Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More of My Favorite Things

Here are a few more of the things that are special to me.

This is a photo of me with my dad. I was born on his 22nd birthday. It looks like I was trying to wave hello to someone. My nieces call it my "conehead" picture.

I have no memory of where or when I found these little drawings, but i find a place for them wherever I live. They are just simple little pictures that I find very charming.

I love sea glass and shells. I use them all around my house. When I can't go to the beach, they bring the beach to me.

I really like flow blue china. I have a small collection, mostly found at antique shows when we lived near Chicago. I like the colors and the designs.

This little table was made by someone in my family, several generations back. It has a marble top and a carved wooden base. When I was growing up, it was in my great-aunt's house. She was a very proper old maid who taught high school French in Piqua, Ohio. When we visited, she always required my sister and me to speak to her in French.

Last but not least... who remembers Daniel Striped Tiger? He's a shy young tiger, and he needs encouragement to try new things. I could identify with him when I was younger because I was afraid to fly. So, I took him with me when I flew. I was surprised how many people recognized him and remembered him from Mr. Rogers. Please note that he even has his little watch on his wrist.

You might be getting the idea that I tend to be sentimental. Some things are special to me, and I hold on to them, taking them with me along the way. It's comforting when I settle in a new place, to have familiar things with me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's Complicated

Oh Dear, I'm having the high-tech blues again! Sometimes it would be a relief to go back to the good old days of analog.

I've had my laptop, router and printer for six years. I went to the Apple store and bought them at the same time so they would all be compatible. Now my laptop is showing signs of old age... already! I went back to the Apple store recently and described the symptoms of my laptop. They told me it sounds like the "motherboard" was going. Apparently that's a sign that I need a new laptop. So maybe I will get a new laptop. Then I asked whether a new laptop would be compatible with my old router. When I told them what kind of router I have, they told me it was an antique. Wait... it's only six years old! Same with my printer, of course. I might as well buy the entire package over again... laptop, router and printer. Then I would have to take a class to learn how to use them. Wait a minute... before I can use them I have to know how to set them up and connect them all to each other and to my cable service. I don't have a tech savvy kid to do these things for me! So, if you notice I'm not posting or commenting for a while, maybe it's while I'm in transition. I'm not in a hurry to do it, but I guess I have to before my motherboard gasps its last breath.

First, I learned to blog. Then I learned Facebook. I never have learned Twitter. Now my computer keeps telling me that there is a new version of iTunes I need to download. I've been resisting because I don't think I would know how to use it. Apparently if I download the new version of iTunes, my music will go to "the Cloud". What does that mean? Do I want it in the Cloud? Where is the Cloud? I have no idea.

Now, just the last couple of days, people I see on T.V. news keep referring to something called a "hash tag". I have no idea what a "hash tag" is. Should I be using it? Will I be unable to function without it? I am still figuring out how to use all of my new appliances. I think I have the fridge, microwave and stove figured out, but the dishwasher has me stumped. Now I also have to figure out the Cloud and hash tags? I need help!

Friday, January 27, 2012


I have too much "stuff" in my house. I have been trying to rid myself of some of it because the house is just too full. It's not an easy process because I have collected so many things that I like. I decided to take photos of some of the things I will keep because I can't part with them.

See the photo above? Each of the pieces has a different history. I have had the lamp since 1970, when I had my first teaching job. I guess it's a typical 1970s style; I have always thought it was very cool. I call it my "mushroom lamp". Once, when the paper boy came to collect, he saw the lamp and said "does that do something psychedelic?". I bought the Hawaiian quilt in the town of Paia, which I talked about yesterday on the map of Maui. My husband and I were on vacation with another couple; the wife and I wanted to stop at the quilt shop but the men were impatient. I'm glad we stopped. The Bertoia chairs were a lucky find. I went to a warehouse sale for "Design Within Reach" one Sunday morning and there they were, marked way down. I think I got the little table at Pier One. I liked it because it has animals marching around the bottom. If you look closely, you can see Munchkin lurking behind the chair on the left side of the photo.

My Bentwood rocker is an authentic Thonet, made in Poland in the 1960s. I lived near Cleveland at the time, and we went down to the docks where they were selling imported furniture off the ships. I also bought an Italian butcher block table there. I still have it too, but I didn't take a photo because it's covered with my sewing stuff and looks very messy.

I have a thing for Noah's Ark, I guess because I have a soft spot for animals. I don't remember where I got this one, but I've had for quite a while. I have the animals approaching the ark, but I think they should be turned around as if leaving the ark, because the rainbow is there so it must be after the flood. Or maybe there was a rainbow when it began to rain, I'm not sure. Anyway, there is no bird so maybe it could be before the rain.

I bought this one at a craft show I went to with my mom. An old man made it; he was sitting there with his wooden creations and no one was looking at them so I went up and talked to him, and couldn't resist buying it. I think it made him happy. Notice the bird on Noah's hand.

This one is just a little Hallmark ornament, and I think it's very cute. Notice the bird perched at the very top.

I probably found these little etchings at a craft show, too. Under the chicks, it says "pecking order". This one makes me think of Natalie, of Chickenblog.

I like the body language of the penguins and the simplicity of the little squirrel set off by the triple matting.

I bought this crazy little clock at an art fair in Michigan. The bird doesn't chirp or anything; he just perches there.

This little wooden puzzle is from Mexico. They sell similar ones at the airport in Cancun, but I haven't seen one this detailed there. I really like the bright colors of the little birds.

Continuing with the animal theme, I love James Herriott's books. I have quite a few of them.

Some of the books I bought in my youth.

The magnets on my fridge: I'm afraid I have images of cats everywhere, in addition to actual cats. What can I say? When my niece and her husband came to visit one time, they decided to count the number of cat images in my house. I think it was something like 26. At least I don't have that many real cats!

Another poster (see yesterday's post). I've had this one forever and it has been in every place I've ever lived. Back in the 1980s I had wallpaper that looked a little like the wallpaper in the picture. I've always wanted to find a rug like that one, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stories on My Walls

I've had the Napa Valley Mustard Festival poster sitting around since 1994. I finally had it properly framed and am putting it my kitchen eating area. The poster features a rabbit jumping over a crescent moon. I have always liked that image. After all, I am a "moonchild" (born in July and much nicer than "Cancer the Crab"). My mother tells me that when I was a little girl, I used to refer to the crescent moon as "a piece of moon" (like a piece of pie).

The rabbit on the moon is a motif in Japanese folklore. It's sometimes called the "moon rabbit" or the "jade rabbit". I've always liked this image. The artist who made the little blue dish was also inspired by the moon rabbit, as she explained in a note that came with the piece. I happened to find it in the window when I was walking past a small art gallery in Philadelphia.

Recently, I have taken several of my favorite posters to be framed. I have always loved them, but just had them in inexpensive do-it-yourself frames that weren't very sturdy. The Tolkien poster is probably my all-time favorite because of the subject matter and the style of the drawing. The title is "Bilbo Comes to the Land of the Raftelves". I love the look of the trees and the sinuous lines. I noticed they used similar lines in the designs of the elvish domiciles in the movie "The Lord of the Rings". When I was in Rome, I saw some real trees that looked just like those, in a park. I've always wondered what kind of trees they were.

I bought the "Asilomar" poster in the 70s. I liked the design and the colors, and there was something about the name that intrigued me. Years later, driving along the Pacific Coast near Monterey, we actually came to the place with that name. It was near Pacific Grove and it was beautiful. There was a field of wild flowers on one side of the road and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. We stopped and had lunch at a little diner nearby. Then, years after that, we stopped again at the same place for lunch with good friends. Nice memories.

I've had this one for a long time, too. Many people who see it don't understand why I am so attracted to it. It looks magical to me; the strange way the flowers are glowing, the tiny pinpoint stars in the sky, and of course the crescent moon. Looking through the window is kind of Twilight Zone-ish I think.

This poster isn't really a poster at all. It's the map that we used the first time we drove the Road to Hana. I cherish this map because it recreates for me one of my favorite places in the world, the wonderful Road to Hana. Thirty miles long, narrow and winding, it's Hawaiian paradise. Breathtaking views, hairpin turns, waterfalls, old stone bridges. My husband and I have made the drive three times; I always talk him into it when we are on Maui.

The artsy little town of Paia is the jumping off point to the Road to Hana. You can stop here and buy drinks and snacks (and great pastries) for the drive. (I've also heard that Willy Nelson has a home nearby... lucky guy!)

There are 54 bridges along the Road to Hana, most of them wide enough for just one car at a time. Each bridge has a name, and they are all listed here.

Maui towns are listed along with the interpretations of their names: Wailea means "waters of happiness"; Hana means "the four pillars of the universe".

See the nature walk? There is a sign there that says "Quiet, trees growing".

I think I'd like to visit Uncle Harry's!

At the end of the long drive... heavenly Hana! The tiny town on the "quiet" side of the island. No busy resorts here, just a general store, a very small airport, some low-key places to eat, and a few very nice hotels. On our fourth visit to Maui, we finally decided to stay in Hana. My husband said he was relieved not to have to make the return drive for once. We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Hana Maui, which had been a long-time dream of mine. The "hotel" is a grouping of private cottages widely scattered around the seafront property. It's a wonderful hideaway. Heavenly Hana, indeed... I never wanted to leave.

Above is the view of the ocean from our cottage. Below is a view of some of the cottages with the ocean in the background. Can you see why I didn't want to leave?

This place on the map marks the gravesite of Charles A. Lindbergh. It's also the end of the paved road. We visited the gravesite and the little church there, then we turned around because we didn't have 4-wheel drive. That's where it says "drive at your own risk". I would love to try it, though. I love to go to the ends of roads and see what lies ahead.

His grave in the photo below:

The gravesite with the church in the background:

Inside the church:

At the end of the road: