November 27, 2014

November 23, 2014

Retired crayons

 photo RetiredCrayonColors.jpg
I was shocked when they started to "retire" certain crayon colors. It just seems so wrong! Of course, you should've seen me when they started messing with M&M's. But that's another story.

I'm sad to see Thistle go. Thistle was important in coloring certain flowers, as I'm sure you know. However, the retiring color that really bothers me is Violet Blue, which is the second from the top (it's hard to read in the photo).

 photo ManilaPaper.jpgViolet Blue is essential! There are parts of the sky that just happen to be Violet Blue at certain times of day. I cannot imagine that some other color can stand in for Violet Blue.

 photo ChildDrawing.jpgIn school we drew on manila paper. I was surprised to learn that it's a relatively cheap paper as compared to, say, typing paper. In grade school, I thought it was probably very expensive. The heavier texture of it was perfect for crayons. It was like a child's canvas, if you will. It made me feel artistic.

Then again, all children are artists, aren't they?

November 21, 2014

Indian artist Sushila Dahan

For some reason, I just love these. See more of Ms. Dahan's work here and here.
 photo SushilaDahan1.jpg  photo SushilaDahan2.jpg
 photo SushilaDahan3.jpg  photo SushilaDahan4.jpg

November 15, 2014

November 13, 2014

"It's Been A Bad Day"

I love REM and while my favorite is "E-Bow The Letter", the following song, "Bad Day", runs a close second. I had an REM CD in my car when I was a visiting nurse and I just let it play over and over again. I memorized all the tracks and as songs are known to do, certain selections remind me vividly of a particular patient or incident. In fact, I can't really relax when listening to REM anymore. I instead get an odd craving to give someone a shot.

By the way, here are the lyrics to "Bad Day" and they're really quite profound. At least, I think so.

November 8, 2014

Scottie dogs

Click to see full-sized; take what you like! These are in the .png format for best use.

November 2, 2014

The Precious Grapes

 photo GreenGrapes.jpg My grandmother had an impeccably decorated house. It was a split-level in Belleville, Kansas and she had purchased all new Ethan Allen furniture. Her home had central air, a real novelty to us back then. I remember at first being unable to sleep with central air because it blew all night long. But the house was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Amazing!

Grandma had nice things, some of which I have now. In fact, I have her Ethan Allen dining room set and the secretary desk that she often used.

But there were the grapes. Ah yes, the grapes.

When we showed up in Belleville for some holiday, probably Easter, along with the cousins and assorted aunts and uncles, we spotted those glass grapes instantly. Hers happened to be blue, but otherwise they looked just like the image in the corner up there.

We were told not to touch, which was rare at Grandma's house. Obviously we knew we couldn't play with those grapes, but now we understood we couldn't even touch them. They were "precious," we'd heard one of the aunts say so. We decided among ourselves that those were some very expensive glass grapes. (They're not glass. They're lucite and you could drop them from a five-story building without breaking them.)

For years of visits, I wanted to touch Grandma's grapes. I craved to touch them. But I never once did.

My grandmother died in 1969. Just a few years ago, I met my Aunt Kathy in Salina for a librarian's convention. (I'm not a librarian but Aunt Kathy made me an honorary member of the Kansas Librarian's Association and the three-day conferences each year were a blast.) We got to talking one day over lunch and that's when I told her that I'd so loved those grapes but had never dared to touch them, much as I'd wanted to.

"I wish I'd known that!" Aunt Kathy cried. "I just last month gave those grapes to the thrift store!" Aunt Kathy lives out near Hays, Kansas, too far for me to justify a drive for glass grapes.

"They weren't really fragile at all," Aunt Kathy told me. "They're lucite, not glass. I guess Mom just didn't want you kids playing with them."

"Oh. Well. I didn't know you had them," I gulped. Damn. Why didn't my mother take the grapes when Grandma died? I'll never know.

About a week after that convention, I got a UPS package. Of course you know what it was, though I did not. Which is why when I got through the packing material and saw those blue grapes, retrieved from the thrift store by my aunt, I sat down and cried.

I love my blue grapes. They're difficult to dust, but they mean so much more to me than just decoration. I keep them on the second shelf of my grandmother's secretary desk. Right where they belong.