Shall We Sing…???

“All my trials Lord, soon be over.”

I wish, now we’ve got a plumbing problem and the plumber is coming tomorrow.

“Once you label me, you negate me.” [Kierkegard]


Maybe we should sing “I love my cheery chaps, my existentialist saps” Lalalalala.

I take it Mr. Kierkegard doesn’t want me to label a plumbing problem as bad. Wouldn’t want to negate the plumbing, right? Okay, let’s think about concrete reality rather than thinking in abstracts.

Søren wanted some birds. “Give me birds, they know how to stay grounded” he said forthrightly.

And darn it Søren, if you press down and hold the “o” key on the Mac keyboard, you get a pop-up box for making the strange “ø” character. We can call you by your first name now!






Kali Red and Hypatia White

Daily Draw May 13th, 2013

My knee is quite inflamed and swollen from painting so I’m just taking it easy with three days to go until the wedding we are attending. I put some books on hold at the library but they won’t be in until tomorrow or the next day. I am restless and have so much to do, it is frustrating to have knee problems.

However, I did get my necklace and earring set finished for the wedding so that’s one thing off the list. My cat that has inflammatory bowel disease is sick again. He was doing so well on his new food and probiotics and then got diarrhea late Saturday that continues. That’s a worry.

I need some Portable Fortitude!

8 OF DIAMONDS – Protection from Kali Yuga


Interesting that Hypatia should come up since I am antsy about having something to read and getting books from the library. She was the last librarian of the fabled library at Alexandria. She was also a mathematician and philosopher and seems to embody learning and reason to me. She was murdered by Christians for some political reason, although she wasn’t involved in the larger dispute. People always need a target.

Kali Yuga is not the goddess Kali but the demon Kali and also refers to a period in time where there is a lot of strife and discord in the world. Some say we are in that age now but some say it has passed into another yuga.

In any case, due to the horrible death of Hypatia, they seem to go well together. Reading and being quiet will protect me from strife. My husband left a message with the contractor’s wife about our floor. He is now on another job but hopefully since we are withholding final payment he will get to us soon.

Yup, protection from strife and discord sounds good.



Play Architecture, Play One Note

Daily Draw July 1st, 2012

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This is Ludwig Mies, who changed his name to Mies van der Rohe, and thereafter used his surname as his first name, hence vying with Le Corbusier for the need to have a strange title. He was German and worked with both Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, whom I will discuss on the Jack of Spades.

A beef I have with Mies is the way he used his work and collaboration with designer and architect Lilly Reich, and seemed to conveniently forget her contribution. The famous Barcelona chair they designed, which is still in production and often seen on television decorating shows and in interior decorating, is the best known piece of their furniture. It is doubtful he would have designed furniture without her, yet who knows her name today? Perhaps if she had lived longer she might have rectified the oversight?

My other experience with Mies van der Rohe is the Toronto-Dominion Centre which he designed in the downtown financial district of Toronto. My parents and I and possibly one or two of my siblings toured the building when it was being built. I remember seeing through construction debris and being rather impressed at the imposing black structures and the smell of concrete and tile and dust within the dark entrance. They were the only buildings of that height down there at the time so they really stood out, one taller than the other, and were all black and shimmered unto themselves.

Toronto was still affectionately known as “Hog Town” at the time and hardly the cosmopolitan city it is today. This is the city that used to arrest owners of retail stores for opening on Sundays in the 1970s. It lagged way behind Montreal for cosmopolitan flavour over some decades. This complex for the T-D Bank was very striking and very different for Toronto, and along with the iconic new City Hall and its Henry Moore statue The Archer, was evidence of the modern dynamism that hit Toronto in the 1960s. I was a child, but I remember how fresh and lively it all seemed. These new buildings were good.

As an adult I often worked in the financial district and eventually these two black towers were joined into a complex of six buildings and dwarfed by other towers neighbouring them, but I remember when they stood alone, a sharply distinctive duo. They were also the first buildings in Toronto to offer underground shopping. This too has expanded into 27 kilometres of underground shopping. I find the shopping concourse dark and claustrophobic, I used to work there too and it was like being buried alive, but you can wander off on your lunch break and stay out of the rain and snow and the enveloping wind around those many towers. Mies van der Rohe was adamant about the signage being plain black in the T-D complex, but they have since relaxed his design vision and allowed more distinctive signage, thus losing a vital flavour of those times.

When I look at the designs of Mies, I often think he was a visionary and at other times I think he was a man of a singular idea, not really the iconoclast we paint him. It’s hard not to revere modernistic pioneers but we can see upon reflection that they aren’t exactly the Gods we portray them as. Mies van der Rohe was good, he was capable, some of his designs stand up to changes in time and taste, but is he really that GREAT? He is slightly one-note for me. Perhaps it’s old-fashioned of me, but not one of these fellows, whether it be Le Corbusier, Gropius, or Van der Rohe, stands up to Frank Lloyd Wright for innovation and use of materials.

I understand they were trying something different, something cleaner, stripped down, and minimalist in reaction to contemporary style, but they missed the mark in some way and ceased to be interesting.


Queens of Spades on Patrol

Daily Draw July 29th, 2011

I was on patrol yesterday schmoozing around tarot blogs and I always get excited to go through my own collection after that. I have 58 playing cards in my collection  and thought I’d have a meander with the Queen of Spades. I generally avoided some of the tourist and themed decks and just pulled interesting characters and faces.

Then we have the forthright South Sea Bubble cards:

A certain L__d, whose fortune ‘twas to loose,
Pull’d a ______ Director by the Nose,
Sirrah, quoth Honour, thus I Lug your Snout
Because you made me Buy, when you Sold out.

A lovely bird of China, a Chinese brush painting of Spring on the Li River, and Simon Drew’s Preposterous Playing Cards and a pride of lions exhibiting prejudice. Humorous cards and nature.

The Li or Lijiang river in the province of Kwangsi (now known as Guangxi) stretches for 100 kilometers of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The bird depicted on the other card is elusive, so I’ve asked an online group to help me and I’ll update when I find out what it is.

Update: The bird is from South America and is called Chauna chavaria  or Northern Screamer. Screamers are somewhat related to ducks, but their own species and only found in South America. They are large birds of about 35 inches and have spurs on their wings for territorial fighting. The Northern Screamer, unlike the other two screamers, is near threatened–the old story of human agriculture and habitat destruction. They apparently are not eaten by humans because they have spongy flesh full of air sacs that are unpalatable.

The last group is a full cast of characters:

Lumière – Liberté de la Presse
Constance d’Arles – (    -1032)
Dokouz-Katoun Princesse Mongole
Anne Boleyn

Pallas (or Athena or Minerva as she is called too) is often shown on the Queen of spades in decks, at least French ones.

The deck of the French Revolution changed all the Kings and Queens in an act of political correctness. Lumière means “light” in French, and Paris during the time was sometimes called La Lumière du Monde (light of the Earth), although in general this idea of enlightenment and light was prevalent in the decades before the Revolution. The bottom of the card specifies Liberté de la Presse (Freedom of the Press.)

Hildegarde (of Swabia) from the Dames de France card deck was a Frankish Queen and the second wife of Charlemagne, whom he married in 771.

Constance d’Arles, shown on the Jeu Roman card in a detail from a 14th century manuscript, was the third wife of King Robert II of France. She was a bit of a plotter, common in the 11th century, always angling for her sons to take over the throne, and then she fell out with them too. She wasn’t trustworthy for anyone seemingly—I think she was given the wrong name as she was not a constant person.

The Mongolian princess on the Cards of the Crusades was harder to track down to a specific person.

Around 1220 the European crusaders hooked up with the Mongols (who had an Eastern Christian influence in their court) to attack the Muslim empires, a common enemy regardless of any strict adherence of Mongolians to Christianity. Over ensuing decades they tried to consolidate their forces but logistics were a bit difficult and then the Mongols started to fall apart due to battles over the succession of Genghis Khan.

Ah here we go…the Princess Dokouz-Katoun (a.k.a. Dokuz-Khatun) was the wife of Hulagu Khan (a grandson of Genghis) in 1257-8 when Baghdad was conquered by this Mongol leader. Muslims were slaughtered and the city left in ruins, but she intervened to save some of the Christian population. She came from a sect called the Keraits, one of the Mongol tribes who converted to Nestorian Christianity, and thus she was protective of Christians. It is said that Hulagu moved his camp, due to the stench of decay from the ruined city; they killed tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 200,000 people or more.

After that, dear Anne Boleyn on the Tudor Rose pack reminds me that there are worse ways to die than a Frenchman’s axe.

And that’s my ramble through the Queen of Spades.

The Earth is Not Yet Still Enough

Daily Draw October 8th, 2010

I was going to use a snip of poetry today but instead when I looked at my shelf I pulled down my copy of Emerson’s Essays and chose a bit randomly. Strangely enough it deals with poetry.

“For poetry was all written before time was, and whenever we are so finely organized that we can penetrate into the region where the air is music, we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we lose ever and anon a word, or a verse, and substitute something of our own, and thus miswrite the poem. The men of more delicate ear write down these cadences more faithfully, and these transcripts, though imperfect, become the songs of nations. For nature is as truly beautiful as it is good, or as it is reasonable, and must as much appear, as it must be done, or be known. Words and deeds are quite indifferent modes of the divine energy. Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.”

Whew, I know some people feel that all art has been done and we just repeat it, and I’m somewhat disappointed that Emerson of all people would think poetry a mere reiteration. Imagine how boring it would be for God or the Universe to have written all the poetry and just whisper it to people to reproduce?

However that last line sends reverberations down my spine. Is this not true? Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words.


I have drawn this before in this deck. It is my ultimate personal card.

Is that lady plucking words from the ether? Are those words of poetry rising from the ash of volcanoes? I promised Ash I would write a poem with her cards. So far I haven’t. I am often a disappointment to others I feel, but in my mind I will write with this deck some day. I reside in the air of music, listening so I don’t miswrite the poem.

From the LWB, which as promised, I did cut and paste into a Word document to consult here.

“The ground is still smoldering, re-growth not yet possible as the earth is not yet still enough to create that supportive environment.  She knows it is a time of waiting but when the time does arrive for a fresh start, she will be available to give wise counsel.”

The earth is not yet still enough for me to write my poetry with this deck. It will be. My words will be the action I promised, my action will be a kind of words.

Empira of the Temperate Ashes

Daily Draw March 26th, 2010

Well, as I was shuffling the Diary deck, two cards locked together, so I pulled them out.


This Queen is my ultimate personal card. She is so intense, isn’t she? Lost in volcanic plumes of heat and energy, waiting for the explosion of ideas, giving people the evil eye to keep them away. . . hahaha.

This is an interesting take on Temperance. Fire and water and a watchful presence above who looks a bit scary to me. The woman is like a sword, tempered with fire and then dipped in water for further tempering. You simply cannot get away from this in life: in and out of the fire, heating and cooling, making you stronger and more flexible.

I think I have finally found a moderate, temperate exercise program that will heal me. It sounds silly to rabbit on and on about it, but when you’ve been encased in pain for years, anything that offers hope is great. Temper it with moderation, steady improvement.

And Queenie, she is a canny one, temperance is all about intellect with her, she’s nursing those volcanic eruptions, watchful like the presence in Temperance. Watch and wait, get that empirical evidence in, process it through the mind, bubbling and smoking.

Kind of a watchful period today. My husband is going for a follow-up visit to the doctor about something so I’m watchful about that too. Watch what you eat, temper your mood with energy and then rest, all these things today speak of balance and care.