The loft is my getaway. I can climb up there and find a wonderland, pens and pencils, watercolors, glue and old magazines, boxes of buttons, lace, old curled up edged photos of family members long forgotten sharp scissors and exact-o knives. The possibilities are endless. I feel like I can leave the regular me behind and that I become a cleverer more intelligent and creative me up there. They are different areas of media, my upstairs hideaway and my downstairs kitchen and gardens. Similar yet different. My gardens are alive and constantly changing, delighting me, challenging me making me more open to the endless possibilities of our capacities as humans. My kitchen is more of a laboratory, where recipes are created, most time as I go, but always with an idea to the finished product. Certain things need to taste a certain way. Proper chemical balances must be maintained for the birthday cake to stand tall. A taste must be developed for what compliments what in order to come up with a creation that will be palatable to most if not all of my guests.
When I am outdoors, my whole body is involved in the action. Pulling potted plants from this spot to that, digging just avoiding the fall bulbs whose foliage has all but melted away, mixing the compost in with my hands, kneeling on old planks in my ragged garden duds, and at last, planting my baby, tamping down the soil and gently watering, fussing with the edges. I always mean to wear gloves; I must own 12 pairs, but never seem to remember to put them on, so my hands become ingrained with soil, my nails a disaster, my callouses have callouses. I sweat, profusely, am allergic to every insect of the biting kind, and of course am extremely attractive to all of them, sometimes with dire consequences. When bitten, by a deer fly, for example I swell and swell....no amount of ice can ease this swelling, no amount of benadryl can stop it. It happened once on a summer evening while sitting by the lake enjoying a bottle of champagne. I felt the bite, not too painful, but then the itch set in. I pressed the cold bottle to my forehead and felt it growing. When I got home, I popped 2 benydryl and slept like a baby.
Upon awakening , my eyes felt odd; I slapped my hand to my forehead, remembering the bite, jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom mirror, and opened my mouth in a silent shriek.....my forehead had swollen to ghastly proportions, to say Cro Magnon man would not cover the overhang of my brow, my eyes rendered all but useless by the grotesque awning that was now my forehead. At least dolphin's eyes are on the sides of their heads. I had to go to the shop, I had to get my baking done, but worse, I had to work the counter with this freakish growth on my face. Really not funny.
I am losing my train of thought here. OK.
In the kitchen, there are some protocols to be followed, but a lot of room for creative license, within certain boundaries. Baking, for example is an exact science based on carefully formulated chemical and physical reactions. The decorative aspect is when the fun begins until it becomes your profession, and then it turns your life into hell. More on that at a later date.. Cooking, on the other hand is much less restrictive as far as proportions and taste is concerned. that being said, there are some basic rules that must be followed . I'd like to believe that all of us at one time or another have been led out of the middle of the forest in the middle of the night away from the pot of hard as rock beans that have simmered all day and late into the evening, over an illegal campfire,( never turning into chili, what's up with that??) by an irate park ranger with one flashlight and no sense of humor. Not that that is to say it has happened to me personally, lets just say that some steps must be followed or there could be a price (fine) to pay. On the other hand, when the steps are followed, my father's recipe for Basque Beans is to die for. That will wait for the cookbook.
Again lost my point.
OK, let's get back to my loft, where my dear Greg has made me a lovely spot for me to store all of my ...ahem..art....supplies He mainly wanted them out of the living room to get rid of my corner of clutter. Clutter is to be abhorred in Greg's world. A wall has one picture. A table one object. The couch one pillow, and so on. Bookshelves?? Why have books (pl) when you can only read one at a time? And in the kitchen??Oh my God, what is the point of all of the pots pans, plates glasses and cups?? There are just the 2 of us! Why do we need serving platters, and 6 cutting boards? Do we need so many chairs on the deck? And all of those flowers? Do you need all of those pairs of shoes? And pocketbooks? (a line was sharply drawn at the last two) Away with the clutter, away!! Hence my loft, turned from my wishful thinking guest room to a repository of stuff to my world of magic and creation. But there was the problem that was always the problem with the loft: Access. How do we access this cool little spot over the kitchen? Many ideas were thrown around and discarded due to space constraints. No spiral staircase, no fireman's rope ladder (we did try). Finally, my trusty and faithful friend Stan built me a ladder. It is a perfect ladder in every way but one. It sits in the middle of the kitchen with no where to store it. We set the ends on a rubber rug and pushed it as close as we could to the rail at the top of the loft. Up and down I scampered all winter, feeling safe and secure, with only a niggling thought popping in once in a while: 'damn it would hurt like hell to fall'. Well. Long story short. I became careless and complacent, and through no one's fault but my own, the ladder went one way and I went the only other way. Down. Hard. Rib fracturing, head slamming, bone bruising, out of work for 7-9 weeks, delirious, in pain, delirious did I already say that? and I am sure, stupendously (although no one was there to see me) hard.
So the lesson here? Not sure there is one. Measure twice, hit once? always check the ladder? duh.