Thursday, July 31, 2003
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
friday evening, at our house, way back when, meant: "rawhide", preceded by "the ed sullivan show". i remember fanatically attempting to capture the magic of the byrds' "mr. tambourine man" on slide film. i adored david crosby. even then.
if you can appreciate the magic of words-well-wrought: pay this person a visit.
he can render me breathless.
Monday, July 28, 2003
she knows exactly what she wants to say, and how she wants to say it; her words, however, appear upon paper like paint applied with a toothbrush through a floating square of screen. her thoughts have spattered into unimaginable corners. they have assumed an unforeseen attitude. she has lost - temporarily - control of her own eloquence.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
granted: this is almost cliché. every souvenir store here has baskets strategically full - (delft blue is the best-seller) and it would be easy to overlook the ingeniousness of the whole mechanism*. the windmills of holland are picturesque and photogenic, but above all they are triumphs in technology. in the past, i understand - and appreciate - they saved us from disappearing into the wide atlantic, and they gave us, decade upon decade, our daily bread.
he twists the lock from his bicycle. he can hear jannie, below, bustling about, preparing herself as usual: shaking her sumptuousness into latex and laces, smudging aging lips and cheeks, coaxing her blondness into coquetry, and, finally, scraping her velvet chair into position.
as he bumps the wheels downward to the singel, he hears the red curtain slide open. and before he reaches the lijnbaansteeg, his downstairs neighbour will be open for early business.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
school's out, and thousands of tiny artists have been let loose onto the sidewalks of amsterdam. i thought my day had been made - the sunshine and all - but the added bonus of an enthousiastic rainbow made it incomparable.
(this camera has endowed me with thorough eyes, but amanda's lovely sidewalk project has me - and many admirable others - looking constantly earthward...)
Saturday, July 19, 2003
this is me. this is my identity*, if only for today: one never knows who one will be on the morrow.
i think before i bite.
i distrust looking-glasses.
i cherish those in my care, and those in my thoughts.
i believe, and will always believe, in happy endings.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
to whom it may concern;
we understand that speed, as always, is of the essence. we ask only that you take into consideration the following factors:
busy cycling paths.
we promise to do our utmost best; but, unfortunately, the simple bicycle seems to be lowest on the vehicular chain.
we offer no guarantees. we DO get there. and the earth - the blessed earth - remains unsullied. that ought to count for something, don't you think?
Saturday, July 12, 2003
at one point, deep into the dusk, and following yet another anecdote-of-anecdotes, he scraped his chair closer and said:
"you should write a book."
remnants of the evening tumbled through the gaps.
"i have no stories," she replied. "i have only words."
Friday, July 11, 2003
he breathes hotly into his designer cuff and caresses the indigo gloss. this is his vehicle: all sleek symmetry*, elegant, low-slung, purring, passionate... like himself, if he does say so himself. and he does... constantly.
he tucks his tummy hurriedly under his belt and undoes one more button on his shirt in a vain attempt to match the absolute - and unattainable - coolness of his car.
Wednesday, July 9, 2003
stretching my legs after dinner – once upon a recovered summer evening - i happened across a graceful bridge in the neighbourhood of the reguliersgracht, and saw, a glance waterwards, a half-submerged rowboat absolutely overflowing with debris of every kind. it brought to mind one of the guided canal-boat tours: “on your right, ladies and gentleman, a houseboat teeming with felines and radiating absolute squalor. please don’t breathe too deeply.”
and then the tiny vessel began to squawk. stridently. a closer look revealed a fat and protective coot, nestled comfortably into the bits and pieces, her wings lovingly harbouring a trio of little ones, hungry and/or eager to plunge off into the big wide world.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
it's difficult to picture amsterdam's canal belt without traffic queues and the opstapper (that would be me enjoying the bouncy ride) and wheel clamps.
but the very thought of a vehicle pausing leisurely on the prinsengracht while its owner rings a bell to get-'er-filled-up defies the most vivid of imaginations.
Sunday, July 6, 2003
i realise that this is the second pair of clogs since the beginning of may, and i do apologise. but i just returned from a family weekend in friesland - the "true north" of the netherlands - and, although the countryside and the villages were spectacularly picturesque, the sky stayed a shallow and slightly depressing parchment-white the whole time. under such circumstances, i can't resist focussing my attention, and my camera, on things that radiate colour and brightness all on their very vibrant own.
Friday, July 4, 2003
he has survived a dozen of his peers, and awaits the end of his days elegantly by the tall window overlooking the avenue. he finds comfort in his simple and steady routine, and satisfaction in the solitude* that allows him his significant memories and his insignificant regrets.
it's an observation that's often made: when one has spent most of one's adult years in a "foreign" country, one does some things for the first time in a non-english-language environment. i gave birth, for instance, here in holland, and could not for the life of me tell my mother how the delivery had progressed: i simply did not know the english words.
and when i immersed myself briefly, years ago, in the pleasures of gardening, the classes i took and the nurseries i visited enriched my dutch horticultural vocabulary enormously - but don't ask me what these yellow* blossoms are called in english.
maybe there is no english translation, just the latin:"ranunculus" which my webster's annotes, "lit. small frogs". now why would that be?
Wednesday, July 2, 2003
i had to cancel an excursion reservation yesterday.
a very pleasant woman had called us to reserve a guided scooter tour of amsterdam - a hen party kind of thing - called "the big step". usually, it is geared for the females of the bridal contingent: in this particular case, it wasn't about a giggling delegation of matrons-of-honour, but about a mixed group, several ladies and a few gentlemen, including the gay couple itself. i didn't ask PERMISSION: this is amsterdam, after all.
immediately after sending off the fax, i was telephoned by the company, and urged to cancel the booking. men were not the targeted audience.
well, i said, this is a completely different bowl of fruit. this is not your drunk-and-disorderly-let's-hit-the-red-light-district kind of party.
rules are rules, they responded.
now THAT is an expression that stands my hair on end.
i protested in vain.
i called the very pleasant woman back and apologised.
i suggested alternatives.
i did my best, and swore under my breath the whole time.
rules are rules, indeed.
i hope the very pleasant woman and her friends have a PERFECT day anyway.