Saturday, September 10, 2016


I didn't do much reading over the summer. This I know because it took me more than a month to finish the biography of Frida Kahlo. It was borrowed from a friend, so there was no need to be concerned about overdue notices from the library, where I get most of my reading material. I took the book at a leisurely pace, often in short increments, till the very end. 

Poor Frida. What a hard life she had. I mean, a lot of physical suffering and a lot of emotional pain. Perhaps the two go hand-in-hand. But she certainly met her days with courage and stamina, and consciously made the best of what she had to work with. 

The book also helped me make sense of her paintings by delving into the symbolism in each one. I need that; when meaning isn't obvious, I miss a lot. Before these explanations, I found many of Kahlo's paintings macabre and even childish. Now, after becoming acquainted with her better, I understand that she knew herself very well and knew that it is the personal in life that is the most important thing to share. She knew that the personal is universal, and that what one of us feels intensely, we all experience at some time or other.  

Here is one of my favourites: 

Frida with her favourite "escuincle" dog.

It's the tiny "escuincle" dog that amuses me so much. Frida actually had a number of hairless Xoloitzcuintli dogs. Perhaps "escuincle" was her way of spelling it in English, or maybe it was her nickname for the dog, but the word itself is funny (to me).

Frida, after a traffic accident that nearly killed her, endured severe medical treatments for the rest of her short life. Some were torture. She had to wear body casts or corsets that kept her immobile for months sometimes. She often painted them:

I've seen the movie Frida once before, starring Salma Hayek, but now I want to see it again.
Here is a documentary where a lot of spoken text is taken directly from the bio I just read, by Hayden Herrera:

And now I must get a move on. There is a coffin to be built in our yard. Scott's dad passed away on Wednesday afternoon and this is a labour of love that Scott is sharing with his son and other family members. I am going to make a vat of BEAN DISH so they have something to snack on when they come in to warm up, as it's cool and rainy out there. 

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Maggie Turner on "Tricking the Lazy Self": 
That old familiar inertia! Where does it come from I wonder. I have to talk myself into going for my walk almost every day. Your approach using incremental conditions works for me too, it is like priming a pump. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs to play games with herself in order to do what is healthy for a mind and body. I get kind of down on myself for not being more disciplined and ambitious, when maybe this is simply human nature. 

Lorna on "Tricking the Lazy Self": 

You called it. I love harmless tricks.
Since my friend Cathy, the laundry queen, told me you can dye fabrics in your washing machine, I do it all the time. Yesterday I decided to dye the white kitchen curtains a wine colour, like the ones in the living room. Except they came out pink instead. I am not happy with myself; should've checked to see what the fabric was, first. Anyway, I've hung them back up for now (I see shopping in my future) and have been waiting for Scott to notice and comment. He hasn't, or if he has, he hasn't said a word. If he does, I'm going to pretend they've always been that colour. 

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