original which is good , yes ? I was also told by the professor that it was similar to his american friend artists so i will have to czech out the american art scene while i will be there. But then i was also told i painted like belgian pralines which i think they only said because i brought a box of magic belgian chocolates at the new year for them all , so if they think i will do that again then they must be joking! hahaha
Anyway , i did not take off my clothes although i did have a little boobie dance prepared just incase they asked me ! But they didnt and i think the most scandelous thing that happened was a bit of cabbage falling on the floor and being eaten in the morning. Apparently if you drop something on the floor for less than five seconds then you can still eat it, thats what the americans say ,apparently.
So here is all the photographic evidence. I include only my pictures for the moment as i still havent digested in czech all the things my school mates told me, so i will save their pictures for the next post!
In the jolly time i am now packing my suitcase, preparing mentally for the big eagle fly towards you dear S1, Joepie !!!
I am just waiting for my swinmming suit to dry as i have been swimming today, but i already have my flower and leopard sunglasses and gardeners raincoat all prepared. I am very much looking forward ! Yes and you can promise a puppetshow for all your dear friends, only i will leave the breadbin at home and improvise with something i can find around your house as a theatrical scene......
So please all take care, keep warm and before you can say Jackrobinsonzebra i will be there to entertain you all !
P.s. we also visited a carpet museum which was very beautiful
All my love and musical harmony
Here i come !

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tattoos on Super Tuesday

Dear sisters,

Instead of sitting with my ear pressed to the radio, listening to the live coverage of Super Tuesday, I was lying on a hospital bed, stripped from the waist up, with my arms raised above my head, various doctors clucking around me, sticking things on my breast, complimenting me on my small scars, marking me with a marker, and confirming coordinates with each other. A green beam moved over my body. I was doing a simulation for radiation - ah yes, patient again. They told me "you are doing great" a lot, which does actually make it better. I was given seven tattoos, nothing like the flying pig or copyright sign I had once considered a good idea. Seven dots tattooed in and around the bad breast to enable them to position me for radiation, which starts next week.

Driving down Market street, Obama supporters stood at all the traffic lights, holding big signs in support of Obama; "Honk for change", and cheering as I went by. It felt like a party.

When I got home Jip's school called that Jip really was not well, could I come and get him? So I shouldn't have sent him to school with a fever then? I felt really bad and have been serving him hand and foot since then. He is starting to like it. Rosie said "No, thank you" when I attempted to brush her teeth. "I choke". Tomorrow a better parent.

S3, have you packed your flower, your raincoat and your swimming costume yet? I am awaiting your arrival.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Le bruit..

Dear Sisters,

For years I have been scouring the newsstands for magazines or newspapers that meet my craving for a certain mix of visual, textual and cultural information. I'd often walk away emptyhanded or wasting money on something second best to what I had in mind.

Now: check this out: Wound Magazine, finally a good fashion/arts/architecture/music magazine with wit, a healthful dose of self-deprication and some jolly good articles too, which are of just the kind of length and filled with bitesized visual and verbal tit-bits you really DO want to know, if you are anything like me, served in elegant portions digestable enough to be enjoyed at the kitchen table, with a coffee by the sofa in between translations or to enliven a solitary moment or so in the smallest room of the house..

This lot are bright, intelligent, endowed with the quality of not taking themselves all too seriously, and thus opening up facets of fashion to those who may have become estranged, or adding a spicy, scope-broadening reappraisal to fashionista diehards of every description. It offers possibilities of cross-polinitation and thereby avoids inbreeding of each presented discipline. Who ever said they were watertight anyway?

The design is gorgeous, and I only realised this when I read the articles and images: it is a fine marriage of photographic layout and elegant typography: design and editorial policies seldom go hand in hand this successfully.

They set their sights high; the title comes from this quote:

"The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken a mortal wound, that he will never get over it." Robert Frost
But as the quote says it also expects something of its readers.

You can view pdfs of the magazine on their site.
you heard it from me!