Archive | 2007

Exhibition Perth

19 November 2007

Last Sunday, my friend Wilma who lives in Perth, went to ‘Gallery O’ to check if the gallery actually exists. To check if my paintings really were hung. To check if they didn’t hang them upside down. And to check if the bronze sculpture really is shown too.

exhibition perth

Heavy boxes from NZ to Perth

In the window

In the window

The gallery owner

The gallery owner

Sculpture behind Wilma

My largest painting

My largest painting

The all time favourite

The all time favourite




Winning tits

23 October 2007

winning titsOn New Zealand’s South Island, in a little village near Wanaka, you can find a long fence with a strange phenomenon. Every woman who is passing this fence gets an uncontrollable desire to take off her bra and hangs it on the fence, directly is rewarded with an outrageous sense of freedom!
However, for some other women such a happy state of being apparently is unbearable and once in a while one of these selfish witches destroys the hundreds of sacrified bras with scissors or matches.
On such moments, the former owners of the bras everywhere in the world, get hit by a deep and inexplicable sadness.

This weekend, in that same Wanaka, was held the Perfect Woman election. With those bra’s at the back of my mind I got a certain image about that election, but … it was quite different from what I thought. The winning woman must be able to overturn (put in shaving position) a sheep. She must be able to ram a solid fence post in the ground. She must be able to put on snow chains on the wheels. And she must be able to open a beer bottle without an opener and without glass breakage.

Suddenly this all reminded me of something people in my homeland the Netherlands whisper about in the heat of the summer: “Hey pssst, there is a boobs weight going on in Egmond!”

winning tits

The tug-of-war done by this lady to move a tree trunk, was done in our own town. Haha yes, tough citizens, aren’t they?

No one exactly knew where it was held. That was a secret. But on the stealthy examining glances of the true fans you could see which Dutch virgins this year probably had bloomed enough in order to participate.
I’ve always wondered how those tits were weighed. Later I found out. No, I do not unveil HOW I found out, haha … but I can tell the participants just swing one tit in a bowl filled to the rim with beer. The bowl with the least remaining beer, was the one of the winning tit.
Ha no … forget it, there no link or picture available on Google. Some folkloristic habits are too serious to throw on the world-wide web.




Bird flu

19 October 2007 (Hong Kong)

hongkongbuddhaYesterday we went to Hong Kong’s “Giant Buddha”. I could not take pictures because I still haven’t chosen a new camera. But THIS gives an idea of the size of the brazen thing.

Gina asked us if we could bring some red feathers from South Africa. If she graduates her Maori culture course, she wants to wear a Maori cloak which she is creating during her studies and she wanted to add red feathers. In South Africa we haven’t seen any red bird, let alone a loose feather.

bird flu

Feathers in our crampy hotel room

Yesterday in Hong Kong we walked into a ‘botanical garden’ which turned out to be a disguised zoo in reality. It was quite a bizarre location, deep down between the skyscrapers of 100 meters high.
There was a cage with flamingos. These guys were not red, but orange is almost red, isn’t it? For 30 minutes with a stick we tried to pick out the loose feathers from the mesh. After a while, Frank put on his sweetest face (you don’t know what you see!) and seduced a staff member of the garden to give us some larger and nicer feathers from deeper inside the cage. He was more than willing to help us. This year the ‘bird flu’ is often in the news, so probably the customs go crazy and we will be hang on the gallows if they find out we sent feathers from China to New Zealand …

A nest with an egg!

After returning at the airport in New Zealand, we saw our car was still waiting for us. Before we drove home, Frank needed to reconnect the wires of the battery (a cunning anti-theft device in kiwi-style, if you park for a longer time). When he opened the bonnet, he saw something very wonderful …

Spoken about cars and animals; By the time we would return from South-Africa we would have received the cheque of $ 2200 of that sheep guy. But … of course it wasn’t.
Frank was so patient to call the guy to remind him that the money should have been on our account a week ago. Then again the guy started a whole monologue that by he closer inspection he decided it was our own fault. And that the judge had not listened to him, and that $ 2200 was way too much for such a small scratch and that the damage was about more than the value of our whole car! Frank remained admirably calm and unmoved, while I probably had exploded in my anger.
Although we did not expect anything else than being a pain, unfortunately now we need to initiate a new process. A bailiff.




A classic mistake

14 October 2007

Do you remember I had shipped some artworks to Hong Kong? And that the shipment kindly was paid by the gallery owners; a New Zealand/Hong Kong couple.
I had promised them to show up when we were around, so I had to call Chin Chye to announce our arrival. Until now all the contact was done via email. Usually all phone calls to be made in English I skip to Frank, but in this case that would be weird. After all it was my exhibition.
For a moment I was relieved when Chin Chye didn’t pick up the phone. But I also got a phone number of husband Mark. He did pick up the phone and after my stammered introduction, we headed to gallery Koru by boat and taxi.

After the always confusing European triple kiss (and widely practised in art world), a persistent advertisement seller demanded all Mark’s attention, so a jovial assistant showed us the gallery and informed us about every artwork. For each sculpture, glass object and piece of porcelain he started off an extensive story.
After about 30 minutes I suddenly realised ……… this … IS … Chin Chye!
Chin Chye is a man!
Hahaha, ooooh … I felt so stupid.

Anyway, whether this gallery can bring me more than the name Hong Kong on my resume, is the big question. They were nice people and they are good with their artists. Mark loves figurative art, but I understood that their customer base mainly consists companies, offices and hotels. I think this kind of clients mostly will opt for abstract stuff which should better serve as background decoration. My work probably has a too strong presence as an independent object. It doesn’t easily disappear in the rest of the interior.
It’s no problem to keep the 3 paintings in Hong Kong for a while. Mark and Chin Chye were willing to send them to the new gallery in Perth, in case something is sold there.




Elephotos and leaving SA

13 October 2007 (South Africa)

ElephotosThere was still 1 must-do on the South-Africa list; Hugging Elephants.
It is a strange perception to see such enormous animals obediently squatting beside the portable stairs and patiently get these little people loaded on their back. Their trunks are as thick as my waist and yet the elephants didn’t knocks anyone off his socks with it.
Just like me, lately. I meant with my waist. No one. Knocking someone off his socks …
Okay, forget what I said.
At night the animals are inside a large hall sleeping on elephants beds. The staff lives there too in a large room in the rafters of the hall, overlooking the nightlife of the elephants. Like a kind of skybox.

elephotosOn the last day we rent canoes and rowed the same route as we hiked with the German backpacker. Not quite up to the bare-ass-swimming-hole, but far enough got fairly tired.

elephantsOn Friday morning we left South Africa and Saturday morning we arrived in Hong Kong.
We had to hang around with our suitcases outside the building until afternoon, before our room was ready. There was no lounge. It is the smallest hotel room we’ve ever had, but we knew that beforehand. In Hong Kong square meters are priceless (hence all those skyscrapers), so for a hotel room in the center you have to pay money or you have to give up comfort.
Besides the suspiciously short bed, which is clamped on three sides between the walls, there is about 2 square meters left. One meter is for the suitcases (closed) and the other meter needs to stay clear to be able to open the door.
Behind an accordion-door is a miniature bathroom. If you like you can take a shower while sitting on the toilet on the same time. Pretty handy! The walls are interestingly decorated with lime green fake leather.
Once we touched the pillows we fell asleep. It was in the middle of the day.
When I wake up hours later, I realize that my camera was still in the plane …




Montagu and Oudtshoorn

7 October 2007 (South Africa)

MontaguThe next morning we woke up in an art deco hotel with many original art deco furniture. It’s located in Montagu, a small pastel coloured art deco town with beautiful houses. Very photogenic … if it is not raining. I tried to shoot some photos, but through the wet car windows the result is looking pathetic.

Because the rain has become worse, there is little else to do than visiting the Hot Springs. It is a ‘day spa’ in a luxury hotel and it was excessively advertised all over Montagu, so we got high expectations!
It took quite some effort to rent a towel, but then we went to the changing rooms. These were tiny particles about 1 square meter with a curtain. The entire surface of the particle is filled with a big chair. Was it the intention to stand on it?
The changing rooms for men actually were the men’s bathrooms, but to create some space for changing clothes they had replaced 2 of the 4 urinals with … yeah … also those big chairs. Even no curtains here. Frank was afraid that a guy came in to do his business. Or worse; that he would drop something on the floor.
Unfortunately, there was no locker for your stuff. So our clothes had to be placed at the edge of the pool. Not convenient in the pouring rain, so we open up one of the sun umbrellas to create a kind of a ‘dry spot’.

Under normal circumstances, located between the mountains and the lovely trees this complex must be quite nice, but because of the strong wind all the white plastic chairs were piled up in a corner and the open bar was now protected with white plastic.
The pool was not as warm as we had hoped for, but the most confusing thing was the fence in the middle of the pool: One half was for the hotel guests and the other half for the … plebs. I would think; we are paying visitors, so what’s the difference?
Against 2 other visiting couples we did a mean eye-fight (intensely stare to someone to get him move) with varying results. The goal was a spot under a hot water jet, which was spewed out of a stone vulture, to gain a bit warmth.
After half an hour our willingness to stay positive started to stagnate.

Montagu and OudshoornWe drive a few hours in eastern direction through the Klein Karoo. The weather remains gray, cold and wet. It is a popular wine region, but apparently religion refrain them to do wine tastings on Sunday. It was Sunday …
Btw; In the supermarkets the aile with alcohol is also literally red taped on Sunday.
At the end of the afternoon we found a B&B in a beautifully furnished Victorian house in Oudtshoorn. The first thing we did was curling up in bed with the electric blanket to warm up. And then via internet tried to found out what’s on in the local cinema.
No cinema.

The next morning … yeah … finally it is sunny. And the mountains … are white. That night it has snowed.
Now the mountain pass is closed, but to us (Northern Europeans used to snow) that seems overly exaggerated. What’s dangerous of a bit of snow? We’re going anyway.
A closely test on top of the mountain confirms that it was real snow. Yep. Wild snow. And it’s 2 degrees Celsius. Yes … I’m still reporting from South-Africa.
The gorge is quite magical. In the valley, where it is a bit warmer, we do a mini-hike along a very adventurous path. We passed large stones in the river, climbed over fallen logs along steep cliffs and dense vegetation.




Mossel Bay

6 October 2007 (South Africa)

mossel bayLast week we planned to make a little road trip and started driving from Wilderness to the west side. Our first stop is Mossel Bay. Many smaller shops in South-Africa have open doors, but you have to ring the doorbell before the owner unlocks the metal see-through fences. This is a very common habit. The whites are scared for raids of the blacks.

In front of our hotel room in Mossel Bay we found a very skinny nearly-dead cat, covered with fleas. The poor thing spent way too much precious energy by jumping up twice a minute because of unrelenting itching. Just before closing time of the supermarket we could buy a can of tuna. And before closing time of the evening store we could buy a few pouches of Kittekat too.
The next day we also found a veterinary to buy flea drops. The advantage of a country with extreme poverty is that you can buy more things per piece. Like 1 cigaret, 1 banana … or 1 pipette of flea killer what usually is sold in a box of 6 pipettes.
After 2 days of force feeding we couldn’t stuff the cat any further and we had to leave him. Hoping he was a bit stronger now, to live the next part of his scruffy life.

We drove northwards and saw many farms (vine growers) with a kind of miniature newbuilt neighbourhoods on the farthest edge of their estate. These were 4 or 5 very small concrete 1 room houses where their black workers reside. Some farmers had put some extra nice houses on an extra visible spot along the road, with a large sign ‘staff village’, so that passenger clearly could see that he is GOOD to his workers.
Officially the Apartheid is over, but the awareness of both colours is still so tangible. Even cemeteries have certain separate parts, unmistakably meant as the ‘slum area’.




Guardianship

guardianship4 October 2007 (South Africa)

Yesterday we did a hike (between Hoekwil and Wilderness, South-Africa) and right at the beginning of the track, we were approached by an older couple and ‘a boy’. They asked us if we could be willing to take care of the boy. They had ‘found’ him in front of a warning sign that says: ‘the walkway was impassable because paths were washed away by heavy rain’. The boy wanted to follow the route nevertheless, but they had persuaded him not to do. They found it too dangerous. “You have to oblige such a sign!” the couple emphasized.

guardianshipApparently the instant adoptive parents thought the boy would not obey them as soon as they were gone, so on the spot they came to a compromise; They had seen that we too were planning to ignore the warning sign, but … that we are also are looking very wise and sensible. Oh yeah, if the light is in our favour, we can radiate an enormous reliability, haha. A bright white aura!
So suddenly, we got the supervision on … a 20-year-old German backpacker, who patiently and friendly smiling was waiting, without any interfere about this oddly transfer.

guardianship

Umbrella and drizzle

Actually, we planned to do only half the hike. It was drizzling and we both wore the wrong shoes. But of course now we couldn’t lose our face and walked the total track of 5.5 hours. With half way a dip in an icy cold lake under the waterfall.
No, not me. I was charged to guard the cameras and clothes from the drizzle, while the guys went for a swim. Though I did not dare to take a picture when I saw the backpacker’s bare ass in my peripheral vision.




Agaricia in bronze

agaricia bronze

4 October 2007

This bronze/glass/wood sculpture is based on the painting Agaricia Bullio, which was inspired by the surface texture of one of the Caribbean Lettuce Corals, Agaricia. These corals form thin plates as delicate as bone china and are extremely vulnerable to environmental changes.

The trunk started life in white clay. Just like coral it has both plant and animal characteristics.

Next silicon bronze castings were made using the lost wax method.

The base is made of swamp Kauri, a New Zealand native tree. This wood is milled from trees that fell
thousands of years ago and have been buried and preserved underground in swamps. I have oiled the wood about 20 times to give it a deep luster.

The bronze part is an edition of 3. Because of the glass en wooden part they are never the same.


Eaten by the lions

2 October 2007 (South Africa)

lionsNo Africa without wildlife. Or better said; quasi-wildlife, because in this part of the continent most of the wildlife lives in parks. Large parks, okay. But still parks. Gated communities for animals.
There are many parks with escorted wildlife trips, called game drives. Sometimes you can have bad luck and see no animal at all and another day you can see them waiting for you in ques.
The park we visited is burned every few years (by natures law) and so there is not much bush. That means that the animals are always easy to find, but also the whole area isn’t very photogenic. It would be nice if the tourist had the assumption the chauffeur was driving this route for the first time in his life, and occasionally jumped out of the car to clear out a free path with a machete.
But in real … you can see the long and winding road in front of you, draped over the empty hills.

lionsThe area with the lions was extra fenced (a fenced ring inside the fenced park), because otherwise they’ll hunt and eat all the other animals in the park. The very open truck entered the electric fenced area and of course the tourists obediently have to sit on their seats, not allowed to make strange movements. The chauffeur parked the front of the truck against the inner fence.
On the left and the right side lions were lying around the truck, approximately at 4 meters distance.
If they are willing to kill us, they could do it now.

Once the driver has done his talk and we were allowed to click our cameras, the animals moved a little towards the truck. They are spoiled because once a week they get served a delicious sheep, so we didn’t need to be afraid that they were hungry. To encourage the lions to do some work-out, the sheep meat is not offered in ready-to-eat pieces, but tied behind a car and dragged around, so the lions needs to come off their asses to rip a piece.
Still -probably out of a kind of deep instinct- I didn’t look into their eyes when they look at me. It could touch an aggressive nerve.

lions

Licking his lips he’s crawling onto the giant tin with human flesh

If the chauffeur turns on the engine again, he isn’t able to get the gear lever in reverse. That’s tricky, because that is the only way back when parked the nose against the fence …
He is trying a couple of minutes and I noticed his face is turning red. By the time the chauffeur triumphed, one of the lions curled up right behind the truck, not planning to move an inch.
At most the chauffeur can drive in reverse for 1 metre and then needs to stop to prevent the lion getting nasty thoughts.
There is a small piece of space to manoeuvre between the (electric!) fence, the rear-lion, the right-lion and a slippery trench. Very slowly the truck got turned, until the co-driver said: “Oh ………. we have a flat tire.

Obviously, this would be a good time to stop this blog … but of course you realize (after a day or so) that I have written the above text being alive.
So okay, with the flat tire we drove back in slow motion on a road full of potholes and bumps. In the meanwhile, the truck started to hang dangerously lopsided and the co-driver called for help. The lions felt that something unusual was going on and followed the vehicle on a ‘very inappropriately distance’. By keep driving the flat tire could get of the rim and the loose rubber could block the wheels.

lions

The flat tire

But, another truck came to save us.
He parked tightly along our truck so we safely could step over into the other one.

And so … we were not eaten!




Arrived in South-Africa

27 September 2007 (South Africa)

At 3 AM I finished the painting and was done with cleaning the house. All for keeping up our good reputation! The alarm clock was ringing at 6 AM. Just before leaving, in the first daylight I could make a picture of the painting for the Australian gallery.
I wanted to shorten the pants in the plane while I was wearing it, as long as I could smuggle a needle and a seam ripper. And what was the reason again, to iron the finished laundry if everything got stuffed in a suitcase??? So that was skipped.
Oh and yeah … the agreement for buying the house was signed.

Auckland is the 1-hour flight.
Then wait for 3 hours …
… for a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong.
Arrived in South-AfricaThan wait another 3 hours …
… for a 12-hour flight to Johannesburg.
And wait 5 hours …
… for a 2 hours flight to George (that’s the name of a city).

When we arrive it’s Wednesday and 41 hours ago since we awoke.




Imagine

25 September 2007 (South Africa)

imagineImagine … at this moment it’s Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning we would depart to South Africa to visit my Dad.
And imagine … for the last couple of weeks I’m working my ass off to finish the Apple painting, so it can dry and is ready to ship to an Australian gallery after we return. I only need to paint the tree trunks and the stems of the apples, which is 1 full day of work.
Imagine too … that I have to do 2 laundries before we leave. And that I need to do a minimum amount of house cleaning because one of the neighbours will come to feed our cat. And that I want to shorten the comfortable pants I planned to wear during the trip. And that I urgently need to buy contact lens solution because otherwise I can throw them in the bin tonight.
And imagine that the rest of this afternoon was meant to do the paperwork for buying the house from our neighbour (of which I will write more later).

And then imagine … Frank says: “Oh shit, the tickets are for Tuesday. Instead of Wednesday!”




Dickhead

21 September 2007

Do you remember, four months ago? When we were hit by 1 man, 5 sheep and 1 horse?
The damage to our car was valued on $ 2200 dollar.
We thought that the culprit should be caught by the police, but investigation via our own insurance was progressed much faster.
The address of the tenant of the horse trailer was found, and the perpetrator was asked to come over to court. After many fruitless phone calls and letters from the police and the insurance, we didn’t expect him to show up.
However, in the courthouse a guy in the waiting room was trying to make himself as broad as possible and looking as angry as possible. That must be him.

Frank had made drawings of the traffic situation and photographs of the damage.
The sheep guy grunted a few times that ‘he didn’t notice anything’. And that he ‘never had heard of Mister Winnips’. Wow … that were a couple of sharp arguments, isn’t it?
His reply was that (in despite his claim that he didn’t notice anything) he had waited at the Shell station for 45 minutes, where we could ‘work things out’ …
Changing our tires was done within 20 minutes and I swear on my mother grave that we have looked around very closely to a truck with 5 sheep and a double horse trailer. It’s impossible to miss such a remarkable caravan in the strong spotlights of the Shell station, in the furthermore silent evening.
Anyway, this desperate ‘attack’ didn’t need a reply. It was clear to the judge. The sheep guy had to transfer the money within 3 weeks to us.

When we left the court building we walked about 50 meters behind the sheep guy. He straight headed to our parked car and walked around it. Probably to scare the car. Or maybe to piss on it.

If he had walked to our car 4 months earlier … he was done with 200 bucks cash. No police needed. Because we don’t care about some pieces of plastic fender. And we love sheep.
But now, he has to bleed.

 

Here I’m unboxing art calendars. Whitcoulls bookshops in New Zealand is selling them.
Two of my paintings are used.




Metaphor

13 September 2007

When I was 12 I bought my first LP, paid from 3 weeks saved allowance. I still can dream every detail of the black cover with the colored insignia of Queen. With a determined patience I manually had copied and reduced the size of the insignia and pasted on the front of my school agenda, after I first had made it completely black with a marker. Then coated with strips of transparent tape.
Those days it was important to have the thickest diary of your class mates, caused by all kind of stickers and extra pictures. The first thing girls glued inside the cover was a small mirror. You was on the right track if your school agenda needed to be held together with a post rubber within a couple of weeks.

Back in the days for pop stars it made sense to pay attention to the cover, because LP’s were large. Cover illustrator seemed to be a respectable profession to me. Although inaccessible, but something to pursue in my adolescent dreams.
By now I’m not sure if it was a real profession anyway. But it would have been such a nice preface for the glamorous coffee table book, “Life and work of Mrs. Van Lubeck”. It would have been a good story if because of that youthful career plan I would have ended up on the graphical school, and soon afterwards became a widely sought illustrator/record cover creator …
That did not happen. Because to enroll the graphics school I needed a certificate of mathematics, which I hadn’t.
And to get admitted the art school I had to show fifty (50!) … (Yes, fifty !!!) artworks to show my talent. I was seething. I had never heard such a stupid thing. You go there to learn making art, isn’t it? If you wanted go to the school for veterinarians, you also don’t need to show 50 surgeried* cats in advance?!
I think at that point I got my first major frustrated rage against society.

metaphorIn hindsight, I’m fine without art school. I became an artist anyway. And … I even became a bit of a record cover designer too! Of a Real American Progressive Rock Band, called Metaphor! Yeah! They asked me if there was a possibility to use one of my paintings for their newest cd.

*Yes I know, a non existing word. But you know what I meant, right?




The framer

29 July 2007

Expensive people are better than cheap people.
Quite logical, isn’t it? I pay for craftsmanship, a neat finish, accuracy and certain guidelines in dealing with me, the customer. When paying for a service or purchase I don’t want too much interference from the selling or serving individual. The salesman or staff member himself is only a tool between me and the desired gadget, or between me and the wanted service. And that ‘tool’ should not disturb the joy (or necessity) of a purchase in the form of a … body odor, unclarity about the course of the events, a distracting ulcer on the lip or crankiness. The job of a salesperson is only to get the customer and the gadget together. A smooth transaction is included in the price.
Not too difficult, right?

So, we looked for someone who could frame my paintings.
The found framer did a nice job. A little to the slow side, but maybe that was normal in this country.
The man himself was very timid and polite. That was okay, personally I’m not long-winded in conversation too, so that was matching fine. And as a bonus his prizes were very reasonable.

After 2 successful orders, the 3rd fell through. The timid framer could not deliver a certain frame and his embarrassment was apparent by not daring to inform us about this fact. We visited him 3 times, asking about the progress. He replied: “Yes, I will call the wholesaler again.”
And we never heard anything from him …
Okay, that can happen. Perhaps we are the kind of customers you’d rather don’t want.

The next framer was located in a busy shopping street with logically higher prizes He was cheerful and easy-going. His unsolicited statement about how much money he monthly need to earn to be able to rent his shop, wasn’t particularly necessary info for me (we all suffer from life), but hey, everybody has his little rants. I have them too. It’s like sneezing.
This framer also was significantly faster in delivery. The fact that the invoice suddenly was a bit higher than we had agreed, we devoted to the matter that we happen to be very good at drawing a straight face when someone calls his price. We might give the impression that it didn’t sound too bad for us. Or that we didn’t hear the price at all. Perhaps we need to work on that.
For now we shrugged our shoulders because in the Netherlands we were used to even higher prices. So. We ordered him to create 8 frames more.

We would screw in the paintings by ourselves, so we agreed a ‘pick 8 and pay for 7 deal’. The framer himself already did the haggling (with himself) for us. I suspected a sliver of guilt about the higher invoice.
“But you need to drill the holes for us” we extra underlined.
“Yeah, of course, I will drill the holes. That’s part of the job”, he said.
“And getting all these frames to our home … how do we do that? They are pretty big, huh?”, we tried.
“Yeah no worries, we work that out. I will look around to see if someone has a van. I’ll pack them well in bubble wrap. It will be alright”.
Great. I love the words “It will be alright”. I myself rarely use them because I always see problems everywhere.

After a week the order was ready. Luckily just in time we saw the requested holes were not drilled. “But, said the framer … that was because it was easier to drill the holes if the paintings were attached”.
That indeed would be easier. For him. Because the attaching should be done by us … Remember?
“And did you think about the carriage?”
“No”.
“No?”
“No, no way.”
“What no way?!”
It is surprising how one day the same words can have a totally different meaning than the other day.
Well … okay, we are no dickheads. Maybe we could organize an roof rack ourselves. We would come back the next day to tie the largest frames on top of the car. In the meantime ‘could Mr. Framer ensure that everything was wrapped in that bubble foil he talked about?’
“Well, umm … bubble foil is very expensive, you know. Then I need many meters of wrapping”, he replied.

I gave him an intense (and quite long) mean look. With all the bitterness that I could find in myself. Hoping that my eyes hurt him.
To that list of expensive demands at the top of this story, from now one I also want to see ‘pride’. Believe me, I want to pay for the pride of a salesman!
Our last request was to make the promised drill holes. Of course we could do it ourselves, but he has a huge working table, a spacious studio and certainly a lot more experience in measurement. We, however, had to do such a job on a carpet full of dog hair, between the pushed aside furniture. I’d rather he makes the errors, than we do. And -a small thingie- finally it was part of the deal, right?
He disappeared, loud grumbling into his workshop, his hands raised. We waited a while. Maybe he was interrupted by a ringing phone, or something?
But there was silence in the workshop.
He didn’t return to say g’bye. Or to say ‘see you tomorrow’.
Speechless we looked at each other.
We shouted goodbye, but no answer came, so we left.

The next day we drove to the framer again. With a roof rack on our car. The key in my back was turned up to the limit. I was ready to shoot.
He came to us with a red stained face and waved with his hand that we had to come inside the workshop …

framer

Two large frames on the roof rack

The night before he had drilled the holes all wrong!
He realized this just after drilling the very last frame and then almost had burst in tears. He had filled them all in with putty, sanded and repainted the spots and was busy until late at night. Early in the morning he drilled the holes again, in the right place. The repainted spots were barely visible, and he asked if it was okay with us. Frankly, I thought a painting would exactly cover them, so I did not mind.
And, they were all packed up … !!!

So, now I know I really can shoot a killing stare! Good to know.




Bosses

25 June 2007

There is going on some kind of inspiration-challenge in blog-land, asking to write about 3 bosses you have had in your life. Or your 3 worst purchases. Or 3 holidays, or 3 shameful happenings, etc … Well, you get it.

Suddenly I realised that my first boss, as well as my latest boss, both were my fathers in law. However, these were different jobs and different fathers in law. In both cases I caught their sons earlier than the jobs. So you can say I got my jobs via the mattresses.
My first job was in the school holidays in summer at an insurance company. I had no clue what to do at that company and also my colleagues had no idea what to do with that 15 years old kid. Probably they thought: “Maybe she will disappear if we no pay attention. We are too busy to entertain her.”
I remember I got tiny chores that I had done in 10 minutes, like for example; putting stamps on 10 envelopes … And then I had to disturb the older guys again with the same question: “What needs to be done now?”. More and more I started to generate for this recurrent question and eventually I didn’t repeat it anymore. I found myself starting to hide. In the kitchenette staring to the coffee machine, or half into the office supplies storage gazing to the dust.

The best memory of that summer was the joy on my bike at the end of the last day. I can’t remember whether I ‘forced a last day’ or eventually took my bag and disappeared. Silently, quickly and too embarrassed to say goodbye.

My second job was cleaner in the hospital for a few weeks. The most intense memory was the horrible smell of centrifuged blood in the laboratories. That’s needed to separate (and then store) the ‘ingredients’ of donor blood, but since that time I disgust the smell of blood if passing a butcher.

bosses

1987: My first REAL office job. Here I’m the red one.

bosses

1983: Dishwasher in a lunchroom. I’m the blue one, between the 2 red ones.

Then I went to a cosmetics factory. Standing at the assembly line. The work consisted of freshly poured lipsticks keeping in a flame for a few seconds so they got their shine. After a few days I discovered that a large number of workers were brought with a special van from the house of the mentally challenged. Maybe that was the explanation of the difficult connection I experienced in the canteen. They didn’t allow me to sit beside them, because every seat was ‘discussed’ already, what was made clear by a pointed look.
More days later, I found out there was a separate table for temporary workers …




Fear and pride

19 July 2007

In the meanwhile, we have been to the marae 6 or 7 times, without me blogging about it every single time. When a new lesson in marae protocol was announced, Gina phoned us to ask whether we want to participate again. We play public. In exchange for food.

After 4 or 5 times, I thought it would be nice to truant, but because Frank always picks up the phone and without exception says yes to everything, my unwilling movements didn’t make any sense.
He draws his sorry face  photo kweetniet_zpshfnjdtqq.gif and shrugs. Sometimes I think I see an evil glint in his eyes.

A few visits ago (could be around that same 4th or 5th time) Gina began to proclaim that Frank too should do a speech next time. That didn’t happen, so we began to believe it was just a joke.
But today -in contrast to the previous times- we suddenly were recalled to the marae again after finishing lunch in the dining area. Gina’s students also came back from the dining area and obediently sat down on mattresses against the walls of the marae.
In a few words each of the students had to tell what his thoughts were about the last lesson. Preferably in Maori (a lot of Maori people don’t speak Maori), but English was okay too. Gina was sitting between us and suddenly began wildly whispering to Frank. She gave him possibilities of what he could say soon …
Now Frank was already somewhat prepared, so he let it come over him.

fear pride

That brave man over there … has a very childish spouse.

For Maori not only their ancestors are very important, but also their mountain, their lake and the marae where they live closest to. So Frank stood up and told that he was the Pakeha from Holland and was born in Heiloo (a Dutch village) near the Puke Ngeru (the cat-mountain of 10 meters high) and near Roto Hukupapa (the IJsselmeer, lake) and the Ma Whare Karakia (the little white church). And that he was in this marae to learn something about the Maori culture. His translations were a kind of self-taught.

Isn’t that great?! How brave! I was proud on him.

While assenting applause, Gina started pushing me.

WHAT???

ME???

NO …

All previous times I never was threatened with the request for “public speaking” and so I was not prepared! Since the compulsory lecture in elementary school at the age of 10 years old, I had decided I would never speak in public again. The lecture was the first low point in my childhood, and I swore I would never grant such a request for the rest of my life. I also never did the opening speeches at my art gallery, 25 years later.
The compulsory lecture in elementary school in itself was a sufficient reason to not reincarnate after this life.
Now you got the feel for my aversion and fear. By the way: I read this is the # 1 fear to most people. Even more scary than death itself.

Together with my most adorable smile I tried to radiate a NO as much as possible. And I hardly could distract my eyes from the side door, which behind I knew our car was parked. The getaway car. I put my attitude to unyielding and made subtle, but hopefully scary looking movements with the muscles in my jaw (you know, that are so typical for serial killers and psychopaths). Happily that worked. Gina ran to Frank on stage and together they did a little impromptu Dutch wooden-shoe-dance. On a completely unknown tulips song.

I still was proud mixed with fear and relieve.

Poooooh … thanks Lord, for left alone the rest of the time. But hey Lord, next time be a bit quicker with your intervention.




Exquisite corpse: One dollar

14 July 2007

This is the second part of my excorps project with Peter van Oostzanen.
In the creation of this drawing we followed the same procedure as the first one, only this time the roles have been reversed. I started with the left halve, masked off most of it and next Peter finished the other halve.

This is the part I created ...

This is the part I created …

And this was the only part visible for Peter ...

And this was the only part visible for Peter …

This is what Peter added to the small visible part ...

This is what Peter added to the small visible part …

And this is how the totally result looks! Exquisite corpse: One dollar

And this is how the totally result looks!

Shiver

4 June 2007

Six months ago we fed the neighbor’s grey cat and his dog for the first time, because the neighbour went on a business trip. That happened quite regularly since then. The next times we took his dog to the beach or for a little walk around, because we thought the dog would be bored during the days with no living soul around.

A few months later our deck became the dog’s place during daytime. And the little walk after dinner became an evening ritual.
By now we had created a sort of hut of old pillows and had put a sun bed on its side, so the dog could hide against the wind. I didn’t want a dog in the house. They stink. And this white one was losing hair all over. And a little fact; it wasn’t my dog. Every time we returned from our evening walk, she jumped over the fence back into the neighbour’s home.

Autumn arrived and the temperatures dropped. The neighbour’s door wasn’t permanently open anymore. After a few times waiting outside in the neighbour’s muddy garden in the dark evening, the dog gave up making the effort and stayed over in her hut on our balcony.
A couple of times we suggested the neighbour to call his dog before he went to bed. What he was trying to remember reasonably obedient for a several times. But probably slowly the neighbour got used to the fact he actually has no dog around anymore. The only thing he still did was opening a tin of dog food daily. And once in a while he still phones us and requested for our care if he needed to go out-of-town for a few days.

One day our cat Pini was attacked by the white cat from the other neighbours. Dog Pebbles intervened and the white cat got chased to the other side of the village.
Not long after that incident we came home one cold night and from the outside of the house we saw that the white cat has penetrated our cat flap and was eating Pini’s food. Pebbles, who was still outside with us, almost fainted of utterly frustration. The cat did not dare to come out through the cat flap and Pebbles did not fit through the cat flap. But above all Pebbles knew she was not being allowed in the house.
shiverBecause her loyalty to Pini, her obedience to my law and because of the constant shivering (even in her deep sleep) and especially because Pini apparently stoically endured the presence of a dog, I caved … and let Pebbles inside the house that night.

Well-considered of course this means there is hardly a point of return to an unofficial adoption.
Suddenly there is a dog basket on our shopping list and yesterday I bathed her. Because dogs still stink.