Figure 1: Breakfast Nook Angel

One (of a set) of two trumpet wielding wooden angels. Young / cherubic in appearance. Big cheeks (particularly effective for blowing trumpet). Faces East. His West-facing companion is one of the most used angels in the house; my grandfather prefers that we place all mail underneath its foot. While that angel collects mail, this one collects change/keys/miscellany. One arm extends towards a window situated immediately Northward. Outside this window is the cement slab on which my grandfather feeds the crows. The angel’s hand extends towards these crows, in a gesture of both acknowledgement and fear. The crows do not notice the angel, the window being highly tinted and difficult to see through. The effect of the tinting on this window is to give the world a weakly steeped chamomile tea coloring: faintly ochre/it weakens the intensity of any natural light. There are four angels with trumpets in the home. In Revelations (The Revelations of St. John) seven angels with trumpets will sound seven plagues upon the earth (in addition to the breaking of the seven seals and the pouring of the seven bowls).

Figure 2: Living Room Angel

This angel is troubling. The body a circuit of bundled metal cloaked in a billowy white suit. Sharing traits with a traditional Franciscan frock, a fallout jumper, and hammer pants. The face is terrifyingly CGI: approximately human. The angel has an electrical cable that unfurls from the backside and kisses an extension cord wrapped around the legs of a cherry-wood settee. When you flip a switch (also on the backside) the body lights up – arms and head move in tiny concentric half circles, and the garland in its hands moves. The gears that churn within the body cavity make a sound: a splinter burst thicket Without the small wings on the back of this angel, it would be a white, white child.

Figure 3: Kitchen Counter Angel

In the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, this angel attracts small creatures (birds). The angel is concerned with the world/implicated in it. Innocence typified. A smooth stone texture. Very cold to the touch. Wings meet at its coccyx, provide a cushion for the very uncomfortably rendered pillar in which it sits. Female. This angel sits between the oven/broiler (both new) and the dual-sink. My grandmother is the only one who does any cooking at home, therefore this angel is particularly her own guardian. At thanksgiving, my grandmother gets up at 4am and makes a 25+ pound turkey for AT MAXIMUM 7 people (usually 5). This results in an average of 3.5-5 pounds of turkey per person. We never eat that much turkey. This angel is a particular favorite of mine. I appreciate how impossibly awkward its legs are coordinated. One meets the other at a 90 degree angle, foot to calf. The second bends at a 45 degree angle to the ground, the tips of the toes straining to meet the ground, bent backwards. I am not aware of a Biblical passage (adjusted for Apocrypha) wherein angels interact with birds (or any non-human creature). When Christ was baptized the figure of a dove descended from heaven, and the voice of God recognized Christ as his son.

Figure 4: Kitchen Counter Angel II (Precious Moments Collection)

Precious Moments: Figurine conglomerate specializing in bisque porcelain. This figure is oddly and brashly orange. Sick/Sunburnt. Brings out the BLUE of the carpet (oh Raulie don’t you love the new carpet!*) It looks terra cotta but is very smooth. It is extremely heavy as well. You could knock out an attacker with it, or use it tenderize meat (grab by the neck, it’s not to thick). It isn’t actually an angel, but a little girl with butterflies all over her. The butterfly on her back is positioned to resemble a pair of wings though, so my grandmother thought it was an angel. She still insists that it is an angel, and since the home is her domain, she gets to decide what constitutes the angelic. Here are some things she has referred to as angels:
  1. Myself
  2. Thomas (my brother)
  3. Ralph (husband… he only gets this categorization when he is in a good/charitable mood)
  4. Sasha (family cat: 2007 – present)
  5. Tahti (family cat: 1997-2007)
  6. Wookie (family cat: 1985-1996)
  7. Sales (Nordstrom, Macys, Crate and Barrel, Lexus)
This is the only angel in the home that is wearing a full head covering. The angel sometimes suffers from the spray of the sink, if the person at the sink is overzealous with chrome spray nozzle. It is able to cope with the water in the same way I was able to cope with my baptism as a child. I was allegedly “silent as a sweet angel” according to my grandmother upon being accepted into the kingdom of God by the attending priest. I wore a flowing white garment and large, conical hat. The effect was somewhere between a baby Pope and baby Klansman. My grandmother is no longer Catholic, being converted to a protestant Christianity soon after the baptism of my younger brother. His baptism was much less quiet. He could not fit into my white “papal” garment, so he wore a tiny, short sleeved white shirt with red bow tie and black dress shorts. His shorts were held in place by comically large black suspenders. You can catalogue my grandmother’s conversion by looking at the nature of the angels she collected before and after her severance with the Catholic church. Catholic era angels are generally made from stone, and are more traditionally rendered. Protestant angels are cartoonishly humanized and sometimes “jaunty” in nature. They are also frequently mechanized. * I do not.
FOYER: A repose area for spectators and place of venues, especially used before performance and during intermissions, but also as a place of celebrations or festivities after performance.

(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Victoria Alvarez: “The foyer is always about intermission. I’m not listless. I’m always up and down, in a servant’s role. The word expedient, what does that mean again?” Raul Alvarez: “It’s like… to move quickly.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 / 9:50PM CST / 7:50PM PST

VA: Victoria Alvarez

RA: Raul Alvarez

VA: Will you send this to me when you’re all done? RA: Of course VA: Now, you need some more money in January? RA: Maybe, it really depends on what happens this month. So, what is your favorite thing to do at 1401? VA: Eat RA: (laughing) Oh, so the kitchen is your favorite place at the house? VA: Yes it is. (laughing) RA: Okay, that’s good! But I’m not changing the title of your section. You are the foyer still. You laughed when I told you that’s where I was placing you. Well… I’ll add a parenthetical about the kitchen. But it’s so cliché, the foyer is really much more interesting. VA: Whatever you like dear! I do love the settee, the little orange one. You know underneath the angel mirror. RA: I do, I do. How do you like to spend your Holiday? VA: Well you know up and down up and down that kind of thing. It’s just, in the kitchen and then of course you know the den. And then you guys usually retreat to the front room where the fireplace is to have cheesecake and stuff like that, to have dessert. So I go back and forth there. And then I sit down to watch you, you know back and forth back and forth, that sort of thing. We move really fast, you know yay yay yay, that sort of thing. You know, it’s nice when you come down. I like you here, you know it’s so hollow when you’re not here. It changes, you know it’s not fun when you’re not here. RA: Yeah VA: But you know, that’s the way it goes! (laughs) RA: How’s Sasha? VA: Sasha’s good you know she’s sleeping you know, on my bed. RA: Oh good, does she spend a lot of time there? VA: Yes, yes she does, she does. You know the thing is I never read in my room. I never read. I just end up talking to myself. I miss you so much, when you aren’t here it’s not so much fun. So I want to know if we can get together maybe in August we can get together. You’ll have some more money, and I can save money so you guys can come out. RA: Well yeah actually we’re coming out in May because Keighty’s in a wedding. VA: Oh wonderful! So are you guys staying for the weekend? RA: We should hopefully be able to stay for a little while because the wedding is right after I graduate. VA: Oh how exciting! Are you going to be teaching right after that? RA: Well, I hope to teach in the Fall, but my current job at school will end when I graduate, so we should be able to come out for more than just the usual weekend trip. VA: Oh honey that sounds fantastic! And I’ll save money so we can go out to Palm Springs or something like that. RA: Yeah, that would be lovely that would be lovely. How’s the weather right now? VA: It’s okay, it’s pretty. It’s kind of cool right now. It’s very cold at night. How is it in Chicago? RA: It’s getting colder every day. It’s in the low 30s right but, but we actually haven’t gotten any snow yet other than a few flurries once. There really hasn’t been any measurable snowfall yet which is sad. I like the snow. VA: Oh honey I can’t wait to see you I just can’t wait to see you, I love you so much. Just, call me when you can and send the story when you can. Is Cora doing okay? RA: Keighty? VA: No, Cora (my brother’s ex-girlfriend) RA: Oh well I don’t know, when Thomas and her broke up it was for… forever. VA: They broke up forever huh? RA: Yeah VA: Oh. Well I just miss you and Keighty so much, give her a hug for me, and I will help you financially through May RA: Well, that’s very nice of you but we don’t need that much help. It’s just for the next month really that things are tough, but she’s looking for another job right now and she may have already found one so hopefully that works out. VA: Okay sugarplum, I just miss you and I miss you and I miss you. Please call me when you get a chance. And give Keighty a big hug for me, and I hope that everything goes well for her too. RA: I will, of course. One more question though, what is your favorite decoration in the house? VA: The one, well, I have a few crosses that I like. And there are so many angels to like here too, but the Russian cross. The Russian Orthodox cross I keep in my room is my favorite. I don’t know when I bought it but it’s really beautiful. RA: It’s a Russian Orthodox cross and you don’t remember where you got it? VA: No, I know I got it at that cute place we always go to… RA: Pier One? Puddleducks? Does that place even exist anymore? VA: Oh yes, Pier One! Yes. RA: You got a Russian Orthodox cross at Pier One? I can’t even picture what that would look like. VA: It’s tinted to look gold, it’s got a little gold leaf or something on it. You know, so it looks Russian. And it’s got a little jewel in the middle, oh, not a jewel, but a little piece in the middle of it, red, a little jewel, you know I really like that one. RA: Oh, that sounds nice. And you keep it in your room? VA: Yes, I keep everything in here. I have a little unicorn that looks like you in here. A little parrot that Tootsie bought me. An Eiffel Tower… post card. And I have my little cup that says, “love Raulie and Tommy” with a little teddy bear. And my teddy bear. And I have that Beatles Anthology that you bought me. RA: Oh I remember that! VA: And I have a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s work that I want to give to you. I don’t like to read it. It’s much too scary, but you’ll love it. RA: That’d be great! VA: Okay honey well I love you so much. I miss you and Keighty and kiss you (kiss kiss). Call me when you get the money okay, I’m sending it on the 2nd. RA: That is very nice of you, thank you very much. VA: Okay sweetie, bye bye.
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© Raul Rafael Alvarez