Friday, October 31, 2008

You're ducky.

One of my favorite parts of the "Sweet Land" movie is when Olaf's friend, called Frandsen, turns around in the horse-drawn buggy to look at the pretty, fresh-faced Inge in the back seat and says: "You're ducky." Frandsen tells Inge that "ducky" means "good."

As a young child, I drew a lot of ducks, as well as chickens. They were fanciful birds, the boys wearing top hats and the girls eyelashes. (Children, indeed, have their own sense of fashion.) "Ducky lips," made by positioning one's mouth just so, had a certain attractiveness, and my two-year-old self liked to wear a plush duckling secured onto my head with a satin ribbon that was tied in a bow under my chin. Chickens also made very good hats.

I am glad that Vogue agrees.

In my heart

It has been suggested that I romanticize farm life, which may be so. But, I am not so unrealistic to yearn to live and work on a farm for always. I would miss my favorite cities. Luckily, I can make myself content with farmers' markets and works depicting rustic locales.

Lately, my sister and I have re-visited a favorite story of ours, taking place in post-World War I farming Minnesota. "Sweet Land" is a lovely film based on the short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat" by present-day American author Will Weaver and features a proverbial "Norwegian bachelor farmer." Olaf would like to marry Inge who has good recommendations from his parents in the old country. However, Inge is originally from Germany, and the town's anti-German sentiment left over from the war thwarts Olaf and Inge's marrying.

If you like authors such as Willa Cather and Edna Ferber, you will like this farm story. As frustrating as the young couple's predicament is, the story has a delicate sensitivity and is gently funny at moments. And, the photography of the film is luminous! The story made me consider again "What does it mean to be American?" For me, there are few things more American than the pure and orderly life that I believe is on a farm, and "A Gravestone Made of Wheat" lends to my idealization:
For [Olaf] realized there was, after all, a certain order to the events and times of his life: all things he had worked for and loved were now nearly present.

Using the "Sweet Land" story as inspiration, Autumn dresses in cranberry-colored wool. I love the wheat-colored threads running through the tweed fabric of the straight dress that Autumn smartly makes to be a sort of jumper by wearing a top underneath. The proportions of this outfit are just right, as the skirt is short--but not too short--and Autumn's shirt has elbow-length sleeves.

No sunglasses atop Autumn's head? No, not for these serious clothes. Autumn uses a headband to keep her hair orderly. Notice the two brass button detail at the front of Autumn's dress that works well with the tailored-looking backpack purse.

The October 2008 Vogue seems to admire farm life, too. Look at these pictures, taken in a pastoral setting, of model Isabeli Fontana with her son and brother.

Coming-up at my library, we're having a local author speak, who writes about farming history, and to help get the word out, I am having a table at the nearby farmers' market this weekend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Game rules

The days are still sunny in Southern California, and just in case you should go to the Pasadena Rose Bowl some Saturday, you should know that my sister is a UCLA football game-go-er. Say "hello" like the friendly Bruin you are!

Autumn's studied. She knows the rules of the game. Observe:

1. Wear your team's colors: the side logo of Autumn's UCLA t-shirt is very "design-y," I think, and she's wearing her trademark top-of-the-head sunglasses, certainly gold-colored.
2. Take care against the bright sun of the stadium: Autumn's sunglasses are essential, as are her UCLA visor and the sunscreen that she's slathered all over.
3. But, a soft frozen lemonade can be pleasant.
4. Cheer for your team loud and long because your day will be ruined if the Bruins lose: Autumn makes good use of her blue and gold pom-poms.

5. The "Eight Clap" can help re-energize any situation. Also, Autumn enjoys playing the games presented on the big screens of the stadium.
6. Take a walk around the stadium to make sure that the place that you were standing has the best possible view of the field.
7. Say "hello" to all of your friends also at the game: Autumn knows that it's best not to say anything about the essay due on Monday.
8. Make friends with the people cheering in front and in back of you. Work on your "chat-up lines," or the other team's incompetence is always a promising conversation topic.
9. Have your picture taken with "Joe Bruin," if you can.

10. After the Bruins win, consider the fun possibility of pizza in Pasadena.

Hooray! UCLA just won against Stanford, 23 to 20! The last ten seconds very exciting!