Thursday, December 27, 2018

leaving on a jet plane

loose ends tied up , I think, could have missed something but it will not matter once in the air.
Off on an adventure!

All of the times I have been to my favorite city I have never gone to the towers, this time I will.

Tomorrow morning, fingers crossed, and hopes that the flat I have rented is not a dump. Might stop in Bricklane and pick up some fashion fabric to cover my butt.
see you in February.
 happy trails.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

mish mash holiday

I went to the butcher shop and bought the most expensive standing rib roast on the planet, prepared it well with herbs and garlic and Hawaiian red salt overnight. Did the math for a nineteen pound side of cow  (for godsake!) preheated oven to a zillion degrees for the first thirty minutes , then , they say , turn down to 350 and let cook for six hours...our oven is off- it is hotter than the temp gage says - the roast was well done in half the time, not a smidgen of pink . Folks not arriving for yet another four hours. Damn!
No one complained , it was good anyway, and now I know for sure how OFF our oven is . I had always just assumed it was my poor baking skills in question.

Merry Krampus hangs in the center of the table, because all of us have likely been bad children...

The queen of Christmas reigns, flashing her engagement ring around in case you have forgotten. I love the non wedding they have planned/not planned, they are running away , to Ireland to get married. No body in attendance- on the side of a bluff overlooking the Irish sea.

mish mash table setting and chairs from anywhere- no body seemed to mind that either, or that we  entertain in a tunnel...all the grand babies  are adults , going about their business in life. 
Sons, Daughters , ex-wife and Stella who is now part of the clan whether she accepts or not.

Finally opened the raspberry infused Vodka given to me several birthdays ago , from Erik. 

It is pretty and festive you remember Romilar cough syrup? A bit like that...

On Christmas day we went to Janet's for the best meal of the holiday, That gal can cook! 
Kids home from their various lives, doing well, med school, Teaching, chemistry research- and one  home from her stay at Children's Hospital in Seattle, waiting for a heart.
It must come soon, emergency situation, though this child has had only half a heart all her life, Patched and surgeried  often,  now it is critical that a new heart be found.
O type blood so not an easy off the rack heart to find.

She sang "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams" the gals got pipes! Lovely.

First Christmas as old married folks- these two, who had to leave their baby behind - a border collie puppy who eats chairs and herds anything that moves- too much of a trip for a youngin'.

My car died in the driveway, I had trouble starting it , for about a month,  Mr. Man pretty much thought I wasn't doing it right.  "First turn the key , then punch the gas!" Last laugh on both of us- The entire starter needs replacing, I will not have it until after many dollars have been spent and I am in the air over the big water.
I don't even know how to pack this time. Tiny carry on. Weather a mystery.
Apprehensive....BUT I did get another coat so am not taking my monster that frightens little children and could take up two airline seats on it's own.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

serendipitous tea pot, enormous heads, questionable gift

When I was a young rascal, living in London, I had zero money, we got by on our wits. I walked all day to avoid the cold house , heated with the coal that we could scrounge- sounds Victorian Dickens-ish, but it was out of choice, I loved the life and knew that I could go back to America at any time. I was having an adventure- an experience, and it was good.

Of course I could not buy anything, I sent some things home as Christmas presents that I had found on the street- a button, a napkin, a chain with glass bells on it...but I did yearn for one thing, and that was a Carlton walking ware tea pot. 

In the seventies The company changed to making novelty ware so they could keep the company afloat, thus the walking ware tea sets.
Even back then they were expensive. I have searched for one ever since, hoping to find one in a charity shop in London- found one (above)...but it was thirty nine pounds- and crazed, with a chip on the lid. I let it go...

Every time I go back to London I look for one, every time I fail. Looked online but they are now $90.00 plus shipping.

As I was getting the roast for Christmas dinner, I popped into the Assistance League charity shop  to get an ornament for a package. In the back, behind all of the other tea pots stood my favorite girl- with blue Mary Jane's- not a scratch, not a chip, in perfect unused condition.



Thank you SANTA!

I came home feeling as happy as if I had just gotten a new puppy, went through some stuff to either toss or stuff back from whence it came- This "gift" for my Mom, painted on the floor of my childhood bedroom on huge paper that I had found behind the furnace would do - mom happened to like a certain perfume, Este Lauder something,  I could not buy her any - there was,however,  an advertisement in one of her magazines for that favorite perfume,  I copied it with  a pencil and my sad tin of water colors, nearly as good as getting the real deal, right?  She was so gracious, as usual.bless her, Thanked me profusely -" Merriest Christmas present ", that sort of thing. Only now do I realize how very sweet she was about it- and I do laugh  at what I thought was an appropriate gift...I remember my brother had robbed my piggy bank to play Monopoly with his friends- he lost and never repaid me, so I had to think outside the box, oh yes, job well done...thought I was so clever.

I also made a flat  hand stitched rabbit for her and a cow head out of an old purse, but those things did not survive , Why this did I will never know.but it is worth the warm and loving memory of  when "t'is a gift to be simple" was a thing, and simple I was!

Enormous heads must mean  big intellect, these kids are really really smart!

Gift giving - so subjective isn't it. 
And really, the perfume would have been long gone by now or very stale- but this THIS bit of magnificence may last longer than I do if I keep it behind  the china hutch from whence it came ...
leave it for some one else to find , in another life and have a WTF moment. 
Anyway, Merry and Bright to you all.
I hope that you get the tea pot of your dreams!

Friday, December 21, 2018

baking at two a.m.,

It is 2:00 in the morning. After fifteen hours with no power the lights returned, the heater came on- Swedish twist I had made  but not yet  baked-   yeast  probably died...finally got baked anyway, just now. 
Also  shortbread crowns , using the left over dough that was not enough for a crown  to make a heart shape. 

We do pretty well when the power goes out even though this house depends nearly entirely on electricity, We have camped, we know what to do, and Mr. Man has gadgets and flash lights made by magicians , I am sure of it-   effective, better than desert day light!
I think I will use his magnificent flash light the next time I want to clean  house, EVERYTHING shows up- even the stuff that is not there, that is how effective the light is!

These are the twists - unattractive, but it's not about appearance ,  is it, it's about butter . fresh ground Cinnamon and maple sugar, and the ten pounds you ,guaranteed ,will  put on having eaten just one!
I know , I have eaten two...

I am hosting Dinner again , for family Christmas, Only fourteen so far, Erik can not come because he is minding the dog, in Portland. I will see him soon enough even though not at this magical time of Chrimbug- He is meeting me in London in January.

It is my birthday.

I am officially elderly though I did not realize how elderly until my body broke itself.

BAM, that slapped me silly.

And so , for my birthday, Mr. Man went to cost co and bought this magnificent stand up. sit down, desk for my PC.

 (it is still 2:00 am, thus the grainy  photos)
There is a  button that upper or lowers  the desk and is just the ticket for work- especially since "sitting for hours" is equivalent to the effects of smoking one million cigarettes- they say...
I prefer to stand up  to do things, Bake at 2:00A.M. , compute, do art- this desk really bails me out. Thanks Mr. Man, and Cost co- you saved a life!

 Day of Krampus ,for me ,a new IPHONE, I love it , it does stuff! Unlike my tiny old phone this one has a  BIG  screen  -I can actually decipher . Annoying to lose vision! 
I will be able to take just one device with me instead of three, this phone does it all!

It has been a "deep" week, We went to our neighbor's house for an afternoon of listening to his book that his daughter, who travels from The Hague , helps him write- 
mostly centered on his life during Indonesian occupation and independence. a little known war, in that era of Nazi horror and Unit  731, so incredibly monstrous!
His family had moved from Holland to Indonesia when he was very young, he was interred, imprisoned, as a young boy, allowed to leave the "camp" only to do hefty manual labor- hungry, cold, frightened,  terrorized,  he made it through- without feelings of hate, vengeance or regret, but rather with  generous understanding  and forgiveness.

His entire family, fans of the bible and Christianity, seemed to have made it work well for them. 

Anyway, Remarkable life story, remarkable time in history, I mentioned it to Erik- He said that all his generation could offer the "youngin's"  are tales of Burning Man.

Then , mid week, A young  woman stood on the RR tacks, with determination , resolve,  a broken will and broken  heart, as the train ,  ended  her life .  I have known her, not closely, for years. Seems she has always been around , opened shops, dealt antiques, worked for charity, a musician- a sprite, a light up the darkness sort of girl, a beauty, tall, willowy, long bond hair, bright blue eyes, yes, a true head turning beauty-  fine line, mania/despair, skittering across the surface like a drop of water on a hot skillet. 

no help for the mentally  unwell.... not in this country - Standing in the middle of the tracks might seem rational. 

As I said, - Deep week.
Do whatever gets you through, be it faith,  common sense, math, science, art or fancy, I advise  myself...
Be  inspired, if  able, bake at 2:00 am, use  wacky  imagination to every one's benefit,  imagine a good, kind world full of  beneficial faeries or helpful  angels, or animals that  talk to you in wise baritone voices... whatever makes this life seem less serious, this grand illusion is worth the ride.  

Here's a battered angel to guide you.
She looks like she is guiding you to squat and contemplate.

Speaking of- Erik sent a TUSHY for our Christmas "the old folks" present, we installed it last night, It is a bum squirter to save on TP-  thoughtful on two levels , environmentally friendly and bum soothing comfort. 
Good lad.

- Peace in your heart , have a lovely Christmas, whatever that means to you. Stay well, See you around the corner. To me  and to all who have holiday birthdays, the lights and glittery fuss is actually for you!  

Friday, December 14, 2018

gallery on Chuckanut, a slice of sun

The gallery on Chuckanut used to be a gas station along with a mom and pop store ,serving the village . Now the village is no longer a village , more like a suburb of Bellingham. but back in the day ,when I lived there, the little store was essential.

It is a nice enough gallery, one section is gifty  , the other side is  art and the back is yard art.
Stella had a gift certificate to spend so that is how we spent the afternoon.

There was very little there for fifty dollars or less- maybe a card or a bar of soap  but generally all high ticket items .

There were some little  garden gnomes of rusted something. they were cheerful and sweet. Maybe they would like to be in Stella's garden.

Hemmed and hawed and decided "no".

Finally came upon the perfect thing, a metal flying woman that is to attach to the side of house or post.

Great! From there we went to lunch, because shopping is such difficult arduous work.

Loads of glass  garden art in the back garden. They would not last long around here that is for sure, we have rocks as our "garden" , Rocks are not quite so fragile and are the right price.

By the time I came home it was still dark as it has been all week but there was a sliver of sunshine slicing horizontally over the town, I took these shots from the deck - the sun slice only lasted about three minutes. 

The curly willow is confused, not sure if it is winter or just a quick can see it budding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

land of no sky, Paddington, and a funeral

The photo taken at  two o'clock in the afternoon- another winter in the Pacific Northwest, GAHHHhhhh. Clammy cold. Why does anyone live here...besides the liberal bubble, the vast green and wild forests and mountains, and the gardens, I can see no reason! I hope I don't die here.

We went  to see an attorney to make our wills , I was not expecting much, Just the usual, attorney arrogance- Mr. Man had some elaborate and impossible scheme to give two boys this and not one boy that and asked about a pre-nup, though we have been married for 35 years...I blame diabetes for that little burp- sometimes there is a cog in the thinking wheel. Anyway, the attorney listened quietly, not even rolling his eyes..Looked over at me and asked "What would YOU like...?"
 Wow,  amazed  that he would ask- "I just want the boys to be treated equally- that's what I want...common sense."
DONE, with the wave of his pen, and so we accomplished a will that makes sense,  I feel much better- can  rest in peace, as they say.

The attorney -  a lovely man with a dog named Molly, who put her head in my lap and let me scratch her ears and chest.  It was a wonderful afternoon , actually,  spent with the best sort of person&dog, not at all what I anticipated. Feeling quite secure now that I know this man  , and  the will thing is  easy to understand for when one or both of us kicks the bucket.

The attorney - stalwart as a  tree, calm as a kayak on a quiet steam-  skilled at paddling through the quagmire of people's  complicated relationships -, intelligent, a straight shooter, amiable , funny - no nonsense,, non judgmental - get - the -job- done-well and effortlessly-he did not have time to waste. For real- he did not have time-
We did not know, at the time,  that he was dying- and die he did. We went to his memorial service on Saturday.  No corn, no platitudes, no god stuff-
We were not alone in our admiration of the man that is for sure, It was packed! Friend's told remarkable tales, humorous adventurous tales - stories of  deep caring love. This man led an exemplary life, genuinely bettering his understanding with every event, good or challenging- a little bit of Zen thrown in the mix and a strong sense of "this is all so temporary- and it is lovely".

Nothing like a beloved, fully lived life to sort of snap one into a better perspective. To take realize that tomorrow may not be for you. 
It was a brilliant service! 
Live until you don't! We all know this , yet can not help but get bogged down or afraid of whatever it is that limits our capacity for joy and living fully.  I don't know, maybe it is just fear- unpaid bills, a toothache, a broken neck- whatever life throws at us that takes precedence . 

And the fact that the Rump in the white house has brought us all down- just pooped on everything and everyone, he has. 

BUT, you, you  have a nice day anyway- OK?

 I think the rump is headed for the slammer, can't happen too soon! For the first time in two years I see a glimmer of hope, glimmering from  "witch hunt" genius Mueller. a saint!!

In the midst of  north west gloom and loss of a fine man,  a bright spot came through the post!! The best gift arrived from Sarah Wallis- 
Champion maker of all things, she made this Paddington - his little coat with toggles , a hood,  a hat - two little pockets for cookies , most likely. He makes me so happy , I carry him around - " Have you met  Sarah's Paddington ?" I ask, and then they shake paws with him and say "how d'you do"
He is a proper bear- offers  marmalade because he is  kind and generous, but then he remembers that he has eaten all of the marmalade , yesterday, I think it was, he looks at me imploringly because he knows that I know how to shop I have thumbs... and a  purse . He is a smart , lovely bear, and Sarah is the most clever creator of things on the planet today! 

He really brightens up the place!

You can see, we need it! Here is another photo taken at  2:01 this afternoon. This is our sunshine.

Monday, December 10, 2018

change and nostalgia for purple

For several Christmases, and birthdays and summer parties, the purple house  on the hill nourished us, kept us from going nuts, watched as children grew from babies to middle schoolers, some of us died, some of us moved away, but  always this house  held steady- held us - in a big  purple hug, best food, best friends, best children in the universe! This was where I did most of my selling during the festival of lights show before Christmas every year. An invitation only event- I sold out every year- went home with a pocket full of cash! IT was good! The company superb! The house welcoming always.

It was sold last year...the family  moved to the mountain side about two miles south but UP, all the way UP,  where the eagles peer in through your windows and when it is day time, the view goes all the way across the sound and the islands. The  NEW house is mostly glass - some metal just to glue it together, I reckon, astonishing in it's  artfulness. These people know how to build and curate! It is gorgeous and everything works! 

There is nostalgia, however...
The charm seems to be  gone.
Everything is dove grey, silver, white, muted tones.
The vibrant color is not there anymore, even the girl's rooms are subdued, tastefully, mind you!

Though the warmth  of the Christmas tree in the corner,  decorated with all of the ornaments from past times,  home made, some favorites of the children,  sort of resembles the joyful feeling we had in the purple house...

The fire and hearth take up most of the center of the house so there is that,
real warmth
and Vinnie  the pup who does not change

 will always be puppy sized - begging for peanut butter, seems to be a favorite snack, I love the little puppy licks that tickle my peanut butter crumby fingers.

There are the old familiar painting throughout 

but most of them sold at the the shifting -of -homes- sale... I did not go , I would have spent too much money, pretty sure. Plus , it made me sad.
Like I am now...

There are new acquisitions for the  glass house, HUGE art that covers entire walls!

 Some of the smaller pieces are still  there- to my delight, and yours!

Guy in his underwear vacuuming a green carpet.

No worries about neighbors peering in- It is like  the mountain side is owned  by these incredible folks,  Running around freely in underwear or no wear at all will not be an issue .
This family has body confidence, they are that lovely! 
I hide my body even from myself. No glass houses for me unless it is covered with a thick tarp...Then , maybe.

Thus , the BATHTUB, no curtains, like being in air- free as the birds.

Anyway, it was a lovely party and Vinnie  behaved in his usual manner.
Just glad to see you, wag wag- give me some peanut butter, I did,  and I may eventually love the new digs.
Change is never  easy, is it.

leaving on a jet plane

loose ends tied up , I think, could have missed something but it will not matter once in the air. Off on an adventure! Al...