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I don’t know how I do it, but every day I manage to go to work looking like crap. So I went shopping this week, hoping that I’ll get enough stuff that I won’t have to shop again for five years. New duds, top to bottom. I put them on. I go to work. I wonder why I still look like crap, especially compared to the spifffy ladies who gleam with savoir faire.

Then it dawns on me, the difference between them  and me.

It’s called An Iron.

Friends, I have not ironed on a regular basis since the ’70s. If you asked me to tell you right this moment where my iron was, I’d have to take an educated guess because although I have seen my iron within the past six months, I can’t really remember where. It’s upstairs, I know. Probably in my bedroom closet.

I looked at my pressed and spiffy colleagues and I pictured me getting up ten minutes earlier every morning to get the wrinkles out of my garb (even the new stuff come with unexpected creases  here and there) and I thought, oh the hell with it. Life is short. I’ve got better things to do than iron.

I hope.

I have reached the limits off my current level of expertise. Meaning that after producing some work for my Damn Rain book that made me happy, I spent a whole day last weekend painting nothing but crap. Such is the price of forcing yourself to learn something new, eh?

Anyhoo. Here’s the good stuff, beginning with my favorite photograph (I’ve shown you this before) of an Edinburgh tea shop in January: 

The truth is, that when I took this photo I did not even notice the couple having tea in the window table. I was shooting the room for reference, getting the walls and curtains and the chandelier. it was only when I got the film back that I noticed this touching tableau. It looks like that’s one poignant cup of tea they are sharing.

If I hadnoticed this couple having this intimate  moment in this Edinburgh tea shop, chances are that I would not have had the nerve to point a camera in their direction. I’m funny  like that. But I just love this scene, and I decided last Saturday that it was time for me to try and paint it.

So I did:

I only wish I could make it more, you know, chiaroscuro. But I’m not that deep.

My next project was recreating the room that I lived in in Paris when I was an au pair in the swanky 16eme arrondisment, the whole damn rainy Winter of 1979. I don’t have a photograph of this room, so I had to paint it from memory, and this is how I’m going to paint all my Rain Rooms from Memory:

Yes, the wonky perspective is on purpose. It’s, like,artistic. Can you stand it? Or is  it too twee? Too faux-naif for you? Too damn arty? Too insulting to your work ethic of Make the Damn Stuff Look Like The Damn Stuff?

Funny, but when I remember this room, in which I brooded endlessly cover my love life and my future failed romances and the prospect of dying like a bag lady on some street corner in Camden (I was depressed a lot in Paris in 1979), it actually looks exactly like this. As if I am hovering up in the corner, urging 1979-me to Go Into The Light.

And this is where I stopped being able too paint anyting half-way decent. For now. Stay tuned.

Today’s Picture That Makes Us Happy comes courtesy of my sister in Kabul, who got it from a friend of hers, who got it from a Facebook page out of Japan called the Art of Zaya.

My sister Amy Ujiji is my official Afghan correspondent of Rainy Days, and she urged me not to get my hopes up as there was no rain in the forecast for the next month. And then Lo! Yesterday, unto them dusty fields did water frometh the sky tumble as fierce chunks of ice and then a lot of rain. So I have some expert observation about Rain in Kabul in case I include a chapter of Unlikely Rain in my Damn Rain Book. So cool!

Anyhoo. Here’s your Moment of Happy:

Art of Zaya wrote:

dear my friends this picture is not for sale . not take it by me . just happy to share . we are looking for who is take it . it looks in south Mongolia or inner Mongolia. thanks have a lovely day.

Is not by me to

10 comments to Tea and me.

  • Ironing sucks out the soul, I wear linen all summer and sweaters all winter as I am approaching death daily and I don’t have time.

    The Paris room speaks to me because of the perspective especially in how it reflects your inner state at the time, I like it that way. I also love the couple at the table.

  • Carol

    Iron! Hmmm… Isn’t that some sort of electrical device??? Aren’t there businesses called dry cleaners that use those sorts of thing??? Please don’t change the Paris room. It is exactly right, it speaks of dreams. Happy Weekend to you and TC and all the gang!

  • Barbara Lemme

    Lose the iron? Seatbelts and public transportation do in all that work. And think of the electricity wasted! Yikes. Love your rainy day paintings. They are just right. Who can not smile when looking at that camel and child?!

  • Nadine

    I don’t buy anything these days that needs dry cleaning or ironing but I remember how much care I used to take with my clothes and my grooming. Cotton all the way for me, and long hair I can pin up in a bun.

    The rain paintings look well done to me. And what an adorable photo! Please ask your sister to keep us informed if the subject and artist are found.


  • Carol

    At my house the only motion of ironing is called turning the dryer back on…. 3 year olds, dogs, cats and garden dirt just don’t care.
    That little girl is the most adorable little thing!! I also had seen this pic on facebook.

    and it rains, and rains, maybe our afternoon will be full of mud puddle hopping.

  • Nancy

    I like your wonky perspective. Because it doesn’t Look Like the Damned Stuff, it is more evocative. Go for it…

  • Tracey

    I’ve tried ironing, but long subway commutes have destroyed the effect. I also wear linen, lots of not-easy-to-wrinkle blazers, AND I can work in jeans.

    The Mongolia photo made my day, as did your drawing.

  • Jacquelyn Hoag

    I saw this photo on Facebook as well….reminded me of that wonderful film about the weeping camel.
    Out here in the Pacific Northwest, the curtain has gone up on Rain Season. Power to the People filling up intersections as they stand for their beliefs. In that damn rain.
    Your sister is in Kabul?!?! Wonder if she visits the beauty salon written about in book “The Kabul Beauty School”….now there is another plucky American woman!

  • Deborah

    I knoweth not of this thing whereof you speaketh. An iron, you say? You need to include a photo, next to a tea bag (for perspective).

    I do iron once or twice a year: I iron a colorful pile of doggie neck kerchiefs that come with each grooming. I saved them up for years, thinking I’d someday make a quilt from them. I realized (I think in response to you blog entries about purging stuff we don’t use/need) that I was never gonna make that quilt, so now they are given to a local art quilter. I love the thought of them being incorporated into art.

    Like Nancy, I love the wonky perspective in the 2nd painting. Wonk away.

    Your sister’s photo makes me happy, too. I want a dress just like that little girl’s. And I think maybe I want a camel, too.

  • Were there REALLY cat pictures on the walls in that Paris apartment or is that wishful thinking on your part? Oh, and I love the wonky perspective.

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