I just got somewhere between 10 and 11 hours of sleep which is a small miracle given my insomnia. I think I was worn out by pain.

We took the dogs to the vet and my Newf has developed some problems walking in addition to her arthritis. It looks like some spinal cord damage affecting her right hind leg. Sometimes she stumbles or falls, because the nerve signals cut out on that leg. She is almost 14 so there is nothing to be done. The vet said at some point if she can’t walk it will be the end.

Knowing this already, as both my dogs are old and in final decline, it still left me with a lingering weepiness and sadness. Tears keep coming to my eyes periodically.

Nietzsche – “God is dead.”


I’m getting somewhere, I can spell “Nietzsche” off the top of my head. Of such marketable skills are life made.

Back in the 60s man, Nietzsche was revered and this one phrase of his reverberated in universities throughout the world. Weren’t we clever? Is God dead? I think our human notion and bastardization and mistranslation of God is the problem.

Beyond that, I think there are people who shine with something providential; they access the divine.

For today, awash in tears for old dogs and inevitable death, I prefer to imagine something concrete, but rarely accessed by 6 billion humans.





A Graffiti Moment of Celebration

KING OF SPADES – The walls are the publishers of the poor. [Eduardo Galeano]

(I swear I did not pick Eduardo specifically after his death on the 13th, he just popped out.)


We received our tax rebate in the mail yesterday (earlier than expected) and my husband surprised me by saying I could order the Animalis Os Fortuna Tarot. So I did, and most definitely feel like a Three of Cups moment today.

It’s warming up, we went to the library for a fresh infusion of books yesterday and had the windows open. Today is supposed to be nice too. I’ve been getting my head around moving again. Yesterday while out, I saw a former co-worker which got me down, but then I thought “No, we are moving and starting a new life.”

The King of Spades in the system I use for playing cards, often symbolizes an older man, so I think he’s probably my husband, and he provides insight and direction. Thinking of walls and graffiti, as the King does, it might be a good day for journalling and drawing.

I’ll take that!




Karolus Meets Loys for Tea on Sunday

These two cards are ones I pulled out of the Dames de France playing cards by Grimaud. Not for the first time do I regret that Roddy Somerville stopped selling online, because I used to get the most marvelous playing cards from him.

KING OF SPADES – Karolus Magnus
KING OF DIAMONDS – Sainct (sic) Loys


Saint Louis was King of France from 1226, when he was eleven years-old, until he died. His mother ruled as regent until he came of age. His father was Louis VIII and his grandfather was Philip II. He is the only canonized King of France.

Interestingly, when in his 30s he fought in the 7th crusade, being captured and held prisoner by the Egyptians until a high ransom was paid. Then he did another crusade when in his mid-fifties, which killed him when disease hit the camp during the early stages after they landed at Carthage.

His reign was a golden time in France, and his court promoted art and architecture everywhere France had influence. The beautiful Sainte-Chapelle was his personal chapel, and he bought relics for it and dressed as a penitent to carry the relics at then end of their journey into the chapel. He often fasted and prayed and did penance, wearing a hair shirt or being beaten. He fed beggars personally and washed their feet, supported lepers, and founded hospitals, and houses for the blind and reformed prostitutes.

He was generous with his charity and outlawed usury. Unfortunately, he also seems to have been anti-Semitic along with the Pope of the time, and burned thousands of copies of Jewish books, which were probably as beautiful as Christian illuminated manuscripts of the time. What a loss. He was also a firm supporter of the Inquisition and took his stewardship of France and the Church very seriously.

His canonization seems a bit dubious, there being only scanty reports left with no real details about what he did in the way of miracles needed to become a Saint, but I suppose they figured he’d done enough with his crusades and care of the poor to merit it and created a few miracles to get him there. A somewhat cynical view on my part about canonization, but my opinion only.

Karolus Magnus is the Latin name of Charles I of the Franks, known to us as Charlemagne (Charles le Magne means Charles the Great), who ruled from 768 to 814. He was part of the Carolingian dynasty of Charles Martel; the French monarchy of Louis IX is descended from Charlemagne’s larger empire. I find the history of the time rather confusing, as it must have been to live it I’m sure. After Rome fell, they couldn’t quite get back that central authority and stability, and all of Europe seems to ripple with war and change. States and kingdoms switched back and forth, and then the Church comes into it all.

Charlemagne was canonized too but it was never recognized by the Catholic Church. He loved books and promoted the making of books, which were all made by hand at the time and expensive to produce, taking months of time. Of course, his history is much longer than this, but it was enough for me to know it was him on the card and ruminate on greatness and history.

I never knew that Saint Louis was actually a King of France. Imagine! Funny how we take things for granted, hear names and never think to ponder where they come from.



Play Architecture with the Painter

Daily Draw June 22nd, 2012


I am not a fan of Le Corbusier, whose real name is Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. He is quite famous and was a big influence on others, much lauded and worshipped for his theories and practice, but I find his architectural designs unattractive and impractical, and his views about urban planning not conducive to the idea of community as it naturally happens in cities among humans. His was an imposed community, a machination of theory and not much to do with real people. I have never understood the fuss over him. He must have been a charismatic person who had a great personality and charm because for me he isn’t that talented.

The Villa Savoye is the only design of his I like; his work deteriorated after this. This has a lovely roof top garden and interior. If you are interested, you can see more pictures on the Web.

He designed furniture too and the famous advertisement for Maxell in 1978 with the man being blown away features a Le Corbusier chair. Most of us will remember this one.

Le Corbusier liked cubism but objected to the mish-mash that cubism eventually became and preferred what he called “purism” with less ornate structure and architectural simplicity. So he said. Looking at his early paintings I can see his architecture, but I don’t see much difference from Picasso’s cubism in many of the later ones. I still love them, he had a large mural in his office that is wonderful. Imagine looking at this glorious piece of art all day?

The painting below and the one I used as a background to the playing card, are reminiscent of Giorgio de Chirico in both shapes and colour palette. Largely forgotten today, Giorgio was a big influence in the early part of the twentieth century. The card background in my first image is the Jeanneret painting Still Life, done in 1920. It measures approximately 32 x 39 inches and now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

More cubism…

So that’s my truncated examination of Le Corbusier. Love him or hate him his influence is ubiquitous. There are many photographs and examples of his work online.

I wish he’d stuck with painting as a career.