March 23, 2010

Enter Spring!

Happy Spring!  Oh, ye of little faith, I bet you thought I'd never return with a post about my updated entryway.  Last we visited, it was all silvery mercury and glass and chilly winter whites.  Now, it's a little celebration of some of my favorite bright colors: yellow, pink, aqua and green.  (Vases, from left to right: vintage Royal Haegar, Anthropologie, and vintage no-name pretty bird vase.)

Everything is different -- I've even updated my purse. ($12.99 at Ross, baby.)  This all looks a little heavy on the pink here, but an update on the flowers will change that. 
This cute little aqua vase is from Michael's from a few years back. Turns out the darn thing isn't water-tight though -- I had to put a discreet little square of paper towel under it, to catch the water leaking through.  Durn.   But aren't the rununculuses so pretty and ruffly?

Yes, I too have fallen prey to the lure of the Liberty of London line at Target.  I bought this frame and yes, I did notice there's no photo in here yet. Hey, the camera was out!
I also scored this peacock pillow.  From the sound of things out here in Blogland, the pillows are getting snapped up quick, and are already being re-sold for crazy-high prices on Ebay.  Hmm. The thing is, like Target's Orla Kiely line last year -- just because my Target has the stuff in stock, doesn't mean I actually wantneed it for my own home.  I like many of the Liberty of London items, but most of it I just don't have a real use for.  (I tried on a pretty, bright yellow and lime floral tunic that might be perfect for someone else's trip to Palm Springs, but on me?? One word: Muu-muu. Hello, Mrs. Roper!) 
Really glad that I scored this pillow, though.  It's classic, and with the bright yellow-green trim, I can also use it in the family room.  See that karate chop in the middle of the pillow? Oh yes I did. Just for you.

Enjoy the springtime! Me,  I like being able to leave my windows open a bit now, and hear the birdies in the morning.  Hope it's lovely for you, wherever you are.

March 17, 2010


 Not my home, now.  But Home with a capital letter. Home, as in, "you can't go home again." Except that I do, usually about once a month or so.  My mother still lives in the apartment that she and my dad rented near Uptown Whittier when I was in junior high. Temporary, they said at the time. Because while we had always been renters, we had never before lived in an apartment.  No yard? No front porch? How would we all manage?  Now it's almost thirty years later, and still the same address.

I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking here.  I guess this is sort of a belated Weekend Recap post -- these were taken on Super Bowl Sunday.
This is the back of my bedroom door. I don't remember when I put up the Led Zep -- but I cut the letters and symbols out of a poster and glued them up -- I guess with some pretty heavy duty glue, as they're still there. My dad moved into this room after I got married (yes, I lived at home right up until my wedding day, with only a brief 9 months away at an out-of-state college).  He tried to chip off the letters, but to no avail.
 Shortly after I was married, my dad was diagnosed with emphysema. He eventually ended up needing an oxygen tank and some other sort of major breathing machine (like a tank, but less portable). He moved into this room, and toward the end of his life, he rarely left.  He had his computer, a TV for round-the-clock viewings of Law & Order and other cable police shows -- and his displays. This shelf held his display of vintage roadrunners.  (Shortly after I took this picture, my mom said she took down the display. Almost 3 years after my dad died, and it's still hard to put away all of his things.) After his years as bartender, my dad got very into thrifting and selling at flea markets. For a while, he had his own shop: Roadrunner Antiques.
 The view out my bedroom window.  This is "Across the Street," also currently known as a Circle K -- before that, it was a Stop N' Go.  We have always, always just referred to it as Across the Street: as in, "I'm going across the street for some Dr.Pepper, do you need anything?" (Usually  yes, since my mother ALWAYS needs a half-gallon of milk.)  At night, and on clear days, the view is long and southward -- one can see clear to Signal Hill,  near Long Beach.   During the summer in high school, I would cross for bags of chips and Icees, wearing short shorts and testing my ability to stop traffic and garner hoots and hollers from passing cars. I was both thrilled and embarrassed. It's like a short story from Joyce Carol Oates or something. 

 Vintage cuteness in the first bathroom. Yes, an apartment with 2 full baths and 3 bedrooms, and more than 1,000 square feet. We never felt crowded. 
The view out a front window, looking east.  Less than 2 miles east up the road, this major street, which you can drive west all the way to Beverly Hills and beyond, turns into Turnbull Canyon.  The canyon is winding and rural and wild and it never felt far away, even in the midst of the traffic noise and bustle. Even now, at night, one can smell the proximity of all that brush and chapparal.  High school kids like to cruise the canyon on Saturday nights at way-too-high speeds, blasting Ozzy Osbourne out the car speakers. Not that I'd know anything about that.

 Me and my sister (I'm the curly one.) In the background you can see some of the other vintage elements in the house that we take for granted: the old icebox, that we've had  forever, the Frankoma pottery above the pantry, the clock, the De Grazia print. 

Lily with a mouth full of Super Bowl cupcake. Behind her is the antique cabinet holding my mom's collection of ceramic Florence dolls. Florence dolls were made in Pasadena, Califonia in the 1940s and '50s.  These gals was acquired by my dad, almost exclusively on Ebay. Neither the cabinet or the dolls are secured in any way to the wall -- one good earthquake, and they're toast! I have harped on my mother for years to fix this  --- not my problem, I suppose.

The view from the balcony, looking northeast:  The hills are very green right now, says mom. Whittier is a terrific walking town, especially on the west side: alleys, overgrown bougainvillea, bungalow homes and curvy, steep, narrow streets. There are trails that lead up into the hills, too.  Ah, the green, green grass of Home. 

March 3, 2010

Miles Away

It's getting on to full dark, but if I stand under the light and stick out my thumb, do you think the car will stop? Would it be some creep, or somebody who needs to tell me about Jesus (I attract a lot of those), or somebody who could just be quiet and not ask too many questions? Maybe I'd luck out and get a laid-back old pot-throwing hippie chick -- it is Big Sur, after all. 

It's in my blood, I could say, when she asks.   A third generation, genetic predisposition to just skip town, see ya, sayonara. (No sorry -- never apologize.) 

I walked that road on an afternoon last summer, alone and facing the traffic whipping down this winding stretch of Highway 1. There were glimpses of Big Sur Creek and inner-tubers through the trees  below, down the ridge to my left.  Alone, alone, my heart sang, for I still feel most utterly myself when most utterly left alone.

If I got triple lucky with my thumb out there, I'd catch a ride with a non-curious old hippie chick, and she'd just happen to tune her car stereo into some funky NorCal radio station -- maybe out of Santa Cruz -- and it would be playing this song,  maybe not this rough live version, but you get the picture. Ain't nobody better than Neko for feeling wild and alone on a dark road.

How far will I get? It can't escape my notice that by driving south down the California coast, we're inevitably headed closer and closer to my home.  And I'll get pretty tense thinking too far ahead, and crush that hippie's mellow groove. She'll ditch me at a gas station somewhere around Hearst Castle with a patchouli-scented hug and advice to keep it real.  

Well, lucky for all us, the buck, or the DNA, seems to stop here. No skipping town for me, just a bad case or wanderlust, or maybe early spring fever, or just thinking too much. As usual. In deciding to write a memoir, I've been opening a lot of wormy cans, turning over a lot of stones (again: worms), and generally putting myself in a lot of strange mental cul-de-sacs.  On purpose! In the name of Art. More on that later.  Maybe. 

For now, I have a ride to catch.
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