Lauren & A Setentón Fights Melancholy
Saturday, September 01, 2012
The day after a birthday can be one of melancholy. I am now 70. In a few years I will be able to use that Spanish deprecating term setentón
(in my 70s). The day after a birthday, that happens to coincide with a long weekend, can be a pleasant one if one decides, as I did, to do nothing. And yet my eldest daughter Ale told us that Lauren (10) wanted to have a picnic today and when her aunt (Ale) suggested she have it in our garden she was all game. Both Rosemary and I were disappointed with Ale’s call in the afternoon when she told us that both Lauren and Rebecca had decided to stay home. “They did not want to come,” was added by my daughter with some emphasis. It is understandable (although it still hurts) that both girls want to squeeze the end of their summer holiday as much as they can and they want to see their friends.
With secateurs in hand I snipped at some of the leaves of my recently pruned laurel hedge
that I had missed with my electric hedge clippers. I watered some of my hydrangeas which need water and stepped on my hollow tine (three tines) tool to punch holes in those parts of the lawn that were compacted and rain or watering will not penetrate.
It is seven in the afternoon and the NY Times
(the Sunday edition) has yet to crash on our front steps. I have scanned four pictures I took of Lauren a week ago with my Mamiya and that splendid 3000 ISO Fuji b+w instant film. I have given them my albumen print treatment with the help of Corel Paint Shop Pro-X2. I have a feeling that this 10 year old (with the example of her sister Rebecca who is 15) is going to grow up more quickly. I have to take advantage of what little of her childhood remains and while she still does not object to me taking her photograph.
In today’s sunny afternoon Rosemary, Casi-Casi (her cat) and I sat on our metal garden bench. Our beautiful garden surrounded us so I soaked as much contentment (a happy contentment that is not just that simple contentment not quite happiness kind of contentment) as I could and told Rosemary that life was good.
An Occasion That Is Best Ignored
Friday, August 31, 2012
Today is my birthday
and I would first like to thank all those facebook friends who sent me their best wishes.
|August 31, 2012
Of all the good wishes my favourite came from my former St. Edward’s High School classmate, James G. Kulleck
who said it best in an email that came with the subject happy end of month
Just a greeting for an occasion that is best ignored. Hope all is well otherwise.
I think Jim indeed has it right.
Today my eldest daughter Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward (44 on August 27th) and I went to the Vancouver Dance Centre to deliver a chair designed by Arthur Erickson and Francisco Kripacz. The chair was much too big for my car so Ale who was in town to celebrate our joint birthdays helped me as she has a Rav4 SUV. The chair is going to be a prop in some pictures I am taking for the fall arts preview for an upcoming Georgia Straight
While there I told Ale, “Let’s go to the fifth floor and see what we can see. We went in a very large studio (the studio and the building designed by Arthur Erickson) and found the complete Ballet BC Company rehearsing under the watchful eye of its artistic director Emily Molnar and Rehearsal Director Sylvain Senez. We were there watching what Malcolm Parry calls the privilege view (what few people are able to normally see). At one point Molnar stopped to introduce me to her company. I felt most special on my birthday and my Ale realized that our day was unusual in a delightful way.
|August 31, 1951
I was 55 when I met my good friend Abraham Rogatnick who was an old man and walked with a cane. He was 70 at the time. Rogatnick died a couple of years ago. A few weeks before he died we both agreed that after us there was nothing so we had to enjoy life while we were still alive. He gave me a papier-mâché skeleton (almost full-size) made in Mexico as a parting gift, “I want you to have it, Alex. I will be dead soon and I will not need him.” It is sobering to realize that today I am that old man even if I don’t yet walk with a cane.
I thought it right to take a self-portrait that would include my daughter. I chose a spot in our living room that has a portrait of my granddaughter (and Ale’s niece) Rebecca who was 15 on August 17. I used my latest craze film Fuji b+w Instant 3000 ISO film.
|August 31, 2012
This is Ale and her father exactly as they look today. Ale persuaded my Rosemary to also pose so here she is too. Both photographs and our evening at Hilary’s with a meal cooked by her husband Bruce Stewart and the presence of Rebecca and Lauren almost made up for what for me is always a melancholy day. It became even less so when I indulged in not one but two of Hilary’s home-made pies, a lemon meringue and a fresh cherry one. The lattice work on the pie was Rebecca’s .
After dinner and after Ale opened her presents (I don’t get any because I insist on not wanting any) Rebecca played a string of songs on the computer which began with Nick Lowe’s Cruel to be Kind and the Beatles’s Help. “Why,” I asked Rebecca are you playing these?” “Because these are your faves,” she answered.
Born on Monday, fair in the face;
Born on Tuesday, full of God's grace;
Born on Wednesday, sour and sad;
Born on Thursday, merry and glad;
Born on Friday, worthily given;
Born on Saturday, work hard for you living;
Born on Sunday, you will never know want.
Best Quotations for All Occasions - New and Revised Edition
Arranged and Edited by Lewis C. Henry
Doubleday& Company 1961
Ale was born on a Tuesday, Rebecca on a Sunday
and I on a Monday. A very serious Rosemary stated, "I was born on Good Friday."
My birthday but nobody called
Two Poets Laureate & My Prunus laurocerasus
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
No hay mal que por bien no venga.
The Spanish saying is in complex subjunctive but it sort of means that bad things happen but sometimes they do for a good reason.
|Prunus laurocerasus, August 28, 2012
Mamiya RB-Pro SD 50mm lens
Fuji 3000 ISO Instant b+w film
That was the case this year when last week I began to tackle a yearly chore which is to prune my laurel (Prunus laurocerasus
) hedge which fronts our house and wraps around to the boulevard that is 43 Ave for almost a quarter of a block.
As a young man in 1986, a purist idiot, I might add, I used rose secateurs to do the job. It took me at least one week in the rain. I remember I wore my Akubra hat the one I used (after I purchased it for $89 at the Australian Pavilion in Expo 86) to photograph Premier Dave Barrett.
As years went by I switched to a sturdy pair of hand hedge clippers. The hedge always looked pretty good but in recent years that exertion rendered my elbows and wrists unusable for days after. Last year I knew would by my last for just the hedge clippers. A couple of years before I had purchased a pair of 22 inch Black and Decker clippers. I used them to do the top part as in some cases the hedge is too wide for me to reach with the hand tool. I would lean with a ladder and I fell a few times, very painfully, and stabbed my chest with the protruding limbs.
I abandoned my sense of being the garden purist and started right away last week with the Black and Decker. After a half hour it ceased to work. I felt very guilty about buying a new one at Rona, a 24 inch version of my old tool.
The job took two days and the pain in my elbows is manageable. My standards have diminished somewhat but the hedge looks pretty good thanks to the new tool with ist very sharp blades and an electric motor with enough torque to cut through the thicker branches.
Our green garbage bin filled up quickly. I strapped on my large garden refuse container on to my photo equipment cart and wheeled around the neighbourhood looking for empty bins (on the sly). I managed to get rid of all of the stuff.
I called up my friend and gardener Alleyne Cook
and told him of my efficient achievement. I felt very proud. But my pride would be shattered shortly. “Alex, you finished your pruning today August 28, right? Is the moon waning or waxing?” According to Cook who started his garden career at the Constance Spry School for Girls England and in 1952 cut the flowers in Spry’s garden for the displays in Elizabeth II’s Coronation, garden lore, no matter how illogical might it sound, is usually correct. It seems that if you prune a laurel hedge with the moon waning, the hedge will not have to be pruned until next year. But if the moon is waxing, (it is!) I will have to do the job a couple more times.
For years I did not believe the garden lore that says that you cannot plant a rose where another rose has grown. You are supposed to dig the dirt out and replace it with new soil. I did not believe this stupid advice and ignored it to my peril. I now know why some of my roses have languished for years. How does the moon affect my hedge? I will soon find out and no doubt Mr. Cook will be in the right again.
|Mamiya RB Pro SD 50 mm lens
scanned and reversed Fuji b+w 3000 ISO Instant film negative peel
A couple of years ago I visited Canadian Poet Laureate George Bowering
. He brought a small dark green bottle and poured us both a drink. It was sweet and powerful. "We were given this bottle of laurel liqueur made by the owners of a Sardinian restaurant in Buenos Aires. Laurel liqueur, laureate, do you get it Alex?"
Last year I photographed Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran
with a leaf from my laurel hedge. While the Greeks originally used olive branches as their sports festivities moved they use whatever other plants they could find such as laurel and ivy.
A Holy Grail prune job
That damn hedge again
The education of a gardener circa 1992 The Dark Knight and a friendship fades away
1986 was a good year for snaps and growing heges
Me and my Dave Barrett Akubra hat
Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran and my laurel hedge
My eternal Prunus laurocerasus
Variations On The Theme Of The Little Black Dress
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Mamiya RB-67 Pro SD 140mm lens
|Fuji Instant b+w 3000 ISO film
|Fuji Instant b+w film. Scanned negative peel reversed.
|Fujicolur Negative 1600 ISO
Nikon FM-2 50mm lens
|Previous negative but Corel Paint Shop Pro X2
Time Machine Early Colour
|Fujicolour 1600 IS0
|The same negative as above but with variant
colour correction interpretation
I have indeed cheated as some might note that the last two pictures feature a blue dress.
Sarah Rodgers - Actor/Director/Mother - Poppy - Daughter
Monday, August 27, 2012
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Sarah Rodgers - Actor/Director/Mother - Poppy Rodgers-Smith - Daughter
Mothers and daughters
As I am sitting here with my daughter wearing my mother’s dress and Alex Waterhouse-Hayward’s mother’s shawl I can’t help but feel wrapped in mothers' love.
Throughout the years I have often worn my mother’s clothes. She generously passed on her long legs and tall slim figure. On stage I have her mannerisms and lilting voice and off stage her gift of story telling.
My mother, at 89, is still a slim, bright eyed, beautiful woman. I would consider myself pretty but my mother has always been a beautiful English rose to me and to the world.
I am always thrilled and flattered when people say: “Oh, you look just like your mother.”
As I sit with my very own cherished daughter, adopted from Vietnam, with her unique dark straight hair and beautiful brown eyes I wonder if people will ever see us physically as mother and daughter.
My husband and I both come from very tall families but our diminutive daughter comes from a long line of tiny, delicate people. I can see in her stunning genes that she would never have inherited from us: dimples under her eyes as she grins, a huge teethy grin, straight black hair and luscious Angelina Jolie lips. Everyone comments on her lips and certainly The Rodgers and The Smiths are not known for their thick lips.
Yet, everyone who knows Poppy will tell you that her personality and disposition is exactly our families. She is a theatre baby if there ever was one. From the moment we met her she had personality and a sense of humour and even it seems a sense of theatricality. She certainly knew how to be in the limelight. At the very serious giving and receiving ceremony in Vietnam where all other babies were either asleep or crying - our little monkey was climbing onto the centre of the table and blowing spit bubbles. She took centre stage with her lively personality and humour at six months old. We certainly feel that we flew across the world to find the perfect baby for our family.
Recently, she has begun to fling her head back when she laughs - apparently, a trait that I have been unconsciously doing for years. Recently, friends and family have commented: “Oh, Sarah – Poppy is laughing exactly like you.” This warms my heart as I imagine us walking down the street one day when she is a teenager – me with my long red curly hair and Poppy with her straight black hair sharing a giggle and tossing our heads back together in unison. Mother and daughter indeed and perhaps even look-alikes after all.
- Real Estate Agent
Johnna Wright & Sascha
Director/Mother - Son/Dreamer
Decker & Nick Hunt
Cat & 19th century amateur
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Statesman, Flag Designer
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Saturday was a day of two libraries in which books played a sort of smaller role than they normally do in my life.
It began with lunch on Nando’s on Lonsdale with my friend Ian Bateson. He is now a trustee of the North Vancouver City Library. Bateson gave me a tour of the lovely library. He was unable to explain to me to my satisfaction why in North Vancouver they have two city halls, one for the city and one for the district.
From the City of North Vancouver Library we went to the Lynn Valley Main Library of the District of North Vancouver. We were there to see a show by Salt Spring artist Stefanie Denz.
|North Vancouver City Library
We were rewarded by a show of paintings some of which oozed, in an elegant and colourful twist, on subtle eroticism.
|Janus - 48" x 52 " oil on panel
My not the best iPhone 3G capture
These painting are even more so (erotic that is) when you are lucky to run into Stefanie Denz. We were. She is not afraid to look at you straight in the eye and to stand in close proximity (as if you were riding a Tokyo elevator). The colours of her paintings remind me of 50s American Technicolor movies set in Manhattan modern. There are elements (for this photographer who is no critic) that are reminiscent of Balthus a painter that I admire and have used for inspiration.
While at the library
I thought of another woman, a woman who works in that very library and who shares a connection with Denz. You see both Corinne McConchie
and Stefanie Denz
have posed in my mother’s Mexican red shawl. Besides that connection I can attest to the fact that both of them look at you straight in the eye in an unnerving way if you are not used to that sort of thing.
I would have to be rather stupid not to think of some collaborative project that would include those two and another - a person who posed in that red shawl, and that’s me!
Such a project might be a great deal easier to accomplish than to figure out why there are two city halls in North Vancouver.
Red Shawl Series -Me&My Project