February 26, 2011

What I Wrote (Week of 2/20)

In an attempt to keep myself honest and motivated, I've started posting at the end of each week a snippet -- usually a paragraph, maybe longer, maybe just one long convoluted sentence (I'm fond of those) -- from the writing I accomplish each week.  Also, I'm currently writing long-handed on yellow legal pads, so seeing the words typed up onto the white screen is sort of an interesting process, too.  

The new beard would prove to be the missing element needed to complete his [my dad's] image of arch raconteur.  It divided his round face, camouflaged his full cheeks, and gave a more pointed finish to a somewhat weak chin.  He'd also ceased wearing his graying curly hair in the cropped, tight afro popular in the mid-seventies, and now brushed it straight, where it fell slightly below his ears.  In what seemed a matter of months, he'd  transformed from resembling the post-Brady Bunch Robert Reed, to the gruff romantic charm of Kenny Rogers. It seemed that everyone who met my father, from this point throughout the next half-decade, would at some point make the comparison to Kenny Rogers.
After. Dad's beard in the early '80s was nearly identical to Kenny's.

February 23, 2011

Helluva Thing

Have you seen it? Probably on the web, if you visit any design blogs at all. But have you really seen it, in person?  As Jimi would say...but...are you experienced with this thing?

Because the Ikea Maskros pendant is a. hell. of. a. thing. A helluva thing.  To whit:
It's big.
It looks like a big puff of dandelion. And at 32" in diameter, this thing is big.  It is a statement.  I have a big-ish house, with some tall ceilings here and there.  But I don't think any space in my house could handle this guy.

We took a trip down to the San Diego Ikea a couple of weekends back, and turns out...they now have a smaller, more manageable-sized Maskros.  At 24" in diameter (I think...didn't write down the exact dimensions)  it shaves nearly 10" off the mother-ship size.   Not sure where, or even if, I would use this, but just the fact that I can potentially put this somewhere is pretty exciting.  I think I even did a small mini-shriek there in the lighting section.  Hey, maybe it can be my new light fixture over by my desk area. 

Here's another shot of the original light, shown more in context of its size:
I told you it was big. Image from here.
And not to say that this is what my bedroom looks like now, but it does sort of remind me of my new bedroom re-do.  I should probably show that off here sometime, huh?

February 18, 2011

New Feature: What I Wrote

In an attempt to keep myself honest and motivated, I'm going to start posting each Friday a snippet -- usually a paragraph, maybe longer, maybe just one long convoluted sentence (I'm fond of those) from the writing I accomplish each week.

Also, I'm currently writing long-handed on yellow legal pads, so seeing the words typed up onto the white screen is sort of an interesting process, too.  

As I've mentioned in passing here, I'm working on a memoir -- which is sort of a cringe-inducing statement to make. Isn't everyone working on a memoir? Isn't the blog self-confessional enough?   Well, long story short: for years I worked exclusively in the short-story form.  I do love me a well-written, elegant short story.  But after completing my MFA from here, where I delivered a book-length collection of short stories in fulfillment of my degree, I felt sort of tired of the form. And after I had my daughter, and stopped writing for literally years, I found it harder to get engaged and excited by the often dense prose and clever structures of short stories that I read.   Also (and this is the heart of the matter): I grew quite weary of fictionalizing and creating different characters and plots for things out of my own past.  Especially events from my family and childhood. 

Well, enough throat-clearing (as we used to call belabored introductions, back in workshop).  Here's what I wrote this week.

They [my parents] trailed me down the carpeted hallway, watched as I stood in the doorway of my bedroom.  It was transformed.  Gone were the the head and footboard of my bed, gone the long white dresser with its thick coat of glossy white enamel paint.  In their place was a set, a suite, a symbol, I  understood almost immediately, of their acknowledgement.  Yes, they were saying: we've made you say good-bye to hard-won friendships and near-normalcy in Whittier, moved us all to sun blasted Bakersfield, and so here, here is a set of matching, creamy yellow furniture.  There was a curved headboard with an inset of woven wicker lattice, a long dresser with ornate white handles and a tall  mirror hanging above. A low bureau of three drawers, and upon it a hutch with two shelves.  The top shelf displayed my collection of ceramic Josef birthday dolls, the other a stack of yellow Nancy Drew spines, my growing number of Dell Young Adult paperbacks, and all of my Judy Blumes (had mom flipped through and read any pages of Forever? I worried). 
This isn't my dresser, but an image from the web of a dresser a lot like mine, and the same exact color.
Ditto the Josef doll.  I still have them. Somewhere.

February 16, 2011

The Mess At the Top of the Stairs

When I was a teenager, and heavily into my Stevie Nicks/The Mists of Avalon stage, I loved writing poems and songs containing the line..."the dark at the top of the stairs."  Wooooo. Spooky!  But this isn't that.

This is about the mess at the top of my stairs, and the area isn't dark at all, but  very bright, considering that this half of the house is all windows and high ceilings.  The mess at the top of the stairs refers to my desk, my nook, where I'm sitting right now typing up this post.  I have a window beside my desk, and it's cloudy and windy today, and the heavy branches in the pine trees beside our house are waving about. And that's about the extent of the pretty up here: the view out the window. 

Let's take a tour.  I'll meet you as you come in the front door.
Well hello! If I knew you were comin', I'da baked a cake.
Here I am looking down at the stairs from the first landing.  Let's travel up to the next landing for a look-see...
 Okay, not too bad so far. Lots of windows and light, like I said. Now let's make that last turn...
Whoa.  Okay.  Bookshelf! Ikea Expedit, to be precise. We all sure do love our Expedits, don't we?   Lots of squares and storage, not too ugly. But why did I buy it in birch, instead of black?  Well, we need to take a couple more steps first.
And here it is!  The Mess at the Top of the Stairs. Namely, my desk.  With its piles of school stuff and receipts and bills and travel ideas and kid art and just...stuff. I'm a piler and a stacker.  Here we see the reason for the beige Expedit...why, so that it can better match the beige desk! (Also from Ikea. I can't recall the name, but as of right now, they still sell it.)

So.  I know you're thinking...eh.  It's not that bad.  Messy, okay, but you've seen worse.  Sure.  But considering how many hours I spend here during any week, I think I deserve better, and my house deserves better, than this chaotic desk and this vision of...MEH.  Beige desk, beige walls.  Beige bookcase with burgundy organizers? EEK.  And that chair!  Which is broken, by the way, and so sometimes I start sloooowly sinking down, feeling like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz: "Oh, what a world, what a world!"

I'm not sure just what I was thinking. To be honest, I haven't applied my same sense of design sensibility of fun and color and contrast to this nook, because it's just...a nook.  And a narrow one: at about 46 inches across, it can be tough to find a desk or table to fit the space.   But, the nook is where I spend hours and hours of my life.  Staring out the window.  Shoving aside the piles, scrabbling for a pen.  "I know there's one in here somewhere, dammit!" 

This is all going to change.  There will be paint! And art! And a new desk! And the bookcase will move..... Somewhere.  Oh, and a new light fixture, too. This is what I have now:
Ain't it pretty?  Four lightbulbs up in this fixtures, and these babies are all over the hallways of my house, both up and downstairs.  Don't get me started. 

Here's another view, coming out of the master bedroom:
This wall is supposed to be a gallery of kid-friendly art. Another work-in-progress.
Here's one more view of the space, before we head back down the stairs:
 All righty, then.  Down the stairs we go.  Lets pause and admire the Valentine's-themed display on the entry shelves. 
 Awww. How romantic.

I wish I could say I'll have pictures of the stunning update at the top of the stairs very soon.  But these things take time, especially when the update will include switching around computers and desks not just in my nook, but in the children's playroom area.  They have quite literally outgrown their current computer set-up, and will probably be inheriting my old desk.   And then there's the matter of finding new places and spaces for everything that will get kicked out of the Expedit. But I have a plan!  And inspiration!  And with that, I can do anything! (Within the budget.) 

I leave you with a final image, of the inspiration photo that started this whole ball rolling. 
Image via House of Turquoise
Oh, mama.  Oh yes, please.  I saw this and had a total eureka moment.  It helps that I have a dresser quite like this (sans the extra decorative molding) sitting rather uneasily in my bedroom right now. After I bust out the sanding paper and black paint,  I know the perfect place to put it...right at the top of the stairs. 

February 9, 2011

Hidden Corners of the Park

View from the tippy-top of the Treehouse; Haunted Mansion in the distance.
A couple of weeks ago, we were at Disneyland. Again.  I love being at Disney, and so do the kids. We have annual passes, which are expensive, so I was very grateful when "Santa-Husband" tucked a box under the tree this year with another set of passes for our family.  (Note: the passes are expensive, but Disney does offer multiple-payment options to stretch out the injury, which I suppose is why it feels like everyone and their mother living in the SoCal radius has passes. Including my own mother.)

After visiting the park so many times over my lifetime, you'd think I'd seen it all, but there always seems to be some new nook or cranny of detailed goodness.  This is why people love Disney -- not for the rides, or the "happiest place on Earth" experience, but because those Imagineers really, really know how to pay attention to the details. 

For the first time (ever?), we tackled the big treehouse in Adventureland. The treehouse used to be the Swiss Family Robinson house, but now it's the "Tarzan" house, based on a lesser-known animated flick that came out about a decade ago.  Here are some shots of the detailed props around the treehouse.
Victrola and telescope -- this looks like an awesome antique store

Typewriter in the trees.  I just realized that the teapot in the background is "Mrs. Potts" from "Beauty and the Beast." 
This display looks like something from either Anthropologie or a high-end nursery.   
My favorite area in Disneyland is easily New Orleans Square.  I love the ornate wrought-iron balconies, the narrow cobbled streets and "hidden" alleys.  On this trip, coming out of the restroom, I looked up and noticed these clothes on a laundry line, which I had never ever seen before. Were they new? Or have they been there always, and I never paid attention?

Bad lighting, but you can see them hanging up there.             

Every light post in the Square has these Mardi Gras masks. Again, love all that detail, and how they're always changing things up.
Of course, with the crazy prices for parking and food and STUFF, they damn well better step it up.  Love ya, Disney.  As long as you're around, and the water in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride still has "that certain smell," things can't be too wrong in the world. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs