Friday, November 28, 2008

One more...

One more Thanksgiving card to share, this one is embellished with sparkle...some sort of sequins.
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard Sequins
I gave all but one of the cards to my friend Melinda as a hostess gift--thanks for including me in her Thanksgiving celebration.
Even though we only spent a few hours together, it was worth the 2-1/2 hour drive each way.
That's what's so great about where I live: so many places are just a hop, skip and jump away.
I can go to the desert, the mountains (where there's snow), the big city Los Angeles, or over the border to Mexico.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

One of my favorite things to do is to get up early on Thanksgiving morning, make myself a killer breakfast, snuggle underneath a blanket, and watch the Macy's Parade.

It's an American tradition at its finest.

History of the parade here and here.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vintage Thanksgiving

More of my vintage postcard collection:
Thanksgiving represents not only being grateful for our fortunate circumstances, but also a hope for continued fruitfulness.
Fruit, therefore, is an appropriate symbol of abundance.

A turkey and strawberries, 1910.
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard Turkey with strawberries

Embossed and tinted cherries
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard Embossed Cherries

Angel in a chef's hat, 1910.
Feast and flowers.
Flowers represent religious significance (thanks to God and the harvest), joy, ceremony, and so much more.
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard Embossed Angel Chef

Gathering, and harvest, 1910.
Maize, in addition to representing an element of the first Thanksgiving, symbolizes fertility.
The edges are gilded, the image is embossed.
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard
As an aside, the best part of this card is the letter on the back.
It is from Viola to Paul. The first sentence, "I guess you think I am dead..."

A lot of collectible postcards are patriotic
(this one was mailed in 1907).
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard
This one also symbolizes bounty and fruitfulness and plenty, right down to (I surmise) the phallic placement of the turkey head.
I've always been fascinated with symbolism, so immediately when I saw this card, what came to mind for me is a tarot card, The Sun (Ryder-Waite deck)
The card represents accomplishment, renewal, and hope.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

My fair lady

I noticed that I have a ton of ladybugs on my asparagus plants.
Plain red ones, and red ones with black spots.
I wondered, hmmmm, are they after some kind of pest?
Is my asparagus infested with something?

I noticed a bunch of ugly bugs.

My initial reaction was uh-oh, then I did an internet search, and turns out the uglies are ladybug larvae.
How bizarre.
But I'm glad to have them.

(photo from refmo)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

ssshhhhh...stop screaming

Last night I went to see the movie, Twilight.
I had read the book (so good I devoured it in one day), and I don't normally like the movie renditions of books I love, but my friend debs was going with a few girls from her work.
Too, on the news I had seen the popularity of the midnight showing, and wanted to ride the wave of enthusiasm.

Being able to buy tickets online is so convenient, but people were still lining up two hours prior to showtime.
We were some of the first to be seated, but chose the back rows with all the "old ladies" (wink).

The theatre was filled with screaming teenagers.
Well, more like screaming teenage girls.
They all seemed to know each other, and all seemed to have cell phones.
When the previews ended and the opening scene came into focus, the girl next to me, her long legs bent so her feet were on her seat, started excitedly exclaiming, "It's starting, it's starting, it's starting..."
The words "Twilight" came onto the screen, and screams erupted.
Debs (the mother of teenagers) made some comment about how nice it was to be surrounded by teenage joy, and I only half-heartedly joked, "I'm in Hell."
Another of the women we were with said it was more like good birth control. Ha!

Why were they screaming?
Uh, hellooo

I was disappointed in the movie.
First of all, why did they give Edward so much make-up?
Yeah, I know he's supposed to be white and dead and everything, but why the dark lipstick?
He looked like Edward Scissorhands more than Edward Cullen.
Too, I didn't like the hair swept up off his forehead.I envisioned bronze hair, wind swept (pretty much the way Robert Pattinson looks in real life)...not the way he looked in the movie at all.

And they cut out one of my favorite parts of the book, when Edward first decides he wants to be friends with Bella after all.
They're in the cafeteria, but Edward is not seated at the usual table with his family.
Bella scans the room, sees him, and wonders why he is seated alone.
Their eyes lock, and he motions her come hither with his index finger.
It's awesome sexual tension.
Why was that scene not considered?

Twilight is the essence of sexual tension.
The teenage girls long to experience it, and those of us who have still remember the flutter in our stomachs with anticipation.
Like debs said, it's the feeling you got when you walked out of class, and a boy was there waiting for's that universal thrill, the excitement, the giddiness of falling in love.

Too much from the book was different.
Casting got it right with Jacob and Alice, but was so off with other characters--
Rosalie wasn't gorgeous enough nor young enough.
Carlisle wasn't gorgeous enough and his makeup was far too pale.

Too, the growling and snarling could have been so much more animalistic.
The director didn't even really play with that, and the lame attempts the actors made to snarl just didn't make any sense to me.
In this day and age, of animation and technological abilities, I don't understand why the director opted out of opportunities to utilize more special effects.
I realize it was important to keep the rating non-violent, but I don't think realistic threatening fangs would have sent it over the edge.
If anything, the movie was too dumb-downed.

Throughout, the audience kept talking, screaming, and shushing each other.
Cell phones were lighting up, with new texts and perhaps video ("look where I am!").
I got used to it.

Yes, I understand the book is labeled "Young Adult", and the target audience is 14-year-old girls, but I wish the movie had tried to capture more elements that any age group could appreciate.
I wish the overall effect weren't so sappy.
That being said, it will still be hugely successful, it's just that it could have been so much more.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I wonder why Thanksgiving doesn't have a song?

Vintage Thanksgiving postcard, 1913
I adore the illustration on this vintage Thanksgiving postcard.
The colors are muted and the image beautifully rendered.
The woman seems confident and lovely.
It is dated 1913, and is postally used, a note from Lula to her cousin Ella, announcing she'll be coming home for the holiday.

Thanksgiving used to be my least favorite holiday.
Note the past tense.
This year I will be driving up to Hollywood again, to have dinner with my friend Melinda.
Melinda, along with her family, has generously offered to share her favorite holiday with me.
Her gesture is so very welcoming, and her enthusiasm contagious.

I will be making cranberry cake.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008


My mom, for as long as I can remember, has left dry catfood out for the feral cats that roam here.
If I didn't have all my stuff packed up right now, I could find old photos.
Years and years of some of the cats we called our own--cats still too wild to protect or tame, but ones we came to know from daily visits.
Ones we names Pansy, Mama Kitty, Screen Door...

Sometimes the cats shared their aluminum pie tins of food with possums or skunks, and I have photos of that too...
photos that make me smile.
"Oh, lookie who came to visit tonight!" (note 'Lookie' is a total Barb word)

One beautiful long-haired gray cat caught my mom's heart last year.
He would make gurgle noises when he saw her, and when she'd treat him with canned food.
He would go next door and steal the little boy's soft toys, making a hoard for himself.
It was hysterical.
I of course added to the toy pile with purchased balls and stuffed mice.

But it's a hard life for wild cats.
There are coyotes to dodge, and busy highways, hormonal males that fight for territory, and rude neighbors who do stupid things like put poison out.
Over the years the numbers of cats dwindled to two or three, and finally they too left.
We thought they were gone for good, though they recently appeared (to our relief).
I think a neighbor up the hill may be the house they call home now.
At least that's what I hope.

Occasionally, one black male comes around, so my mom still puts the tins out.
But more often these days, it's the raccoons that visit.
The pans are knocked about, and muddy paw prints from the water bowl give away their numbers.

The funny thing is, the toys are scattered about.
We think they bring the little balls out.
The little mouse on a spring is always noticeably more used.
The carpet on the scratching post is shredded.

I think it's so cute to find out raccoons play.

Vallen of Queenly Things wrote a great post about the masked bandits.


Friday, November 14, 2008


I love the combination of salty with sweet.
These are amazing.
I'm not even all that fond of dark chocolate, but on these the chocolate is a lovely shell for a caramel that's almost liquid.
Perfect for gift baskets.
Or treats for me!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What do you notice?

Bay Park skyline
I'm a highly visual person.
I tend to notice details of spaces and places, though I miss a lot because of my near-sightedness.
Too, like anyone else, sometimes I'm tired, or just going through the motions.
Sometimes the familiar just blends into the background of the day.

This skyline is something I see almost every day.
Walking out of work the other day, walking through the parking lot toward my car, I looked up and the elements coalesced into something magical.
The brilliant blue of the sky, the jagged line of the cliff made a work of art.
I snapped the moment with my cell phone camera.

Recently I read a book by Jose Saramago, Blindness.
You can read my review on my book blog.

But what made me reflect even more than the book itself, was a review by William on the wonderful site Good Reads.
As much as I am visual, I am also thrilled by words.
I underline passages in books that stir something in my soul.
Words can mold and shape us, inspire us, and evoke beauty.
William's words haunt me with their insight.

William has been kind enough to give permission for me to share his words here.

"When you sit in a coffee shop at the corner of two busy streets and read a book about blindness, you find yourself thinking unfamiliar thoughts, and you believe, when you raise your head to watch the people passing, that you see things differently. You notice the soft yellow light of the shop reflecting off the bronze of the hardwood floors. You notice among the people coming from the train two girls who intersect that line, spilt, call back, and go their ways, dividing into the two directions of larger traffic. When the girl working the shop goes out and leans against the brick entrance – to clear her head of coffee smells or just to see more of the sky – you feel the breeze blow in, and you smell it, and you feel that all these things – the sights and smells of a place you already know – are now something different. The place you know, you don’t know. It becomes mysterious, romantic: a newness you don’t have to search for, or travel toward, because you are already among it. You only want to feel more of it sweep over you, and as a result feel new yourself. If only for a few minutes longer.

You walk home and notice a discarded knit hat at the foot of a tree; you see the street cleaners’ orange signs tied to tree trunks, lampposts, telephone poles. You see a train run alongside you the color of the silver clouds, of the reflected golden light. You see people, in all their shapes, walk past you, each individual and anonymous. You feel anonymous yourself, and therefore more forgiving, more patient. You think everything is possible. You think everything possible must already exist. You think again of something you already believe: that people read the books that find them. That stories arrive to tell themselves, as relevant as news.

A little King, a little Camus, a little Gabriel Garcia: which is to say Blindness is a lot of everything."

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Sunday, November 09, 2008


I wish I could have afforded to bid (eBay) on this
C Jere metal sculpture.
I love seagulls, I love metal, and I love the whimsy and motion of this work of art.

Perhaps soon, when I finish the bedroom, and get caught up on bills.

I love Eames-era items, I love Danish Modern, I love Mission Furniture.

Boy, that's a whole lotta love in one paragraph!

Maybe I could figure out a way to make something like this myself--paper mache maybe?
Or I could sign up for sculpture class again in the Spring and make it in brass...

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Newton Faulkner

I guess this guy is a huge hit in the UK, but too few Americans have heard of him yet.
Take a listen...really amazing.
I'm so sad I missed his performance at House of Blues a few days ago.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Bedroom project continues...

Room progress is sloooooow.
I agonized over the flooring.
Initially I purchased a red oak flooring (an engineered hardwood) because I got such an amazing deal on it (after an instant rebate, it was $1.75 per square foot).
Normally I'm not an oak fan, but this was beautiful.
Here's a photo off their website to show you the color.

The problem was I didn't initially understand the difference between a floating floor and a quick click.
The oak needed to be floated, and even the installation instructions recommended a professional installer.
It required gluing and clamping and too much time.
I finally decided it was too much of an imposition to ask my brother to undertake, so I returned it today.

Instead, I went to Simple Floors and I chose a laminate.
Laminate can be quick clicked, meaning it snaps together like puzzle pieces--no glue necessary.
So much easier.

I should have scanned all the sample colors I considered, but I've already taken the samples back now.
I considered dark woods, I considered laminates that included a pad on the back of each piece, I considered so many variations.
Again, each decision took me a lot of time.
I weighed out all the pros and cons.
So many choices was overwhelming.

Well, their sale ended today, so I figured it was now or never.
I chose "Surf Wood".
It's really cool because there are random color variations, making it look worn and bleached in places.
I like that--it feels more real.
detail from the sample (the color is very similar to cedar): Each piece is really thick, so no hollow sound like some other brands.
Each plank has beveled edges, so no flat fake look.

I usually love whorls and knots and texture, but sometimes in laminate it looks so painted.
Surf Wood had a more of the appearance of real wood.
The price, surprisingly, about $100.00 more for my small room, at $2.09 per square foot.

Anyway, it feels good to have decided.
Next step: buy new baseboards.
I didn't know this was going to be such a huge project!
I'm so looking forward to the finished result.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

A little slice of Americana

(photo credit to Rocknj2005. Note photo is not of Kensington but of a neighborhood in the Los Angeles area, but speaks to my point nevertheless.)

I'm dog-sitting in Kensington, a cute area in the Mid-City region of San Diego where I can enjoy walking the neighborhood and taking in all sorts of lovely architecture and home gardens.
Kensington boasts Craftsman-style homes and Spanish Revival homes from the 1920's.
A block away is a small park, a coffee shop, etc.

Someday I hope to live in a quaint area where neighbors wave hello and I can feel safe, secure, and part of a COMMUNITY.

My friend Jen is from South Carolina, and her dad came out to visit.
She said they were walking around Miramar Lake, and as they'd pass other people walking or skating he'd smile and say "good morning".
Sadly, most of the people they encountered looked at him like he was a nut case.
I guess San Diego has gotten too big for its britches, but I long for that small town touch.

I still say hello to most people I pass, I still try to have a conversation with the grocery checker, I still have hope for friendliness.
It's out there.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Wow, we witnessed history in the making tonight.
An historical moment.

I have never before in my lifetime been drawn to political televised coverage.
I am seeing a resurgence of possibilities, hope, even an innocence once lost.
It's going to be an uphill road, but I pray we're on the right path in this nation.
It's exciting, hopefully unifying, and thrilling.

I have to say I was surprised today that I cast my vote on a piece of paper with a black marker in little bubbles.
No punch cards. No video screens.

Proposition 2 passed also! Thank God.


An important day for America

I have been rather ho-hum this year about politics.
Really the issue that took me to the polls today was Proposition 2--the humane treatment of farm animals.
Honestly, I can't fathom how animals were EVER allowed to be treated the way factory farms treat animals, all in the name of profit.
It sickens me.

And I do think it's pretty exciting that Barack Obama is like the Tiger Woods of the political arena--igniting a spark in people that might not have previously cared.
I'm an Independent, so I am not swayed by red or blue, only the issue and the solution.
I haven't really been all that hip on Obama, but I'll be damned if I was ever going to vote for a hunter in the VP position.
Again, it boggles my mind that anyone in this day and age of supposed sophistication and intellectual capacity, could support the shooting of wolves from helicopters.
Seriously, may people who can do such things all rot in Hell.
Sorry, but that's how I honestly feel.

Google's image today was pretty awesome
My favorite politically-themed commercial recently was from a plumbing company.
They said something to the effect of, "if your pipes are anything like our politicians...full of Mike Diamond Plumbing."
I love that.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wow, how fun is that?!

I love to watch cooking shows that are aired Saturdays on my local PBS station.
The shows change every few weeks as episodes rotate.
Right now, there is a Scandinavian show on called Perfect Day.

Last week, the episode was in Finland, and the host was talking while presumably seated on a cute retro-style bicycle with a big basket on the front.
Then, when the shot zoomed out, it showed that she wasn't seated on a bicycle seat, because there was no seat.
Instead of a seat and pedals, there was a flat platform like on a skateboard or scooter.
Oh my gosh, what is that?

I investigated online, and found several companies.
None of these, however, seems to be the retro style I remember her riding.
So I have a letter into the show to see if they can provide me with the name of the brand the host had.
But these give some idea.

Kickbike (or in the USA)

Sidewalker (in the USA)
This may be the one she was riding, as this is the only model I found with a full size back tire



Belize Bicycles have something they call Dog Scooters

(Or there are contraptions that are actually dog powered, at Dog Powered Scooter)
I'm not so sure the doggie ones are ethical,as it might require them overworking or getting overheated. But I don't know. I just thought I'd show them to you.

These scooter/bike combos seem like fun.
Evidently these are popular in Europe, but few Americans have seen them.
For me, they bring back warm-fuzzy childhood memories of wooden scooters my grandpa used to make.


Cupcake, anyone?

"I made them myself"

My friend debs as a dead (retro) housewife.
That apron (Anthropolgie) is to die for (pun intended).

Every year her office has a costume contest, and whoever wins gets a day off with pay.
She won a couple of years ago when she was Tippi Hedron from the movie, The Birds.
She had fake birds attached to wires around her head, and a soundtrack of cawing.

God I love Halloween.

I was driving today, and an old witch crossed the street in front of my car.
A Mexican lady (an employee at the thriftstore I couldn't help stopping into) was dressed in Chinese attire.
At the tool shop, I asked for help from a Roman in a toga.

It's so much fun.

No parties for me today.
Not even any handing out of candy.
I was painting, and prepping for a forecast of rain.
All of my stuff is sitting outside, so I bought tarps and bungee cords and attempted to cover and strap.
When it has been 90 degrees forever, it's hard to believe rain is expected.
I am so looking forward to finishing this room.

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