Monthly Archives: January 2011

Recollections of Collections

We cleaned out Hans’ room last week.  Installed a proper bed with storage underneath, so his room has lost the “college dorm mattress on the floor” feeling.  Because we live in a house with jewel box-sized rooms, streamlining is in order.  The IKEA credenza that held all manner of flotsam and jetsam collected from 12 years of living as a young boy in America was dutifully emptied into bags, dumped on the dining room table, and gone through item by item.

Things that were So Important in days gone by have lost their pull.   Bouncy balls from the dentist.  Matchbox cars from almost every visit to Grandma’s house.  Polished stones.  Bits of crystal.  Teck Deck Dudes.  Bottle caps.  Strange little plastic things.  And, unbelievably, the air soft gun pellets.

Do you have a young boy too?  Do you know of these things?  And the pull that they had every waking moment outdoors?  Gripped by the zeal of a treasure hunter armed with a metal detector on a beach in Maui, Hans would scour every path, park, and patch of dirt for these little round beads.   Some colors were everywhere, dropped out of the mouth of an air soft gun like crumbs from Gretel’s pocket.   Green for example.  But not the see-through green.   Those were hard to find, I think.   Blues hardly ever showed up.  Same with white.  My son collected them in his pants pocket and stored them in his room, first in a glass jar, then in a see-through plastic container with dividers so he could separate the colors.  This took a lot of time when he was little.  The separating bit.

I longed for the day when this fascination passed.   When we could go for a walk without staring at the ground, advancing one s-l-o-w foot after another, hunched over like an arthritic octogenarian.   Pass it did, into perhaps the Lego fascination or the Teck Deck Dude collecting.   Everything passes into something else in life, and this past week I marked the growing up of my son, by liberating the tiny bb’s into my garbage can, and the glass jar back into my cupboard.

And for those wondering, yes, these are all my pictures.  Taken from my handy dandy Cannon G11, mostly without any fiddling after the fact in those fancy yet as-yet unlearned programs like Photoshop.  I fiddle as I shoot.  That is why digital is so fantastic for me.  I’m not completely sure how to manipulate all the aspects of F-stop and depth and speed and all that, but I have a bit of knowledge.  And I try.  If it sucks, I throw it out.  If it is cool, I push it a bit more.  (Full disclosure:  I did uber tint one photo a while ago, but then I hope it  was obvious that the boy and the sky wasn’t banana yellow naturally.  Oh, and I did pick up some gorgeous pictures of handbags and rings made out of food that someone else took.  I’m good, just not THAT good).

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Words I Love: Third in a Series

Ogle.  Now there’s a great word.  With everyone now knowing how to pronounce Google, you might think that ogle is pronounced as if you simply chopped off the first bit of Google.  But, alas, it is not.  It sounds like “hog”.  Ogle is a strange looking word, as if it should be about something ugly or weird.  It does have a kind of Jekyl and Mr. Hyde nature, in that you can ogle someone in a nice way (flirtatiously) or in a super creepy stalker way (think that dead eye stare that fighters give one another when they are sizing each other up before the match.)  Either way, I love it.

My other word I love that I used a lot this weekend is goggle.  It sounds just like what it is.  Funny looking and mildly Germanic (in both the tone and how the item is highly functional).

Which brings me to agog, the love child of oogle and goggle.  To be agog means you are in a “state of eager desire.”  Oooh, yummy.   Sort of half off your rocker with excitement being curious about something.  It’s a good one, folks.

Be agog today.

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Oh, Those Shoes!

The little old lady had killer shoes on.  Grey high heel booties, sculptural and sleekly modern.  They weren’t stilettos, but I’m telling you, they were up there and I coveted them on the spot.  I couldn’t help but notice them because one, she was walking across the street right in front of me, and two, she also had on a pretty car coat and some sort of dress without stockings, so the booties stood out at the end of her legs.   She walked into the Tyler Florence kitchen/food store, and I was t-h-i-s close to parking the car and going in after her to ask for a photograph.

You see, I have a thing for shoes, but even more than that, I have a thing for people being interesting.  Going their own way.  Being lemmingless.  This was one interesting woman, I could just tell, because what kind of footwear she had chosen.

There are a few things in life that make you happy just by donning them, and shoes, my people, are one of those things.

I can’t help juxatapose another little old lady viewing in town, but this time she was sitting on the sidewalk, surrounded by young men in uniforms.  She was right there near the pedestrian walkway that links the Safeway to the Redwoods where a whole lot of interesting older people live.  Every Friday a whole heap of them come out with folding chairs and tambourines and drums and guitars and signs and ask people to honk for peace.  The split second snapshot I got of this woman (as I drove by in my car) was a frail little old lady looking relieved as a fireman cradled her head.  She either had wilted or fallen on the spot, and the siren from the approaching paramedics meant more help was on the way.

As I turned my car towards home, I had one of those moments when I considered what it would be like to be both the woman down on the street and then in the next moment, the stylish gal with the crazy boots on.  You can guess who I wanted to be.  And how, when I erased that vision and realized I have a lot of living between now and either of those two scenarios, that in homage to the one lady, I should always embrace wearing stylish shoes.

As if I needed another reason.

(And those shoes?  Why John Fluevog, my hero.)

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Filed under Beautiful things

The View From the Top

This blog is about inspiration, basically.  I write about what moves me, whether it is something beautiful, silly, tragic, or just … well … something.  I hope that my mutterings are interesting, and I try to keep them concise.  After all, writing should be enjoyed, not endured.

So it’s the beginning of the year, and I am full of promise and promises.  Yes, that means I worked out this morning, by taking the dog up to the ridge after I dropped my boy at school.   Actually he jumped out of the car at the stoplight, hopped on his skateboard, and pumped toward the middle school.

All action.  All the time.  It’s what boys do.

I tried to mimic his energy up on the ridge, with the idea that I would run up the hills and walk down the back side.  You know, get the steep awful stuff out of the way as fast as possible by putting my head down and trying to forget, for a brief period, that everything in my body hurt.  The pay off, if you can call it that, comes at the top, when the pumping is over but the pain is not.   I look at my shoes a lot during this period.  And pant.

But then the pain passes.   Disintegrates like a foggy windshield heated by the defroster.   That’s when I look up and enjoy the leisurely walk down the back side, taking in the view of Mt. Tam and the houses snuggled in the green trees.

Janine and Alan are running up some steep hills lately.   And they inspire me because of it.  My wish for them in this new year – and for all of us really – is that the inexplicable grace of life sets on their shoulders and allows them, and their sweet son Mason, to walk leisurely down the back side, taking in the view.

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