Thrift Shop World

This week marks the beginning of our fourth year in Cincinnati. New Jersey seems farther away now. I still miss what I had there that I can't have here, or anywhere else, in fact. The sea, the history, the city, my daughters. Pizza just as I've always liked it, and real delis. A world, too, wholly unlike what people who've never been there think of it.

There's good stuff here that sets this place apart. The symphony, Jungle Jim's, and amazing thrift shops, to name some. This room is finally "finished" after three years of collecting from thrift shops and also Target, and the finishing touch was covering the dark sage paint with a creamy light blue. Resting
Resting
Resting
It's a room I've always wanted, except for horrible cat (I don't care if you think cats are Gods; you wouldn't think much of this one,) and no real company with which to enjoy it. My sons are pleased with the result, too, though. Last night we enjoyed lounging around until late into the night. Finished
Finished
The back open area with the fireplace, TV, PS4, that's made up of a collection of  things from various homes, it all just drifted together into a fairly pleasant "Mission style" kind of space. This, however, was all chosen by me, every single thing in here, except the cocktail shakers and turntables, which were gifts.
Frontroom
Frontroom
The two couches were from thrift shops and in perfect condition, until cat. But they are okay for the space. The stereo receiver also from a thrift shop, and the coffee table, many of the books and records, most of the magazines. The one extravagant purchase, though you could hardly call it that, is the pair of Klipsch bookshelf speakers.

Inside the "liquor cabinet" are many fun little glasses from St. Vincent de Paul, and an old hand crank ice crusher. I painted the pictures. Bluechair
Bluechair
Bluechair

Magazines
Frontroom


Experience collection

This month is a little tight because of paying off the car last week. And then running into someone with it this week. There wasn't much damage but there is a comprehensive deductible, which makes things tighter still. 

I never was in an accident before. So that's an experience to have collected. But I have avoided looking at the monetary spreadsheet to see how things will stand and intend to continue avoiding it for a couple more days. In the meantime, a certain degree of discipline is certainly required, so there's no date with myself today. I have plenty of other stuff to do, anyway. It's warm out! I get to...rake and clean out of doors...

But this was just another in a definite series of events which has me concerned about how my life is organized, mainly the things I own in it. There isn't excess lying about, unless you think a lot of books (few of which are not on shelves or in boxes) are excess, in which case I have no words for you, but there are several drawers of things and a closet with some things and a storage room with several boxes of things. If something were to happen to me and people had to sort through it all, I think it would be, well, probably sort of hilarious in a melancholy way, as it's somewhat serendipitous but not disgusting, yet still. Somewhat of a chore. 

I quite like most of what I own, so it isn't a question of throwing out a lot of leftover bits of string and etc. It's just all fairly miscellaneous, and I need to put order to it. And yes, get rid of some of it, which is something I try to do annually, but intend to do with extra fervor this year. 

Last night after reorganizing Important Papers, I entertained myself by pulling out a few things from drawers and snapping bad photos of them to share with you. I hope you are entertained, as well, because I'm going to start doing this from time to time, as a sort of digital Moleskine.

20130405_201414
Stamps were 39 cents in 2006 and early 2007. Inside this envelope was a blank note card. Well, it seems like a silly thing to waste, so I've inserted the 2002 Simple Minds/INXS concert ticket to send to my youngest daughter. We attended it for free when she was only 11. Made our way down to the stage, where Jim Kerr touched her hand. She can keep the ticket or not as she chooses, but I'm sure she'll enjoy seeing it. 

Continue reading "Experience collection" »


Irregular vinyl LP review

These are just phone pix with an old phone. I didn't have the energy for more better ones because I canned food today. And made a lot of chili. But someone on Google+ posted some of those really funny tragic album covers a little while ago, and I thought, well, these aren't tragic, but they are pretty interesting or odd. I've shared a couple before in lists of things.

If I'm too lazy to note the year of these albums as I type, I'll go back in and edit later. I canned food today, did I tell you that? 

First, there were these LP compilations; instant music collections for people who wanted to appear cool without having to actually work at it. The covers demonstrate how to be cool in case anyone needs extra help. I have several; here are two of my favorites.

Jackie

If Jackie Gleason presented it, it had class. I realize that for people who saw him only as Ralph Kramden or who just have no idea who this is at all, that's hard to grasp. But he was an arbiter of musical taste for awhile. The young woman's bag and gloves are of the evening dress variety, and those glasses were swank. These people drank wine. So this album would be good for those nights when the ashtrays were freshly emptied, the pillows fluffed on the naugahyde couch, and the Gallo Rosé was ready to pour.

Cocktail
This compilation is by The Dell Trio. Last time I looked them up, this album is what appeared. But it's been awhile. No matter. Despite the details on the previous cover, I think this one tried to appeal to a more cosmopolitan set. But that must be some music, because they've already abandoned their drinks to it. However, she's going to get distracted by something in a minute, which will annoy him, because he was just getting somewhere. He should have encouraged her to drink more of that old-fashioned first, maybe teasingly offered her an olive from his martini. 


Here are a couple of ladies who knew just what I am talking about. Olelee

I will admit that I don't actually understand this cover, and it might be obvious to everyone else. But to me, the surprising thing is that Peggy doesn't have a matador on each arm, because I am fairly certain she could take two on at once.

Doris
Latin music was for lovers, you know, back in the 60s. And when people listened to it, they could pretend they were sexy. Or maybe actually be sexy; what do I know? I know that Doris Day was, and that despite the happy homemaker reputation she developed onscreen, there's probably a reason she was making this face, just out of camera view to the right. 

Men didn't have to look sexy to sell albums the way women seemed to. I'm not sure what exactly it was they needed to convey, though...

This album won a Grammy Award in 1959 for best design. And by design they mean this actual cover right here. Frank
Frank is a sad clown. Probably because he was still working off his contractual obligations to Capitol Records before moving on to his own Reprise label. I dunno.

This is one of my favorite album covers of all time, but not because of the front. Happydean

Chatty Cathy was a really big deal around the time this record came out, and whoever designed this had the driest sense of humor in the world because I hadn't started talking yet. But anyway. The liner notes on the back are by the sublime and unequaled Stan Cornyn, who said this, "Martin: the biggest sex symbol to hit neighborhood taverns since the heyday of the Rheingold Girl, may she in our secret imaginations requiescat in flagrante delicto."

And then there was Tom. Tomcaesars

Did you know that Tom Jones once lived in the Bel-Air mansion previously occupied by Dean Martin and did you further know they had the same birthday, 23 years apart? If Dean Martin had been only 31 when Happiness was Dean Martin was produced, I guess that wouldn't have been Chatty Cathy he was holding.

Nice sandals, Tom.


A great deal of blather, men and how I love them, 1965, tao, time travel, etc.

(also posted at http://liliales.tumblr.com)

Something I saw earlier on Tumblr has been nagging at me. It was a photo of the most attractive man I can name, with a mild note of misery that he had inevitably aged. They were enchanted with the face, but maybe not the man wearing it.

 
This is wholly enchanting, isn't it?

We celebrate youth, and we sometimes celebrate the aged, but we rarely celebrate the process from one to the other. I think that's what I'm attempting to do as middle age crawls over me like a late summer afternoon shadow.

I would never wish a celebrity or anyone I knew would stop aging or look or act just the same as some one point in time. But I sometimes wish there would be a point at which we're old enough and wise enough to travel fluidly back and forth in our own time stream, to witness events and people as they were then, but from our current point of view. We'd be sensible enough to stay out of our own lives, of course.

You may know the year I was born fascinates me.

It was so dualistic in every arena; concurrently buttoned-down and loosened up. I'm both of those things in one small (ish) package. I believe in dressing up to go out, in manners and dignity and respect and slow-growth investment, and I'm also so open-minded I don't have any doors in my head, and I don't wear shoes unless I absolutely have to, and I just really don't care for money at all. I could dig outside in the dirt all day long, but rarely without my iPod or satellite radio plugged into my ears. I love Dave Brubeck, Dave Gahan, and the Dave Clark Five. And I love absolute silence.

Many people I know who are the same age as me feel like that. We're products of what I truly believe was a unique point in history. You may think you know just what I mean, but unless you're between 41 and 46, you really don't. I'm explaining it very poorly because it isn't explainable.
 

Anyway. I'd definitely visit 1965. All my first loves, I still love em. I watched them grow up, grow out of date, die or grow old. I don't love those people and that stuff only for what it was when I first made the discovery; I love all they were and are and will be. After all, as Madeline L'Engle once put it, "I am all the ages I've ever been." We're just flowers; we open up, take in light, produce seeds and begin to dry out and get droopy. People preserve flowers in books, to carry the memory of when their scent was fresh. It's the same flower, though, whether fresh or dried-out.

We preserve star photos at Tumblr the same way. But if you could go and visit the moments those photos were taken, what would you discover? How would it affect how you see these people now, so many years after their youth faded or they passed away? I guess it depends on whether you're viewing them as real people, or only a glorified reflection.

When I was a very little girl, my ideal of a man was a distinct cross between Bret Maverick and Speed Racer. This largely informed my view of men in general, so you can imagine I spent a few years somewhat confused and disappointed at what I saw around me. But still I've never not loved men utterly, for all their strengths and frailties and just basic maleness. (Except their socks. I can never love those.) And I've been thinking about kissing men for over 40 years now, though I've still never kissed a race car driver or a western anti-hero.

Much later on, when I reflected back on those early crushes, I read up on James Garner, who played Bret Maverick and another favorite TV character, Jim Rockford. I decided I'd probably like him even more than the characters he often portrayed. It wasn't possible to do this with Speed Racer, but I've read lots of books and articles and watched lots of interviews with all my other childhood favorites, and I found I liked them even more, most of the time, when I learned about their ideals and humor and weaknesses and real-personnesses. Would they like me in return? Well, who thinks about that? (In Fantasy Land, I have straight pretty teeth, though, and the rest is easy.)

In 1965, I'd want to watch some of these people and certain events right at the genesis of all that social change which flavored my childhood. They may have largely ignored it all, but it didn't ignore them, either raising them up or viewing them with disdain. 

Now, inside my aging head, my brain still sees me as the young hopeful woman with a 24-inch waist and long lean legs, socially awkward, casual in manner and formal in speech (or the reverse, depending,) slightly manipulative yet confused by outright duplicity…very little of this has changed except my waistline. And I'm calmer and wiser, and much less awkward as a result. 

Sort of.

So more even than just visiting my birth year, I'd most like to go back and see some of my favorite stars when they were the age I am now. (Except possibly Bill Holden. I'd meet him post-vasectomy, pre-Audrey Hepburn, but that's another tale altogether.) I want to see if they were recognizing then what I'm recognizing now.

This is the time in life to start defining what contentment really means, and to realize it's mostly just a choice we make, if we're willing. To be willing, we have to accept the utterly tiresome loss of collagen, a thickening waistline, sometimes the hair on our heads. The tradeoff is totally worth it, though. Youth is wasted on the wrong people. Aging can be very sexy, because it becomes a choice rather than an imperative. In our current era, we have more leisure to contemplate this, but I suspect plenty of people have known it right along, only it's a native secret that you can't quite understand until you're fully initiated into the club. 

And if you reach the age in which the contemplation of nature and all that came before now takes up the largest part of your day—that age at which, apparently, you're taking in more data than ever before, but don't feel so much like bothering with it all—you've earned the privilege of laughing at the notion that prettiness is largely defined by youthfulness. Even if you're a little wistful about it at times.