Tag Archive | men

The General


While waiting at the vet’s this morning with my huge tuxedo cat — whose projectile vomiting from atop a 5’6″ tree onto a nearby guest in a chair beside his tree on Friday night had landed said cat at said vet — a loverly young male short-haired German pointer burst in, attached to a young mother and accompanied by two little girls.

The pointer is the ultimate male dog. It’s a hunting dog. It’s the essence of the active outdoorsman’s soul made flesh. They are amazing animals. But they aren’t good family pets if your life is typically suburban, so I was a bit surprised to see it — with a dainty woman and two little girly girls.

“What is his name?” asked the receptionist.

“General,” said dainty woman.

Ah, The General, thought I. Wow. Uber maleness. I could just imagine the husband. A very fine fellow. A lover of the wilderness. His beautiful wife and daughters were truly the light of his life, but . . . he needed another male in the house, and someone to share his manly outdoor pursuits.

And so, he’d convinced the good madame and mademoiselles they need a dog. But not just any dog. They had to have the purebred German short-haired pointer, a male. And his name? The General.

The General became a little high strung, so he was taken outside by his family (or rather, really, more vice versa).

A few minutes later, the tech came out and motioned the group back inside clinic via the large glass windows.

The eldest daughter, perhaps 8, twirled in like a ballerina. Her younger sister, a quite, curious girl, walked in pondering the contents of the cat carrier beside me. Then came The General, pulling at the lead.

The tech walked over to the scale, in a small nook of the office, and suggested weighing the dog.  But The General wanted none of it.  Dainty madame tugged at The General’s leash.

And that’s when it happened. The moment I realized Monsieur’s brilliant plan to up the manliness of the house and bolster his vision of himself as a man  had gone terribly wrong.

“Come on, Jenny,” coaxed dainty madame.

“Over here, Jen-Jen!” cried the bedazzeled mademoiselles.

I just tried not to laugh.

3 (not so) wise men and 5 golden (red her-)rings


Lord Peter (Death Bredon) Wimsey.

Today is Christmas Eve. I was going to go skiing, but we’ve had no snow this year. A tragedy, as I was looking forward to finding a ski-lodge fling. But to be honest, fate, like the weather, has been fickle of late and I’m not sure things would have worked out.

The very nice doctor I met at the farmer’s market, eventually saw me my gran’s Depends in a bag in the trunk when I went to stow my purchases — and that was that.  When I picked out my tree, I met a great guy, who tripped on the long trail of twine used to tie trees to car roofs. He ended up being taken to the hospital with a broken nose. And finally, there was the corporate research librarian I met at a friend’s party. Perfect in every way, my friend said. Except she didn’t know his main interest in life was his graphic novel collection, followed by the fact he was a juggalo.

Needless to say, I’m spending today decorating my tree and listening to carols, to be followed by watching Holiday Inn, and later on this evening I’ll be curled up by the fire, sipping madeira, and finishing Dorothy Sayers 1931 book Five Red Herrings, which is about 3 of my favorite things: Galloway, Scotland, painters, and murder.

It’s fun to read a book about things one is highly familiar with and catch all the little details that others (especially modern day readers) will normally miss.  I suppose it is strange to say I’m familiar with 1930’s painting techniques, but there it is, I am. In fact, if you pop over to my indraanderson.wordpress.com site, you’ll see it’s true.

I just finished re-making a book called Painting A Portrait by de Lazslo the work of Britain’s most famous portrait painter in the 1930’s, Philip de Laszlo. There’s  a free downloadable PDF of both the original work and the new book. For the new version, I completely reset it and added copious color pictures and notes to help modern artists understand his then common technique.

I’m not far in to Sayers’ work as yet, but I’m already wondering, “where is the dead man’s tube of blanc d’argent or zinc white?” It’s not on the list of paints Wimsey finds at the site of the accident/murder, which leads me to believe it isn’t the site of the murder. No one can paint without white. It’s the one color one must have no matter what subject matter is being painted or what style one paints in.

Also, copal medium was found at the scene. It’s used in painting, but also in varnishing. Could it be that the still-wet artwork on the easel by the dead Campbell was simply varnished by the murder to appear wet, rather than painted at the scene to imply the alla prima painter was alive? We shall see.

My money is the on the wife of one of the other artists, so far. But I’ll know the truth by Christmas.

And for those of you following the blog, yes, Der did complete his house (a Christmas miracle!). It took many friends, favors, neighbors, work contacts, my parents, and a massive “Winter Solstice Party” that ran from Friday night to Sunday night with “unlimited beer and food.” But it happened.

His parents will be stunned. I know I was! I guess that good luck Parisian door knocker I had copied by a metal artisan friend really did the trick.*


*The rooster is a symbol of resurrection, and exactly what Der’s house stood in need of!

Always Go Dutch

The recent reopening of the Rijksmuseum, as well as signing up for a class on how to forge copy a Vermeer, has me thinking Dutch.

Barring my birthday or some other special event that’s all about celebrating me, I always go Dutch. I find going Dutch separates the men from the boys in short order.

As my grandmother always says, the man that can’t stand being equal to a woman should still be under the care of one —  his mother!

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down


In Rhineland the celebration of Weiberfastnacht starts at 11:11am. It’s kind of a women’s empowerment day. People dress up in costumes and, for the day, women get to cut off men’s ties, which are seen as the symbol of  the power (yes, a phallic symbol). The men get a Bützchen (little kiss) as compensation, but they do have to wear the stumps of their ties for the day.

As you can see, I celebrate each year by hanging a wreath made of  all the ties I whacked off the previous year — fair warning, and all that. But I have to admit, the actual whacking off is a bit less harsh than the verbal whack off, at least it is in my grandmother’s house.

I took Fling to dinner at my German granny’s for Weiberfastnacht, really it was more of a party.  He arrived with a cut tie. Yes, I cut it off. My grandmother took one look at him and said “Another scruffy, pseudo intellectual?” Which was quite unfair as Fling had been on a plane for the previous 22 hours and holds two PHds (Cultural Anthropology and 17th Century British Civil War Politics).

Fling, undaunted, replied politely, “Now I see from whence your granddaughter acquired her stunning figure . . . as well as her stunning frankness.” Then he turned and walked away to mingle and find a drink.

My grandmother’s eyes twinkled. I even saw her smile slightly. In my family, if you can’t hold your own, you’re just won’t make the cut.