Sunday, July 28, 2013

Papacito's Parking

Houston is a notoriously car-centric city. There are untold acres of grim heat-baked parking lots. People hurry in and out of their vehicles, escaping as quickly as possible into air conditioned offices, restaurants and shops. In the evening, there is one parking lot  where I enjoy lingering. Lit by bright bands of neon, the Papacito's lot is festive in an old-fashioned, summery way. I like to look at the reflections of the colored lights bending and stretching on the surfaces of the cars. This parking lot still echoes the 1950s when a car symbolized freedom and mobility instead of pollution and traffic jams.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ice Cream Sign, Deruta

In another country, the most mundane things seem alluring and exotic compared to the everyday versions back home. The treats pictured on this ice cream sign in Deruta, Italy look far more delicious and glamorous than the Drumsticks and Rocket Ice Pops available from our corner store or neighborhood ice cream truck. Although the sign is modern, the old stone wall and hand-painted ceramic plaque are reminders that this is an ancient town, with much history and architecture waiting to be explored. How much sweeter to wander those streets with a Fiore di Limone in hand.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rosey Lane

In Oxford, near the Botanical Gardens there is a little street with an appropriately floral name. The signpost is in constant danger of losing its territorial battle with the hedge. Someone has changed the name to Rosey. Was it to woo or honor a lady love? Or was it nothing more than a student making an impulsive joke? Do maintenance  workers scrub off the errant Y? If so, does it reappear under cover of darkness? I like to think that it does and that locals have taken to calling it Rosey Lane.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hungarian Beaders

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is highlighting Hungary this year. An interpreter explained the regional  differences between the women’s costumes: a blouse with smocking, an apron of bright ribbons, crisp pleated sleeves of giant proportions. Red is a common denominator, present in most of the fiber arts. We watched these ladies create beaded necklaces and brooches using a technique that many contemporary beaders employ. How different it looks, layered over an elaborately stitched blouse instead of worn with a simple dress. Nothing is really new. Motifs and techniques are always being reworked. There are paisleys printed on the beaders' head scarves, on the yokes of their skirts, in the red and white embroidery behind them. I have the urge to make something, anything, so long as it is red and includes paisleys.