Hoarding Coffee Cups (and Tea Cups) – Part 1 – and Last Week’s CFFC: Shiny

It’s easy to accumulate too many coffee (and tea) cups. First it was vintage collectible sets, scrounged one at a time in flea markets and thrift shops. Then industry conferences and meetings with vendors at work kept me well supplied with complementary mugs. When traveling, it’s even easier to acquire nifty souvenir cups from museum gift shops. But eventually, moving day comes and something has to go.

Before I moved, I gave away lots of the themed coffee mugs, but still held on to certain gifts and favorites from times past. Here’s a small selection of each category —

A tea cup with infuser and a Met Museum travel coffee cup

KEPT:  On the left: a travel mug from the Met Museum gift shop in NYC, purchased when we discovered our hotel room had a microwave… bonus! On the right, a teacup fitted with its own infuser.

Harlingford cups and saucers - Homer Laughlin Company, 1930s - 1950s

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Harlequin cups and saucers – 1st cousins to original Fiesta Ware, Homer Laughlin Company, 1930s – 1950s, enthusiastically collected in the 1980s.

Doll dishes: tea set

GONE: To a friend with granddaughters, my dolls’ tea set from my childhood.

Vintage Fostoria: American Clear

GONE: Vintage Fostoria: American Clear. Here they in a quick snapshot taken when I was sorting what to keep and what to release. These were my mother’s, and remarkable because she still had the cups. Most cups eventually got broken… her go-to anger release.

Jean-Luc Picards tea cup from Star Trek TNG

GONE: I had these glass “beaker” mugs before Star Trek – The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard did. (“Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” -?- whatever he’s sipping here looks too dark for Earl Grey) I bought that set in Kansas City in the 1980s at a store called Function Junction. Sadly, they were fragile and didn’t last — and I didn’t have a replicator to make new ones. I’m glad to know the pattern survived until the 24th Century. 

I’m looking back at the cups-of-my-life now because I just broke my VERY favorite.

RIP the last coffee cup from a set of four  –  cherished through four moves. Two of them bit the dust years ago, but up until the last couple of weeks I still had two in use. Then I dropped one. After that, the remaining one cracked, perhaps in sympathy. Here it is in black, in memoriam.

Glass coffee cup, from Function Junction in Kansas City, c. 1980s

GONE: My Goldilocks cup. See the crack along the bottom? — Glass coffee cup, also from Function Junction in Kansas City, c. 1980s. Some cups are too big, some are too small, but this one was “just right”…

Now I know how hard it is to find a good coffee/tea cup that’s…

  • microwaveable
  • glass (so I can see it in the microwave)
  • mug-style
  • large enough for greedy coffee drinkers – 16 oz please
  • simple, and attractive
  • and for an eco-warrior woman who wants to ‘buy locally,’ at least made in the same country I live in

So – now I know what I want. I’m still interviewing new cups.

Do you have an all-time favorite coffee cup?

 

Be still my heart, and thank you Google. I just saw that there is one remaining Function Junction store. It’s in Kansas City… something to find on my next trip. Shiny!

Shiny: Something that is great, wonderful, very cool – from Joss Whedon’s TV Series “Firefly”

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Shiny

The screen-grab shot of Captain Picard, above, from “Now pour the tea” An Aesthetic Evaluation of Picard’s Tea Sets

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Missing Kusama: Yayoi Kusama at the High Museum in Atlanta, traveling on…

We’re in the Infinity Room at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the High Museum last December – suspended in the cosmos while the “stars” above and below seem to go on forever. In reality, the little walkway we’re standing on is the center of a tiny room. But like the Tardis, or Snoopy’s doghouse, or Harry Potter’s tent, it seems much bigger inside than outside.

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room November 2018 - High Museum Atlanta

Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Yayoi Kusama – High Museum Atlanta GA

Outside Infinity - Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room at the High Museum Atlanta

What’s outside Infinity? — the gate-keeper.  Only three can go in at one time… and for less than a minute, but we’ve happily stood in a long queue to get this far.

Infinity Room Door - red dots

Another door to infinity, this time with Kusama’s signature soft sculpture forms with obliterating red dots. Peeking in the door at changeover time is almost as interesting as going inside…

That was December. The Kusama show closed February 17, a week ago yesterday. I’d bought tickets early on for November and December dates, not realizing how much I’d want to go again or how soon it would sell out. Then I saw the film Kusama: Infinity, and when the museum did a surprise opening up of ticket sales on the last week, of course I went online to get one. Problem:  I was number 29,593 (-ish) in queue.  I didn’t get a ticket.

So, today I’ll revisit my photos (and wish I’d taken more).

Island in the Sea # 1 - Yayoi Kusama, 1953 - gouache and painted pastel on paper

This small early piece was one of my favorites — Island in the Sea # 1 – Yayoi Kusama, 1953 – gouache and painted pastel on paper. 

Yayoi Kusama 1955 quote - High Museum Atlanta, exhibition 2018-2019

Kusama came to the U.S. and moved to New York. Her soft sewn sculptural work inspired Claes Oldenburg to start his series, her early infinity spaces inspired Lucas Samaras’ successful mirrored rooms, and an exhibition in which she papered the gallery with copies of the same image over and over led Andy Warhol to the idea. But Kusama’s career did not take off like theirs, and she went back to Japan in 1974.

High Museum Exhibition 2018-2019

My Eternal Soul” – recent work – High Museum Exhibition 2018-2019

Yayoi Kusama - as an artist...

Kusama has said the main theme of her art is obsession, that her work is based on “developing her personal psychological problems into art.” When she returned to Japan in the 1970s, she found a mental hospital offering art therapy and checked herself in. She’s almost 90 now, still living in the hospital, going out every day to work in her studio nearby.

One of the many ways Kusama was ahead of her time is how her work expands to encompass us all. It seems made for today’s obsession: social media.  In this show, everyone got into the selfie spirit, even me.

Infinity box at the High Museum exhibition 2018-2019

This was a box to peek into, not to step into.

 

Forget “exit through the gift shop” — viewers got a chance to participate in the theme of obliteration when leaving the exhibition through (of course) the Obliteration Room. Given a set of six multi-colored multi-sized adhesive dots, we each chose where to place our own dot allotment in a room that started out all white.

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum Atlanta - November 2018

Kusama Obliteration Room – the first week of the exhibition. High Museum, Atlanta GA

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum exhibition 2018-2019, Atlanta GA

Here’s the room a month later…

Kusama Obliteration Room - High Museum exhibition 2018-2019, Atlanta GA

.. by this time it was getting hard to find a place that didn’t already have a dot. 

The exhibition has moved on now. Installation for the next one must have begun – here’s what we saw when walking past the museum a few days ago —

High Museum Atlanta GA - banner for Phillips Collection

Putting up the banner for European Masterworks from the Phillips Collection, opening April 6.

 

Now, late again for Cee’s Foto Challenge – CFFC: Color of Your Choice — what color shall I choose? I’m going with “Dot” – can you blame me?

Film, Kusama Infinity – trailer

High Museum exhibitions:

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Art from the Phillips Collection

Atlanta Pride Parade 2018 (Catch-up CFFC “Rainbow Colors”)

It’s hard to get more colorful than the Atlanta (LGBTQ) Pride parade, with its giant rainbow flag. In 2015 we watched the parade coming up Peachtree Street from an upstairs window on the front of the building. Here’s the flag approaching — Atlanta Pride Parade 2015

We missed the next 2 years’ parades while traveling, but were in town for the last fall’s parade. This time I went down to street level — here comes the October 2018 parade.Atlanta Pride parade 2018Atlanta Pride Parade - rainbow flag 2018A little recent history (thanks to Wikipedia) In June 2015, The MoMA – the Museum of Modern Art in New York – acquired the rainbow flag symbol as part of its design collection. Later that month, the White House used rainbow flag colors for illumination to commemorate same-sex marriage legalization in all 50 U.S. states.Atlanta Pride Parade - rainbow flag approaching 2Atlanta Pride Parade - rainbow flag passing 2018

 

Pride parade 2018 - waiting to start

Rainbow colors were everywhere…

 I’m not usually a fan of crowds and noise, but energy and solidarity and goodwill were running high, and it was a joy to be there. Of course it didn’t hurt that they were serving rainbow-iced cupcakes downstairs in the lobby. 

Atlanta Pride Parade Dog 2018

… even pets came to show their support.

I have to admit that after years of seeing rainbow flags, it was just a few months ago — at the Rainbow Crosswalk at 10th and Piedmont no less — that I stared at the pavement and suddenly realized, “There are 7 colors in a rainbow but only 6 colors here! Why?” (if you’re curious, Wikipedia can help with that too)

When I was a child there was a song called “I Love a Parade” my grandmother and her friends used to refer to. Now that I live on a parade-street, I’m beginning to see what they were talking about.

Do you love a parade?

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Rainbow Colors

Atlanta Pride: History

Rainbow Colors: Symbolism

Winter Parks and Streets, Vacating Storage, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones

Christmas week at Lake Anita, Anita Iowa State Park…

Deer in Lake Anita State Park - Anita Iowa

We didn’t have a white Christmas this year. The deer are hard to see until they move, and the white flags of their tails show up against brown and gold surroundings. 

We’ve had some sepia days in Atlanta too…

Atlanta in sepia - clearing after a storm

The end of a storm, with stop lights like little red eyes on the next street over. 

Segue to a cool palate — here’s my November triumph…

Empty storage bin

It’s my second storage bin and YES it’s empty!

With a lot of help, I’m now down to one storage bin. When I sold my house last year, the plan was to get one bin and keep an apartment’s worth of furniture. Then I found at the last minute I wasn’t quite as downsized as I thought I was. The only thing to do was get an extra (but smaller) bin for the overflow. Then at the very last minute, I needed yet another. Bin number three got consolidated in April, and bin number two by the end of November.

Here it is when it was almost empty…

Almost-empty storage bin with vintage dress form

What -? Doesn’t everyone keep a vintage mannequin around for decoration? Oh yeah, and a mineral specimen? And a 70s reel-to-reel recorder? And archived paper towels?

Now that I’ve sneaked a little color in, I’ll share one more storage view. Here’s the first bin this time last year. Some things are gone now, but it’s still packed pretty tight with boxes from the second bin taking the place of some furniture — there’s plenty more work to be done.

Storage bin number one

Always a dilemma – what should I keep and what can go? 

I have to keep the red wicker rocking chair. My great aunt gave it to her husband for their wedding anniversary in 1929. I adopted it in the 80s when they downsized from their farmhouse and moved to town. It spent most of its life as white wicker, but I went a little crazy and painted it red a couple of years ago.

It’s still an odd feeling to go visit my stuff in storage — sort of like a window into my past life. Soon (I hope) I’ll be down to just what I intended to keep.

Have you ever had a storage bin? I’d love to hear others’ experiences with downsizing.

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones

Amsterdam Bicycles (Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bicycles, Tricycles…)

Bicycle wheels — where are we? Amsterdam of course. Where else can you go where you can’t even take a photo of the iguana-sculpture without getting bicycles in the frame?

Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen in 2014 - Amsterdam square with iguana sculptures

When I looked up the name of the park – Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen – I found out the iguanas are gone now. They’ve been removed and, appropriately for this post, the area is now used for bicycle parking.

When it comes to bicycles, it’s hard to imagine more in any one place than there are in Amsterdam. I just re-discovered these photos from a 2014 trip. Here’s the bicycle parking lot near the central train station —

Amsterdam: bicycle park at the Central Train Station

There’s parking on the bridges too. I liked this one, and wondered how long it had been there. Look closely: an enterprising spider was happy to set up housekeeping…

Amsterdam bicycle with spider web

Bridge-parking: I think it’s been there for a while.

Amsterdam - Wood Bicycle

We were impressed to come upon this handsome wooden bicycle.

It even has a story…

Amsterdam Wooden Bicycle - the story

“I am a wooden bike and my owner is the Banks Mansion Hotel behind me. Because I am made from wood, I am totally recyclable and good for the environment…”

Then, we saw this wooden one, which appears to have seen some good use.

Amsterdam - wooden bicycle 'Cool Endeavour'

It has a name!  — “Cool Endeavour”

I came home from that 2014 trip to more work on downsizing, trying to get to the point where I could sell my house. It took three years after that, but by the fall of 2017, I’d moved. Travel is so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have to worry about my house. Still, as a Hoarder, I haven’t quite come clean. But, a storage bin is more manageable than an entire house… and, hopefully I’ll downsize to smaller storage someday soon. I’m working on it.

And — Happy New Year!  Wishing everyone safe travels in 2019.

Previous posts: Amsterdam: Coming Home, and Amsterdam: Orange

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bicycles, Tricycles, Motorcycles, Wagons

Iowa Farm Fun, Baby Chicks, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Farm Animals

Picture a warm summer day in the midwest. I’m on my way through Iowa. The corn is about as high as an elephant’s knee, and I see — a giraffe! Wait, what? That’s what happened to me last summer…

Iowa corn giraffe

Seen grazing just north of Clarinda Iowa. I was hurrying to meet a friend, so found the giraffe again on my way back for its photo op. S/he was still there a few weeks later, on my next midwest trip.

By October’s trip most of the corn was harvested, and I didn’t see the giraffe anywhere. But “just up the road a piece” something else caught my eye…  It’s further from the road than it looks here. I used significant zoom.

Iowa: roadside moose

A moosely cutout. It’s good to know that farmers have a sense of humor. I wonder how many people noticed this Iowa moose. It was still there on Thanksgiving week.

And yes, the title here is “Farm Animals.” I haven’t forgotten. But these are animals (sort of)– and they’re on a farm.

Here’s a little farm-reality from same part of the country. On last year’s trip I saw these squirmy baby chicks at the Mennonite Country Store. They wouldn’t hold still for their close-up …

Chicks at Galaxy Country Store

Chicks at the Galaxy Country Store – I heard them peeping before I saw them. 

All the Easters of my childhood flashed before my eyes at the first peep, each year’s downy chick a little side-kick to follow me around, to be raised in the yard and eventually taken back to the farm by the time Easter came again. Now I suddenly wonder what happened to them after they went home. At the time, I pictured them hanging out in the pasture, garden, and chicken house with the flock, eating bugs, laying eggs, squawking, scratching, all those chicken-activities. But, um… now I know that life is not kind to chickens. Still, I hope they survived.

Are there Easter chicks in your past?

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Farm Animals

Snow, Thanksgiving, Aerial Views, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold

Thanksgiving week in the midwest — need I say more?

Thanksgiving snow storm

Snow at the house next door: I love how a blizzard gets creative with drifting snow. Check out the roofline — how does that even happen?

Snow basketball at Kansas City airport

Snowbound basketball goal: a view out the window at MCI, the Kansas City airport. I have to wonder who plays basketball there (and why they aren’t loading our bags or putting more snacks on our plane – isn’t it all about us…?)

Snow on the ground - Aerial view, leaving MCI, Kansas City to Atlanta flight

You’d recognize me on any flight. I’m the one in the window seat, monopolizing the view. Especially if there’s a smokestack with the light behind it.

Aerial view, Missouri river and snow

The Big Muddy (Missouri River) rolls on… aerial view, leaving Kansas City

Sometimes it snows in Atlanta too. Here’s an example from last year, looking down on the parking lot next door…

A little night parking on Peachtree St

A little night parking …

Have you been snowed in lately? (one day was enough for us)

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge