Pink camellias

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)

camellia #402 (11 August 2015)

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The shopping is done,
and the menu decided.
But which vase to use?

 


The prospect of dressing the table for dinner this evening sends me out to the front garden, where the camellias are beginning to flower. The weather has been showery and cold, but the wind has not yet burned the pink petals: there are enough good blooms for the vase … although it’s hard to hold the camera focus at close range.

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Kintsukuroi

I have a beautiful handmade lidded jar which broke when, several months ago, the box in which it is stored took a tumble. This post about “kintsukuroi” reminds me (again) to repair my broken jar.

word pond

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Kintsugi means “to patch with gold”, a Japanese technique thought to have begun in the late 15th century, after a shogun sent a damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China to be fixed. It was returned held together with ugly metal staples, so Japanese craftsmen developed a way to repair the vessel by mending the cracks ornamentally.

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What exactly is matcha and why is everyone talking about it? – Eater

“Meet matcha, the current darling of the tea world. This finely milled green tea powder – the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century – has seen a surge in popularity recently thanks to its visual appeal, purported health benefits, and beautiful, distinct flavor.” (Kathy YL Chan, in ‘Eater’)

word pond

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Facade

[untitled (white)] 01 August 2014

[untitled (white)] 01 August 2014

As is all too often the case these days, the century-old building pictured here is little more than the hull of its former self. According to the architects in charge of the refurbishment of the building, “Although most of the interior’s historic features were lost due to the extensive structural work required, we tried to retain a semblance of the original hundred year-old building within the new fit-out. We added brick, pressed metal ceilings and old wood to make the space look like it had simply [been] stripped back to its original bones …” (see Studio Gascoigne’s write-up of the project)

For years an iconic Lambton Quay bookshop (the Wellington branch of Whitcombe & Tombs), the refurbished structure opened as the flagship store for Hallensteins & Glassons on 10 October 2013.


Whitcombe & Tombs began in Christchurch in 1882 – “a partnership between … bookseller, George Hawkes Whitcombe, and printer George Tombs. … In 1971, Whitcombe & Tombs merged with Coulls Somerville Wilkie to become Whitcoulls, and has since been sold several times.” (Read more in Wikipedia, and in Book Barons on the Lost Christchurch web-site.)

But wait … there’s myrrh!

But wait ... there's myrrh

But wait … there’s myrrh

The Christian holy day known as Epiphany “[commemorates] (at least in western tradition) the visit of the Magi and Jesus being revealed to the Gentiles” (from Finding a New Way Home) is celebrated on 6 January. According to timeanddate.com, “It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism.”

All history is redaction – ie, it re-frames and retells our “old, old story” in such a way as to please the current audience. The past is perpetually being re-examined and reinterpreted.

Recent memes appearing on Facebook – but not including this one from catholicmemes.com – have commented on what three wise women would have done. One version asserts that they would have “asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, brought practical gifts, cleaned the stable, made a casserole … and there would be peace on earth.” (From mickiemuellerart.com)

I don’t think so! (Especially that last bit.)

Another version of the meme adds that “Three Wise Feminist Women would have … lobbied King Herod for gender equality.” In its lower right corner, the image carries the wording: Destroy the Joint. But, according to Helen Razer, “Destroy the Joint misses the point”.

My back is up, my hackles on end. If there is to be anything more than talk of gender equality, then it is blatantly obvious that the faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses of humankind will be owned (and owned up to) by all.

The very bearable lightness of being

skateboard wallpaper - royal

skateboard wallpaper – royal

A day or two ago, I saw something I’d never expected to see: a young man riding a skateboard … using his crutches to propel himself along. And it instantly put me back in touch with something I’d scribbled down the day before, whilst reading a novel called Ru:

“He had stopped time by continuing to enjoy himself, to live until the end in the lightness of a young man.” (Kim Thúy)

I am not a young man … and thus no longer immortal. Whenever the pain from the osteoarthritis gets bad, I have a mantra: “My feet kiss the earth.” It helps.

But I’ve taught myself something that helps even more: whenever I find myself bracing my knees and hobbling along stiff-legged, I have learned to relax my joints and saunter instead. I’m not saying every step is pain-free, but it sure feels better. And I whisper my mantra. And I smile.

__________

NOTES:

Thúy, Kim. 2009 [Copyright © 2009 Éditions Libre Expression]. English translation Copyright © 2012 Sheila Fischman. Ru. New York: Bloomsbury.

The skateboard wallpaper image comes from: http://www.wallpaper4me.com/wallpaper/Royal/

My title is a parody of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a 1984 postmodern novel by Milan Kundera. The story takes place mainly in Prague in the late 1960s and 1970s. It explores the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society during the Communist period, from the Prague Spring to the Soviet Union’s August 1968 invasion and its aftermath.” (adapted from the Wikipedia article)

A nice knock-down argument for you

.

There’s no trickery
here – no obfuscation.
(You might not get that.)

I’m doing just what
we all do: all our own words
have private meanings;

there’s no language
we can share – speech divides us
inevitably. .

__________

‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

(Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll)