Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Estrahno forma de vida

Dear sisters ,
I am in the mood for songs about destiny.With the night falling at five i get quite nostalgic and i feel like wrapping myself up in a warm melancholic duvet blanket.
Please listen to this beautiful song by AMALIA RODRIGUEZ
, the icon portuguese Fado singer. So you can get into the mood of my tales to come.
And here is a visual helper of how i was feeling a few weeks ago.

By the way, November isn't my best month. Last week i woke up with a blocked nerve in my back and i couldnt move my neck in any direction,I felt like a cardboard theatre prop with a cupboard painted on it. You can imagine its not easy for a cupboard to go the cinema, but that is exactly what i did as i couldnt do anything else, even lying down was painful. The latest Woody Allen film cheered me up , even though laughing was painful , it helped me forget feeling sorry for myself. After the film I went a bit wild and bought myself a hot water bottle and a fleece jumper with a hood.
I also bought myself a bottle of whiskey to reduce the pain. i told you November is not my best month but there are some high lights. I can assure you I only drink a little whiskey with hot tea and lots of honey. This , as you might know , is our Nanna's recipe for any kind of malaise or illness. I am happy to confirm my back has been completely cured. i wore my fleece jumper with a hot water bottle in the back for about four days. i think the Nostrodamus look is back , seen in Prague first !

But I have another brilliant cure which is to go to Lisbon for five days for a drawing conference, which funnily enough is exactly what i did last week.
I have fallen inlove with Lisbon , i felt like i went up in a balloon and floated there looking at all the beauty for five days.

It is like a city of faded chandelier glass and colour. A prism of different shades of blue and broken painted tiles. The churches are filled with paintings on tiles from top to ceiling.

Breathtaking and an overwhelming feeling of being blessed.
I saw a double rainbow , what more can i say ?

Now im back in Prague again and i have crashed, fallen from my portuguese balloon.
But all in good spirit. My ring finger nail of my left hand has been surgically removed by one third ,
because of a very heavy ceramic boot that fell on it in the summer. The new nail remembered the bump and was starting to grow into my skin which was quite painful,
so i went to a doctor and she said i had to get it removed as soon as possible.
So the next day I went to the hospital and an hour later i walked out with a huge bandage round my finger. I wont give you too many details , it didnt hurt , I got two anesthetic injections in my finger, it blew up like a balloon, and then i had to lie down and the doctor asked the assistent to get the finest scissors from the draw. He lifted a long metallic tool about the size of a shoebox from the draw, saying , Are these the finest we have ?
At that point i turned my head to the right, squinshed my eyes and refused to look. He kept tugging at my hand and asking if it hurt, i mumpled not really. But the worst of all were the noises, like he was cutting into thick cardboard.
Hence again my cardboard prop feeling coming back to me.
Afterwards i went for a strong coffee and serious dark chocolate cake with A. It helped.
I am not able to do any washing up of dishes to my great dissapointment and to that of A's. I am also not able to wash any clothes with our prehistoric washing machine , which deserves a post of it's own.
A. is very helpful and patient with me.
Im just taking it easy and pondering about how i will create art work for the next five months until the nail grows back. I have tried drawing with my right hand but it looks like a three year old has been scribbling in a book which could be quite interesting for a while. Maybe i can draw with my feet , or my mouth? The time has come for a change in my art style.
Lets just hope for the best. This is me pondering :

Here are a few songs that make me feel nice and warm. The first one is by SADE,called
Bring me home

And here is a song that cheers me up , its a song about the sea

All my love and good luck with the move over there in Bali ! I would take as little as possible. And take care !
Bon voyage !

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only 27 days.

Dear sisters,

Last Thursday was the day puppies were offered to the demons. I mentioned this practice on the blog before.

All over Bali, puppies were killed and skinned. Sate sticks were made of puppy meat, to offer with the skin. During a ceremony, a pig was slaughtered by piercing a knife into its throat, collecting the blood that ran clear, and finally, the blood spilled at the traditional cockfight was also added to the mix: a mighty potion to appease the demons coming from the sea, at this halfway point of the Balinese calendar. It is a bad month.

In the evening the villagers walked in procession to the village borders, dressed in finery, carrying the symbols of their temples, in an attempt to keep the demons out for another year. I saw the processions, but got the gory bits from my main source, Nyoman, of course.

In the week that this was happening, I was practising yoga twice a day on a marble balcony, overlooking the green, green, as my yoga teacher from San Francisco felt inspired by the gentle nature of the Balinese.

It is my yoga time. I am cramming it in before we return. Two days of rest after a week’s retreat, before I dive into a five-day immersion in the South. Will I be able to do a handstand, before we go? I dream about flying up lightly, my legs straight and elegant, but it proves a deception once I awaken. My body is still a bulging sack of potatoes, unsuccessfully attempting to defy gravity.

We had an unexpected house-guest, who came for dinner and did not leave for two weeks. We met before, during a yoga retreat in Greece, and she turned up in Ubud, we ran into her, and so she came and provided all members of the family with stories to entertain. We expect to see her again.

Today, Sinterklaas came to Bali. It was a very hot day and the parents sweat a lot, as they waited for it to end. The children sang song after song in utter confusion and eventually lined up for a bag of sweets with a notebook. Kroketten and friet on presentation of the coupon. Rosie had been up before six, showering in our bathroom to get ready for the man. I find it hard to get into that Sint Nicholas feeling in the tropics.

And now? We count down. Less than four weeks to go, before we return to the European lowlands: a bit more than a month before we meet again, elastic baby and sock sister.

With love,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fresh Enough: doing things by halves first.

Dear Sisters,

Greetings from Villa...Smog! If I were to take a picture out of my window there wouldn't be much on it. I can measure the density of fog by looking at the clock on the old district town hall. If I can't see it, it is foggy today. It was. The whole town seems wrapped in a damp blanket, as if the whole place were the inside of a steamed up car window. It confers a certain atmosphere on the city, not altogether unpleasant. On the whole it is one of those late (late, already) autumn days that tell you winter is coming. Soon, all will have changed forever. Until next season. Time is definitely churning.

I know "no one cares what you had for lunch" but I do have some very ordinary things to talk about.

I am sitting here at the kitchen table, listening to Italian renaissance music on the radio, after finishing a delicious bowl of Thai chicken soup; it came out of a tetrapak, of which the writing printed on its side assures me it is fresh, and then I have augmented it with some fresh ginger (also great as tea), some browned pine nuts, a branch or two of chopped, organic celery; and some wild mushrooms...out of the deep freeze. Methinks my culinary art of living has gone up a notch, but even if it be just half a notch, by adding the fresh to the fresh enough, that already seems a great place to start. It has something of an elegant compromise.

So too my best intentions floundered; a perfect practice of yoga, to which I cannot yet seem to commit, is seconded by an occasional centering session on the floor of my amazing living room tatami platform with the breathtaking view. I learn to take breaths again, and to stretch in a way that has me discovering my body's hinges as if it were the very first time, and as if I was not once - allegedly - also an elastic baby. The lessons of breathing really open up something amazing and beautiful.

The website that is helping me do this is one that S1 recommended to me: Yogaglo I also cannot recommend it warmly enough. For a start, its design and usability is one of the most beautiful things you will encounter on the web. You can choose the style and duration of your lesson, including all kinds of wonderful meditation, and as it plays on your computer you can keep your mind on the lesson and not let it wander off (as it might). What's more, the screen is each time full of positive people saying nice things to you as you try something new. It has all the love of a San Francisco Yoga Tree, or even an Ubud Yoga Barn lesson, streaming through the internet and coming into your home. Wherever you might be. It always has you coming back for more. Which reminds me of my soup of which there is a bit would be such a shame to let it go to waste!

love to you both!