Startling Beauty

Crest Mask, Possibly Etim Bassey Ekpenyong, Early 20th Century

Winter storm Isaiah has descended upon us with all of its biblical fury. Bringing with it flooding rain (checkout our basement), severe storms, snow and the worst of all, crippling ice. That is the forecast according to that snowflake network, CNN. But are you going to believe fake news? You’ve got to watch out for that crippling ice though. It will put you in traction for weeks. Anne with her delicate heinie has a solution for this danger of falling and landing on her tuchus, don’t go outside. That’s OK, she won’t miss it at all, because she is in full first grade mode this weekend. It’s report card time and she is weighing the fate of nineteen souls. What grades shall be placed in their permanent record? Who will triumph and who will fail and which parent will be first to assail her for her decisions? That’s not my problem though, I just have to live with it.

To us, the facial features of this southwestern Nigerian mask, may appear fierce or even look evil. The fact that it is sheathed in animal skins doesn’t help. Yet, the mask actually depicts an ideal beauty, a young woman with perfectly filed teeth (A practice that would be a nightmare for any dentist, but would make the teeth easier to floss.) and a distinctive, if somewhat devilish coiffure, worn on her wedding day, signaling her readiness for marriage. This art is believed to be the work of Etim Bassey Ekpenyong, who is credited with creating a mask for the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. I don’t know which mask, maybe the wizard effigy, but I’m thinking the flying monkeys. They’ve always been scary to me. 

Wind’s Gotta Blow

Fun’ya no Yasyhide, Japan, mid-1830s

In autumn the wind has only to blow
for leaves and grasses to perish
That must be why the characters
“mountain” and “wind”
together mean “gale”
— Fun’ya no Yasyhide

The wind’s gotta blow and when it does, you gotta bend. It is an ill wind that blows no one any good. A cold icy wind. A hot summer’s breeze. The 4Hs of bicycling—Heat, Humidity, Hills and Headwinds. Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. You don’t spit into the wind […] and you don’t mess around with Jim. And don’t piss into the wind or on Jim either. Wind is the most skilled hairdresser! Wind blown hair—A hair raising experience? Find some windy weather and let your hair be shaped creatively! Sometime I wonder why I walk alone on this cold, windy road. Maybe I have no one to love or no one loves me at all? How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. A sigh is like a wind from the heart, but when it comes from below, we call it a fart. You know, that really blows..

Wintery Mix

The Mountain, Aristide Maillol, 1937

Neither rain, nor sleet nor snow shall keep our teacher lady from the swift completion of her appointed rounds. Oobleck was in the forecast, but turning on the TV elicited no school closings. The saints were definitely not marching in. In Saint Louis, the TV’s school closings crawl is so dominated with Catholic schools, it is like the song, “Oh when the saints, go marching in, I want to be in their number,” but there wasn’t even a crawl. It was already misting when I dropped Anne of at school, but it was of the liquid variety. It was still above freezing. By mid-morning it had turned to sleet and then soon to snow, as the mercury continued to plummet. At school, during reading, where Anne works one-on-one with a quarter of the class at a time, the other three-quarters soon had their faces pressed to the window, watching the white-stuff coming down. Against all reason, Anne took the class outside for recess, where against her admonition some of the kids soon started fashioning snowballs. “We are not making snowball; we’re making balls made of snow.” Sounds like flake news to me. By the time that I retrieved her, we were well beyond the forecasted 1” of snow. The car needed to be scraped and the roads were beginning to ice. The bottom in the temperature should dropout night. Maybe, the saints will march tomorrow? If so, I want to be in their number.

White Flamingo Flower

White Flamingo Flower

We are settling into our post-hosting ways again. So far, we have found only one thing that Jay and Carl left behind. It wasn’t left in their bedroom. It wasn’t even in the house. It was the weather that they left us, a real Seattle all-day rainstorm. It never rained very hard, but it did rain all day. Afterwards the sump pump started running. Today’s weather is much better, both warm and sunny. We have a dinner party tonight. Our next door neighbors, the architects are hosting it. It will be outside, so props to them for picking today as the date, instead of yesterday. 

More long term, Anne has signed up for another long-term substitute gig. She will be teaching in the first grade. She’ll start sometime in mid-November, depending on when the regular teacher’s baby comes. Her gig will run until mid-January. I was initially pissed that she signed up for this assignment, but then I hit upon the idea of doing some solo traveling and leaving her home alone. So far, I’ve booked myself a trip to Washington, DC. On our trip last month to Shenandoah, we flew in-and-out of Washington and I missed not having anytime to see the town itself. This trip should rectify that. 

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

Yesterday’s weather was fine. Today’s was a little wet. I made my world famous avocado toast for breakfast. Yesterday, just as we were about to launch towards the Festival of Nations, Harry called. He had gotten a spam call on his new phone and then notice that he had missed a call from Anne the day before. The two talked for a while, while I fidgeted. Eventually, they signed off. Anne told me that Harry missed my cooking and dishwashing. It’s nice to be missed.

Today, we checked radar. It looked threatening, but we launched anyway. We got to the farthest point in the park, when the rain caught us. Turning around, we rode home in a light, but steady rain. I figured that we would get caught by some rain, but when we left home the storms were small and scattered. While we were out riding, they had congealed into a more solid front. Still, while on our bikes, we escaped the heavy stuff. Interestingly, before we launched, I went to unlock the basement door, but the key just spun without throwing the bolt. Fortunately, I had a replacement lock, which after a little bit of fumbling, I got installed.

We lunched on the last of the gazpacho and were just getting ready to drive to gyrotonics, when the heavens opened up. So we bagged that opportunity for some cross-training. When the rain let up, we drove to the grocery store, where Anne got her hair cut next door, while I shopped. I finished first and went to the hair salon to wait. The rain started up and we got wet again.

Tomorrow, Anne starts school. She’s starting at the beginning again, with her first assignment at the Early Childhood Center. One of her automated sub apps always contracts this school’s name into an acronym that it pronounces as Eck! With her repeated dousings today, Anne has ably demonstrated that she is immune to the Wicked Witch of the West syndrome, “What a world! What a world!” Those little munchkins better watch out, or she’ll get you my pretties. 

Everthing Is Just Beachy

Superior Sunset with One Dark Spot

Dave is back in Boston, mostly. I had to mail his iPad to him today. I then went to Meijer’s. Shopping there feels safer than shopping at Walmart these days. These are the only two choices. Not that we normally frequent Walmart, but now that we’re on Medicare, Anne may need to go there to fill a perscription or to exercise her cute girl privileges.

Anne, Dan and Brit finished a jigsaw puzzle today, in record time. This 1,000 piece puzzle that Brit had bought is entitled, “Age of Discovery” and features a British ship-of-the-line sailing vessel. It was an interesting puzzle for a couple of ancillary reasons. The pieces were a cardboard-wood laminate, making the fit between pieces very crisp. The other novel feature was that the puzzle was back-printed with a matrix of the letters A through H. We started only using the back to confirm that a piece was placed correctly, but that was a slippery slope. Since, each of the eight letters identified which quadrant the piece belonged in, we soon had sorted the remaining pieces into their appropriate piles. This greatly expedited the puzzle’s completion. Anne plans on trotting out the Redwoods puzzle again. She, Jay and Carl had solved it, but it should be good for one more play with Dan and Brit. Besides, it is unlikely that she will be able to entice them with the only other alternative, the Thomas Kinkade puzzle, even though it features NYC Central Park, because Dan loathes him as an artist.

The weather has been unusually fine here, since Dan arrived on Friday. Since, Dave and Maren were here for only a very short time, I’m glad that their brief stay was marked by good weather. What makes the weather here so nice is the wind. It has been a wee bit cool here, but I’m fine with that. We’ve enjoyed a fairly constant 10+ knot wind that has kept the bugs away. I can’t remember the last time that I got a mosquito bite. I could under deep hypnosis, because I have probably repressed all those memories, but why bother. The Perseids meteor shower is supposed to peak tonight and with the wind the way it is, their viewing would be ideal, but unfortunately tonight’s forecast looks rather cloudy. Clouds to make for better sunsets though. Maren gets credit for today’s pic.