Heather Ross

mermaids

I’ve been reading Heather Ross’s memoir, How to catch a Frog.

First of all, I love Heather Ross — my kids were just the right age when she started her clothing company, Munki Munki. I never bought any of the clothing, but did end up with some fabric (which probably became available after the collapse of her company, I now know) — I made pajamas for N out of those mermaids above.

You can see more of her old fabrics here, and she’s got a website. (M’s pajamas below.)

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She’s a person I’ve always wanted to know more about — her fabrics seem kind of autobiographical. I’d heard somewhere that they were based on memories of her childhood growing up in Vermont.

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It’s an interesting story. Born around 1970. Raised with a twin sister by hippy back-to-the-landers in Vermont, which is exactly as hard a life as you might expect, first in a dome and then in a cold 2 room school house. And she writes well, and is pretty insightful — she describes pretty clearly her parents’ short-comings, but is pretty sympathetic about where those short-comings may have come from. Plus, like her fabrics she’s just kind of likeable. And the book is illustrated.

Worth reading.

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Goblets — the mystery deepens

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I emptied the box today. There are sixteen wholly other wine glasses. I don’t even know where to put them.

But of these, there are eight of the ones with the apple — those are surely for ice cream or sherbet or some sort of dessert. There are 10 of the little ones — sherry? And then 4 of the larger ones. K suggests fizzy water. They really do seem to need some kind of elaborate party. I think they were a wedding gift, and I believe the wedding was in 1934.

I think my grandmother was equally puzzled by them — I’m sure I never saw them being used.

They are pretty, though.

Home again

mount san bruno view

Went for a hike on Saturday — a small one, just around San Bruno Mountain. Just enough to remember how great it is to go for a walk again.

It’s a little hill, really, but the views are amazing.

I survived the walk just fine, but later went to a movie — Mr Turner — and could barely move after sitting still for 2 hours.

It’s actually a really good movie. Sad, but also funny. Lots of it is unexplained, which makes it more interesting, Again, amazing views.

If your life is just the tiniest bit cattiwhampus it might make you feel better about yourself. Or cause you to think, gosh — humans are a mess, aren’t they?

Red Shouldered Hawk

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And then, as I got off the bus this morning on the way to work, this hawk flew up and landed on a building in front of me!

So that was exciting.

I am reading The Luminaries. I feel I have to tell someone, because it’s an enormous, 800 page undertaking. I’m reading it on the kindle, which both is and is not the way to go — less to carry around, but harder to see where you are, go back and look, etc. I think I may check out the physical copy, too, just as a reference.

Apparently it’s got something to do with the zodiac, which I’m kind of ignoring for the moment because I don’t know what it means.

It’s good, though — at least, 15% in I’m enjoying it. Which is saying something, because of all periods in history which do not interest me, life in gold-mining towns in the 1800s pretty much tops the list. There was another novel about gold-mining, possibly in Australia and not New Zealand, which I found pretty dreary.

You know what it’s like, right? Garish silken dresses on the women, who are all prostitutes, with lots of black lace. Cold. Mud. Saloons with people being thrown out into the street. Shacks made of weatherbeaten wood. People losing all their money constantly. Desperation. But so far there’s more to it than that — there’s a mystery and some kind of collusion of interesting people.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

More goods (the unpacking)

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Also this chair.

It’s silly, isn’t it? It was my great aunt’s. I didn’t even want it, years ago when she died, but my mother made me take it. It’s been sitting in Arizona waiting for a way to get out here, so now it’s come.

I was planning to put it upstairs in M’s room, but I’m finding myself kind of fond of it now.

It’s not particularly comfortable, but I kind of love it.

So —

The goods

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This is some of what I hauled back from my grandmother’s apartment this weekend. These she inherited — or, they were in the first condo she bought in AZ, and we contrived to keep them by replacing them with some other less charming dishes from my mother’s condo when my grandmother sold the first one to buy the second. Apparently, sometimes, you have to leave a set of china in a condo when you sell it — except we didn’t this time, so I’m not exactly sure of the rules. In any case, they’re Finnish, and I’m the one who liked them, so I got them.

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The colorful stack in the center is the china my grandmother had for everyday use as long as I can remember, which is certainly why there are so few left. I remember eating a lot of toast with peanut butter from those plates. Although we never spent much time at her house. It was a place we stopped on the way to the lake cottage, where, if I’m not mistaken, we ate off Royal Copenhagen — or something like it. Hard to imagine my grandmother buying something expensive for the lake — maybe it, too, came from somewhere else? I do wonder where it went. Possibly to my aunt by way of my uncle? My uncle, who could not swim, was inexplicably the one who inherited the lake cottage.

But back to the Royal Copenhagen, again I’m not exactly sure of the rules. It’s a vanished world.

I don’t know where the glass plates came from, but I know she liked them.

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There, don’t the thistley ones look nice in my kitchen?

Bakersfield

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So, K and I flew back to Arizona.

We stayed at my mother’s condo, which was kind of fun. We managed to see two cousins and one brother in the day we were there, and then left very early Sunday (in our car, which we had previously left there — don’t ask) to drive back to California.

It is a very long, dull, dry drive. I actually like the desert, but there’s just an awful lot of it.

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We spent last night in Bakersfield, and then drove home this morning. I’m already back at work!

Bakersfield was kind of fun, actually. We stayed in a very fancy hotel right down town — the restaurant was full of people eating and drinking and playing pool until late at night — and ate a Basque restaurant which was really good.
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Then we got up early and drove home up 5.

The Central Valley kind of mystifies me. We came to California from the east and settled on the coast, but a lot of people who are from here are either from the valley or have relatives there. It’s agricultural, with a string of cities up the middle. I suspect it’s worth investigating. Well, anyway, Bakersfield was.

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And now we are home.

It finally feels like Christmas is over and we can get back to normal life. I’m actually kind of overjoyed about that — I’ve got stuff to do, and I’m eager to get down to it.

January

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A blog I read said this, recently:

I absolutely love this time of year: the crisp cold, the white skies, the sense of clarity and energy after the velvet-luxury, over-indulgent, laziness of Christmas. It makes me want to run, to clean, to sing, and to organise.

I feel the same way, although I will admit feeling frustrated by a) not living in a place with winter (oh, my sad winter-pining. I know it’s just me. I don’t blame the lovely town I live in. I am not being contrary — I just really like winter. I’m good at cold weather. I love snow. I love driving in snow. I like when life is a little bit difficult physically. I love a period when things are not growing. and your eyes can rest. Coming back here where it never gets so cold you can’t smell things saddens me. I’m like an apple tree –I need winter.) and b) I’m barely back from Montreal and we need to go down to Arizona to pick up the car I left there at the beginning of our odyssey.

But I am feeling energetic and in the mood for organizing.

I think it will be a fun trip to Arizona. I’ll see the relatives there, eat good things, hopefully go for a hike, and then we’ll drive home and I’ll dive right in. I am looking forward to it.