"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Net of my Memory



The Gift

Time wants to show you a different country.
It's the one that your life conceals,
the one waiting outside when curtains are drawn,
 the one Grandmother hinted at
 in her crochet design,
the one almost found
over at the edge of the music,
after the sermon.

It's the way life is,
and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then,
violated in various ways.
(And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering,
 you wait and pray, and maybe good things come
- maybe the hurt slackens
and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain.
It is called happiness.

It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been
 and how people and weather treated you.
 It's a country where you already are,
 bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air,
calling,every morning,
 "Here, take it, it's yours."

~ William Stafford ~
1914-1993

(The photos are of my mother, father and myself around 1947 at Harbor Gate housing in Richmond, California.)

I love this poem. I hope someone "gets" this poem like I did. Please leave your thoughts even if you don't usually comment. I would like to hear what others have to say about this poet and THIS poem. William Stafford was an American and a contemporary of my parents. He was born the same year that my father was.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vintage Thursday: Recycled Shutters and an Old Enos bottle


This is my kitchen window. It faces south and up until last year, I never liked it much because it seemed too big and too open. I finally found the answer last year when I bought an old four sectioned, wood louvered shutter at Room With A Past in Walnut Creek. It didn't need paint and only has two broken louvers that I have never fixed and I like to think of it as ~antique ambiance ~ (that's a synonymous expression for "too lazy to fix it")
Last week I pulled everything out and cleaned the whole window . What a project, but it was worth the effort. Everything looked so good that I thought I would take some pictures and do a post on it.
I love these shutters. I can adjust the light as much as I want and still see outside. It just feels cozy and looks a lot better. Getting the shutters in, out and around the window frame is a bear so I won't be cleaning it again for a long while.

The weekend before last The Prospector and I stopped at a yard sale and I found this old bottle. I paid $4.00 for it. I love the color and the silvery residue on the glass. It's a nice complement to the only other old bottle that I own (next to it in the photo).
When I researched it I found out that this was not a rare or unusual bottle. It was very common in fact and a remedy that was very popular.

We certainly wouldn't want to feel "out of sorts" or "bilious", have a sluggish liver or constipation. This magic elixirs, only a teaspoon in a glass of water, was the answer to all kinds of upsets. Bilious (interestingly spelled with two "L"s in England) has to do with liver dysfunction and also means irritable and ill-tempered. Eno's Fruit Salt was made in England, but lots of these bottles were found in the ground... HERE. It was probably imported to Canada and the United States for good reason.... maybe... hangovers? What do you think?

Please go over and visit Colorado Lady's blog for more vintage stories. 
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fried brain today....


It's one of those "I've got nothing." days. I sat here trying to decide what I wanted to blog about and went from old photos of my grandfather, to researching the initials on a sweater in an old picture, to the Sierra Club history, to some old photography advertisements, to an old early 1900's camera on Ebay that I almost bought before I came to my senses and realized that I didn't know what I wanted to post about. This doesn't happen to me very often. I wasted two hours of my morning trying to decide what to post. Still, the bed is unmade, I need to do a load of laundry and my body is in desperate need of a shower.
So I leave you with a Fox... A Common Gray Fox, that came down to find water and a few grains of corn that we leave (I'm sure she thinks) just for her. The corn is for the deer but all our wild creatures are opportunist around here so she was probably looking for leftovers.
She was very beautiful. I think that she might have been the beastly beauty that caused all the commotion last Wednesday night, but she is so beautiful that it's hard to believe that she would make that much noise and dispatch some unsuspecting critter in such a violent way. I know! She's a wild creature.
She was very weary of the dogs barking across the driveway. She hardly noticed me hiding behind the garage with my camera, but then she sensed something was not safe and she loped up into the trees and disappearing into the underbrush. Wish I could follow her, at her speed, to see where she goes and if she has babies close by and what her den looks like. Litters are born from March through May so she might have a few babies very near by.
Well, it's time for other things. Maybe tomorrow I will recover my brain and give you something with some interesting family history...or maybe not. I'm in a warm, summery mode right now. All I want to do is play in the garden and photograph unsuspecting wild animals. I guess it could be worse....
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Monday, June 21, 2010

"Son"shine Weekend


Our oldest son was here for the weekend. "M" came up to celebrate Father's Day with us. He brought his cat, Lucky, with him. She is a sweet old cat who needs medication twice a day. Lucky is a very nice cat to have around. She is quiet, content to sleep on the extra bed and doesn't seem ruffled by the Pupster and Cutter, even through she doesn't live with dogs at home.
I told you that the dogs would set up a vigil in the hallway while she was visiting and , well, as you can see.... Carl did.

Poor Carl just about wore himself our being vigilant. I got that "Why I'm I having to go through this" look constantly. It helped that our son gave both dogs a lot of attention. Still, Carl was determined to see this threat to his way of life, that had taken over the extra bedroom, as an invasion of the grandest proportions.

We were in the guest/computer room yesterday morning. Our son was bringing us into the advanced computer age with directions on how to use an iPod suffle that he gave his Dad for Father's Day. We were all in the room, with the cat, with the door closed. The cat got up and walked over to the door. That's when I heard a loud sniffing sound from the other side. I knew who it was so I opened the door just a couple of inches. Guess who? (above).... He backed away and sat down looking like we were all being traitors, but with an edge of despondency too. "Oh, Carl. Come over here. Come see Lucky. She's a nice cat." I said, quietly, through the crack in the door. He just sat there and looked at me. I guess there will never be an indoor cat in this house. Cutter had given up and spent most of his time outside.
We had a lovely weekend with our son. I wish our other son and his family could have been here too, but they were here a couple of weekends ago so I guess I can't have everything I want.... and The Prospector got a phone call from "J" with best wishes.
What we really need is the two story, 4 bedroom house that we sold 15 years ago. I NEED MORE ROOM!! The boys are very good about the "no room to spread out" situation here. I guess I worry about it too much. So, to compensate for tight quarters, I baked brownies and made some orange buttermilk ice cream. This always seems to work.One has nothing to do with the other but, somehow, it makes tiny spaces seem more tolerable. Isn't that weird !

We are so fortunate to have two sons that still like us after all these years. I had many moments when we were raising them when I thought that we were doing all the wrong things and that they would regret their upbringing.... but hang in there, all of you who think you don't know what you're doing. Your best efforts will be rewarded. The rest is water under the bridge....and it seems that children can be forgiving too. We all like each other. What a nice result for all the anxieties of parenthood.
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