Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Right place, right time: Again?!

Dear Kindred,

I know, I can scarcely believe it myself, but yes, I have been, again, in the right place at the right time.  It doesn't seem possible for this to occur as often as it does;  I know, however, very little of the study of probabilities, and perhaps if I did know something about it, I would find that actually, I am right on par.

The place I was in was a lecture by some artists and a poet and a geologist, too, but that is hardly the point- what matters, I found, is the pataphysical.  If you know this word and its meaning, you are a very learned and lucky one.  It was my first contact with the word, and I fell completely in love with it and its meaning instantly.

I offer this short film of the making of a pataphysical cup of coffee first, and then, a link, to a more detailed unpacking of the term.  I know, I know!  What absolute luck to find a word like this! 

Here is a place to learn more, and if you feel you need to know all the details of my encounter with this marvelous concept, then watch this film of the lecture.

Friday, January 27, 2017

improvisational newtons





Dear Friends,
I have had occasion recently to visit the fine Eagle Rock Italian Bakery, and they sell a traditional Italian filled cookie there, which is often called 'cuccidati.'  In that beautiful serendipitous way that the world moves, the following recipe emerged from the piles and stacks of interesting magazines and books that we step over and around all day here at the Dodo.  It is from a Christmas cookie contest in Sunset Magazine, and the runner-up recipe is given by one Marilyn Perata Berg.  I have adapted it slightly, and I encourage you to improvise on the filling, as I did. 
or Fig-ish Newton-esque cookies:
1 cup dried figs
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon- or even more, if you like it like that!
zest of 1 lemon (or use that orange you juiced!)
Vary the dried fruit and nuts as you wish- I used figs, dried cherries, apricots, raisins, almonds and black walnuts.
Grind all the filling ingredients up in the food processor, or take your time and methodically mince and chop.
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 softened butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
Beat butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla, and milk.  Add the remaining dry ingredients; you should have a soft dough.  Divide into thirds- roll each piece between two sheets of parchment paper into an oblong about 5" x 15".  Stack the oblongs between paper on to a cookie sheet and freeze them for 15 minutes.  Spread 2/3 cup of filling along the rolled dough- leave about an inch and a half on each long side.  Use the parchment paper to fold the edges around the filling, flip it so the seam is on the bottom.  Slice it into one inch segments, on the bias.  Bake them at 350 degrees for 20- 25 minutes.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Sift the sugar and add the lemon juice and water slowly -  you don't want it too thin. Spread or drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies, or, dip their topsides into the glaze.

Try Gourmet's cuccidati recipe, if you want to make a study of it. If you admire the lovely bowls the cuccidati are in in this post, look here.  Visit their charming pottery and peruse their exceptionally priced tableware.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Another Delight.

Dear Little Darlings,

Please come over and play bicycles with me!  You won't need your helmet, and I have scads of drum sticks, so hurry over soon!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Find my Joy.

Dear All,

The song for today is as righteous an anthem as any Radio Dodo has ever brought to you.  Sing it loud. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Impulse Buy

Dear Interested,

Oh!  I was on my way to FYFD to get this little delight for you, when I came across mention of this, so I simply HAD to get that for you too! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blue, blue, electric blue.*

Selene Santucci, Light Noise, oil on canvas, 2016.

Dear Students of Seeing,

I will soon be addressing and guiding a group of people through discourse and exercise in color, and I am thinking constantly about what color feels like, what it tells me.  It's not an easily verbalized thing;  it's more a startled awareness, a sharp in-drawing of breath, a sense of belonging.

Selene Santucci, Musical Effects, oil on canvas, 2016

Making Music, oil on canvas, 2016.

Do these blues hit you right there?  Do you want to run out and open your paint box?  I do-  I want to potter and dabble in blues like these:  the sky, the sea, the chenille bedspread, the faded book cover, the moth-eaten plaid coat, the blue that says "look at me" the blue that says "don't you want me, baby?" The blue of the white lie, the blue of the bird wing, Madonna blue, wildflower blue, the blue that says, "please keep warm."

The sages of color, Goethe, Albers, Itten, Birren, and Munsell tell us that a color is nothing without another color; that color is relative, and so we must remember to consider the ochers, russets, vermilions, and scarlets in these paintings as well as the blues. 

Italian Towns, oil on canvas, 2016.

If you are a lucky one, you can go and feel these myriad shades, hues and tints in the flesh, until the end of the month, at Gallery IMA in Seattle.  See more of the wonderful paintings on exhibition here.

* That's the color of my room, where I will live.

Friday, January 13, 2017

File under: No duh.


Hello my little chickadees,

Work here at the Dodo is never-ending, and the work is accomplished by many satellite field workers and agencies doing research for the Dodo.  One of the core contributors sent this news of chicken intelligence recently.  Of course, you regulars already know that chickens are not the bird brains we have been told they are, and you know money rules the world, that the sky isn't really blue, and you probably enjoy your observations being proved right occasionally by official, scientific studies. So savor this little snippet of evidence of that which you already know, and observe on, my amateur naturalists and hen husbanders, observe on....

Perhaps your goal for this year is to embark on a new and rewarding relationship with a chicken or two?  Here is a useful resource:  www.backyardchickens.com  You won't regret keeping chickens; it is a real pleasure.  Oh, and if you aren't all that into 'book learnin'," never fear, chickens will thrive on benign neglect.  When we got our first flock of four, I asked the feed store folks what I needed to know, and they responded with a quizzical "Need to know?  Nothing."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ghosts and empties


Dear Secret Society,

I cannot talk about this. It has taken years to come to a place where I can look at those terrible, gleaming, acres of solar arrays.  It has been decades since they put houses on the coastal scrublands, and I still see the ghosts of the shrubbery and paths in the sand, overlaid on the tract homes and asphalt walkways.

And there is this.  I am ready to say to you that it has been a hard loss for me, David Bowie's death. 

For other young girls, for my friends, there were horses- for me there were endless access to miles of open prairie, drawing, and David Bowie.  For me, David Bowie's music and drawing, image-making, re-presenting ideas as visual metaphor were tightly bound together. 

Reading about John Muir's boyhood in Scotland, I see that my youth was the 1970's equivalent.  I was a very lucky one, except, you know, for the fact that to love the land is to suffer its loss.  When I read about the lives of the artists, with their salons, and affairs, their happenings; it was painters, writers, musicians, dancers, poets and actors, all staying up late and making things together.  This suited me fine.  It was a beautiful home I built with these people, no matter that they were not real.   Knowing them in the flesh might not have lived up to their exalted positions in my pantheon. 

Why then, does losing one of these imagined people crush so?  I don't even like sharing the loss with the billions of fans- the hoards that have been touched are almost repugnant to me-  I hate their tattoos, their handwritten farewell notes, their roses & lilies.  Why should I, though?  It's so ungenerous, so miserly to imagine a thing of beauty is mine only to be influenced by, to be inspired by, and to lose in the fullness of time. 

I confess all this to you with some reservation-  I am hoping to do better; I am hoping to feel kinship with the other mourners this year.  I am hoping to get over it, but I worry that to get over it is to impoverish the depth of feeling. Yet that cannot be right, to hang on to sadness because it is all that is left of a person that maybe never was?  Oh, yes, loss is a pickle, a real pickle to be in.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Attending Services

Dear Well-Wheeled,

I hope you got roller skates for Christmas!  Still, you can rent them at the rink, if they weren't under your tree.  Try this one; the Church of 8 Wheels, which just got a fabulous wood floor; the holy grail of skating surfaces.  Remember our motto, too:  Try it quick before it closes!