They always said that to me. “It’s just simple algebra, Barbara.” I never saw it that way. Even when I thought I “got it” it would elude me, slipping off into some recess where I could not reach it when I needed it. My junior high school algebra teacher Mr. Quizdorf was a kind man, and he must have been a very good teacher – he encouraged me until he saw that all I was actually learning was not algebra, but an unhealthy angst that is not good to foster in that age group. So he set me up with a tutor. So once a week, I would go dutifully to the home of Sandy and Bunker Hill where Sandy would make my dinner (meatloaf, most often) and try to teach me the fundamentals of algebra. Always in the center of the dining table, she had a bowl of red hots. (See? You knew I’d get to the point sooner or later…) I always associate algebra with red hots. I saw a bag of them the other day and bought them. Put them in a bowl in the middle of the table. LOVE that I do not have to solve for “a” to eat them. Now I simply solve for red hots. I do not show my work. I still have no, shall we say “affinity?” for algebra. But I love red hots and think fondly about both Mr. Quizdorf and Sandy Hill. The misery of barely making it through that class, I generally leave in the same recess as the algebra.
Whatever I thought I would be doing in these last few days, I don’t think it was this – scrambling about making do…but hey, wait, it is exactly what I’ve been doing all year – finding guitars in everyday things. OK. So the tradition continues. Even though I am writing this a day in advance, I can afford to be surprised by the number of things I have missed in my daily search…it makes me think that even when it is over it will never be over…
These, by the way, are hooked chair pads off of my caned seat Hitchcock chairs…sooo typical of me to have black birds in the house.
I have about ten minutes this morning to come up with guitars not only for today, but for tomorrow as well. Usually, when I am heading up to New York for an appointment that cannot be avoided, I find reason to celebrate – but not this time, not AT this time. I have to go to the city, do what I have to do, and find a way to get out – as millions are arriving to celebrate the New Year. This is not good planning. But the train tickets are purchased, the hotel room booked, and hopefully, by the time things are really starting to rev up with incoming revelers, I will be well away. Nor can I trust to fate to find a guitar in the city – no time for that, and I already found that it was not as easy as I thought it should be. Of course, this time, I will find at least one, and I will have that for my return, but for now, I am trusting more to what I can put together this morning.
It is raining. Stepping out of the house requires an umbrella or a hat (well, for most people…I often just forget) so my thoughts turned to hats…I have sort of done this before, but it is what is at hand, and that’s the best I can expect from me today…
The math on this is getting far too easy – even for me…
This curious guitar is made up of everything else that could go wrong on the darkest and longest night of the year – the darkest long night of the next 500 years they say as we experienced a full lunar eclipse on the solstice – so a fitting under the sink that allows the dishwasher to communicate and drain through the garbage disposal was either nibbled through or blew out – either way, oh, yay! Guests due to arrive and water everywhere. No way to get a new fitting, even with David standing in Home Depot and sending the guys a photo…they can’t sell him what they do not have. Amazing, though, the option of sending a photo when a description o f Y fitting (two 5/8″ pressure clamped hoses on one side, one 3/4″ hose clamp on the garbage disposal side, silicone…) won’t do…still, if they don’t have it, they don’t have it. Tomorrow is another day, so there is no real use in getting all worked up about it. Turn the dishwasher off, set the hoses down into a bucket to drain, and go about business. Mop up the water, bake cornbread. Simple enough. If I have to make a dress out of the draperies – I’m going with the Mackey design that includes the rods…awkward, yes, but I loved that dress on Carol Burnett…but in the meantime – a guitar is born. By now, I’m getting a little knowledge about birthing these things…
I still like the idea of origami, in spite of the rather spectacular failure I handed myself the last time I attempted it. This time, I thought I’d work with a material I’m more accustomed to mangling – currency. Turns out, it is a good choice – the paper holds a fold pretty well, in spite of being, in some respects, more like fabric. Granted, I didn’t get too carried away with design, I know, but on the other hand, I’m back on an even enough keel with the idea of origami that I will try it again some time. Last time, I may have said I would, but I was not so sure…
A Christmas fire is a lovely thing…comforting, homey and a source of activity on a day when it is easy to just become a slug…but a warm slug, once the fire is going, needs to feed the fire. Bringing in one log, I noticed that it was growing an unusual number of fungi – and it seemed a waste to just throw them into the fire. So here you go… live guitar? I’m quite fond of this one – would like to find them all a nice new log and place them on it with hopes they attach – no, I have no idea if it works like that…I’m just sayin’ – it would be nice…
Ok, seriously. Who did NOT see this coming? Aside from me – who had loftier ambitions, but no time at all, as it turns out…Merry Christmas everyone!
I finally got around to making that chili (carne con chili.) This is not a small endeavor, nor are the resulting gallons and gallons of chili taken for granted. In my book, chili is best cooked over a campfire in which some sage brush is burned. Barring that, it must at very least be eaten from a camper’s enamelware bowls, and preferably with enameled spoons. Ok, it counts to use enameled serving spoons and eat with something more normal…unless you are around that campfire. It is one of my earliest memories, eating chili from a pot hung on a tripod above a campfire. There is a sound to it that is a nutritional music. Some things just stay with you. Now I have the urge to bake bread. Oh! How I love winter!
I spent some time this morning going back through the images of this year’s guitars – because I was certain that I had already done one with the bowls. I have not, which gives me a giddy feeling of accomplishment – I have my guitar for the day.
I collect yellow ware. Common old every day kitchen crockery of a wonderful color. I have a lot of bowls. There was a time there when the bowls were everywhere – and I have them in sizes from gi-normous (not meant to be moved when full, and only carefully when empty) to really, really tiny – ok, actually made for a dollhouse kitchen. They are on shelves, on special racks, in cupboards, in use – they are everywhere. How could I have missed them for a guitar? Has it come to this? All of this striving just to finally realize I’m utterly surrounded by guitar shapes – and that it will not actually end just because the 365 days are over? Well, yes. I have to deal with it.
I’m running like the seventh day of an eight day clock today – it is 61 degrees and raining which is rather unexpected weather in this part of the country. Other places are getting wicked weather – ours is (so far) just curious. But it has me hitting every minute a millisecond late, I think, which is going to add up to something by the end of the day. Alright. I could have just said that I’m way late in my day getting this done, but what fun would it have been to merely state the obvious?
The truth is, with so few left to do, I was vamping this morning, hoping for a flash of inspiration. Then, at the kitchen sink, the bread basket over my head fell on said head, and a guitar was born. Now that’s what I’m talking about.