Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘windows’

By Bob Chrisman

In my mind it’s too early to think of spring cleaning. As I write that sentence my thoughts veer off in another direction. I never clean my house unless company will arrive within a few hours. Those little cleaning spurts only touch the surface dirt and clutter, not at all like spring cleaning, but sufficient to fool guests into thinking I live in a neat, tidy and clean house.

Spring cleaning to me means days of going after the accumulated dirt of the winter. My mother took down all the sheers and curtains and washed them in the wringer washer. She fed them through the rollers to press the water out and then rinsed them before sending them through the wringer and into an empty wash tub. When she finished she hung everything outside on the clothesline to dry in the sun and wind.

As the laundry dried in the fresh air, she donned her rubber gloves and armed with old rags and a bucket of water went after the windows inside and out as my father removed the storm windows and replaced them with the screen windows. He took the screen windows out of storage in the basement, wiped them down and leaned them against the house. He started the removal of the storms at the front of the house and washed and dried them before he took them to the basement to store until fall cleaning.

Mom climbed the step ladder placed next to the house and washed the window panes and window sills. Then she wiped them dry. My sister and I stood inside and pointed out spots that she missed until she handed us a bucket and a sponge and we became her assistants.

Once the window panes sparkled and Dad had installed all of the screens, Mom would open every window in the house to “air out the place.” This airing occurred regardless of the outside temperature and lasted long enough for her to proclaim that the air inside was fresh.

She washed and waxed the wood floors throughout the house in the early years. After we installed linoleum in the kitchen and wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, she would polish the kitchen floor until it gleamed and take her Kirby upright sweeper to the rug in the living room.

Just writing about it makes me tired. I think I’ll go take a nap and think about spring cleaning on a smaller scale when I wake up. Or, maybe I won’t think about it at all anymore.


-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: PRACTICE — Spring Cleaning — 10min by QuoinMonkey, WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.

[NOTE: SPRING CLEANING was a Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.]

Read Full Post »

I had a Writing Practice a second ago. But Mr. Stripeypants wiped his paw across my keyboard and accidentally hit the delete key. What was I saying about doors? Hard to muster the energy to walk through this one. Doors, I remember a door from childhood. Wooden, probably pine, not hollow, real, with a center and windows, three windows, rectangular, and spaced so that one fell a little lower than the next. There was a United Way sticker on the door. I’m reminded that Pants comes to the door to greet me when I get home from anywhere. He hears the car come up the driveway, maybe even the street. Superhearing. There’s something comforting about having someone meet you at the door.

Doors to the past. I tend to open them for a peek. Doors to the future. You can’t count on them. Might not have a future. Now, right now. Still, I make plans, hoping I will see the sun rise. No sun today. The sun rose but was way too gray and rain studded to see. So I suffice with a memory –yesterday’s whopping orange ball over the Jewish cemetery I pass on the way to work. A beautiful mounded hill surrounded by empty land in the middle of a busy city. I like that about cemeteries. They hold space. And they get away with it because most people honor the dead, respect for those who have passed before.

Doorways to another dimension. Do I believe in Spiritual doors? Yes. I do. Thin veils of what has passed. I think about that when I open the Chevy Silverado door, marking time, making my rounds, driving around the bowels of the Twin Cities. Places no one thinks about or imagines, living right beside their neighborhood park or favorite restaurant. I haven’t been drawn to photograph doors. Except for the bowling pin door I ran into in Burnsville. But I’ve always worked with windows. The metaphor of window. It’s different than a door. Windows are lonely, have a longing loneliness about them. Pining to get out. You have to crawl out a window. What wants to blow in? You see vampire movies where vamps slide through windows at night. Never come in the door. Only the windows, flying like a bat out of midnight.

When I was a child, doors felt like protectors. Keeping what was unsavory out. Unless it was a Holiday and the relatives visited. Then we ran to the door to see who it was, to let them into the house. The house seemed so much bigger then. If I went back inside a childhood home, it would be tiny. What about gates? How are gates different than doors? If you think about a gate, you can go under it, over it, around it. A door? You have to want to move through it. Gates, you can see through them, yet still might not be able to trespass forward. Doors are most times closed off to what’s inside. Unless it’s a glass storm door, that thick-paned thermo glass that keeps the heat in and the cold out. I’ve always wanted to be able to afford thick glass windows and doors. Winter hardware.

What about Black Holes, doors to another Universe. Or are they drains, deep black, funneling drains to nowhere. I don’t really know what a Black Hole is. I read about them once but can’t remember how they form. And when I think about a door that huge, it makes me feel small and insignificant, which I am. I am also as big as my Spirit allows me to be. (Can I keep getting out of my own way?) The door is wide open. There are glass ceilings, mahogany frames, hollow doors, lead doors, steel doors. If I had to choose, the door would be red like my glasses. Or yellow like the Sun. You just don’t see yellow doors. Maybe a saccharin shade of bluish purple.



-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, February 4th, 2009

-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC — DOOR

Read Full Post »

Sage & John Cowles Convervatory, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Sage & John Cowles Convervatory, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



In keeping with last week’s Writing Topic, hundreds of windows turn Winter inside out at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden adjacent to the Walker Art Center. Established in 1927, the Walker began as the Upper Midwest’s first public art gallery. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1988, is one of the nation’s largest urban sculpture parks and visitors to the Twin Cities don’t often leave without walking the 11-acre home to more than 40 works of art.

The Sage & John Cowles Conservatory on the western edge of the Sculpture Garden is a community contribution from philanthropists John Cowles, Jr. and his wife Jane Sage Fuller (who also had key roles in bringing the Guthrie Theater and Metrodome to Minneapolis). John Cowles Jr. was named president and CEO of Cowles Media in 1968, after beginning as a police reporter in 1953.

His father, John Cowles Sr., made the cover of TIME in 1935 when he and his brother, Gardner (Mike) Cowles Jr., bought the Minneapolis Star, then the 3rd weakest newspaper in the community. The brothers are descendants of a small-town banker, son of a Methodist elder in Iowa, who started out with little money until turning the Des Moines Register & Tribune and the Minneapolis Star Tribune into well-respected national newspapers.


According to a 1997 article in the Star Tribune:

John Sr. was president of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co. from 1935 to 1968, and chairman from 1968 to 1973. Through the influence of his newspaper and his own activities, he is credited with turning Minnesota from an isolationist state to an internationally engaged one, and leading the fight against the anti-Semitism that was openly practiced in the state when he arrived.


    RainGrate, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Standing Pink, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

RainGrate, Standing Pink, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Sage Fuller Cowles is a dancer from Bedford Village, New York, and the stepdaughter of Cass Canfield, Sr., one-time chairman of Harper & Row. In the 1950s, she danced on Broadway and television and served as president of Planned Parenthood of Minneapolis from 1957-59. Her approach to philanthropy leans to the holistic, and our community receives the benefit:

I needed to have a new definition of philanthropy. The Greeks came to my rescue. “Love of mankind” was in the dictionary and that suited me fine. Philanthropy is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about giving time, energy, commitment to some idea or cause that we care about. We can all be philanthropists fueled by our individual passions, and we can do a better job of identifying our passions if our early experiences give us confidence to pursue them.

If we focus on educating the whole being would it make a difference to the quality of our communal life? Would we grow a different kind of citizen?

     -Sage Fuller Cowles from Getting Ahead of the Curve: Engaging Our Youngest Citizens, April 2006


We take a leisurely stroll through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden every time we head to the Walker for a show. The main section of the three-part Cowles Conservatory houses Frank Gehry’s 22-foot Standing Glass Fish that you can just make out in the photograph. It also houses palm trees, pass-throughs covered in creeping fig, and striking seasonal displays in the Regis Gardens designed by landscape architects Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Michael Van Valkenburgh.

When we walk by Deborah Butterfield’s horse, Woodrow, we are walking on the same ground where a 1913 convention of the Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulture was held in Minneapolis’ old armory. It was there that Theodore Wirth designed temporary display gardens to show what could be grown in Minnesota’s wintry climate. They were such a success that they were kept in place for decades as demonstration gardens until finally becoming casualties to freeway construction.


     String Theory, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Ghostwalker, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Palm Red, Cowles Conservatory, January, 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


But the seed had been planted. Architect of the museum, Edward Larrabee Barnes, picked up the torch and designed the original 7.5 acre Sculpture Garden. In winter months (which in Minnesota can run from October to April), the cave-like city dwellers of Minneapolis and Saint Paul bask in places like Cowles Conservatory where walls of glass allow warmth and light to penetrate the Vitamin D deprived, sun-kissed face of a long dark Winter.



Resources:


-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Read Full Post »

My favorite spot in winter, in front of the sliding glass doors facing east. Doors that are also windows, let in the morning rays that warm my legs and give me a good dose of Vitamin D, which I understand is necessary for bones to absorb Calcium.

I look across the pasture, see the big brown horse about midway out. His name is Dooley, but from this vantage point that name doesn’t fit such an elegant creature. His long neck bends toward the grass, horses must be made for grazing. From here he looks like a Prince, a Victory, or even an Othello.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry. That was a song I remember Mom listening to on the stereo at our house on Glenarbor Court. The speaker had a wood lattice cover, like a cross-hatch pie crust, for decoration only. I liked to lie in front of the console and listen to Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell or the scratchy Marty Robbins album and watch Mom walk back and forth from the bedrooms to the washer, changing sheets.

My favorite spot in our last house was also in front of doors-slash-windows. Two French doors that opened out to the back yard. Top half of each door was a series of small boxes separated by white panes that had been painted so many times that paint chips and cobwebs and blobs of dirt had been sealed into the paint, like bees in amber. We bought new doors but even in their smoothness the corners of the panes were hard to keep free of dust and small spiders.

The east-facing windows in this house are hard to keep clean, too. I use vinegar and water one month, then the next try a window cleaner that on the label claims to leave no streaks. They all streak, though, so then I vary the rag. A soft paper towel that leaves behind specks of lint or an old sheet ripped into strips.

When I worked for a frame shop we cleaned the glass with newspaper. The owner insisted it worked the best, although it always made a high squeak that sounded like tree branches against a window. Plus the wet newsprint left black smudges on our hands.

Once the earth shifts this spring, the light will still come in these windows but the sun won’t. By summer the temperatures will cause me to seek out the coolness of my writing room, small and cave-like. It has a big window that’s shaded by a big old cottonwood and a couple of gigantic ponderosas. Ponderosas usually grow in the scraggly rocks of the Sandia Mountains, but these ones in the Rio Grande Valley hit the water table just a few feet down and soar to the sky. I imagine they’re decades old, gentle giants watching me watching them.




-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW

Read Full Post »

I sit between two windows, writing. The furnace clicks, gas whirrs, the blower turns on to warm the house. I opened the glass door when Liz went off to work; it took my breath away. Back to the WeatherBug on the desktop, -6. Mr. StripeyPants digs in the Iams Veterinary Formula we buy for Chaco to pull out a few choice morsels. I tap the keys, stare out the Northeast double-hung window to my left. It’s all sky, bare branches, and the tops of oaks. To the right, another window with blinds closed faces Northwest. It’s slightly behind me. Bad chi to have someone sneak up on you from behind, so I don’t open it when I’m writing. North by Northwest. I remember Hitchcock.

Windows remind me of freedom, peace. When I moved to Minnesota from Montana at age 30, I was new to the Twin Cities. I did not have a job. I didn’t know my way around. I got depressed for a time, took on the role of housewife. I’d get the chores done, watch As the World Turns (the only time in my life I have ever watched soap operas), then sit in a pine rocker and stare out the big picture window of our small apartment, the bottom of a two-story vintage 1920’s house.

The outside was white stucco. It was across from a castle-like church with a lawn that formed a triangle. Every day at 10am, children whose parents sent them to the 140-year-old St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran for elementary school would run out on the lawn for recess. The kids were noisy and happy, the teachers would circle them, blow their whistles, sometimes chase balls that dribbled out into the city street. At the bell, everyone lined up and went back inside, exactly on time.

There was a huge maple tree, tall, tall, tall, with a wide bushy crown on the side of the church next to the playground. Every Fall that tree would turn the most magnificent shade of golden red. It always took its time turning. Day by day I would watch it. I could not believe how absolutely perfect that tree was. It must have been over 100 years old. Years later, I would drive by the old apartment, the triangle, and the tree was gone. They had cut it down to make a parking lot. I cried.

The past never stays the same. It is always changing. Only memories keep it alive. What was, was, at least to us. What will be, we can only guess. Windows are a grounding point for me, a focal point. When I was a child, I used them as a form of escape when times were unpleasant. I have always rocked, from the time I was a little kid. Mom told me I used to rock and watch The Perry Como Show. She said I loved Perry Como. Windows hold freedom, escape. And sometimes they become walls. When we never go past the inside glass.

When I sit in Taos, I try to find a spot with facing windows across the room. Even if I don’t look out them when I meditate, I know they are there. And that’s the thing about windows. They let in the light, even when we forget they are doing it. Last night, the end of the March Full Moon shone through the bedroom window and landed on the pillow between Liz and me. She was sound asleep. The house was silent. I held my hand up so that the moonlight hit the tips of my fingers. There was no glow from the inside out, the way the sun shines, the way Liz came out of work yesterday with the bright winter sun blasting her windshield and said, “I feel like a mole!”

No, moonlight is reflective, subdued. And when shining through a Winter window, muted and glorious. How does it sneak past the blinds? What is it trying to tell me? When I moved to Minnesota, I didn’t have good job-hunting skills, though there was plenty of work. Now I have the skills and jobs are scarce. The Moon reminds me, don’t let that stop you. Don’t let anything stop you. If you could do anything in the world, even staring through windows, what would you choose? Within reason, within physical capacity, within the bounds and scope of a person your age, with your family genetics, in this time, I believe you can do it.

Easy does not enter the picture. Nothing worth dreaming about is easy. It’s easy to forget how many who are rich, famous, privileged worked hard to get where they are, to follow their dreams. With privilege and wealth come expectations. Families are families, rich or poor, the 1920’s or the 21st century. It’s not money that makes dreams come true. It’s taking the risk. I had a dream earlier this week. I was walking at Ghost Ranch, hiking the red iron soil in the beating sun near Box Canyon when, in an instant, I was raised off the ground, hanging on to the hand of a man with a black umbrella. He was rising in the sky next to a gray elephant. I kid you not.

A trail of other objects and animals ran behind us like a kite tail. The elephant was weightless, not a care in the world. I remember the bodily sensation of flying, of my stomach dropping when we hit a wind current, a down draft. Then came the next thermal. I felt like the raptors I so love, riding the thermals, floating on air. In that minute, I knew that anything was possible. And all the windows that once guarded and protected me were nowhere to be found.


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, March 12th, 2009

-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW

Read Full Post »

Window Geranium, looking inside the potting shed window at a geranium stored there until winter’s last frost, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.










one morning in march
nose pressed against the window
i spy spring’s arrival













-related to posts WRITING TOPIC – WINDOW, haiku 2 (one-a-day), late winter haiku, and WRITING TOPIC – NAMES OF FLOWERS

Read Full Post »

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ybonesy/3326327351/




Window etymology:   From the Old Norse of the Middle Ages came vindauga vindr, which means “wind,” and auga, or “eye.” Wind eye, harkening back to days when windows often contained no glass. In modern times, window on the world and window of opportunity are opened, figuratively so.














Ah, window shopping!
So gratifying to spy
sin ganas* to buy.

*without desire

















Dreaming of Windows

Looking out a window in search of something:  signifies the need to find something missing in your life or a solution to a problem. To dream that you are looking out a window at something or someone may indicate that you need to take a much closer look at some situation or relationship.

If you dream of closing the drapes, you may be blocking out worries and problems, shielding yourself from the world.

To see a window washer in your dream could represent your ability to clarify a situation and shed perspective on an issue.

A closed window in a dream may signify abandonment.

















Mystical Windows

A joyful scene viewed from a window foreshadows happiness ahead. But if you witness a dreadful event trouble will affect you. A broken window signals disappointment.








Wind Eye Psych 101


Sigmund Freud says:
Windows = feminine
sexuality.

(Although he said the same thing
of boxes, rooms, and bottles.)















 

Words for Windows



“I can’t play bridge.   I don’t play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn’t seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.”

~Alice Munro




“If   a   window   of   opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

~Tom Peters




“Where ever I am I always find myself looking out the window wishing I was somewhere else.”

~Angelina Jolie




“A morning  glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”

~Walt Whitman















Your Window Assignment

Write about windows. Window dressing. Window shopping. Windows of opportunity. How when a door closes, a window opens. What do windows mean to you?

Pick up your fast-writing pen and your notebook and write without stopping, without crossing out. Write with abandon. For 15 minutes. Now.









http://www.flickr.com/photos/ybonesy/3326327351/





Sources Consulted

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »