Sunday, August 20, 2017

Maybe I Should Have Just Paid Someone...

I spent too much time today sewing this textile to a matte and then putting the DIY frame together.

I bought several of these at a market in Brazzaville. Some of you might remember. This and the smaller items went home in a tiny box from the Brazzaville post office, where a pygmy named Benson chatted me up. The wooden TinTin sculptures went with me to Zambia, with its reliable postal system, but I had a big fight at Customs about them when the officials in Kinshasa claimed they were antiques.

I wasn't totally surprised--I'd had this happen in Ethiopia in 2001, but there, I just had to get some paperwork filled out. In Kinshasa, the only way through was by bribe or sheer stubbornness. I chose the latter (actually, the latter chose me when I lost my temper) and refused to move until they finally gave up. I also did a lot of arguing. That was fun. Never argue with officials with guns in airports, unless you are pretty sure you can get away with it.

I didn't expect to still own this Congolese textile six years later--I meant to send it to someone in my souvenir program, but somehow I did not.

I have one like this already in Jersey City. But that one I bought in Nairobi--this is the real thing, Congolese, bought in Republic of Congo.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Small Luxury

You know how you add something small to your life and later you wonder why you didn't do it sooner? Like a mat in front of the sink, to stand on while washing dishes. Or a doormat next to the bed, so you always get the dust off your bare feet right before bed (admittedly, this wasn't a big problem back East). Or changing sugary peanut butter for the real thing and wondering what took you so long.

Well, I recently decided I was tired of using a big colander for my morning berries. I went on Etsy and found this small berry bowl. Profits went to a foster care advocacy agency and my berries are housed in just the right bowl, so all is well in Burbank for now.



Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dinner with Friends

I don't have many favorite things. Maybe reacting to problem after problem on the road in a remote part of a foreign country. Or sitting on a curb in Bangkok eating pad thai after a Thai massage.

My most favorite thing is enjoying a meal with friends who are smart and interesting. I got to do that last night in DTLA, and it's so rare for me to get around to this these days. A great reminder of how I prefer to spend my time.