Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Wounded And The Whole

It's been a busy sort of month, in case you hadn't noticed by my lack of posts. Not a constantly working sort of thing, but more of a can't seem to catch up sort of thing, which is good in a way. This past weekend though, we just sort of putzed around...
First of all, we had a long overdue garage sale, which are always fun. In case you haven't seen our attic, we have an impressive amount of crap... and I don't mean "wow, you have a lot of stuff up here" amount of crap, I mean a Collyer brothers amount of crap. You could grease yourself up, dive into a pile, and find yourself in a Plymouth Valiant... or perhaps in the living room of a smaller family that set up shop in one of the mounds... Anyway, we scraped off the top layer of one of the piles and carried it down to our front lawn on Saturday morning, and when all was said and done we'd made a couple hundred bucks, and I only had to carry up half of the stuff I brought down... plus, I discovered two things -
1. My kids are natural salespeople. "Customers!" they would whisper to each other every time someone walked down the road, and then they would start their pitch. "Are we selling these books dad?" Sam would say, "These are good ones, especially the gorilla one, remember that one Lily?" and she would chime in from the background, "Oh yeah, those are good..." and the dance would begin. "Have you seen this rocking horse, mister? I used to love this..." Worked like a charm, I tell ya. Fools and their money...
2. People are crazy. Case and point - the forty something year old guy that came as soon as we opened and zeroed in on a cardboard box filled with black and red balloons, some paper Chinese fans and lanterns, little containers of bubbles with Chinese lettering on them, and some new Chinese take-out containers. "Is all this being sold together?" he said, "Well sure", I answered, "it's Chinese New Year in a box" (Sara's name for it, can't take credit...).
... and four dollars later, he was happily strolling away completely prepared for an exceedingly lame Chinese New Year party eight months early.
Next up, a white van from some plumbing company pulls up, and an unshaven wifebeater-wearing plumber (I assume) hops out and starts foraging through the box of kid books.
"Any Curious George?" he says, "No", I answer, "we had a few in there, but someone just came and scooped them all up."
"That's a drag. I'm really into Curious George right now."
Luckily, my inner salesman managed to stop the "what the fuck?" that was on the tip of my tongue, and instead went with "You might want to try Eric Carle, he's a pretty good read..."
Armed with our new-found wealth, we saddled up the kids and went to the Devon Horse Show on Sunday, and immediately felt like some of the poorest people on the planet. There's lots to do there, so we didn't need to know anything about horses (or even watch the show for more than two minutes), but did learn one thing... The amount of money you have is directly proportional to the size of your hat. We didn't even have any hats, and there were people there who had extra chairs in case the weight of their hats became unbearable... some big hats, is all I'm saying.
Since then, I've just been staring at Sam's pre-k graduation picture. Up until we got it, I wasn't paying much attention to the whole graduation thing - because really, he's just moving on to kindergarten - but since we got the pictures back, I'm pretty freaked out. Every time I look at it I see him confident, happy, ready to move on... and every time I see it I just feel old... crap...

Oh, by the way, I scanned this picture into the computer through my printer... looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Watermelon Code

Another year has rolled by, and another art show gave me the chance to screw around a bit. Last year was the pirate ship, which I couldn't see doing again lest people start to wonder if I was just a one trick pony. For the life of me, though, I couldn't figure out what to do. I spent a few days cooking with a garnishing & fruit carving book sprawled out in front of me, turning the pages when I had a free hand. Nothing really caught my fancy though, and the night before the show I was eating dinner in front of a watermelon... a plain, uncarved melon, just sitting there... mocking me. Anyway, long story short, I realized that I was only thinking of some sort of sculpture type thing, and had completely ignored the obvious. Why whack apart a perfectly good melon?
I thought of Picasso's "The Dream" first for some odd reason, but when I looked up a picture for reference, I scrapped that idea pretty quickly... plus, I thought it might be a better idea to go with something that everyone would know. By eleven that night I was putting on the finishing touches and shaking out my hand cramps from holding onto my little Global bird's beak peeler like grim death.
I figured out that what I like most about this sort of thing is the fear. Halfway through, there's no telling what it'll look like - could be something great, could be a big piece of scratched fruit. It's the same thing with catering, but on a smaller scale. I did an auction last week that was a solid week of prep, and the day of the event was fifteen hours of ten people in constant motion. Halfway through that too, you can never tell exactly what will happen. A hundred things to do, and every time I give someone a job I have to reorganize and re-prioritize the list in my head so that everything can get done when and as it should... and there is always a brief moment of sheer panic about three hours before start time when everything falls to pieces in my head... which, oddly enough, seems to coincide with the time when I usually start getting pissed at everyone who isn't moving fast enough. With a watermelon, there's still the fear, but I always figure if it gets really screwed up, I'll just eat it.
Anyway, without further ado, some crummy pictures of a juicy and delicious Mona Lisa.
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