Sweet Little Treasures

Thought I would share a few of the teeny sweet goodies I’ve picked up here and there in the last few months.

Acorny Bird
This little birdy came from Bazaar Del Mundo in Old Town.

He is cast in resin or ceramic or something – not the carved wood I usually prefer, but the hat!  I love his little acorn hat!  So sweet.  He makes me happy.

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Hammered Heart
Continuing the bird theme, this two-sided hammered brass and decoupaged heart is also from Bazaar Del Mundo.  It was part of an after Christmas sale, but it’s really rather perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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Cigar Box
I bought this cigar box at a Salvation Army thrift store.

When I first saw it, I picked it up and examined it for a long time.  There was nothing wrong with it and the price was right, but what would I do with it?  I put it back on the shelf.  Such a mistake.  When I spied it in someone else’s basket a few minutes later, I felt really disappointed.  😦

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I even briefly stalked watched the other shopper browsing ahead of me and I thought about the Mary Randolph Carter book I recently received from my mom-in-law:

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I had stopped to think about the cigar box.  Shopping fail.  Fortunately, the other guy changed his mind and plopped it onto a shelf near the registers.  I scooped it up and felt lucky for the second chance.  After the 50%-off-day discount, I paid a meager $0.75!  Ha!

That Book
And speaking of that book above, it’s great.  It’s really fun to learn about other people’s collections and obsessions.  The pictures are true eye candy and the writing is very engaging and thoughtful.  Over all, it’s a delight to read or just browse through.  It’s a large, thick, heavy, well constructed coffee table volume that I am eager to share, but will likely never give away.  I am enjoying it so much!  It’s a keeper.  Thank you, Jenifer!

Bundting Baby
I also added another fabulous large Nordic Ware specialty bundt pan to my collection.

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These things are generally $20 to $40 in stores or online, so I always snap them up when I find them.  This one was pristine and only cost me about $5 at the local Goodwill bookstore.  It’s called the Fairytale Cottage Bundt Pan.  It holds 10 cups of batter.

I actually put this one to use right away with a cream cheese pound cake recipe.  The cake was good and it helped me to learn a few things about using the pan.  That said, I’m not as concerned with function, as I am with form, when I buy these bundt babies.  I just like the way they look and feel and I enjoy putting them on the wall or stacking them in my kitchen as decoration.  I have a lot of them…you know?  A lot of them.  🙂

Kokeshi Dolls
And last, but not least, here are pictures of something I’ve been hiding away for over a year.

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I got this collection of kokeshi dolls from my sweet friend, Leighann.  As part of a spontaneous cross country move, Leighann and her family shed half their belongings a year and a half ago.

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They uprooted their entire lives and trekked thousands of miles with two kids, two dogs and a u-haul in less time than it has taken me to display these kokeshis!  And really, I’m not done with this.  The wall will eventually be painted and the shelves rearranged with a few more items, but you get the idea.

The real reason I think of this as a recently discovered treasure, is the fact that those two little minis in front were a surprise to me this week.  They were stored inside the two mamas on the right and left and I didn’t even know!  Such a sweet discovery, from a sweet friend.  Thank you, Leighann!

That’s all for now.

Happy Sunday!

P.S. What little treasures have you added to your collections this season?

♥♥

 

I Guess I Have Issues With This

Rage Against The Minivan posted about toilet paper today.

She brought up the old under-versus-over debate.  Then she asked her readers to share their preferences.  I was going to add mine at the foot of her page,  but I got distracted by the other responses.  I read every one.  And when I finished, I realized I had more to say than could politely fit in that comment section.

So yeah, this is a post about toilet paper.  Sort of.

Or maybe it’s about incredulity, defiance, misbehaving cats and a really memorable spider.

When I was a teenager, mom and I stayed a night with some friends in another town.  On our first morning as guests in their home, one of them quite loudly informed everyone at the breakfast table that my mother had replaced the toilet paper roll the “wrong” way in their bathroom.  She went on to imply that this insane act, placing the paper’s end under the roll instead of over it, had caused her some barely survivable inconvenience in the middle of the night!  Poor dear.

My mother politely explained that she didn’t know there was a preference.  I didn’t know that either, but I formed one right then.  And it was just the opposite of theirs.  I couldn’t believe this was an issue worth pointing out to a temporary guest in her home.  Why couldn’t she have done the polite thing and simply reversed the roll herself, without trying to embarrass or educate my mom?  Incredible.

My rolls went under from that day on.  And truly, when I saw one pointed over, and I could change it without much trouble, I changed it.  Because no one could tell me not to.  I did it in defiance of social norms and the dictate of that friend.

Years later, when husband and I bought our house, my defiance waned.  There were other things to think about.  Friends and relatives – people I liked – were pointing the paper over, so I just started to comply.

Then I got pregnant.  And I couldn’t have cared less about the direction of the roll.  Instead, I was obsessed with germs that might be on it.

Who had changed the roll?  When did they do it?  Were their hands clean?  Was the lid down when they flushed?  Did the paper get misted with bio-hazardous germs because the lid was up?  Was the paper still wrapped until the point of going on the roller?

If someone else did change the paper, did they put their hands inside the tube or did they touch the entire outside edge of the paper to keep from dropping it?  Or did they drop it and then wind the paper back onto the roll, complete with whatever germs were on the bathroom floor?

If the paper wasn’t on the roller, was it sitting on the toilet itself or, God forbid, on top of the sanitary napkin disposal bin, contaminating every piece?

Think about all of that.  I sure did.  And really, I still do.

Despite all of these heebeejeebee factors, I guess I was still largely compliant with the over-the-roll philosophy.

However, when I was five or six months along in my pregnancy, we got two new cats.  Boy cats.  Brothers.  Mischievous partners in crime.

The fur boys made sport of kneading the toilet paper.  And because the paper pointed forward, the kitties shredded the hell out of it, piling it playfully it a claw torn heap on the floor below the roller.  It was aggravating and so wasteful.  And gross.  Really, really gross.

For a while, we turned the rolls around to point the paper under.  That way, the kitties wouldn’t unroll it to the floor when they reached up to spin it.  But think about it.  Would you use paper from a roll with claw marks in it?  You know all the places those claws go.  You may as well just dip the paper in the litter box before you use it.  We stopped putting it on the roller.

For years it sat up high on the towel rack above the toilet.  Friends mentioned it.  We tried to explain.  I don’t think our home was anybody’s preferred place to relieve themselves.

When our son reached toilet training age, the roll went back.  The cats had lost interest, but our son was a spinner like they had been, so the paper had to point under until he grew out of his toddler toy attitude toward the bathroom.

I suppose there was a very literal turning point, because now we are all again in the habit of pointing the paper forward, over the roll.  Well, except in our son’s bathroom, because he has a different kind of toilet paper holder and it works better to point the paper under.  But whatever.

I guess the point of my post is to dispel the myth that there is a right or wrong answer to this debate.  There just really isn’t.  There is just preference and circumstance.

Oh, and here’s that spider I mentioned.

P.S.  The boy and I met Grammy at the Zoo last week.  We stopped by to see the polar bears.

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What are you up to?

♥♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still No Armadillo

Remember Gourdy?

I got a friend for him today.

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His mustache reminds me of Snoopy’s brother, so I named him Spike.

He is Gourdy’s Uncle Spike.

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He makes me laugh.

I also picked up a few children’s books (big surprise).

I found two small Wilton cake pans too.

The pans are oval – perfect for making Easter egg cakes next spring – and they were a steal at two for a dollar.

The price was extended to me because the vendor was an acquaintance of my brother’s.

It pays to hang with a sibling who knows the sellers by their first names.  🙂

My favorite find of the day is this chippy yellow bundt pan.

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It was dirty and neglected when I found it.

It astounds me that people can’t be bothered to scrub a bit before tossing things into the donate pile.  Gross.  Sad.

I’m not sure how well it will actually bake, given the abuse it suffered from its previous owner, but I love it up there on the wall above my spice rack!

I will try it out over the holidays, for sure.

A few months ago, I bought a small red bundt pan that hangs on the opposite wall.

DSC00240It’s chippy too.

I love them both.

That’s all.

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Look at this:

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I tossed some leftover ground cover into a planter pot a few weeks ago.

I actually thought it was dead.

I guess I was wrong.

Happy Surprise.

♥♥

Holiday Brain Dump

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Bad Mommy

I waited too long to get my son an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s, so now they’re sold out and I feel like a bad mom.

Well okay, I felt like a bad mom before I went to Trader Joe’s.

Today, I made my son cry.  And I made my mother cry.

Just for good measure, I asked my husband if there was anything shitty I could say to him too.  Wisely, he offered no suggestions.  😐

The little boy’s upset was related to homework.  Or rather, my upset was related to the homework (and to the accompanying note of parental reprimand from the teacher.)  The little boy’s upset was related to homework and to my reaction.  Big surprise.  Might I just say, AGAIN, that I am baffled by the papers that come home with my son?

Getting him interested in looking at them is a daily nightmare for the two of us.  He is tired when he steps off the school bus.  He wants a snack and then something mindless to amuse himself for the rest of the afternoon.  Homework is painful for my child and painful for me.  We both hate it.

But enough about that.  It’s an old, worn-out problem with no solution.  I work daily not to care what the teacher or anyone else thinks of how we handle it.  Or don’t handle it.

Moving on.

Bad Daughter

I made my mother cry because I reminded her that we weren’t the best of housemates when I returned from college feeling all independent and snappy two decades ago.

I had moved back into the house with her and my dad and she and I argued sometimes.  Who wouldn’t have?  Headstrong twenty-something suddenly sleeping in her old twin bed?  I was unpleasant.

Ultimately, mom and I came to a mutual understanding that I needed to find myself a real job and somewhere else to live.  It was an excellent idea, and I am the better for having done just that, but now mom is worried.  She hadn’t remembered the low points of that summer until I burst her rosy impression over a cheap plate of pancakes at Denny’s this morning.  Sorry, Mom!  😦

So, two for two.  My son cried.  My mom cried.

I cried too, but that came after I had filled my cart at Trader Joe’s and then discovered the item I had come for, the advent calendar, couldn’t be had.  I bought every seasonal chocolate product the store carries.

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And yes, I waited until I was in the car to open the teary flood gates.

Okay, so changing the subject completely…

Husband Update

Husband is mending more each day.  He might even go back to work tomorrow – driving in his own car!  Yippee!  He is still uncomfortable at night and if you watch him for a few minutes you will notice how much he favors his right side, but he’s getting there.  The ribs, the collar bone…they are repairing themselves.

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights

We drove up to Riverside on Thursday to spend one quick night at The Mission Inn.  We sort of owed it to the boy (and ourselves) to do something spontaneous and fun to make up for the Palm Desert accident weekend.  The Mission Inn was the perfect answer.

The Festival of Lights is amazing.  There are animated characters, lighted horse carriage rides, giant nutcrackers, icicle lights, garlands, candles and falling snow too.  There are real reindeer and vendors with gingerbread, roasted nuts and miniature doughnuts available every night during the holidays.  There are Christmas carolers and a roving Santa in the restaurants.

The sleeping rooms are luxurious and full of charm.  The spa products in the bath are rich and fragrant and the windows actually open.  The beds are very comfortable and loaded with extra pillows.  The linens are crispy white and super fresh.  There are big fluffy bathrobes in the closet and the package we got came with a divinely citrus-scented aromatherapy candle.

The hotel itself is a work of art.  There is a rotunda with a spiral staircase.  There are gorgeous plazas and flowered balconies.  There are stained glass windows, catacombs and an amazing clock.  The hotel pool is walk-in warm and landscaped to feel private, even though it is surrounded by sleeping rooms.  Everything is beautiful.  Everything is humbling.  And we didn’t even see it all.  We saw a lot, but we missed far more.  Next time, I think we’ll take a guided tour just for the heck of it.

My favorite thing was the twenty-foot, ornately carved church pew sitting in the hall outside our room.  I told my husband that I would gladly tear up the inside of our house and completely rebuild our decor to accommodate that pew, if only they would let me have it.  Sigh.

One of the best things about the trip for me was the little gray striped cat who appeared at the pool when we went for a swim.  My own gray baby passed less than a week before.  It was comforting to see a similar little face so clearly interested in my activities.  When my son splashed near, this cat was just as reserved and removed as my Poupon, but when my son wandered away, the cat came a little closer and talked a little more insistently to me.  I wish I’d gone back down to visit with the cat once we were dry and dressed.  Maybe next time.

Before I change the subject yet again, I have to mention Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, the store across the way from our room.  I went in once with my husband and son and immediately I knew that I’d have to return again without them.  When I did, I bought a painted metal bird and a weird little nativity set.

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Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is jam-packed with the most interesting little trinkets, wrapping paper, bath soaps, whimsical tins, garden treasures, dishes, tiny paintings, knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments ever!  The hours aren’t set in stone, but it seemed to me there was someone behind the register most of the day.  It will take you some time to see everything, so be prepared to browse for a while!

Happening Now

The little boy has liberated some empty magazine files from my bedroom and is constructing makeshift body armor with scotch tape.

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thomas magazine rack armor

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The husband is playing computer games and I am dreaming of pajamas, ice cream and a better camera. 😦

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The last remaining cat has finished eating dinner alone in the kitchen.

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And tomorrow our routine starts all over again.

What are you up to?

P.S.  That Santa plaque at the top of the post is something I picked up on clearance in Bazaar Del Mundo a few years ago.  It reminds me to tell you how emotional it was for me when Santa stopped by our dinner table at the Mission Inn Restaurant the other night.  It was the first time our ten-year-old had ever met him.  Because of the many challenges our son faces just getting through a “normal” day, we have never bothered with shopping mall Santas and their incredible lines.  We’ve never been to any event where Santa was a main attraction and even the occasional Santa in front of a store or at an amusement park has always been too removed or surrounded by other children for us to have a meaningful experience.  This time, Santa came to us and asked our son what he wanted for Christmas.  Our sweet little boy told Santa what we already knew…he just wants pencils.  🙂

♥♥

And Then There Was One

My cat died today.

I don’t know what to write.

I’ve been trying for weeks to compose an appropriate goodbye post for the cat we lost in September, and now this.  I am overwhelmed.

I can’t think about either of them without a huge lump in my throat and water in my eyes.

It’s hard to type.

Rusty and Poupon.

My babies.

Dear Rusty,

A few months ago, you walked out into the yard as a seemingly healthy cat.  When you came back inside, you started sneezing and you really never stopped.

You got sick.  Maybe there was cancer growing inside you for years.  We will never know for sure.  All those diagnostic tests, and we never got an answer.

None of the medicine worked.  You couldn’t keep the liquids in your stomach.  The pills made you gag.  The shots had no effect.

You got i.v. fluids and oxygen too, but nothing helped.  You declined quickly.

In mid-September, we took you to the vet to have you euthanized.

It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever made, but your breathing was labored, you had lost four pounds, and your energy was sapped.  It was time and we knew it.

Today, I feel relieved that you aren’t suffering, but watching you in those last few minutes was a heartbreak I can barely stand to think of, much less communicate here.

You were a big cat – tall, muscular, imposing – over sixteen pounds in your prime.  You were once a graceful and merciless hunter, catching birds in our small backyard whenever we let you out for a minute.

As you aged, you were still keen on the low slink through the grass to get a butterfly or lizard, but you generally did a lazy flop in the sun just short of your target.  Too much trouble when there’s a plate of Friskie’s just inside the door, I guess.

We got you and your brother over ten years ago, when I was pregnant with our son.  You were my faithful companion then.  We spent hours together, curled into the corner of our fat blue couch, waiting for the baby.  You seemed to know that I felt sick to my stomach and a little bit sad most of the time.  You fit perfectly in the crook of my arm.

You were such a comfort to me then – more than I was to you those last few weeks, I’m afraid.  I am sorry for that.  You should have had a fat blue couch and a fat blue mama to comfort your weary body around the clock.  I sat with you as much as I could, but life interrupted a lot.

Your brother and Poupon seemed to know you had something scary.  They really wouldn’t get too close to you in the final days.  Just typing that makes me so incredibly sad.  You deserved more from all three of us.  You really did.

I loved you, Rusty.  I hope you are healthy and happy somewhere now.

Dear Poupon,

Today was difficult.  I took you to the vet and got confirmation of what I already knew.  I had to let you go.  I held you for a while and I said goodbye.  I cried and I watched as the doctor administered the overdose of medication that would end your life.

I had no husband or friend beside me this time, but it seemed appropriate that I didn’t.  You were a gracious, independent lady of great strength, and I know I am meant to carry that legacy on your behalf.

I was just thirty when you tumbled into my life.  You were a fluffy, flea-covered kitten, abandoned and crying in a nearby yard.  My neighbor came around with you in her arms and asked us all if we knew where you belonged.  She even posted signs and placed an ad, but no one claimed you.  I was smitten.

For a few years, you played second fiddle to a smart Russian Blue named Shadow.  When she passed away, you moved elegantly into her place.

You were a funny girl, my Fairy Princess.  You used to wait outside the shower door to rub your flyaway fur all over our wet legs when we emerged.  You used to chase things that weren’t there and occasionally, you walked into a room and flopped your Rubenesque figure right upside down with your feet in the air.  You stayed like that for long minutes, daring the boys to come anywhere near you.  And you chortled.

I’ve grown up with you, my friend.  What will I do without the sound of your sweet voice and the clicking of your silly toenails on the tile floor?  You were a ballerina.  A big, fat, beautiful gray ballerina and I will miss you so very much.  I love you, Pou.

 

♥♥

#15 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again recently…

Never say never.   The finality of it will feel like a challenge.  (Insert far too much self-analysis here.)

No matter how careful I am, I am not careful enough to keep from splattering big dark blobs of hair color all over the carpet every time I dye my hair.

If I forget to put the sheets in the dryer until 11:00 p.m., then we have to wait until 11:40 to go to bed.

I’m too old to stay up until 11:40.

Taking a cat to the vet costs at least $500.  They always find a problem.  It’s just the same as taking your car to the shop, except there’s fur.

IKEA seems like such a good idea, until I get there, and then it just makes me achy and sad.  Like nachos.

I don’t have enough space for my junk.  (I went to IKEA looking for junk storage.)

It’s really hard to let go of the stuff that I like to make room for the stuff that I love, sooooo…the stuff that I love is waiting in drawers and closets and piles and boxes.  Waiting.  And the stuff that I only like is hanging on the walls.  Sigh.  😐

Dark purple Mario fruit snacks look a lot like little balls of cat poo when I spy them on the floor in my dimly lit living room.  Their grape scent momentarily confuses me.

One of my son’s biggest challenges is communicating his long-term goals.  And by “long-term,” I mean what he wants four minutes from now.  He starts every goal by communicating only the first step: “I want Mama up.”  His ultimate objective is a mystery that only he can know until each step is completed, in order, one at a time.  I try to get more information by asking “I want Mama up because…??”  On a good day he will finish the sentence – “I want Mama up, because I want Mama to be standing.”  😐

When Oreo cookies go on sale, husband or I must buy them.  Must.  Buy.  Them.  Double Stuff.

My older brother knows way more about books than I ever will.

I used to love playing jacks.  The metal kind.  They were heavy and offered a satisfying tactile experience.  The new, too-big-for-little-fingers, neon-colored, sticks-to-itself-rubber jacks just aren’t the same.  😐

Giant umbrellas will pop open in the car.  Twice.

If I really enjoy the hotel jacuzzi, then I will not have a card key to get back into the building until I am freezing again.  Freezing.  In a wet swimsuit.  In the dark.  Other hotel guests will stare at me when I walk around through the parking lot to find an open door.  I will not find an open door.

Six quarts of crock pot vegetable soup = six quarts of trash if you add just one ingredient that doesn’t have quite the right flavor.  I added two.  😦  Tarragon and green onions…what was I thinking?!?  Darn it!

If I decide at the last minute to take my cat to the vet, then I will forget to do something else, like put my son’s lunch in his backpack.

If I forget to put my son’s lunch is his backpack, my sense of self-worth in the motherhood department will look like a ball on New Year’s Eve – sparkling and determined (until the wrong is righted), then dark and low for a really long time.  Oy.

I can never have enough tin ornaments.

When I am at my lowest, a thrift store visit is sometimes all the pick-me-up I need, especially when it yields cheery little creatures.

Happy Tuesday!
♥♥