A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

La La Love

Since about the year 2000 I've been making New Year's resolutions, and I take them very seriously. Posting the list right on the refrigerator and looking at it daily helps me to accomplish them. Getting started right away on an easy one is another way to ensure success. This year #5--paint the bathroom--was the lucky choice for starters.

The back wing of my house has been remodeled from a warren of rooms into a huge skylit kitchen and lav with loft above (the original kitchen was in the cellar). A 15-foot-square stained glass window, dating from the same period as the house but probably originally from a church, has been set into the south-facing wall. All this was done in about 1986 and never changed since, and the colors scream "80s" to me.

The cabinetry is pickled oak, that light pinkish color I never liked even when it was in fashion. All the wood trim, including the frame of the big window, is painted the same pinky white. The walls are a chalky matte off-white and look like unpainted sheetrock. The floor and doors are stained a dark walnut. Too much contrast; not enough warmth or color for me. And the space is so cavernous--the ceiling soars to 20 feet in one part--and so light-filled that there's no need to use light colors to give the illusion of space.

I've decided that in redoing the kitchen, I'll use the colors in the window. Periwinkle blue, acid green, crimson, royal purple. Tangerine, turquoise, gold. Kindergarten colors? Maybe, but they're in that antique window, so they're authentic period colors. Anyway, I've got ten more rooms in the front of the house to decorate in subdued and elegant fashion.

I decided that the bathroom should match the rose pink of the uppermost panes. I snapped a picture of the stained glass window, then took the camera to the hardware store to match the paint. The color I ended up with is called "la la love."

Here's a picture of the room with the first coat of paint applied. I know, I know. It looks like some six-year-old girl's idea of a dream bedroom, lacking only the Barbie bedspread. But I'm thinking rather of those 50s bathrooms with the poodles on the wallpaper. My Aunt Jean had one of those. Does anybody besides me remember poodles on the wall?

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What I Want To Do

New year, new napkin. This is what I want to do in 2008:

1) redo web page. It's been up for two years, and it's time to upgrade. Make it graphically more sophisticated, more content-rich, more interactive. Maybe hang my blog and email off of it. Use .pdfs instead of links for my clips. Sell something on it, or give something away. Draw more people to it. Lots of people read my blog; hardly anyone goes to my web site. I've learned a lot in the past two years; now I want to put some of that knowledge to use.

2) Venice. If I travel in 2008, I'd like to see la Serenissima before she is completely underwater. Also, I'd like to score an all-expenses-paid super-luxe press trip during Carnevale at some future point, but I don't want that to be my first visit. So this will be a preview.

3) Paris Green. Finish my screenplay. I had sort of painted myself into a corner, but my old friend Bob Chamberlain brainstormed me out of it in about 20 minutes the other day. Also advised me to write alternate endings--said mine was too downbeat, and people in troubled times like happily ever after. But if I get to the end of one ending, I'll consider my resolution accomplished.

4) screen door. I've been talking about getting screen/storm doors for about three years now. My front door has to be the biggest source of heat loss in my whole house, and these would help insulate. I'd like to have them made by the woodworking school in Easthampton. The owner is supposed to stop by one day soon to discuss the project.

5) paint bathroom. I've got some insulating paint additive I'm dying to try out. Any one of the bathrooms is an easy project because they're all sheetrocked, with lower ceilings than the rest of the rooms.

6) rejoin Y. For obvious reasons. I'm going to be doing some grantwriting for them, in addition to the newspaper column I write. Maybe they'd roll in a membership with my contract?

7) roadtrip. This is a creative project I've been contemplating. Too complicated to go into here.

8) Rigoletto. I've had "La donna è mobile" running through my head for weeks now. Maybe seeing the opera performed will exorcise it. Prague has a good production of it this spring! Or maybe just watch Ponnelle's version with Pavarotti as the Duke.

9) opera. Jazz is out; opera is in.