Friday, September 26, 2008

On being out to lunch...

Right next door to where I work is a most unusual restaurant.
I like to eat there, enjoying my meal while being outside in their back patio.
Their raise flower beds have a wonderful collection of fragrant herbs tucked in amidst lovely flowers.

The food is a creative concoction of whatever is available locally, put together creatively throughout the day. "Natural" and "Organic" foods...very fresh, and very creatively used.

This was a cold melon, cilantro, and wheat berry soup Delicious!

Like I said...this is quite an unusual place. You walk in, grab a bowl from the pile of mismatched thrift store find bowls, and a spoon that likewise is mismatched and in various sizes.

You put a button in a box, and then speak to the person behind the counter to find out what has been cooked. You serve your own soup, then he or she dishes up the various main courses, following your instructions as to the size portion you would like.

You are encourage to get a small serving, and to come back for more if you are still hungry, rather than to waste food.

Due to that option, you pay after you eat. As the server on the first day explained to me: "After you eat, you will know how much you feel the food was worth."

Now there's some different thinking for you!

That also explains the button box. Since there are no set prices, this is the only way they have to know how many meals have been served each day.

I have to say...almost every thing I have tried has been delicious and different. I suspect that recipe is ever exactly the same twice, save for what I hear is a locally favorite called an "Everything Cookie."

Now this is more than a restaurant. It is also a place with an agenda. I should tell you I could eat there everyday for free...taking advantage of their "Complimentary" rice or wheat and beans course. And you will see people doing just that...student and street people, getting a least something to eat when times are hard.

I thought it was an interesting idea.

They are upfront with what they believe and are striving for.

I stand out when I am eating there. Most folks are rather of the tie dyed and mantra chanting persuasion.
There are an awful lot of Buddhas and Indian gods and goddesses around.
The conversations are peppered with words like "yoga" and "organic" and "meditate".
But the other day I was able to speak with a young man who is just a few weeks away from getting his master's degree. He had just gotten divorced, and his world was in shambles. He had no idea what to do next, except that he wanted to move somewhere where people were more accepting.
We talked for a good while, and I told him I would be praying for him.

I noticed there was one Christian tiny poster up amidst the other religion's artwork.
And I wondered if other Christian might come here to make sure that people can find the Bread of Life when they are truly hungry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A few peeks here and there

Yesterday evening I went back to the library and got 25 more prints. That made a total of 38 prints that I have checked out.
I took one to work, B. took three to work, so that makes 34 prints up in our 700 sq. ft. apartment.

Not enough art, really...

German artist Emil Nolde (1867-1956) painted the two painting on the one wall, the one above the red cutting board is by August Macke, painted in 1913.

Last night we got to know about Hans Hofman, the artist who painted the yellow and orange picture near the end of the wall. That painting "Exaltment" was painted in 1947. He had a very interesting life, beginning his artistic works under the teaching of Picasso and Monet.

Studying a picture, saying what you think about it and what it might be doing/meaning, and then looking up the artist is a very pleasant way to spend an evening.

We both commented that walking into the "gallery" first thing in the morning is quite a blast of color. We like it!

Beside our bathroom sink is this print by Bertha Morisot, one of only two women Impressionist painters.
The little girl and her doll is such a sweet picture, and Bernie says it reminds him of when Laura was a little girl and would sit on the lid of the toilet and watch him shave in the morning.
I need this amount of color at home to counter balance my grey and black windowless office at work. Today my office was in a real mess as I was dealing with organizing and labeling the spiral bound books.

The sunflower picture was on the wall of an empty office across the room. I "pillaged and plundered" and got a touch of color in my room on Monday.

While the walls may be gray and colorless, the people I work around are bright and sunny all day long. I hear laughter often, and it is a happy place to come to each morning. I usually cross the street as the church across the street chimes the hour. It is a different church from the one we hear at the apartment. This morning we had our windows open, and I was charmed to realize that at 8 am as I was putting on my make up hymns were being chimed, and I knew exactly what time it was.

Such a nice way to keep track of time!
No more fretfully checking the clock for me!

The yellow sticky notes are my constant helpers. I look up cataloging cues from the Library of Congress, then jot down the Dewey numbers, Library of Congress numbers and the subject heading on the notes. Later I create labels for each publications.

These books were all tumbled together randomly in a box when I arrived; I was the one who added all the spine labels. Neat and tidy now, and you can see the subjects within the collection now.

I get a kick out of the coloring books that have been published to help with the study of anatomy.
The first week I inventoried my periodicals, and arranged them. It is so tempting to read them; but there is sooo much work to be done, I haven't had a chance to yet.

Classifying five other library collections at the same time takes a lot of time! And it all must be done by Oct. 1st. for accreditation purposes.

Today I had finally gotten "call numbers" put on all the spiral bound books, and was in the process of getting them in order so I could put them in Oxford file box (upright magazine holders.) Suddenly the spirals started to look like stitching to me.

Maybe weavings...some of kind of textile design. I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. I am hoping to print some of them out and use them on the black boxes around the labels.
We'll see how that least they are on the shelves and in order now.

I beat B. home today. He called from the parking lot to say he needed help bringing in some shopping.
"Shopping" turned out to be a cat tree!
Our make peace offering to our much put upon cats
They both were climbing on it before B. had even let go of it.
The cats have proven to have excellent artistic taste as well.
Paul Klee's "The Rose Garden" suited Tiggie quite well.

And it also provided a nice back drop for a small grey Tuxie cat too.

Tiggie spent a bit of time contemplating the assortment of prints.
(Pop quiz: What was the name of the artist who painted the sunflower picture at the bottom? I mentioned him at the beginning of this post!)

Except for having to blog late at night instead of in the morning, everything is just great.
The weather is warm, the sky is beautiful, and we are enjoying our Urban Apartment life.
Yes, life here is good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Do you know the Muffin Maid?

I got a surprise this morning when I was pulling out of our parking garage on my way to work.
Waiting at the top of the driveway was Lovella!

And she had a whole box of freshly baked muffins in hand!

Boy was I ever surprised!

I thought "Oh my gosh, it's did she get here? How does she even know where I live? Oh my gosh, I've got to get to work...but I want to hang out with her. Oh my gosh, she even baked us a bunch of muffins!"

Seriously, squint at the picture above and tell me if you don't think this girl looks like our favorite Mennomeno?
(That a Mennonite going through menopause, for those of you who don't speak Menno short hand....)

This lady walked right up to me like she knew exactly who I was. When she finally was at my car window, my brain finally settled down and I realized it wasn't actually Lovella after all.

She asked me if I wanted a muffin for breakfast and displayed a vast array of huge muffins wrapped up and tied with ribbon. I declined, stating that I had already had breakfast.

Thankfully my brain kicked into gear at that point, and I remembered there had been a sign by the elevator saying that everyone in the building would be treated to muffins and juice, as a thank you for being good tenants. (And I suppose for putting up with all the parking/asphalt issues. Yeah, a muffin definitely squares up the deal with a ten dollar parking fee, AND an $80 parking ticket. )

My brain suggested that a muffin would also be an excellent coffee break item for later on in the day.

I got a yummy poppy seed one, and enjoyed it greatly about two hours later.

Even so, I'll be that if Lovella had made it, it would have tasted even better.

I'm still trying to figure out what made me think it was Lovella.
Was it the hairstyle?
Or was it the fact that she was standing there displaying baking goods?
Hard to say.
Anyway, it was a fun and exciting few moments there, and a very interesting way to start the day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Part two of Saturday Happiness

Happy first day of Fall! We had a cool rainy morning, a perfect kick off for fall weather! My mini-patio balcony garden (created on Freaky Friday) looked correctly autumnal in the gray morning light this morning.
(I still want to get a big pumpkin too...)

Another Friday task: Organizing my one box load of hats. I used "T" pins pushed into the dry way, two side by side, and they work perfectly to hold my hats where I can snatch one easily as I finish dressing and head off for work.
(And people wonder where they could store their hats. Don't that look great doing second shift duty as decoration inside an otherwise boring closet?)

Well, the FABULOUS Saturday afternoon news that I wanted to share was this:

We now have a couch!!!

After a week of playing musical chairs between a gray plastic "leather" recliner and two folding chairs that are too small to support our backs and too hard to cushion our tushes, we now have an IKEA Ektorp couch!


It went like this: I was hoping to find an Ektorp couch or loveseat on Craiglist (read: for cheap), but I had had no luck with that.

Since we are not sure how long we will be here, we were reluctant to spend much on furniture, as we would just likely need to get rid of it when our house sells and we get our old furniture moved here, yet we also couldn't bring ourselves to buy a yukky old couch from a thrift store.

After my morning at the Farmer's Market, I drove down to Draper (a town just south of SLC) to purchase two small lamps, a basket (to hold assorted cell phones, wallets and keys that tended to sprawl across the breakfast bar), and two more lime green bowls to hold fruit and small food items.

I also was shopping for a particular duvet cover that B. had spotted, not wanting to use Jeff's continuously while we were borrowing his guest bed.

As I headed toward the check out area, I glanced over to the "AS IS" area of the store. And there it was, the exact model of sofa that I had been wanting to buy!

The "as is" meant it was a floor demo model; the washable white canvas slip cover was a bit smudged, and there was a spill of what looked like coffee on the back side. Shoot, nothing that a little laundry pretreating and soaking wouldn't get out in a jiffy. I flipped the cushions over: the back sides were pristine in any case.

And at almost 40% off, it was a bargain!

I called Bernie to ask him what he though about getting it.

He was just finishing the charity golf event; he said he would have Jeff drop him off at the store.

As soon as he arrived, we measured the couch. B. had earlier measured my car interior so we knew it would fit, sort of, and then we tried lifting it to see if we could carry it...and determined that yes, we could carry it, and that it would stick out the back of the car about 8 inches.

It looked stormy out, and it was raining a bit. I said a prayer that we could get it home safe and sound, then we paid, loaded it up, tied in down, and took off on the road to home with the couch sticking out the back.

Upon arrival home I check: Not one drop of rain was on that couch!

We did make several young 20 somethings become wide eyed to see us oldsters schlepping a couch into an elevator. Let 'em stare...we've done much harder things than this in our life time!

We've even raised teenagers! Moving a sofa is nothing compared to that!

We put it in place in the middle of our mostly empty apartment, and got busy lounging on our new sofa, marvelling at what a difference it made in our sense of being settled in.

(It was difficult to know that back home we have FOUR couches, one of which we want to get rid of...and now we just bought another one! Oh well, Hello Craigslist when the time come to decamp from the apartment!)

So now we had cozy seating in a room with lots and lots of blank white walls.

Hmmmm....what ever could we do about that little flaw in our interior decorating bliss?

B. suggested I have some of my photographs blown up into posters to hang on the walls. I love that idea....but actually that costs money too. To get enough pictures to really work on such big walls, it would run into more than I was willing to spend.

Now it just so happened that while I was tidying up, my eye fell on the SLC public library brochure which happened to have a blurb on it about the massive collection of art prints (I'm talking thousands here...) that are owned by the library, and which are available for check out, for 28 days at a time.

Today I headed back to the library. They not only check out prints, they also check out a HUGE canvas bag to carry your poster sized prints home in.
Isn't that cool?
A quick stop at the office supply store to pick up a pack of mounting putty (a stretchy clay like substance that works perfectly to hold up paper on a vertical surface.)

And about thirty minutes later.....

Ta DA!

Instant Art Gallery!

I only got 13 prints, thinking I would divide them between the living room, our bedroom and my office.

I should have gotten twice as many...the more B. and I hung up, the more excited we got about this plan: We could make our apartment an Art Appreciation Class; selecting art, researching the artists, discussing the prints, enjoying them, and then next month go check out an entirely new collection! And not a single hole in the wall to deal with.

(Only next time B. will have to go with me to the library. Those prints are HEAVY!)

I adore this little lass.
( And think B. was very clever to just back out the screws to the phone jack so we would have a place to hang our keys!)
This lady is over the fuse box in the hallway. Isn't she much prettier than a gray metal door?

We only have two prints up in the bedroom so far.

B. picked out the duvet cover: $14 for a KING sized cover with two pillow cases. Such a deal!

(Yes Laura, I can hear you groaning about my IKEA fixation....)

The gray recliner looks much nicer with the cherry red cheery throw that miraculously is LONG ENOUGH to actually cover Bernie from his lap to his feet and then some.
A nice mohair it is too....
A Russian painting of a man and woman skating together is a nice romantic touch to the room.
We have never had modern art in our home before. This is such a fun treat! What a change for us, and how lively it all is!

I've studied Calder. Interesting art....

Perfect for the little alcove off the living room that we are using for the cat's "office," if you know what I mean....

Nine years ago I was working as an Art Librarian for a school district in Texas. My job was to manage a collection of 12,000 art prints, slides and books. Every day I would look at art, and I became familiar with many of the new artist that I had not studied during my Art Appreciation classes in Elementary School. (Those classes were put on by the San Diego Museum of Art; I now know they were college level course work, and I have never stopped being thankful that I had an a opportunity to study art while I was young.)

The job at the school was a daily visual feast for me.

I feel now like I am revisiting those days, and this time Bernie is able to enjoy the lively works along with me.

This is a wonderful thing!

(PS: If you know of young people renting on a budget, give them the word that almost all public libraries have art collections to check out. Spend two bucks on mounting putty, and they can have art their hearts content!)