Monday, February 4, 2008

A Decent Weekend.

Not bad, as far as weekends go. No pictures, because 1) I didn't do anything particularly scannable, and 2) I forgot my flash drive at work anyway. Saturday I spent hours and hours waiting at the garage for my car to be examined--large mushy snow was falling, which made me strongly disinclined to wander about the streets of Beaverton. It actually was fairly restful to be trapped in one spot, though, so in a way it wasn't too bad. Then I went shopping--a bamboo slat "rug" for on my balcony (once it warms up) and one of those wooden croaking frogs that I've wanted for years. It's a really huge one, too. :) W-a-y on sale. Princess doesn't quite know what to make of it, in a disinterested sort of way. I also perused the Mill End fabric store quite thoroughly, and bought a couple tiny bits of velvet for Projects.

Then when I got home my books from Lacis had arrived! I got them out of the box, took a *really* brief glance through, washed a bunch of dishes at what even a normal person would consider a good rate of speed, and headed to North Portland, where Kim fed me supper & then we all hung out and visited. (Thanks again!) Very nice evening.

Sunday I spent entirely at home. I was not particularly interested in moving stuff around (having practice sitting on Saturday probably helped me sit on Sunday) and I ended up working on stuff. I even had a phone call, and washed dishes & got my new toaster oven up & running. (I used it twice already!) There was a lot of Lap Kitty time, as Kitty apparently felt very needy, and let me know with serious head butts.

It is a kind of peculiar disjunction, therefore, to relate that I ended up thinking about genocide quite a bit. No, really, it is connected--the books I got myself are "Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery" by Alice Odian Kasparian, and "Armenian Lace" by Nouvart Tashjian. The latter is definitely of its time (early 1920s)--my favorite pattern is the one for "a doily of distinction." It was written to disseminate information about Armenian knotted lace, with ways to use it on "the new table linens"--both for Americans, and for Armenian survivors of the Turkish massacres, who were making piecework to sell as a way to survive. Sort of a how-to advertisement.

The other book, however, is not only much more in-depth about traditional techniques, but includes a lot of first-hand information about the genocide--the author's family was lucky enough to survive in hiding, and it was in those conditions she learned how to make lace and to embroider from her mother. I've read about half of the book so far, and the author's sense of loss is apparent: people lost family, homes, and thousands of years of cultural history were eradicated--burned, confiscated. Not only did she write the book to teach how to make knotted lace and keep alive knowledge of a craft which had been of intrinsic importance in her culture, but to inform about the culture itself and a homeland that was very dear to her.

I also thought about a photography book I looked through a few years ago ("For most of it I have no words : Genocide, Landscape, Memory" by Simon Norfolk). The photographer had visited I don't know how many sites of genocide, and his photos were presented in reverse chronological order. One image in particular stayed with me--a shattered schoolroom littered with the bones of small children--not only had the murderers targeted innocents, but there was no one to bury the victims.

Anyway, the book ended with a picture of the empty field where one of the worst massacres in Armenia had taken place. (So there's the final link of my thoughts.) How many times has this sort of thing happened? Why are there still people callous enough to come up with such strategies--and people stupid enough to follow orders? Etc. Eventually I thought, "I can do a series about that." Small pieces, based on art of the region, and titled along the lines of "Armenia 1915." More research to do--depressing topic, but at least the cultural part will be good.

To end this lengthy post on a better note:

Arctic Kitty now likes to go out in the morning, as of about three days ago. Morning Balcony Survey is quite brief: outside, swish tail a bunch of times, inside (except for today, which was whirl around and squirt back inside immediately).

Nocturnal Balcony Patrol was really good last night. The human began to doubt her telepathy was working, and checked a number of times. Each time, Arctic Kitty was pressed up against the railing in a different spot, radar focused intently outwards. Eventually, Arctic Kitty made a small noise (!) which the human noticed (!!!) and dashed inside at full speed as if she'd been stuck outside for positively hours. It was one of the times she came back in extra fluffy with cold fur, and smelling of wood smoke.

A final item to ponder: Why do roosters crow, but crows don't rooster? Drat, where's the OED when you need it? As it isn't here...based purely upon the words, a rooster should be called a crow, and a crow should be a caw. "Caw" is onomatopoeic, at least. (This is hopefully a start to me actually remembering weird linguistic things I think of.) A rooster does roost at night, but that's not different from other birds. Crows roost, too.


Machteld said...

The book on Armenian needlelace and embroidery sounds interesting, I really like that type of embroidery!

In Europe, every now and then there are discussions about whether those massacres should or should not be called genocide or whether it was actually that worse. Some people even try to downplay it, I really can't understand that

Good luck with the memorial pieces

Phiala said...

Well, seeing as how I have access to the OED online, augmented by an etymological dictionary.

You're only partly right.

"Crow" is onomatopoeic, or potentially, for the black bird, and goes waaay back, to 700ce at least. It's also, of course, onomatopoeic for the sound a rooster makes.

"caw" is much newer, first recorded from 1590.

"rooster" is the problem word, but it turns out that it isn't. Rooster came into use in the 1700s because Americans were too puritanical to say cock. Rooster came from "roost cock", and back in England they'd been using "cock" for male fowl since the 9th c. And cock is probably echoic, or close enough to onomatopoeic for me. :)

So cocks crow, crows crow and later caw, and Americans have as usual abandoned perfectly good words. (See also "canola".)

Today's question: will this comment about cocks get through your spamfilter???