Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I would never win any of the Survivor challenges. I can’t hold my breath under water for very long, I can’t lift heavy weights for any length of time, and I really, really suck at puzzles. Take this morning, for example. Attached to our suite of offices is a classroom. In the classroom is a set of tables that fit together in the shape of a U. Some of the tables are shaped like a trapezoid (I think) and some are straight. You put them all together properly and you get a U shape. This morning they were scattered all over the place and I needed them to be back in the U. I called Housekeeping to help me get them back. The three of us moved tables around and around getting all kinds of crazy shapes… but no U. The Three Stooges put together a room? Finally I had to draw it out on a piece of paper. Whew! I knew that art training would come in handy. So what does that mean? I’m not a linear thinker? Something like that…

I guess that’s also the reason I can’t visualize how to put furniture in a room. I have to move it around and around until it looks right. Knowing that I’m going to be working on the upstairs of my house this winter (and for other reasons, perhaps one of them being the fact that I’m a huge spendaholic on things for my house)… I purchased a copy of “Apartment Therapy. The Eight Step Home Cure”. The book also inspired a great (and addictive) website (or maybe the website came first?) Anyway, I have high hopes and very little money. Pray for me.
Speaking of spend, spend, spend… and house, house house. D and I went on a shopping extravaganza last weekend in Toronto. Homesense, Ikea, outlet malls, Eaton’s Centre, Younge Street…. We actually shopped ourselves out. Incredible to imagine, but it’s true. I didn’t buy as much as you’d think, but am very happy with what I found.

And here’s a little tip to try. You know those sheepskins from Ikea? They cost about 35 bucks. Putting one of those on a chair instantly updates it and it looks and feels great. Not only that, for some reason, cats don’t like to sleep on it (maybe it’s just my cats?) which means I can now reclaim the two chairs in my library, previously unusable because of the dreaded cat-hair-bum you get after sitting on them. I also bought two lovely red bird Christmas decorations from Ikea. So pretty.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ooops. It’s a lapse in blogging!

I blame it on Canadian Thanksgiving for making me lazy. Actually, what really happened is that I got busy at work and took on a side job doing some online stuff. I also went into one of my crazy “throw everything out!” phases. This is rare, and I’m not really good at it. After all, I still keep that section in my closet with clothes from high school. There’s not very many of them, and they are all vintage finds from Layman House (a blast from the past for Londoners!)…but still… If it weren’t for people like me who keep things, then we’d never have any cool things to find in antique and vintage stores J I do keep a close watch on my hoarding though… I always figured I’d end up one of those ladies that they have to forcefully remove from her house filled with cats and piled up newspapers. I’m sort of not kidding…

Well, CBGB’s is closing for good. The last show is Oct. 15th. I want someone I know to be there! Unfortunately tickets are already gone. I want a splinter of wood from the bar, or a paint chip. *sigh* I find it all very sad. And reopening in Las Vegas is even sadder. I think Wendy’s idea of blowing it up after the last show is much better and fitting way to close it down.

I love this video for Iron and Wine’s “Naked as they Came”. Yay for the fish! Simple and lovely.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

See what I mean? Not long after I published yesterday's journal entry, I stumbled upon this article in NY Magazine:

"Scenes From the Kitchen. And the living room, and the bedroom. A scrapbook of stars in their native habitats." The photos aren't big enough for snooping in the background, though. I'll need to try and find the magazine on the newstand.

Be sure to click on the slide show for the pictures. My favorite is the one with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in their kitchen. But I love Bob Dylan in his apartment (with the lampshade askew in the background!) and Gloria Steinem, too. But I am disappointed by Woody Allen's photo!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This summer I spent some time making excuses to dig holes in my backyard in hopes that I’d find more “garbage” buried there decades ago by former owners of my house. As we all know, people used to bury their garbage way back when. Quite frequently I find pottery shards and old bits of rusted metal, wire and such. This spring I sliced my finger open on a piece of glass from who knows when. Ouch! But mindblowing as well, right? I wonder if Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so burying their garbage in 1898 could ever have fathomed that some woman in the year 2006 would cut herself on their broken bottle.

I also spent some time doing a little more research on the former owners of my house. I’m at about 1909 and we still have Mr. Thompson living there: a barber who owned a shop downtown. I even found the building where he had his barber shop. What I’d really love to see is a photo of it. I’d also die happy if I could find a photo of my house back in the day. A blurry, background glimpse even! So far I’ve been foiled. But I’m also not sure where to look…

Very old photos of the interiors of general stores or other shops have always appealed to me. The photos would be of the shop minders, but I could spend hours looking at the things in the background and trying to figure out how they spent their day. Same goes for family photos in people’s houses. I’m looking at what’s on the kitchen counters and marveling at the old TV Set. I especially love old Christmas Day photos—after the presents have been opened. I get out the magnifying glass trying to figure out what’s under the tree. These objects have a history as much as the people do. I suppose this thinking is what causes someone to be a packrat, such as myself. haha

I love it when you’ve got something on your mind and so many relevant things start popping up in front of your eyes wherever you look. Synchronicity. Yep.

Yesterday, I found this little excerpt from an essay by Gary Saul Morson ("Prosaics: An Approach to the Humanities" from volume 57 (1988) of American Scholar

"It is often the small items in the background of old photographs that most powerfully evoke elusive memories of the past. The things barely noticed at the time and included only by chance may best preserve the feeling of life as it was lived. The furniture long ago discarded, a spot on the wall, a picture we had long ignored but that now suggests the habitual life we lived beneath it — these small items remind us of how it felt to live in a room. The intended subject of a photograph can seem much less important in comparison with its background; and perhaps that is one reason why professional photos without a background so often seem to miss the very point of photography."

Well said, well said.

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Christmas early 1960's…A miniature tin baking set in the bottom left corner (jealous!) and the tiny wooden shoes hanging on the wall in the background—I have them now and suddenly they have a history. I wasn’t born yet when this was taken. (Heidi, there's my sister, Jackie O on the right. We need a better Jackie O shot. Louise? Jo-ann?)

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Christmas nineteen seventy something.
Cheater snow molds for making igloos!

Monday, October 02, 2006

So this is weird. It smells like car exhaust is being pumped into my office. Maybe someone’s trying to kill me. I just opened my window so haha! Plan foiled!

The weekend was soooo Fallish. Cool and rainy. Perfect for cocooning. I think I’m a Goth lol. I really do love dark and dreary weather in Fall and Winter (not in summer, of course).

It was good weather for a little shopping (spent way too much!) But I organized my clothes as well. Got rid of some stuff and put the summer stuff away. I also went through all of my jewelry. I have it hidden and scattered all around the house. I’m so paranoid about getting broken into that I hide it. But then I can’t be bothered to get it out and wear any of it. It’s a ridiculous quirk of mine that I need to get over. So I took it all out and decided which would be most devastating if stolen (family heirlooms, etc) and hid that stuff. The rest I put out for me to wear. I forgot about half of the great stuff I had! I plan to start wearing it all again. I also need to get some workable jewelry boxes or something.

Another thing about the arrival of Fall means that I can concentrate more on the inside of the house again. Cleaning it might be the first step, but I’d like to start tackling some of the rooms upstairs finally. We’ve never touched any of those and my stairs are still in need of fixing and painting after we ripped up the ugly carpeting. It will have to be cheap because money is scarce. Just paint and such. I wish I could figure out what to do with this horrible and injurious stucco on the walls, though! I scraped my knuckles off on the wall yesterday again, just trying to turn the light on. Who ever thought putting sandpaper on their walls was a good idea?

I really love Zachary Rossman’s work. I wanted to buy one his drawings but my favorites were already sold. I still go back and visit them from time to time, though.