Saturday, February 16, 2008

Outside looking in

Hey, we're back at Nutwood! As always, there's no place like home....

We drove down to the Dayton area last night, and spent this afternoon with Ken's kids (to protect their privacy, I'd rather not mention their names, but they're really great kids). Due to circumstances, it had been some time since we'd seen them, so it was great to talk and laugh with them again. We even made them laugh with our lame jokes! They were those eye-rolling kinds of laughs, but they still laughed. We were both so pleased to talk with both of them. We went to the Dayton Art Institute, which is small, but quite nice. They have a Monet, some Constables, a Warhol (he's one of my favorites), an Edward Hopper (another of my favorites) a de Kooning, a small Rothko, and many other fine objects. My stepdaughter's favorite part is the Asian room, and they really do have some beautiful objects and paintings. We all got a kick out of some of the modern art. The kids were puzzled as to how some of it is considered great art. I had no answer for them, because sometimes I wonder myself! I'm not one to find meaning in modern art. Some will look at it and see an indictment of our society, or man's inhumanity to man, or our isolation in the world. I'm more likely to look at it and say, "I don't know what it's supposed to mean, but I think the colors are nice." I just take it as something visual, and I either like the looks of it or I don't. That's why I like de Kooning--I see little to no meaning in it, but I like the visual impact. There was a dimensional work that was a large oval, with pictures of apples and other natural things, behind blobs of colored glass, alongside mirrored tiles, etc. It really had no meaning to me, but I thought it was striking, and I liked it very much. Some things can certainly make you feel a certain way. There was a painting of Pinocchio (I forget the artist), and it was sort of dark and disturbing...we all kind of shuddered when we looked at it. None of us cared for it, but it DID strike something visceral in all of us. Here's a de Kooning. I don't know why I like it, but I do.


So yeah, it was a fun afternoon! I'll start doing some research and finding other things in the Dayton area. Although the kids have been to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum before, we'll probably go there, but I do want to find some other things in the area. If any of you live around there, please pass along suggestions! Oh, and our friends from the cruise, Doug and Karen, also live in the area, so we're looking forward to arranging a visit with them. This was such a quick trip that we didn't have time to do that this weekend, but we liked them so much and enjoyed getting to know them, that we would love to get together in the coming months.

While we were in the hotel room last night, checking email, I got one from Indigo, the wonderful person who pens the beautifully-written Raven's Lament. If you're one of the few people here who haven't read her journal, you really should check it out. It can be painful to read sometimes, because she is quite adept at putting her pain into words. But through her journal, and her comments on both Ken's journal and mine, we've come to feel that she is a friend and a kindred spirit. She wanted to tell me that she was AOL's Magic Smoke (their journal about writing journals) Guest Editor this week. The guest editor is a fellow journaler who gives their picks for journals they like to read...and this little ol' journal was one that Indigo picked. You can read her entire Magic Smoke entry here.

Well...I was just flabbergasted, as my Mom would say! Indigo is such a talented writer that I'm very flattered that she even reads this, much less enjoys it! I really felt touched and honored, and it completely made my day. Thanks, Indy! One of the things she wrote was that "boredom doesn't exist in Beth's world." When I wrote to her to thank her, I told her that she probably has no idea what a compliment I find that to be. I remember that when the kids were little (and even now, actually), Ken would not let them say, "I'm bored." I don't know if he came up with this, but he would say, "Only boring people are bored." That word was pretty much banned in our home, unless we were talking about boring a hole, or wood-boring wasps or bees (and those subjects don't come up often). As I wrote to Indy, I've just never understood how anyone can be bored, when there is just so much to learn and do and read and's a vast world, with millennia worth of collected wisdom, and I don't believe I have it in me to be bored. Even when I'm sitting out on the deck, not physically doing a thing, I'm watching the birds, listening to the sounds around me, just enjoying the moment. That's not boring, that's LIFE, baby!


                                                           Night Windows, Edward Hopper

On our drive home tonight, after it got dark, I did one of my favorite things to do: I looked into the lighted windows of the houses we passed. Before you start calling me a Peeping Beth, remember that we're cruising by at 60-70 mph, so there's not a lot of time to see much of anything. Some time ago, I was talking to my Mom and mentioned that I do that. She said, "I do the same thing! And so did Bertha Jean!" (That was one of my Mom's sisters, Cousin Shane's Mom. It seems that it runs in the family.) No, I've never seen anything's merely a very brief glimpse of other people's lives. A lighted window, a wall hanging, a bit of curtain, a shelf with bottles sitting on it, a light fixture suspended above a kitchen table, an easy chair, a flickering TV. It's rare that I see an actual person, and then it's usually just the back of a head, or people in profile sitting at a table. Sometimes it's just a shadow.

It makes me wonder about what their home and their life is like. Is it a cozy home? Is it a happy home? Is it a newer home, or one that is a hundred years old? Are these people just starting out, or are they retired? Are they struggling to make ends meet, or are they doing pretty well? When they're sitting at the table, are they having coffee and talking, or are they playing board games? Or are they arguing? Some people draw their blinds and you can't see anything. Do they have a dark secret, or do they just not like to look out into the dark? Others have windows with no blinds or concealing curtains--that's how our front window is. Does that say something about us? Since I grew up in this area, some of the homes we pass used to belong to people I went to school with. Do their families still live there? If so, are their parents still alive? What are their lives like now? These people whose homes I look into for a split second...are they happy?

No...I don't think I'll ever get bored.


buckoclown said...

Even on our street, we still do the "window" thang.  Beth saw a dog, looking out the glass screen door.  Was he hoping to see a rabbit, did he need to use a fire hydrant, was he a she (this question is not as academic as it seems.  Our cat, named Sheeba, turned out to actually be a Heeba :o)).  So many unanswered questions.  Agreed - never a reason to be bored.  Thanks for a great weekend Wifey!  :o)

luvrte66 said...

The dog looking out the window was a German shepherd, which is still my favorite dog.

I had a great weekend, too!


pepebuddy2 said...

Let us know when you go to Dayton and see Doug and Karen and maybe we can drive up there to and see everyone.   Danny was planning on going up there and riding harley's with Doug anyway when the weather get's nice!


queeniemart said...

i live 15 min from Dayton, Ohio. We are the next big city beside it. The Air Force Museum is a WONDERFUL place to go. I didnt know you lived that close.
Congrats on being may bring you more readers and friends. I am reading "Duma Key" by Stephen King right now and it is all about art. I can not put the book down.
I, too, will watch windows as i drive by and i have always just wondered the same thing as i go by "are they happy in that house" because i know well that those closed doors hide much pain sometimes.
hugs lisa

mpnaz58 said...

When we'd walk in the neighborhood I grew up in, I'd look into people's homes too, just to see how their house was decorated, or if I could see people.  Nowadays, people don't leave their doors or windows open as much, I know I don't.  How times have changed...
xoxo ~Myra

luvrte66 said...

How true, Myra. We're lucky to have lots of trees between us and the road, and you can barely SEE the road in the summer--it's a jungle out there! Behind us, we have about 10 acres, so we have plenty of privacy that way. I'm glad, because I really don't like feeling closed off from you know what I mean?


shrbrisc said...

the great thing about art is how it makes you feel when you are looking at it how it shows you a part of your soul,and if your close enough it will show you the soul of the artist ..
ps Nascar is always great lol

luvrte66 said...

Well said, Sherry!


rdautumnsage said...

Belated welcome back hon! As usual I'm playing catch up...I had to do a little pr work for Doc's band which took a small bit of time to work out. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend with Ken's kids. As for the painting your partial to, I'd be remiss if I didn't say it reminds me of finger painting as a kid. One of my favorite artist is someone you won't find in a museum Susan Seddon Boulet, here's a link to some of her prints so you have an idea of what I'm talking about....   Something about her paintings have always appealed to me. I have a couple of prints around my house.

As for highlighting your journal, it was my pleasure. Your not only a fun read, but informative as well. (It had nothing to do with being a great friend *winks*) Seriously your well written and thought out with your entries. I'm not one to say that lightly either. (Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

Thanks, Indy!

I checked out the gallery you linked...ooh, beautiful stuff! I loved the jaguar one. Her stuff is sort of...ethereal? I think that's a good word for it.

And thanks again for the nice words. It means a lot to me.


orangedoublezero said...

hi beth!

i didn't know you and you and your mom liked to look in windows in the evening when driving by!  i remember doing that very thing as kid with my mom and stepdad when we would drive home from visiting relatives in the evenings.  i still do that to this day.  i think mom was always more interested in how people had their homes decorated to get ideas for our home, but i'm sure part of her wondered about the lives of the people inside, too.  and that's just how i feel about it, too.  i guess we're all a bunch of peepers!

my dad has always told me that there is too much in this world for anyone to be bored, and that if you are bored, it's your own fault.  even when i'm doing nothing (which is not too often), i'm involved -- enjoying the silence, listening to the wind blow, watching the full moon rise, feeling the cold air in my lungs while walking on a cold winter night.....  it's all about the experience of living, even the most simple things can be enjoyable, if you only let them!

cousin shane

luvrte66 said...

Hi Shane!

That's exactly right. "The experience of living."

Love ya!

solace223 said...

I liked the first painting a great deal as well.  Looks a little like a flock of birds.