Ilze Berzins

My own home-grown orchid, fabric from Bangladesh, painting by Doreen Wilson, plate a gift from sister-in-law, gold bird my own papier mache creation.

Hard to see the froggies in this pond, camouflaged on their lily pads.

This mat was inspired by children's art work. It sat on my living room floor for some ten years, hence the worn edge, which I could repair but don't feel like doing right now.

My favourite floor cloth. Need I say more...

My dreaming mermaid mat in the sunroom. Have decided to post all the mats in my collection. Souvenirs from my starving artist days. I would never have that devotion today.

I love Tim Pickett's chainsaw art. This bear bench is where I bask in the sunny mid January days at Thomas Point Beach. Tim's other chainsaw animal sculptures were posted shortly before Christmas.

My art school for children and young people in Oakville Ontario. Here I'm posing beside my signage with my dog called 'Beagle'. The year is 1994.

Whenever there is turmoil in my life, I go back to my Art Gallery.

Sifting through accumulated Stuff, I come across letters and diaries and photos of my many years of living.

I should be packing, but instead I find myself reading and remembering. Heartwrenching are the collection of letters my mother left in my care — amongst them letters my Uncle Karlis wrote from Latvia to my grandmother. Ever since I could remember, my grandmother grieved for her youngest son, Karlis, left behind in Latvia and injured in the Soviet occupation. 

There are also letters I wrote to my grandmother from Paris which she safeguarded and which show me what an earnest and caring young woman I once was.

And tons of letters I wrote to my parents — from Paris, from London, from Kyoto and from Latvia. My mother enjoyed sharing my adventures with her. I wrote separetely to my father, serious letters of a philosophical nature.

And there are photos of some of my paintings which I’ve added to my Art Gallery.

The American artist Christo became famous wrapping up buildings.

He didn’t need to draw or paint or sculpt. He just wrapped.

So I’m taking a page out of his book.

I will WRAP my little dream house, become famous, and live happily ever after.

Oh tempus! Oh mores!

I think that’s Latin. I did study this useful language in high school and even at university.

Roughly translated it means OI VEH!

WARNING: you may find this post long and boring. It’s therapy for me.

Saturday dawned bright but windy. We had decided not to show the house for a few days to get over the Vulgarians and to spruce it up a bit. But somehow a lovely Middle Eastern lady managed to cajole me on the phone and we said:  OK, already. You seem to be really really interested and you sound like such a nice lady that we will show it to you since you are in such a great hurry and just LOVE the neighbourhood.

My husband had a premonition that things would turn out badly.

I didn’t feel anything, just rushed through my check-list: bed made, no dishes in sink, loo acceptable, dogs outside.

At noon they arrived.

Immediately I was enchanted by their little boy. I used to teach kids that age. My Saturday morning ages 4-6 group. This little fellow was particularly bright and so well behaved. My Laachuk too fell in love with him.

So we all traipsed upstairs and back downstairs and outside and back inside.

Spying a corner of one of my painting, Middle Eastern man exclaimed I LOVE THAT PAINTING. Fleetingly I wondered what he could love about it since it was mostly covered up by other stuff but whatever. I felt he should see the whole thing. I uncovered the painting and yes yes he LOVES it. He tells us he’s an architect. Hmm… Wife holds toddler and asks intelligent questions. High energy all around. Things are reaching a climax.

Yes! ‘Architect’ makes an oral offer on the house and adds MY OFFER INCLUDES THE PAINTING. WE WILL DISPLAY IT IN A PROMINENT PLACE. He looks quite self satisfied. He knows he has flattered me. What he doesn’t know is that this is my MOST PRECIOUS painting, stored in the basement simply because it is too large for the drawing room.

A slight pause ensues. Casually the ‘architect’ comments on a family pictures: “Is that your grandfather?”

At that, filled with the milk of human kindness, I leap up off the settee and hand him a copy of PORTRAIT OF A LATVIAN  BEAUTY.

(Big mistake. For the life of me I can’t figure out why giving one of my books as a gift brings me bad luck.  But it does.)

Goodbyes are said. Family leaves after being told we’d call.

We counter offer. Via e-mail. Then wait.

Knowing that these folk were in such a tremendous hurry to see the house, we telephone. No answer. No cellphone? Don’t architects carry cellphones?  I mean after they make an offer. Don’t they want to know where things are at? Then it occurs to us. Maybe these folk are out making oral offers all over the place.

A few hours later lovely lady e-mails telling me that they had NOT (her emphasis) made an offer. Had they meant to make an offer they would have done so in writing. So there!

What!? Gasp!

I look up architect on google. He’s not.

“OK, give me back my book,” I demand. My feelings are really hurt.

“Sorry, book was gift,” comes the reply.