Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mojo Dust.

Dear Friends,

Do you remember when we wanted to be magicians?  To amaze with sleight of hand, to defy perception?  I put a spell on you, and I practiced, and I had a top-notch deck of trick cards, but I also had sloppy hands and poor showpersonship, and so I sleight, defy, and amaze by following another shamanistic path:  the way of the artist.  I have never regretted my decision to be a artist/magician, but watching these three clips gave me a little pang; a small yen to be a magician/artist.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pastries I have known.


Dear Financier Fanciers,

My good fortune continues-  I received three sweet birthday treats last week from one of my oldest and dearest friends.  She had been out to the beautiful coast of Maine, on an island even, just like Time of Wonder, and she brought back two nice cakes in a pretty handmade bowl.  The cakes came from The Standard Baking Company.  One was a multi-armed star shaped pastry, which I astounded my friend by recognizing as a Financier.  And was it good! 

The whole episode got me to thinking about pastries I have known, and pastries I have yet to meet.
I have planned for years to make Financiers, and also Friands, which are a kind of Australian close relative.

I have made many Madeleines, but I have not yet made Canelés.  I have made Tarte Tatin, but not Île Flottante.  Pithiviers and Paris-Brest, but not Le Succès.  Reine de Saba, but not Charlotte Malakoff.  I have made Mont Blanc, but not Blancmange, and I have made Pain d'Epice, L'Opéra, and Langues de Chat, but not Savarin.

Oh!  I know, so many lovelies that I have yet to make; no time to chat!  Try this recipe, if you like, from Eric Kayser, whose Financiers are a favorite of David Lebovitz's.  They were very good, but not quite as good as the one from Standard Baking. 

Yes, we love Robert McCloskey here at the Dodo, and if you are anywhere near Hamilton, high in the middle and round at both ends, stop by this museum.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

When Life Gives You Etrogs.


Dear Darlings,

Do you find yourselves delighted with your good fortune?  I do, and so darned often!  I hope that your good fortune is as delightful and varied as mine. 

As evidence, an etrog.  A few months ago I took a position teaching, where I met an interesting, insightful artist and teacher, and then, out of the clear blue, she brought me this gorgeous etrog from her orchard. 

Now that you have admired its form, color, and sheen, read a little more about this fascinating citron.  Intrigued?  Learn even more.  It smells as lovely as it looks.  If you come by in a while, a few weeks from now, we might share a candied piece of this marvel.  Or maybe I will make jam....

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Today is a good day to resist.

Dear Comrades,

What will you do to resist today?  If you don't know what to resist, well, you are on the wrong blog.

It is very inspiring to see how others interpret their duty to humanity.  Here is a fellow I know you will admire greatly-  They are clip-clopping nearby today- celebrate in an appropriate manner!

Keep up your good work!  Oh, and a song.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Regrets? Not exactly.

Meret Oppenheim, 1936.

Dear Boys and Sisters,

Boys, you know I do think of you all- now and then, when I am tying my sensible shoes.  I think of you, when you were sitting a little too near, and I was a little too shy, and I sometimes, very infrequently, hardly at all, really, wish I'd said to you it's now or never.  Or, that I'd leaned closer, to say, I'll be your baby tonight.  But, I drove an insured car, got good grades, and brushed my teeth, instead of calling your bluff. 

There are a lot of us out here, women that take care to be sensible, and many of you boys will never meet us, will never know us, because we can see from very far off that what might have been would be too little. 

To my sisters, to the women in sensible shoes, I say, we are legion, we are worthy, even of the attention of flakes, screw-ups, and bad boys.  However, proving this is not necessary.  You and I know it, and that will suffice.  Correspondingly, should you say "it's now or never," do not wring your hands, do not beat your breasts.  Just move on down the line.


If you are wondering why I have begun this little diatribe with Ms. Oppenheim's sculpture, it is because there is no finer symbol of feminism and femininity.  This sculpture subverts the power of progeneration by rendering the dish useless to hold nourishment, and sexually totemizes the container by lining it with hide.   


Yes, sisters, there are men you could make a mistake over, and it would be worth it. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Following the Winged Ones.

Dear Field Guided,

We followed this skipper around the zinnias a few days ago-  an intimate look into the world of the nectar sippers.  I consulted with my Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, and my best guess is that she might be a Fiery Skipper.  Kaufman and Brock say of the skippers that "they make up a very large worldwide group of mostly small and confusing creatures."

The authors continue: 
Beginners are often driven to despair by the skippers, because there are so many of them and because they are so subtle, so challenging to identify. 

On second thought, perhaps it is a Rural Skipper, or a Whirlabout.  Or maybe a Sachem.  Or a Juba.  It could be an Alkali Skipper.  No, I bet it's the Sandhill Skipper.


I may have mentioned my interest in collecting field guides?  I have many of them for birds, of course, and wildflowers, but also shells, eggs, nests, rocks, trees, snakes, insects, mammals, holes and scat.  There is a lot of pleasure in perusing field guides.  Have I mentioned also that writer Terry Tempest Williams is a great one for field guides?  If you don't feel like looking at the images in guidebooks, you could read her fine books on place, nature, and the search for truth.    


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear Paper.

Dear Creamy,White, Blank and Slightly Toothed,

     As you sit there in your limitless potential, please consider how paper, 'good' paper, is made, by watching this charming film.

     Once you have learned all about the age old methods of papermaking, get yourself a nice sheet and fill it up!  For a really nice empty sheet, shop this catalog:  New York Central Art Supply.  And, shop soon, because, well, you know why.

     If you happen to have a Dodo pencil, all the better-  I hope you found it in a knothole on a quayside, or a brick ledge on a wall, or even under a mirror in a bathroom.  If you have not yet found a Dodo pencil, keep your eyes peeled. 

     Oh, and keep filling up blank sheets and empty pages!

     If you wonder at the wonder of Hayle Mill itself, you might be interested in this location. 

     If you wonder what the difference between one pencil and the next might be, look for a Blackwing.  Need a more thorough review?  If you get one at this site, you should order some replacement erasers, too.  Or, look here at Bob Truby's fabulous collection of pencils.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Do, do!

Dear Doers, Doings, and Dodos,

Of course, you all are already signed up for AWAD's emails, because you all are all curious, intelligent, and eager to learn ever more words.  However, you might have acquired a new email address, or some other such change in your electronic existence might have occurred, and receiving the Word of the Day might have slipped away and out of your consciousness.  Today's word is 'dodo' which I knew instantly was a message to me, to remember to remind you, to be sure you get your daily Word.

Another little something from the birds.

Sunday, October 4, 2015