Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

                                             - Witches' Chant from Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

Bubbling eye of newt and toe of frog
(aka squid ink pasta for dinner)

Halloween season has begun and we had one of our celebrations last weekend.  Witches and warlocks, creepy monks and TV characters I couldn't name padded about the house.  It was a blast.

And what was I?  Hard to say.  I can never seem to settle on something obvious. Thoughts of Edgar Allan Poe wrapped a raven around my neck.  The other parts somehow flew together after that ... dark velvet here, a black butterfly there, a soft Goth face.  Can I get by without a label?

The rest is easier to describe.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had slowly been transforming our house into a Victorian manor of sorts.  In fact, there was a hint of Miss Havisham's decaying banquet in the table setting.

It was a great excuse to bring out tattered lace, generations old,

tarnished silver with a century of family stories to tell,

My husband's family silver

and a phantom bride (of sorts) to greet the guests.

My grandmother's lace blouse and my old tutu
reincarnated as a spectre

Even my husband was struck by inspiration.  A fresh ditch in the backyard - for a plumbing project - soon held half-buried body parts.  The more delicate ladies in the party (and some children) couldn't bear to look.  Of course, their husbands thought it was the best part of the party!

I must say, Halloween parties have got to be the most fun ever. When else can we stage outrageous things without offending many?  Perhaps it's the frustrated set designer in me, but there is something cathartic about creating a theatrical production in the course of everyday life.   Or maybe it's simply part of being alive.  After all, the greatest stager did say,

All the world's a stage, 
and all the men and women merely players.

How about you - do you have a burning need to create something, anything?

Friday, October 3, 2014


The scene:  Bannisters entangled in black vines.  Hallways stalked by black cats.  A ghost bride veiled in black tulle.

You guessed it -- we're gearing up for Halloween.  Our home has turned into a gothic haunted house.   But wait!  Snap out of Tim Burton mode.  It's not that hallowed eve yet.  Better hold off on the fog machines and get back to modern edge.

AIKO black/grey sweater
worn with cigarette pants and suede booties
(also my husband's black fedora
flung off frame)
Trivia: This is in my bathroom.

Luckily this weekend, I happened upon a consignment shop along 14th Street with lots of edge.  And inside, I discovered a clothing line that revels in, well, lines.  Have any of you come across AIKO?

I'm always curious when a design line speaks to me, so I quickly looked up AIKO on the web (what did we ever do before Google?).  Curiosity gave way to surprise when I found the photo below of AIKO designer, Cynthia Mittweg.  Note, this was  after I had taken the photo above.  I swear my shoji screen was there before I saw her grid below (which looks to me like paper laid out on the floor, pretty cool).  Ah so, we must speak the same language.


Now, looking up from that floor, my mind crosses into another old photo of mine, this time of a ceiling at the California Academy of Sciences.  The Academy's architecture revolves around sustainable design, energy efficiency and innovative technology -- I sense white lab coats and silicon chips just by looking at it.  It seems so dizzyingly smart.

Grid roof at the California Academy of Sciences

But scientists, architects and designers are not the only ones with affinities for grids.  The grid I find relaxing and look forward to at the end of most days is the Crossword.  Others might unwind with yogic twists before bed. I prefer mental pretzels.

Unraveling my Gordian knot of thoughts smooths the muddle of the day away.  The stark grid blurs as I fill the puzzle in.  Eventually, hazy, black pixels seep through the white ones.  And often, the last letters grow dim in the inky darkness of sleep.

Crossword puzzle grid from PBS

How do you unwind?

You May Also Like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...