Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ana Attends An Extraordinary Art Exhibit

Several readers have been interested in Ana's tastes in art, and why not? Art is a window, not only to the artist and to the universe, but to the observer as well. Being from a different planet, Ana is the ultimate outside observer. She loves much of our art, music, and literature. She seldom misses any art exhibit in her area. She particularly loves museums. That also makes sense: we would surely be interested in a museum on Ana's planet, Thomo, and in Thoman music and literature as well.

A year or more ago, Ana was so deeply struck by an exhibit of paintings by a young artist from Meyersville, Texas, Claudia Quintero. that she returned to the show four times. The works were nearby, in a gallery not far from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She said she will never forget Ms. Quintero's paintings, and expressed regret that she did not purchase several at the time.

Ana surprised her husband by loving the series of paintings of buzzards on plates. Ana pointed out that the birds have a certain majesty, are beautiful in flight, are members of the same family as eagles and hawks, and perform a function that is necessary. Matt had to agree. Like any sensible husband with an intelligent wife, he adjusted his opinion.

Ms. Quintero has graciously allowed us to reproduce some of her works here. (Right click to enlarge.) There are more at Ms. Quintero's website. We think you'll find her art extraordinary too!

(See more of Ana's favorite art, music, and poetry in the column to the right.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Ecuadorean Arpilleras from Ana's Visit to the Art Gallery

Here are some more Ecuadorian arpilleras (sculpted textile paintings) made by members of a woman's cooperative. (Right click to enlarge.) They portray the struggles and daily life of a vibrant society. Ana purchased the soccer game for her son, and one of a pharmacy (not shown) for her daughter.

"Women United Will Conquer"
"Women, Unite in the Struggle"
"Love, Yes; Hitting, No"
"Enough of Violence Against Women"

Conflict Between Peru and Ecuador


Panaderia (Bakery)

Potato Harvest

Mercado (Market)

Comedor (Dining Room)

Futbol (Soccer)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ana Visits an Art Gallery: Arpilleras from Ecuador

Readers of Distant Cousin: Regeneration will know that Ana has a lively interest in the peoples of the Americas. Not long ago she attended an art gallery opening of textile art from a woman's cooperative in Ecuador. The women of the cooperative make and sell arpilleras, fabric constructions resembling three-dimensional paintings, showing their lives, their environment, and their hopes and dreams. These affected her deeply. She purchased several to frame for her home, and made a separate contribution to the cooperative.

The arpilleras are extraordinary creations, and strikingly effective pieces of folk art. Below are a number of photos from the exhibition, showing some of the artists and several of their works. Each human figure and many of the other features are individually constructed, and resemble tiny, fabric dolls, which are then stitched to the backing fabric. They range in size from small (the size of a place mat) to large (the size of a card table). The detail and emotional content of each creation is remarkable. (Click to enlarge.)

There were dozens of arpilleras in the exhibit. We will post more in the near future.

See some arpilleras in SIDE view, which reveals their three-dimensionality. Neat!

A classroom:

Inundación (Flood)

The Circle of Life
(Note where it begins, at the center: the home!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cooks vs. Bakers: A Theory?

In our admittedly limited experience, few cooks are bakers and few bakers are cooks. We have no convincing theories of why this might be, except that many bakers in our experience are generally science-minded. One baker explained that in cooking, a little more of this or a bit less of that, a few minutes longer over heat, or a few minutes less, do not make a big difference in cooking. In baking, they asserted, precisely measured ingredients and accurate temperatures and baking times are critical. Comments on this matter would be welcome.

Ana Darcy Méndez is science-minded, as you might expect of one who navigated to Earth from her planet 25 light years away. She is an imaginative cook but also a meticulous and creative baker. The photo above is of one of her recent efforts. The Czech grandmother's kolache recipe elsewhere on this blog was conveyed to us by Ana, with great glee. Most recently, she tells us that she has made quite delicious corn tortillas without using masa harina, the traditional (lye-treated) corn flour. Further details may follow eventually. (Or not.)

There are many more recipes and recipe ideas in the right column under the picture of cranberry/apple pie a la mode!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Mexican-American Great Grandmother Passes on Some Nursery Rhymes

By the time Ana arrived on Earth she had already taught herself passable English, and studied some Spanish, French, and other Indo-European languages, thanks to her years of study on the moon. She was lacking many of the fine points, of course, including the homey kinds of language characteristic of family life, with children. Fortunately, she was able to fill in many of those empty areas.

She learned a great deal of Spanish from her husband's grandmother, Reyes Méndez, including a number of nursery rhymes and simple poems. Ana found them useful language-learning devices, being easy to remember and full of good vocabulary words. She happily passed them along to her children!

The catchy verses below are among her favorites, for their cheery, humorous meaning and their rhyming patterns. If you read them out loud in reasonably accurate Spanish, you might enjoy their music too. Interlinear translations are provided for those whose Spanish may be a little rusty.

Ojos de sapo, patas de rana,
que tengas suerte toda la semana!

Toad's eyes, frog's feet,
May you have good luck all week!

¡Alas de murciélago, cola de lombriz,
que hoy y siempre seas muy feliz!

Bat's wings, earthworm's tail
May you be happy today and always!

¡Muelas de hipopótamo, cuernos de dragón,
que nunca nadie hiera tu corazón!

Hippopotamus molars, dragon's horns,
May no one break your heart!

¡Dientes de culebra, huesos de chucho,
NUNCA olvides que te quiero mucho!

Snake's fangs, hound's teeth
NEVER forget that I love you a lot!

¡Uñas de gato, plumas de gallina,
que siempre te lleves bien con la vecina!

Kitty's claws, rooster's feathers,
May you always get along well with the neighbor!


Escobita, escobita,
que cada año me ponga más bonita.
Sapo, sapito,
que este año me vaya mejorcito.
Caldero, calderito,
que me abunde el dinerito!


Little broom, little broom,
May each year make me more pretty.
Toad, little toad,
May this year go a little better.
Cauldron, little cauldron,
May I have an abundance of money!


There are more of Ana's favorite poems in the right column about halfway down, under the LOVE sculpture.