Now with more LOLZ.

After My Picture Fades

Maybe because I was such a tiny child, I was always drawn to miniatures. I collected them from the time I first plucked a blown glass vial from a collection of dusty bottles in an antique store in Newport. The store owner gave it to me with a laugh, when he asked if I'd found something I couldn't live without and I showed him this inch-long thing and pointed to the pontil mark on the base and said, "it's really blown glass". 

It was no different on the beach, where I collected operculums. They were tiny, hard to spot and unlike other shells, probably because they aren't really shells. In our teens, my friend John and I would spend summer days at the beach competing with each other to find the most. He kept his in a little tin box. I kept mine in a medicine bottle. In our 20s, we moved to different parts of the country, and I gave him my entire collection of operculums. In our 30s, I went to visit him in Texas, and took this photo of him reviewing our collection.

It is the last photo of have of John. Within two years, he and his lover Robert were both dead of AIDS, but not before John's sisters disowned him for being gay and being sick. He died alone in a hospice, his last wishes that I have the little tin box full of shells.

His sisters being assholes, they kept the box and threw away the shells and told me never to call them again.

Every time I go to the beach, I look for operculums, and every time, I find at least one. I know that John is with me there on the shore. This summer on the Gulf, I found more than a dozen during my week stay. I thought it meant it was time to share John's story.

Well, not yet. We have now ripped out floors and carpets, added a screen room, gutted the kitchen, pulled down all the ceilings and replaced 50 year old insulation (I swear it wasn’t asbestos) with new spray foam, gutted the master bath, gutted my father’s workshop, added a new studio for the RLA. We have picked our new flooring, our new appliances, our new bathroom vanity. I have commissioned extensive tile work in for the kitchen. Still to be determined are windows and window treatments, lamps and lighting, tile for the master bath, plumbing fixtures for the master bath and a new vanity and lighting for the second bath.

I need a gas dryer. We’ve reconsidered our position on dish washers. I still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there may be some vague lightening of the dark.

In the meantime, there is code to write, and a new site to develop. I’m off to sharpen my Word Press chops.

Tell her she can look me up, if she has the time. I find myself sitting in front of my laptop, typing names into search engines. Women who were my friends when we were in our teens and twenties, and even our thirties. That was half my life ago, yet I find that I am still looking back. What broke those bonds? The first quit speaking to me when I set her up with the man she married. Apparently there was only enough room in her life for one friend. I think of her now because my Number Two Surrogate Daughter comes home from her 2-year walk about in SE Asia today, with a man in tow and plans to move to Denver to become doctors. By coincidence, that is where the lost friend went and she is a doctor. With sadly low ratings, I am afraid, but her portrait on the company website looks great, and that’s a great job title. Mazel Tov, but although this lost friend was found, I find she is not, after all, missed. Except for the part where, were we still friends, I could request her patronage for the NTSD.

The second friend was a soul sister from the moment we met in the UM art department. She was leading an immense Great Dane, and I was crocheting a rainbow. I say she was leading, but to do her justice, she was swanning along, tall, lean and elegant with an equally self-possessed and physically striking animal. The two of them looked like a deco drawing of glamour come to life. Nice puppy, I said. Nice rainbow, she said. We were inseparable for the next 10 years. She was my muse, my best friend, my sister, my partner in high jinks. I was her nice girl friend, her wing man, her voice of reason and her best friend. Ultimately, my voice couldn’t keep out the other voices, and I lost her to bi-polar disease. I miss her the most. Today I found an email for her sister. I wrote and asked if maybe we could connect. I have no idea if she’ll respond, much less if it would be in the positive.

Annus mirabilis I have declared this to be, and so far it has been. I am packing this year with my favorite things and people. For it to truly be a miracle, there are more women I need to see face to face. There are several in Texas. There is one in New York. I have a plane ticket that needs to be rebooked by August 4. Where shall I go?

Yesterday’s experiment in dyeing with lichens was, you’ll excuse the expression, a complete wash out. Today we do something constructive and terrifying: edit the closet, and especially the shoe collection. As I am no longer employed outside my home and studio, my wardrobe requirements are meager. It is time for the closet to reflect the new era. Wish me luck.

The Rejects

I Talk to the Trees

Man, that was a stretch, but you try figuring out a rock lyric with the word “lichen” in it. The tree trimmers were kind enough to leave all of the oak tree trimmings with “green stuff” on them in my yard, cut to manageable lengths and neatly piled. When harvested, I had a quart mason jar filled with (primarily) Parmotrema Praesorediosum (I looked it up.) I have a pint jar with about a quarter cup of it marinading in my bathroom, despite it failing the bleach test. (You look it up.) Hope springs eternal and all that.

Today I am about to boil up the rest of it and see what happens.

lichens

In Your Wildest Dreams

We have reached the part of this adventure where we must purchase new appliances. We must decide on what flooring we will be using. Which range/cooktop/oven/double ovens (or combination thereof) will go in the new kitchen. The cabinets. The sinks. The tub. The human-sized lobster pot of my dreams, situated outside in a hidden garden lit by hanging lanterns and overhung with trellises. Or not, because dear Flying Spaghetti Monster, have you seen the price of those tubs? I’m back to the rusted claw-foot tub with a handle pump. But I digress.

I am vacillating wildly. I cannot decide what I want: the gas cook-top and twin wall ovens, or a dual fuel range and a single wall oven. The issue is whether or not I need an oven dedicated to baking. If I do, do I want a stack, or do I want a range that can be a bright color (and there are many that come in colors) and then rest of the appliances in stainless or black or do I want everything the same finish? Matchy-matchy is not my thing, but there is something to be said to having the appliances meld into the background. Even that, the color/finish of my cabinetry is dependent upon another decision I have yet to nail down…what are the floors going to be? Engineered wood, but which engineered wood? A hand-scraped rustic grey with undertones of yellow? That nifty bamboo that looks like it was smuggled out of Thailand from an abandoned temple in the jungle? Or the pale driftwood grey oak?

Tomorrow I head back up to the new house, and I will come to some conclusions. Really. In the meantime, here’s the current view from the back slab.

back yard before

Someday that slab will be a human bird cage, with chunks of Miami Oolite covering the knee-high wall and screened walls and a wooden ceiling. There will be air plants tucked into the coral. The cat will sit on the half wall and gaze out upon the yard. The workshop will be my studio.

But first, we must make choices.

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