Monday, July 27, 2009

Morning Sea Walk

(This is an essay I wrote in late Spring)

As I walked out this morning the smell of salty air filled my lungs. The sun was just starting to rise and a heavy mist was still clinging to the houses along the row.

I stepped barefoot on to the finely cut grass lawn in order to make my way to the road. The grass was slippery and cool and I jumped over the crushed oyster shells that bordered the edge of the lawn.

The pavement felt good and solid beneath my feet. I looked up to see the mist dispersing and the sun starting to warm the tops of the houses. The trees were glimmering with dew spatters and the refracted light danced and shot color in all directions.

I could hear the ocean now. The incessant pounding of surf on sand. It was muffled by the houses and the road but I had crossed the street and could just make out the sand dunes ahead.

The sprinklers at the Victorian house on the corner were already on. The hissing caught my attention and I looked to see a garden of English roses and larkspur, hollyhock and lavender. The house was a historic one. A plaque on the front of the lawn explained this. It had been one of the first inns at this beach.

The house had gray wood shingles and white wooden lace. It had a pergola in the back yard with vines growing on it. I was now starting to reach the path of sand that would lead me past the house and over the hill to the sea.

The sand was damp between my toes and I hurled my half asleep body up the hill. At the top of the hill the ocean and horizon stretched out before me as though no one but me had ever seen it. The waves were lazy this morning and curling and jumping and sliding across the sand and retreating again.

The sky was a pale robin’s egg blue. The sun had not risen far enough in the sky to illuminate the dark sea. Further out the water looked moody and was the color of ash. I turned to the left and walked away from the town and the houses. A lone jogger ran past with a nod.

As I walked the sun began to spread light across the waves making the caps look white and I saw dolphin fins, gray and sliding through the water without a sound. I heard the seagulls calling overhead. "The dolphins must be fishing" I thought. I saw them begin to circle and leap and knew that they had come upon a school of fish and I heard the seagulls crying from above, waiting for some bits of torn flesh to rise to surface.

Further along the beach, I saw a dead sea turtle. It was a massive thing. It must have weighed over a hundred pounds. It was bloated and bobbing like a cork in the shallow part of the water. I stood and watched for a long time. The sea moved its body in such a way that I thought it was alive. I wanted to try and pull it in but was afraid to touch it. It finally washed up on shore and I saw that its eyes were gone and that it had been dead for a long time.

I continued up the beach, the sand now glittering like diamonds from the sun. I put on my sunglasses and pulled my hat down. I saw a man walking a black dog. He stopped and threw an object into the water. A tennis ball perhaps. The dog dutifully dove into the waves always keeping his head above the water and he slowly but determinedly made his way past the waves and into deeper water. He retrieved the item and I saw him swim back in and shake and drop the object.

I walked on and now the sun was squarely in the center of the sky. I saw people setting up camp with chairs and coolers and umbrellas. Children were starting to get busy with the work of building sandcastles. I could spot the shell collectors because they walked with their heads down.

I finally reached the marker. An old watch tower that was used during World War II. It was really just a turret with stairs and a small room at the top. The glass was long gone and the stone was weathered and forgotten. I touched the hard rock and turned back.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If Only I Had More Crystals

This is the table in my 'office.' It's not like I do any real work in there but I have art supplies, jewelry supplies, tons of books, unopened mail, unanswered letters, and a fifteen year old stereo. The only thing I really need is more crystals!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pet Roosters, Broken Dryers and a Bikini Wax

(This is an essay I wrote back in the spring)

I was browsing through Craigslist yesterday looking for a washer and dryer. We are moving soon and our rental place doesn't have one.

In the past I have always bought things new. I'm the kind of person that likes instant gratification. I like to walk in buy it and walk out. I'm always disappointed when I can't actually carry it with me. Once I bought an antique blanket chest for only thirty five dollars at an auction. It was magnificent, even if no one else but me realized it at the time.

It was made of large antique boards and just needed refinishing to bring out the yellow glow of the hundred year old pine. It was the size of a chest freezer. This is no exaggeration. It was massive. I could have left it there and borrowed a pickup truck and picked it up another day, but instead I strapped it to the little Subaru hatchback that I owned at the time. I tied it on with rope and it looked like an Indian taxi by the time I was finished. The only thing missing was a few chickens peeking out of the wooden lid.

My plan yesterday was to walk into Sears and buy a washer and dryer but I wondered if I should at least give Craigslist a try first. I went to the site and saw several items, none of them very appealing. The first was a washing machine. The good news was that it was free; the bad news was that "it leaks a fair amount" according to the ad.

Who would want this, I wondered, and then I came across an ad even more brazen than the previous one. A man was selling a broken dryer with no cord, for one hundred and twenty dollars. I snorted out loud and immediately clicked the next ad. I saw a washer for thirty five dollars which was "old" as the person described it, but "still worked". I tried to imagine renting a truck, paying two guys to lug it up the stairs to our new house only to have the thing break in a week.

I drove to Sears and purchased one washer and one dryer, to be delivered April 2nd. If I could have carried them in the back of my little Saab hatchback I probably would have but at least I have solved the problem of how I am going to clean my clothes.

My father would be ashamed of me. He never buys anything new and usually looks for the most difficult possible way to purchase anything. I'm sure that if he needed a washer, he would buy a broken one, order the part, borrow a truck, have it fixed, install it and find out that it cost the same as a brand new one.

He even bought his car on eBay. He had to pay someone to drive it down for him. "Couldn't you have just gone to the Subaru dealership in town and bought a used one?" No, I'm sure that would have been too easy.

Before I went to Sears I thought that perhaps I would put up a classified of my own on Craigslist. I've' never done it before and I suspected that it would probably be a waste of time but I thought I would give it a try.

I have a ring that used to belong to a friend of mine. It's a complicated story but, she needed a car and I happened to have a used one. She had no money but had an engagement ring left from her broken marriage. She asked me to sell the ring and to keep what I felt was fair and give her the rest.

The only problem? I can't seem to give the ring away in this economy. So far, no one is willing to pay even half of what it's worth. I thought I'd give Craigslist a shot and took out an ad for the ring.

When I got back from purchasing my new washer and dryer I was pleasantly surprised that two people had responded to my add The first wanting to know more about it and the second asking if the ring was in good condition. I answered and this morning found that both of the ‘interested' parties turned out to be scammers. The first was trying to get me to sell on another site "guaranteeing me many profits".

The second reply was such a pitiful scam that I laughed out loud. I am printing it here exactly as it was written to me:

"Good Day, I am happy to read from you that the item is still available for sales and to let you know that presently am not in state am in paris on business trip,I will like to purchase it from you as soon as possible.My mode of payment will be via(Alertpay).Read more about Alertpay via ( ) I will add $100 to your asking price to cover the cost of Shipment to my friend via (Express Mail Service Us Post Office)Get back to me with your full Name,Address,City,State,Country,Code and Phone Number.So that i will proceed to send the fund to you immediately"

I wondered who on earth would fall for such a ridiculous letter but apparently some people have, because craigslist has a warning a mile long about not accepting any money orders, checks or out of state inquiries. I thought it was funny and I hit the spam button but I suppose I am now stuck with my friend's engagement ring, which is not so funny.

There is a section of Craigslist with free items. This gave me much enjoyment. One pour soul was trying to give away a used sofa. They said it was in fairly good condition except for some claw marks and the fact that it smells like urine.

Another person was giving away free Roosters, but only if the person taking them promised not to eat them.

One of the more "unusual" ones involved the old system of barter. The person, a man I am presuming was offering a free bikini wax for a pair of Grateful dead tickets. In the ad he said he was, "untrained but enthusiastic."

Someone else was giving away three tons of sand that had been residing in their basement. A picture was attached showing two girls playing volleyball and there was a desperate plea saying that the sand must be removed by the middle of May. I wondered what kind of gullible parents would let their children talk them into putting three tons of sand in the basement in the first place. I shook my head and wished them luck.

There was a broken microwave available, a rusty cart and a set of box springs that the person described as "not ideal for everyday use."

I'm all for recycling but this was bordering on ludicrous. The best one was an extremely enthusiastic ad for old tires. The type was huge and manic and red. The words, "FREE TIRES, GET THEM WHILE THEYR'E HOT!!!!" leapt off the page and practically hit me in the face. Used tires? I don't know how they do things in Never Never land, where I am assuming this person comes from but here in the old U. S of A you have to pay people to take away your old tires. The standard price is three dollars a tire, that you have to PAY to get rid of them. This person made it sound as though each tire was made of gold studded, with diamonds. I suppose a little hopefulness is not a bad thing, and that I could probably use a good dose of it myself. Who knows, maybe some tire loving lunatic will drive over there today and take the whole lot of them.

In the end it makes me want to buy less stuff. I hated having to buy a washer and dryer, but unless I plan on beating my clothes against the rocks that border our new rental house, I don't really see another option. As I go through our possessions, packing and sorting everything, I just have one question; can I interest you in a slightly used, slightly dead plant that I forgot to bring in before it froze last winter. Any takers? Anyone?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Images of Summer

Country lanes and little sisters and bait and tackle shops. Also, in his spare time, our dog Bodie runs his own Chicken and Dairy market.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

South Africa

We had so much fun when we were in South Africa in December. I can't wait to go back. The driftwood sculpture was crafted by my nephews. Rog and our niece have gone up a tree! The Indian ocean was lovely and we had a bonfire too. It's been six months but It feels like I was just there. Time to go back, I think.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Stuff I Like

I just got back from a wonderful lunch with Rog. Our favorite spot is this tiny place called The Carving Board. The food is great and it's nice and cheap. Bodie is looking extra good after his haircut and when he heard me turn the camera on, he ran up to pose for a photo. He loves it for some reason.
The next picture is the view from my window sill when I am washing the dishes. If I have do it, at least I want nice things to look at. The tiny pepper shaker came from South Africa and so did the bird planter.
The next two pictures are of antique Buddhas in my living room.
The last picture is of something AWESOME. Rog and I went to Fishersville for a rock and gem show. That Amethyst weighs over sixty pounds and I love it. It was also cheap which I couldn't believe. It is now taking over the living room. Luckily Rog likes crystals too. Bodie likes to lick it for some reason. Happy Tuesday!

More Stuff I Like

Monday, July 6, 2009

One of my favorite pictures

This picture was taken when our 'angel' dog Mikey was still alive. I love this photo and also, wanted to post a picture of one of Roger's large pottery pieces. This one is amazing, stands over three feet tall and has applied spirals all over the piece. It had to be thrown in sections and took several months to complete.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boobs, Open Houses and the Ten Item Mobile Principle

I was inspired to write this story after I turned on my computer one morning to check my mail and decided to click on my old MySpace page. The only thing I do on MySpace anymore is play a stupid game called mobsters. It requires that you have hundreds of friends. There was a bulletin from one of my fellow mobsters; a pretty blond girl named candy. I clicked out of curiosity and it brought up a web cam video of her with a pink bra and panties. Sad music was playing in the background and she was looking longingly at the camera, squeezing her boobs and flexing, so you could see her many tattoos.

I was baffled at this video. What was it for? Who was her audience? Below the video was her blog. She wrote about getting wasted and being mistaken for a hooker. She seemed pleased that she was able to con a man out of money for dinner and then ditch him. This girl couldn't be more than nineteen and already she looked haggard.

Being a fan of astrology, I checked her sign. Pisces. Damn. I am also a Pisces. For those of you who know astrology, Pisces is one of the more screwed up signs in the zodiac. They always predict a bleak future of gambling, drinking and elicit behavior. Fortunately for me, I've never cared much for drinking.

I have been thinking a lot lately about Women. It seems that even though we have had the right to vote for almost a century, we still get the short end of the stick a lot of the time. (That was not an insult, by the way, in case any men are reading this) I have several friends who are going through divorces or separations for lots of different reasons.

My friend did an open house the other day and I went along to help, but mainly I wanted to see the place. It was a two million dollar house. When we walked in the door I said "honey, I'm home" under my breath. It was amazing. The attention to detail, the wine cellar, and the theatre with real theatre seats, the stone floors, the wood paneling.

The owner came out to greet us. She was going to leave for the open house but wanted us to take the tour. She was a lovely, very slender woman. She was wearing form fitting black pants, a leopard print top and four inch heels. We followed her as she clicked her way across the hand laid oak floor, up the handcrafted staircase and across the lush oriental carpet. I kept thinking, why is she selling this place? I figured that it had to be divorce.

I waited to see if she would shed any light on the situation but knew that it was not my place to ask. She showed us the laundry room and wet bar and sound system. "It runs through the whole first level" she said. She mentioned something that she had wanted to add or fix. "My Husband was going to do it, or my ex-husband, or soon to be I should say." We kept quiet and kept moving. I was right.

As we walked through the glorious master bedroom she ushered us into the magnificent walk in closet filled with fabulous clothing. She said "I'm going to miss this closet. I have so many clothes. I am getting divorced and I've lost so much weight that I had to get all new clothes." She said. "I want to keep them all because you know; I'll probably gain some of it back again."

"Not necessarily, but you never know." I said bristling with envy. We were still walking and came to the master bathroom. Her heels clicked on the pristine marble but she was fretting that maybe it wasn't clean enough. I looked around and couldn't see so much as a speck of dust.

I mouthed the words "this place is fantastic" to my friend. We passed through the long hallway and saw the children's rooms and family room and bonus room. At this point it started to seem less grand and slightly sad. I realized that this woman, although beautiful and very poised, was obviously hurting and was in the position of having to leave this beautiful home and find somewhere else to live.

I have never had much sympathy for the wealthy as a general rule, but as I've gotten older, I've started to realize that happiness actually has very little to do with how much money you have, or at least I thought so until I saw that house.

As we toured the wine cellar I started to waver on my theory and mused that if I had a wine cellar that beautiful I would never have a reason to drown my sorrows which is kind of ironic. I am not usually the kind of person to gawk at the possessions of others but I have to tell you, the canyon stone floor was so beautiful; I wanted to lay down on it and curl up into a contented little ball.

The theatre room was like something out of a magazine. There were about ten leather reclining chairs with drink holders. The floor had runner lights, just like in a real theater. The woman could see I was amazed and she said "go ahead, sit in one. You won't believe how comfortable it is." I did, and it was. I later snuck back down there between visitors and sat in the chair and I swear I felt as though I were floating on a cloud.

My friend came downstairs to see what I was up to and I told her that this is what heaven is like. She chuckled and I said "no, really, when I die I want heaven to be just like this. I am just going to sit in this chair and watch all my favorite movies for all eternity."

My friend said, "You have to get up and do something sometime."

I said "ok, when I'm not in the chair, I can be walking on an endless stretch of white beach." My friend can't imagine an afterlife that doesn't involve exercise. I can't imagine one that does.

Many people stopped by to drool over the house. At the end of the day I went through all the rooms, turning off the lights and dreaming of what I would do with a house like this. I don't entertain and I don't have a lot of friends but I could sit in my personal theatre and... Well, that's it. Just sit there and enjoy it. I don't think I would need friends if I had a set up like that.

Being lower middle class sucks. I've changed my mind about money making me happy. I want lots and lots of money; so I can buy a house like this.

It's the 'Ten item mobile theory.' I once watched a report on that show, you know the one, they are always trying to tell you that something is wrong with everything. I think it was 20/20 or Dateline. They did an experiment with infants. They hung a mobile above their little cribs and slowly added items to it.

The babies didn't react if you added more items, but would cry if any items were removed. I don't know how accurate this test is, but it sure sounds like the way a human would act, so I don't see why a baby human would be any different. Sure they may look all innocent and sweet, but they grow up eventually, so it must be hard wired in; that crazy desire to own stuff.

I must admit that I didn't want to leave once the open house was over. I was feeling such an overwhelming desire for something so far out of my league that I actually wanted to hug the oak stair case and cling to the imported granite counter-top; it still had that "new granite counter-top smell". It didn't help that my Husband and I had recently lost out on the house we were trying to buy. It was a cute little town house. A far cry from this six thousand square foot mansion but I felt a serious lack of items on my mobile at that moment.

I didn't start to cry or anything but I have been wishing I had a pacifier ever since, which brings me back to the start of this story. Boobs.

Why did Candy feel compelled to push her boobs into her web cam? Did she think it would somehow add items to her mobile? When I saw her video I thought, who would be interested in this except babies? Hungry babies. Then I remembered that Men like boobs too. Women like nice houses and Men like boobs. I guess it's a fair trade but somehow in the end it didn't seem to stop that pretty lady from getting divorced and having to sell her beautiful home even though her boobs looked perfectly adequate to me.

Maybe it comes down to what you are willing to accept. I accept that it's unlikely that I will ever own a two million dollar house. I accept that I am never going to be able to wear four inch heels or squeeze my butt into black designer jeans. It's also very unlikely that I will ever make a video of myself vamping in front of a web cam, but I just can't help but have a nagging sensation, a vague suspicion that somewhere, out there, someone is using their assets and it's translating into real estate.