Tuesday, October 6, 2009


There's a lot to be said for reconnections. Friends, lovers, family...self. And that, dear ones, is what happened to me, only recently.
I have struggled to write for the last 20+ years. I have made fits and starts, all winding down the same dead-end road more often sooner than later. There has been a definite lack of encouragement and positivity from others and a definite lack of focus from me. Like wandering lost in the dark. Waiting for the light, not knowing I was waiting nor what I was waiting for. Until recently.
A death in the family reconnected several members of our family that have been apart for a very long time. After funeral, several of us gathered in the departed's name to support one another, toast his memory, and to reconnect. There was much laughter, sharing of life stories, catching up, music and singing. At the end of the evening, those who remained were few, but they were the old souls, that being the very reason they were still there. From one old soul to another, sensing something in me, I was questioned and encouraged. He knew the questions to ask, the words to encourage, and conveyed them in a way beyond words with his eyes and his energy and his total sincerity. It was a fire lit inside me, one that had been but weakly glowing embers for years.
Over the past few weeks, my soul has spoken louder. Bit by bit, brick by brick, link by link, the dam is crumbling, the chains on my mind are breaking, and the waters of creation come rushing in to fill the void that I hadn't realized was there. My soul whispers a word, a phrase, a sentence--and the words pour forth onto the paper, and I feel light, complex, thoughtful, free.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to him. I didn't know how much I have missed nor needed my writing until it came back to me. It is an indescribable feeling, this reborn creativity, something akin to magic. Whenever I feel doubt, or falter, I think of the things he said to me, about my writing again, about myself, and I take heart, I take courage, I take focus and I take up my pen and write, and I walk with the confidence that he saw in me and that I now feel because a very valuable part of me, that was lost has come home to me on the wings of his words.
I hear him say "This, this, this" and I am inspired, because it is this, this, this...
Write on, Kindred Soul, write on...

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Glassware Addiction

You've all seen 'em...fantastical shaped, colored and patterned glassware at flea markets, yard sales, thrift shops and antique shows...fun to find, fun to collect, and a collectible that increases in value while being perfectly lovely and functional all at the same time. You might even have some pieces yourself, inherited from your mother or grandmother, pretty little bowls, plates, pitchers, vases... What is it? Depression Glass, as it is commonly called, is patterned and/or colored glassware sets that came about during the Great Depression...and trust me, collecting this stuff can easily become addicting!

I've been collecting it for a little over a year, and I've learned a lot about it in that time. There are so many different patterns, some still unidentified. The pieces below are from the 60's, for example, the pattern is Sonora, in avocado and harvest gold. The large salad bowl and smaller green serving bowls belonged to my mother, and they came to me when she passed away about a year ago. The piece at the top of this post is Twisted Optic, in green, a preserve jar, which, if I had the spoon that goes with it, is worth about $50.00. I paid $2.99 at a thrift store for it. It was made by Imperial Glass Company, Bellaire, Ohio, from 1927 to 1930, so it is considerably older than the Sonora set.

All this started when my mother passed away and we began cleaning out her house. Items I had forgotten about along with those I had loved as a child were now in my possession. I had no idea what I had until I started doing a little research, both online an at the library, where they have many wonderful price guides. I started with may 20-30 pieces and now have closer to 120, in various patterns and colors, which prompted me to buy my own latest edition price guide, Warman's Depression Glass, written by a lady considered to be a leading, if not the leading authority on Depression Glass, Ellen T. Shroy. While the guide boasts 500 color photos and 170 of the most popular patterns from 1920-1980, there are some pieces that don't have an established price due to being rare or not available in enough quantities to determine prices. There are also misidentified patterns out there as well as patterns not listed in the Warman's guide. Add to the mix reproductions of various pieces and patterns, and it makes it challenging for any collector, novice or knowledgeable, to add to their collections.

Growing up, when I was old enough, I was in charge of making dessert, which, most nights, was instant pudding. I'd get out the mixer, milk, bowl and measuring cup and whip up a box. When it was mixed, I would put it in these lovely little footed glass dessert dishes.
I now know this is the Wexford Pattern, made by Anchor Hocking. These six cups in this pattern has grown to a collection of nearly 50 pieces, including a gorgeous decanter set that includes six goblets and six wine glasses as well as a beautiful cake stand with glass cover.

Mom had several other pieces in another pattern that we used occasionally. There were ten pieces in this pattern, Early American Prescut, to which I have added nearly 40 pieces. It was interesting to note that there are variations on this pattern. I primarily have what's called EAP (Early American Prescut) 'Star of David', although I have a couple small tumblers in the EAP 'Oatmeal' pattern, so called for being a premium in boxes of oatmeal during the Depression. There is also a EAP 'Pineapple' pattern, of which I haven't found any yet. But, I continue to look, as some pieces are worth more than others. I have to admit, it's a bit of a thrill to see a piece you know is exceptional in condition and price and to add it to your collection!

One pattern, which I have been unable to find any reference to in any book, is a beautiful little green bowl with a quilted-type pattern and an unusual crimped top. I've found only two more pieces in the green, one, a tall, footed piece and another with a gilt foot on it, as well as a bowl in white 'milk glass'. I bought the two green ones at antique flea markets, and neither person I bought them from knows either the pattern or manufacturer, although the lady I bought the tall piece from said she had two just like in it the white glass. It's a mystery I hope to solve!
With yard sale and flea market season coming up, I expect I'll be adding more to my collection. Of course, there's thrift stores to peruse in the meantime. many times, when a parent passes away, the person who disposes of the various household stuff that they or other family members don't want, it gets donated to thrift stores, where it can be picked up for a song. And it's not just glassware you'll find there, either. Vintage Pyrex bowls, bake-ware and coffee cups, antique picture frames, kitchen items and other sundries that can be used to decorate. We have two in the city where I work and I try to go at least every couple days or so. There's a third store that I frequent once a week when I grocery-shop. I'm learning to be more discerning when it comes to buying . items should be thoroughly examined for chips and cracks, which lower the value. You also must watch out for reproductions, of which I've bought three. I've studied my guide book and have learned more what to look for that identifies pieces as reproductions, and therefore not worth purchasing, unless it's something real darling and I must have it.

Pieces are fanciful, like 'Cube' and 'American'...

Pretty, like 'Pioneer

Whimsical, like 'Twiggy'
One thing is for sure, whether a piece is 80 years old, or only 20, these timeless bits of history are beautiful, functional, and, in many cases, valuable. They can be mixed and matched to form a 'usable set' for everyday or special occasions, or simply collected and displayed. Some collectors focus on one pattern or color exclusively, others collect everything they can get their hands on, while still others, collect bits and pieces from different patterns they like with no regard to build a complete set. In any case, they make great conversation pieces, gifts, and heirlooms. Smiles...

Monday, March 16, 2009


Well, Dear Friends, I've had the most loveliest of long weekends, by myself, as Dearest is still away on safari in, of all places, Florida. I spoke to him last night, and wonder of wonders! They were staying fairly close to Cape Canaveral, and you know what that means? Yes siree Bob, he and his buds watched the shuttle lift off last night. And bless his dearest darling self, he video-taped it for me! I am so jealous! He has the best luck. Had it been me, there most likely would have been a hurricane or some other dire calamity, such is my luck. I can hardly wait for him to get home so I can see the video for myself!

But, I was going to chirp about wine and laundry. I know, I know, it's an odd combination, but there are stranger things out there, but we won't think of those right now.

Having had the abode to myself since Thursday night, I was getting a little bored, and quite frankly, tired of being so damn slack-assed about getting anything accomplished in the way of housework, reading, music. I'd had to work Friday, and was just slap wore out. Saturday, I thought, after my hair appointment and grocery-getting!!! Then I will get some shit done, I will!!! What a Pollyanna!

Wouldn't you know, like a nitwit, I'd scheduled a hair appointment for-gasp! 7 of the a.m. on Saturday? The time under the drier while my color processed and the shampoo/scalp massage nudged me towards la-la land, and I was literally nodding off as Christie blow-dried my hair and cut it. But, darling and fantastic stylist that she is, I am happy to report that I still am in possession of my hair, and it is rather fetching, I must say.

Then, I had the brilliant idea of checking the local Goodwill store for any Depression Glass, so off I went. Oh my God, I hit the lucky jackpot! (See, my luck's not totally shit). $30 bux later, I decide to try the east side Goodwill. OK, still rollin' in luck, I spent $10 bux.

It was about this point I had the thought to get me a bottle of Maximum Port from my favorite local winery, Oliver. Oh well, I thought, they carry it at the Big Red in Bedford, and that's where I'm going to get my groceries, no problemo Joe.

I'm all in a state, thinking about how, after the crappy housework is finished, I can reward myself with a big ol' glass of Port whilest I decide how to arrange my days haul of treasures. I get the groceries, I load them in the truck, I'm smilin' and the damn sun is shinin' just for me.

HA--AND DOUBLE HA!!! The clouds roll in, the sky opens up, and the sun dims its' light; the liquor store no longer stocks Maximum Port; "There just isn't much demand for it here, but they do carry it at the main store uptown and on the south-side in Bloomington." I'm told by the genial store manager, as he apologizes, seeing my angst over the situation. I thank him politely, cursing at myself under my breath, as I just came from Bloomington!!! "You idiot!" I tell myself. "You should have just gotten it when you first thought of it--stupid, stupid, stupid!!!"

I wearily decide to head home, unload the groceries and put them away, resigned to drudgery with no reward. Even the bling of my newest sparkly treasures don't lift my spirits.

Oh but AHA! There is a glimmer of light! I had forgotten to get fabric softener! Completely out, gone, finished. Now how, I ask you, can one do laundry with no fabric softener? It's not to be borne, I tell you! So, I sling the refrigerated items into the fridge, and off I go, in search of fabric softener--and Maximum Port. Tee Hee.

Mission accomplished in 45 minutes, round trip, including parking, entering and seeking out items at both stores, paying for them, and returning home. Into the freezer with you, my lovely Port, whilst Mama puts the once-again-sparkly treasures in the dishwasher.

Somewhere between finishing that little task and starting another one, the Port came out from its chilly repose, and oh my god, got poured into a glass. Now how the hell did that happen, I ask you? Oh well, who am I to question the workings of the wine...? Ummmmm....tasty, rich, opulent, sexy...this stuff is gooooooooood, let me tell you!

Oh! What's that on tv? Oh, Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same. When shidoogee, I must watch it! And update my Facebook status to reflect the decadent evening's fare. Well, suprise of suprises, I managed to get side-tracked then!

Finally, about 9:30-10p.m., I decided, "Hey, I was gonna wash that there stuff on the bed." Prodded by giddiness, I strip the bed of all it's linens, thinking myself right smart for washing things in the correct order that I would have to put them on the bed. Into the washer with the mattress pad, then into the dryer with it! Into the washer with the sheets and pillowcases. Mattress pad on the bed, sheets in the dryer, quilt into the washer!!! Wheeeeehoooooooo-laundry sure is fun, you bet!

But boys and girls, that fun sure can come crashing down quick and hard, let me tell you! Whilst I was patting myself on the back for being so dog-gone smart about the proper washing order, surfing the Web and arranging my newly clean and even more sparkly treasures, I had somehow drank the entire bottle of Port! Yep, that's right the whole damn bottle. Not even a drop left in it. Now this particular port is about 40 proof, and I drank it all in about 3 hours. About the time that dawned on me, it also occurred that the damn laundry was not done!!! And I sooooooo needed to lie down and just sleep.

I spent nearly 30 minutes wrangling the sheets and pillowcases back into place while I waited for the quilt to dry. Pacing, nay stumbling, about I attempted to gather my wits and maintain my composure, praying, "Oh bloody hell...dry, dammit, dry!!! I'm out of wine and now I'm starting to whine...ugg!!!"

At long last, the quilt dried, and I spent another 10 minutes trying to put it on the bed straight instead of sideways. Finally managed to do so, with much cursing and giggling in alternate turns. Oh sleep, sweet Morpheus, at last, at long last...

Demon Rum, my foot! 'Tis Port, that Lady in Red that plies you with such sweetness that you forget to fear the sting she can dole out at your indiscretion of over-imbibing. Perhaps my little lucky-streak would hold? I rose late on Sunday, around noonish, groggy and foul-tempered, but blessedly, no hang-over---hallelujah!!!

Let this be a lessons, kids, don't drink Port and do laundry--ever!! You will save yourself untold heartache and despair if you follow that little household rule. The two do not and will not ever go together. If you must drink and wash, try beer, it's much more suited to the task at hand.

What did the Bard say, "All's well that ends well"? Smiles...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekend? What Weekend?

What a weekend! Having run errands and such all day yesterday, we found ourselves having to finish them up today. Which I hate, because to me, Sundays are lazy days, to be measured out in laundry, food prep for the week, organizing for the week ahead. But no! Not today!
My dearest darling husband is busy preparing for a "hog-huntin' trip" with three of his friends. So, yesterday, instead of getting the light-weight pair of camo pants he wanted, he instead came home from work on Friday limping painfully after tearing the heel off his boot on the step to his work truck. So, this necessitated a trip to the (World Famous!) Boot City store south of Terre Haute. That's all well and good, except that this man is so incredibly persnickety about various things, namely his hair, jeans and BOOTS.

After a tasty breakfast of eggs, toast, grits and coffee, which I prepared lovingly, we set off. The trip itself was uneventful, the day was warmish, mid-60's and windy, but overall, lovely. Bearing in mind that we were to have dinner with friends that evening around 6-ish, we were determined to get all our errands done. This, itself, is a joke, as the trying on of boots was involved.

Leslie, the salesclerk, was extremely helpful and personable. She patiently fetched size after size of the style of boot Dearest Husband wanted, while I stood just as patiently nearby, watching with amusement. "This boot is too tight, that one too loose!" "Yes, and this one is bunching my toes up, but that one is too loose-feeling!" "Well, these fit, but the toes are tight, and this side must be stitched wrong as the side of the boot is creasing in and rubbing against my leg." Helpful Leslie oiled and stretched the offending side, to no avail, it still rubbed his leg and irritated him. Back to the bench to try more boots, same style, different sizes/widths...sigh...

Finally, after 2 hours of what I call his impersonation of Jeff Foxworthy--"This boot....or this boot...?" He decided on a pair, paid for them and off we went back home, staying only long enough to grab a sandwich before heading out again, only this time in the opposite direction, to 'complete' our errands. Ha. Double Ha.

After a 10 minute wait to exchange a bluetooth headset for work, (required, as he drives a commercial vehicle), he decides to come back, as the guy he needs to talk to is busy with a couple doing a phone upgrade. Off to Radio Shack to exchange the slider phone he got 3 weeks ago with one like I got 3 weeks ago. (On a related side note, I did research, comparative shopping, and soul-searching before deciding on the phone I wanted to upgrade to, enduring grunts and sighs and whining from him that I was driving him crazy with researching said phone I wanted). Phone switching completed, we returned to the AT&T store to exchange the headset. From there, it was time to head to our friends for dinner.

Bear in mind that he still needed to buy a light-weight pair of camo pants. And, I needed to do our weekly grocery shopping. The plan then became--"OK, we'll get up early, go get my pants, oh and a hard case for my new phone, and then we'll go get groceries together..." Yeah, and we went to bed at Midnight...

So, being tired and having gotten to bed so late, we woke up at 8:30 a.m.--only it wasn't 8:30, it was 9:30, courtesy of DST, which I despise with a passion. Needless to say, being in Sunday mode, it was Noon before we rolled out the door.

At least the trying on of pants wasn't as bad as the boots! Four pairs later, he had what he wanted, plus a really cool little S-carbiner for his keys and a pair of sweat shorts. By now, I had to pee from all the coffee required to motivate me to leave the house today. Since the sporting goods store had no bathroom of its own, we had to find the bathrooms at the mall. Mission accomplished, we stopped by the pet store on our way back out, ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the puppies, then made a stop at a kiosk selling cell phone accessories. After finding a compatible hard case for the new phone, we left the mall, in search of lunch, having missed/skipped breakfast altogether. Ah, Buchetto's Pizza! Yea! As usual, the pizza (sweet lil razorback--pepperoni, fresh basil, bacon and smoked sausage), was excellent. While waiting for our pizza, Dearest tried to remove the hard case to see how it came off the new phone, and proceeded to break it. Of course. This necessitated a return trip to the mall. Case exchanged, off to our daughter's to see her and the g-babies, one of whom was still at his dad's...sigh.

While there, I received an email alert from the Weather Channel about a tornado warning. Great! We headed for home, stopping to fill my truck up for the week. Six more emails in quick succession, one alerting us to the fact that a tornado had been spotted very near where we live, sent me into a "get the hell out of my way, people, I've gotta get home and see if my dog and house are OK" mode. All was well, thank the stars, and now, as I post this, the sun is shining.

The upshot is, since groceries were not obtained yet, that, after work, in addition to doing some banking (that shoulda-woulda-coulda got done Saturday), I have to get groceries. I could have went this afternoon, but, dammit, I've run all I want to this weekend.

On a positive note, however, I spent the entire weekend with Dearest, and that's better than getting all the errands done in one day. Smiles...