Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby's Here! (182/365)

My best friend asked me to a paint a picture for her baby's room.  It took me a while to get started - I had to choose a subject that matched what she wanted but that was still "me."  When I thought I had a good idea, I worked on sketches and took photographs of a reference point.  It was slow going, but I reserved a day to start the painting that I thought would give me enough time to complete it before the baby arrived.  The day that I had slated to finally begin the painting - the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend - my friend went into labor.  So a month later, I'm finally finished and I'm coming home this weekend to present it.  Hope they like it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thanksgiving (181/365)

Today's just about the last day of the fiscal year.  Some of our funding was lost. (It wasn't cut so much as a held up in a perpetual waiting game.)  So it was the last day for our housing counselor, who's losing his job as the new fiscal year begins.

My coworker, the bookkeeper, rounded us all up for a goodbye lunch and recruited us for the preparations.  She had already brought spaghetti and rice and beans from home; what else could we contribute?  I cut up some apples and oranges; someone got some roast chicken; I went to the bakery across the street and got five pieces of different cakes, so that everyone would have something that they liked.

I looked at the table and thought of Thanksgiving.  With all of the little things we brought it was a feast, and it was a Thanksgiving in a way.  Just since I've been here the counselor has helped so many people, and his clients have so much confidence in him.  I could hear it in their voices when they called on his off-days, eager to talk to him and disappointed that he wasn't in.  He spent a lot of time with each one of them, and it didn't matter how often they had to come back to have their case resolved; he would work until the end.  So I'm very thankful for that, and I know his clients are too.  It was a bittersweet Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Walking Home (180/365)

Almost there.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Self-Portrait 3, In Friend's Room (179/365)

My friend came to stay with me for a little while, after one of my roommates was accepted to a grad program on the opposite coast.  It was nice to have her here, in the room I started to think of as hers.   Then her sojourn took her back to her family's house, where she is cozy and happy with her parents and sisters, amid a forest of green trees outside and steam from tea inside.  A week after she left I stood in her doorway with the light from the hall behind me and felt a little forlorn.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Iceland Art (176/365)

My last full day in Iceland! I'm glad to be staying in Reykjavík for the day.

I still get the sense that Reykjavík is a fishing village-turned-artists' colony.  I really, really wonder what it's like to grow up here.  I get the sense that in Reykjavík, everyone believes they can create and be whatever they want and that artistry is very much prized.

I went to Kjarvalsstadir, the branch of the Reykjavík Museum of Art that's dedicated to Johannes Kjarval and his legacy.  He's something of a national treasure, and I could see why.  His paintings of the Icelandic landscape captured the energy and motion of the landscape.  They were enchanting and warm and inviting, even when they depicted snow and darkness.

I went to the gallery of the Icelandic Printmakers' Association and met the artist responsible for the current exhibition.  Her work was fascinating:  graphic representations of statistics like financial data from Iceland's economic collapse, mean temperatures in Reykjavík since the 1970s, and results of the happiest countries survey. It was so much fun to get to speak with her, too.

After that gallery I saw the second branch of the Reykjavík Museum of Art.  It featured a spacious and curious installation on the intersection of philosophy and art.  It explored  the idea that works of art were not static displays but the accumulation of effects over time, and that the passing of time was part of the work itself.  Etc., etc.  It was thought-provoking.

Of course there's art all over the city in the form of murals - one of robots wrestling in space, one fashioned from hot pink chinks of metal in the shape of a giant drop of paint rolling down the side of the building.

And then there's fashion.  I saw one lady step out of her car in front of my hostel, dressed in skinny metallic pants, high heels, and a thick, voluminous, abstract-patterned kimono-like jacket, her hair piled in an elegant ballerina bun.  She went into the hardware store and emerged with a single paintbrush.

And amidst all the art and energy and boundless creativity the gulls spin and the cool sea air blows in, down the alleys and the streets of Reykjavík.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Look Around You (175/365)

I took a ferry from the mainland to Vestmannaeyjar, a small chain of volcanic islands off of Iceland's south coast.  The route was dotted green and black islands, cliffs black with rich soil and hills green with turf.  As we came into the harbor at Heimay, the largest island, I was enthralled by the lava fields on the east side of the island.  Some lupines and moss sprouted from or clung to the red rocks, but otherwise it looked like Mars.  So that was what I thought Heimay was: red rocks, rough peaks.

When we entered the harbor I turned and faced the other side of the ferry. The bright blue sky sparkled against crisp, golden limestone; the green pastureland where sheep could graze rung the tops of the cliffs.  It was so utterly different from the other side of the harbor, so utterly beautiful.

So I learned an important lesson, for life and for Photo 365:  Observe all 360° of your surroundings. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ice and Water (173/365)

I had an absolutely fabulous day on Sólheimajökull, the glacier pictured at top.  

If you want to see "my" beautiful glacier in motion or learn more about how climate change is affecting glaciers worldwide, please visit Extreme Ice Survey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Riding (172/365)

June 21st, the longest day of the year, and I'm in Iceland! (I wrote in my travel journal as sunlight poured in the window of the hostel at 11:00 pm.) There's this push and pull:  the yellow, blue and red wooden houses and pine trees against the harbor and the piercing, thin sky; the fish stew and hand-knits, mix with the avant-garde: the billowy, asymmetrical jackets of the young women; riotous colors and murals, a forward-looking optimism.  Iceland is in motion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweden (Moving and Quiet) (171/365)

Malmö, Sweden is only a half-hour's train ride from the Copenhagen airport.  It was surreal to be in another county as soon as we were in Sweden, and despite the fact that it was only 30 minutes away from Denmark, it felt, looked, and soundly like a wholly different place.

Malmö had its own inner contrasts, too.  Outside of the train station, I looked to the left and saw rooflines of old buildings, and to the right and saw cranes and towers. As I walked through the town I enjoyed Malmö's early morning bustle, an.amalgamation of busy-ness and silence.  Postal carriers were delivering the mail in bicycles.  Delivery trucks were bringing supplies to the restaurants.  It was active but quiet, and enthralling.

 I got lost so many times in Malmö.  I never knew where I was going or even where the sidewalk ended and the street began.  I only found the old square and the King's Garden by accident.  I remember a tiny old lady walking along Lilla Torg (the little square).  She clutched a metal cane with a green dot on the handle, and her legs were tiny, all bone and sinew.  She took short steps with a look of absolute determination on her face.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Haven (169/365)

When I landed in Copenhagen I went to the ticket kiosk to buy a metro ticket.  I could understand the Danish but not why my debit card wasn't accepted, so I tried to get cash.  I didn't see an ATM but I did see a vending machine that accepted cards, so I tested mine.  I somehow ended up with a 20-kroner coin, chocolate milk, and a candy bar, so my card worked, and then some.  I found an ATM after easing through customs and withdrew a 500 kroner note, but the ticket vending machine only accepted coins.  I bought postcards, but received more notes in return.  The shop assistant pointed out a window where I could buy a ticket from a real person, so I did, and my first impression of Denmark was, "This place is a production."

My second impression of Denmark was the sea air that came in through the sliding glass doors of the metro train, and the coral-colored peaked roofs of the houses along the tracks.  My third impression was of the city itself, scalloped peaks at the ends of brick buildings; brick lanes; bicycles upon bicycles.  I dropped off my bag at the hostel and went back out in the misting rain; slipping around the canals, watching the red and white flags snapping in the breeze, feeling cozy with cups of tea and good spelt bread.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Keflavik, 1 AM (168/365)

I never thought of the night as something geographic before, but I watched our plane's path on the video screen map, and it was clear that we would never cross into darkness.  The sun was low when we flew out of Keflavik and few east into the dawn, always north or east of night.

Ready to Roll (167/365)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unity (163/365)

Pentecost Sunday

Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

There were swarms of people at the first Christian Pentecost.  If ancient Jerusalem was anything like my modern-day City of Cacophonous Sounds, those swarms of people probably cut off one another's carts and donkeys in traffic, stepped (literally) on each other's toes, tripped over each other's small children as they careered unexpectedly around corners, pushed each other in line at the olive oil stand, and generally gave each other exasperated, annoyed looks.  The union of all of those people didn't necessarily lead to unity.  Hearing the Apostles speaking in each of their native languages, we are told, brought them together in amazement, stopped them in their tracks as they looked at each other in wonder.  The first Christian Pentecost delivered a message that they could all share.

Our homily today, this Pentecost, was about peace and unity.  Just as the events of Pentecost ended the division of the Tower of Babel, our faith has the power to unify, heal, and end division.  I was moved by the homily, and especially by the beauty of the second reading: we are all given life by the same Spirit; the same God moves within each of us. 

There are so many people moving in the City of Cacophonous Noises.  With all of the pushing and rushing and toe-stepping and tripping over small dogs, it's hard to remember our unity, our family.  Every now and then we share a moment of unity: something funny happens on the subway, someone drops his keys (or spews the contents of her backpack across the sidewalk, cough cough, I wonder who did that) and bystanders stop to help pick up; somebody asks you for directions and you're actually able to help, and proud.   With all these people crowding past you and around you, the opportunities for connection are greater, if you remember to be aware of them, and try not to be too grumpy.

The ironic thing is that, right after I took this picture, the train came, and out of nowhere five or six teenage girls shouted and giggled their way towards the door I was trying to enter.  "Oh no," I thought to myself, "I'm not getting in that car." I scolded myself to think back on this reflection and the warm fuzzy feelings I got in church this morning.

Clean Sheets (163/365)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yarn Scene (162/365)

We were bombed!  Yarn bombed, that is.  My best friend and I walked into my subway station yesterday to discover a little rainbow surprise:  each turnstile swathed in crochet.  I'd heard of guerrilla crocheting before, and my friend and I had even found a crocheted bicycle chained to a sign post earlier this spring, but I felt to honored that our little, humble station graced with yarn.

Today was International Yarn Bombing Day!  Did you see any guerrilla knits or crochets near you?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meh (161/365)

Just not excited about either of my pictures today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vertigo (159/365)

This park is so much bigger than the Mostest Favoritest of All Time Sports Team's home.  It was strange yet beautiful to see them here, as I miss them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why do I do this to myself? (157/365)

Wait until 11:00 to take a picture, that is.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Beaded (155/365)

There were lots of beads in this flea market.  There were heaps of Chinese beads shaped like coral, disarticulated, in between turtles carved in jade and translucent China cups.  There was a set of matching beaded armchairs, in a bright black and white and green geometric pattern.  And there were strands and strands of beads from Africa, heavy and dusty in my hands.  Was that dust from Africa?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Breath of Possibility (154/365)

What I love best about spring is walking home from work in the light, feeling hope for the evening and the weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Banana Ice Cream (15/365)

Did you know you make ice cream without any technology (well, no technology other than a freezer) by mashing a frozen banana?  Yep, it really works!  It's delicious, and you could switch to this for all your ice cream needs, if you were satisfied with only banana-flavored ice cream.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011