March 22nd, 2012

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The receptionist at my dentist is very nice. I was supposed to spend half a day sitting in the dental chair. I thought it was today and was all geared to travel (an hour there, an hour back, 3 1/2 hours in the chair) and she said we could reschedule. What this means is that I can continue fretting at home about what needs checking and ordering and putting away after the break-in. I've done a lot of it, for I need to have it done before the assessor appears, but I hadn't even begun to tackle the library and there are some corners of the loungeroom and bedroom that are a bit worrying and the place is, even for me, a mess.

Intimate apparel that has been flung to all corners of a room is more distressing than papers that have toppled or boxes that need lids on. This is worth knowing. Also worth doing is putting together a profile of the character of the thief. He is appearing in a novel, and dying a nasty death - of this I am quite certain.

I started today with an email in which I was called names. I'm so not going into it except that I am not guilty of what I am supposed to be guilty of and it topped off my week (and now the person is going to be upset that I mentioned it in public, even though I have not said who it is or what they were talking about - this is, after all, one of those months). Normally I would just bite my tongue, but I suspect I'm a bit closer to the edge than I want to be. My eye and teeth are making my body vulnerable, the thief made my physical surrounds vulnerable and now my character is vulnerable. Also, I have PMT and things *hurt*.

Now that I've grouched, I'll get on with things. If I can fix the idiot stuff, then I can get back to things that matter, like writing and research and worrying about my friends (two of my closest friends need much hugging and support this week - our planets are misaligned, or something).

Last night (just to be fair) was very good indeed. I don't often get out for social events, so dinner and a CSFG meeting were quite magic, especially when it meant time with Janeen, who I don't get to see nearly often enough (for we live a long way apart). I get social life again tomorrow, which means that today is the day I have to get everything under control here. And it isn't. It really isn't. But it will be.

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I've now sorted the very worst of everything and identified some more missing stuff. What did the thief want with my crochet lace stuff? The assessor said that stealing wine is predictable and at least the thief had fine taste - Chambers fortifieds and a Pfeiffers dessert wine. Some things I'll get replacements for, others I get vouchers. I might get a cheque for the remainder - I'm not sure - but only one of the items looks as if it might be outside what I'm covered for at this stage, so it could have been a lot worse. The materials I need to work with will be expedited, and the insurance is going to fix the problems with the curtains and replace the lock on the door. Next week will again be all about phonecalls and sorting, but we're making really good progress.

The AAMI people are really nice. My assessor came straight from Wagga where he's dealing with floods, and he made time to sort my stuff out and then he goes back to floodland (he must handle the region - not a good time to handle this region).

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Now I'm at the stage where I'm pretty certain that help would be handy. Only it's not for any of the things we thought. It's for all my Medieval replicas. Since I use them for teaching, I can't sit back and wait for an occasion to buy more. What I'm hoping is that some of my friends either go to Leeds or the 'Zoo or frequent the people who make these things and can help me locate replacements. I can pay through paypal, or order direct from online shopfronts and pay direct, perhaps. It turns out to be a long list, and some of them are things I was inordinately pleased at bringing home last year.

Such is the joy of the life!

Anyhow, if anyone knows where I can find the following or can help me get the following, I'd be very grateful:

replica coins (Medieval and Roman) - the Museum of London has them, and so does the Richard III Museum in York. I had quite a lot and they are all, all gone. I needed more and now I have none. There's a moral in that.
replica arrowheads and spearheads - only really well attested ones. I got mine at Leeds after a long, long talk with the smith
a medium sized purse (11th-14th century style) - again, I got mine at Leeds
replica pins and needles - these aren't so Medieval - in fact, some of them were significantly later (though none later than the 17th century). I had a paper that contained a lovely row of mixed ones. All were well attested, and I had plans to use one of them this week, which is why the pouch was out and which I rather suspect is why the whole lot has walked.
an old-fashioned poesie ring (not quite Medieval, but close - what I was after was a replica, but someone sent me the wrong thing, many years ago)
a Thomas a Beckett pewter reproduction pilgrim brooch
a replica of an Eleanor timetelling ring (silver) - I miss this most of all
a simple ring-brooch

PS I need to talk to about the needles I suspect.
PPS I have located a source for the replica of that exact-same pilgrim badge, so that's another thing I'll be able to replace easily. Yay!! The badge has a special importance, because it was from Elizabeth Chadwick and part of a really evil set of ongoing jokes, so I'm glad it was so easy to locate.

Women's History Month - guest blog post from Thersa Matsuura

Jodee Knowles—Australian Artist
by Thersa Matsuura

The eyes. I’m not sure what I was Googling when I first ran across Jodee Knowles. But I remember the picture and I remember the eyes. The piece of artwork was titled “The Vicious Lightness”, a woman in a dress, looking back over her shoulder, her hair (turban?) a black upward swoop that matched the black of her dress. And the thing you noticed most, the eyes.

I have lived in Japan for the last twenty-two years and am quite used to those big manga and anime doe-eyes that sparkle as if lit by a half dozen different light sources. And I must admit that at first glance I thought maybe Ms. Knowles’ picture was just more of the same. But it wasn’t.

Jodee Knowles’ eyes, while over-sized, are rheumy and old and behind them lies a world of hurt. Long necks, gaunt faces, frowning mouths and crooked bodies. It’s all deliciously dark. But there are also patterns and splashes of color and sometimes you can find something achingly comical or quirky in a piece.

After scouring the Internet for her artwork I learned a little bit about the artist herself. And while I’ll admit it wasn’t much I did glean some information from the interviews and articles. She’s still quite young (early twenties) and yet her fame kind of swooped in, picked her up, and took off.

I can’t imagine what that must do to someone’s head, to be sharing exhibits with other artists one day and then selling out your own shows the next. I can think of plenty of people who have caved under less pressure than that. However, from everything I’ve read and seen she’s not only handling it all with humility and grace she continues to focus on her art and grow with each new show.

I loved her Chimera pieces in the show she had just last October and now I see she has a new exhibit March 10th entitled “One Flesh”. The woman is prolific too. I really enjoy watching her grow and experiment as an artist and look forward to what she’ll be tackling in the years to come. No matter how far she stretches I feel confident I can recognize her work at a glance. She already has her signature style and, of course, there will always be those haunting eyes.

*Jodee Knowles’ Homepage:

*Jodee Knowles interview and Exhibit on March 10th at the Blank Space Gallery:

Thersa Matsuura lives in Shizuoka, Japan with her family. Her book A Robe of Feathers and Other Stories is a collection of short stories about Japanese superstition, folklore, and mythical creatures.