Yawn! I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Pennsylvania thus far. Sure the family drives me nuts: there is no money, my mom is in a permanent state of denial, I’m not entirely sure I’ve seen brother Jordan sober this month, and my grandmother is getting decidedly dotty (yesterday I found she’d put dirty dishes away in the cupboard! yikes!)…but it’s been a total blast all around. Mom, Jordan, and Uncle Andy have made two killer vegetable gardens this year, and Jordan trades vegetables for some excellent Italian meats and cheeses on occasion, so the eating here has been extraordinary. It’s also so great to be back in a place where people advertise festivals saying there will be gobs, halushki, halupki, and pirohi…and everyone’s mouths start watering without any explanations. Also, I find myself saying “yinz” which tickles me to no end. (It’s the Pittsburghese equivalent of y’all.)
It’s not been all sunshine and daisies, though. It’s been ungodly hot–most of the country is in a horrible heatwave right now–so I’ve been thoroughly disinclined to do any work. Worse, the heat claimed a victim in the family. My little Scottish terrier, Fala, died. She was 16 and a half, which is rather astonishing when you consider that Scotties usually make their exit sometime between 11 and 13 years of age. Fala was certainly a grand old lady and the best behaved dog I’ve ever known. But these past few months, she’s not been doing well. She could barely hobble about and she was unable to eat her dog food–Mom kept mashing up people food for her instead. Yesterday my mom took her outside when she began whimpering around 6 am. Mom noticed Fala was trying to defecate, but couldn’t really seem to control it. Black, tarry stool kept dribbling out, which Mom-the-nurse recognized as internal bleeding. Mom decided Fala had suffered long enough and gave her a couple Oxycodone tablets to send her gently into that good night. Well…Fala had a fantastically deep nap and woke up totally stoned, but pain free and happier than I’d seen her in a while. She was obviously not cured, though, so we drove to an on-call vet and put her to sleep. Mom was a total basket case for a good while. As much as she complained about Fala, she really loved her. Fala was her baby. Heck, she was the apple of my eye, too. I really miss her even though I’m glad she’s finally gone–she was just so, so miserable.
In other news, when I’ve not been killing my dog, not doing my work, and basically just lazing about, I’ve been writing pysanky with my mom and occasionally my brother Zach. I think I’ve made over 20, but I broke about 4 in their final stages and I’ve contributed several new eggs to my grandmother’s big glass bowl of them…but these are the 12 I’ve made so far that I’m taking back to Oregon with me (I’m hoping for at least 2 dozen before the end of the summer). The one in the upper left–the red outlined star surrounding orange petals–was the first egg I ever made back in 2004. I’d begged Mom to teach me and she–wise woman that she is–decided to take me to a class someone else was teaching rather than invest in equipment and dye (or find her old electric kistka, which turned out to be stored in my grandparent’s attic). All the rest I’ve done over the past couple weeks. I have a penchant for barylky, or “barrel division” pysanky, which means a wide band wraps around the middle of the egg and some other design is left for the ends. But, as these eggs show, I’ve recently (or finally) figured out how to do the sorokoklyn or “40 triangles” division. It makes for a great result and can be easily modified to the “triangles” division or the modern “12 diamond” division. So I’ve been whipping out various sorokoklyn and 12 diamonds like a boss. To me, they seem to take less time than a barylky. I guess I have to think about the geometry a little less and feel I don’t have to be so intricate in every area. At any rate, I really like how the strong, graphic sorokokyn play against the more minutely detailed barylky. It makes a collection more visually grabbing from a distance.
But I guess I gotta get back to the activities of my regular life now. It’s been too long.