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

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.

 

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Keeping Magazines, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Places People Live

Coming home after back-to-back trips —  the first one the longest vacation I’ve taken in years — gives me a fresh look at my surroundings. Sam’s condo has always been much neater than my house was when I was downsizing. I knew my piles of reading material were accumulating, but living here every day, I didn’t quite notice how much. It’s not just what I’m currently reading or even what I’m planning to read, I’m holding on to what I’ve already read and “might want to see again”.

Here’s a sampling from the stack in the corner…How old are some of these magazines?    *Blush* — um, decades.

First — Smithsonian, 1982.  “Yak caravan makes way back to Tibet after trading in Nepal.” I couldn’t possibly let this go, could I? Because: yaks!

Smithsonian 1982

I’m focusing on magazines. For books I (maybe) have better excuses. Some of these magazines are here because I found them in storage, brought them back to sort out and still haven’t let go; some are recently accumulated.

Utne Reader, 1992. Here’s an oldie, but somehow I can’t seem to move on. It may be from decades past but I still want to “free myself from consumer culture.” (I’m working on it)

Utne Reader 1992

 

Annals of Improbable Research, 1996. Bob used to take this magazine, and I found several in the basement.

Annals of Improbable Research, 1996

More on Improbable Research:  In case you didn’t notice, this issue’s cover photo features seeing an image of ET in a “ventral view of Capillaria (Nematoda: Trichinelloidea) from the epithelium of the tongue of a long nosed bandicoot” from New South Wales, Australia.

 

The New Yorker, May 1990. Clearly I should never subscribe, if I still have an issue after this long. Upon examination, it doesn’t have the article I thought I was keeping it for. (Maybe here’s one I can pass along after all)

The New Yorker, May 1990

 

Aura Publications, 1976. This is the oldest one in the stack and here’s a mystery. I remember having a photograph accepted in an exhibition called Aura, but that would have been a decade later.  I wasn’t taking photography classes yet in 1976. I have a list of publications somewhere; I’ll check that out next time it surfaces.

Aura Publications, June 1976

 

Writer’s magazines – at last, something contemporary. I’ve kept these to refer to, but shouldn’t I move on?

Writer's Digest and Writer's Chronicle

 

Star Trek cruise activity schedule, 2018. Technically not a magazine, but it insinuated itself into the stack. I kept it after our January vacation because I wanted to research a couple of the space and science presentations. Time to scan it if I think I still need to, and let this one go. See? Worf is glowering at me for keeping it all these months.

Star Trek cruise catalog

There must be a lesson here. (Besides the shout out that “Hey, writers and photographers, there’s someone out here who appreciates your work enough to hold on to it!”)

I also have clipped-out articles for how to do something, magazines with great photos, and other quirky things of interest — special thanks here to Bob’s 1980-90s stash of Smithsonians.  I’ve tried online subscriptions, with the result that I never got around to reading the issues. Apparently I need a real presence to pay attention. Last year I asked the library about donating subscriptions, then going there to read the magazines. Apparently that’s complicated, and I was not met with enthusiasm.

I could do a massive scan project, or maybe I just need to realize I can’t keep everything that interests me, and move on. Are you a keeper of magazines, and if so, how do you rein yourself in?

 

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Using my Car as a Storage Bin, Missing my Truck, and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

 I’m still downsizing, even though I sold my house and moved last October. At least I’ve gone from three storage bins to two, but I seem to be stuck getting to one. Here’s what happens when I take stuff out of storage but I don’t want to bring it into the condo where it will be in the way…

My car - my storage bin

My car – my movable storage bin – and this is just the back seat. The trunk is full too. That Ohaus scale is a real oldie, once used for measuring out photographic chemicals. 

I got into this mode of movable storage when I still had my (beloved) truck. While parked in the garage at the house it was also handy for accumulating donations and recyclables, then for delivering them. I bought the truck in 1990, before moving to the Atlanta area. It was not so easy to drive in the city, but I still couldn’t seem to give it up even after buying a car in 2005.

My 1990 Nissan pick-up

Here it is last fall, parked in its foster-care driveway, waiting to be donated. It’s gone on to a new home now.

I need to get over the bad habit of car storage. On the night before I left town on a trip last week I noticed I’d sold a book on Amazon. Where was it? Oh yes, it was in my car. In the trunk. Somewhere.

Car Storage - Full trunk

Oops, where are the books? — a classic case of “Hello! This is the Universe; you really need to get organized.”

I trekked down to the parking garage at 10PM, pulled everything out of the trunk, found the book and took it along with me the next morning to mail on arrival.  What was the book?

Droodles # 1, by Roger Price

Droodles – “riddles expressed in visual form”

Here are some examples…

Droodles - Spider Doing a Handstand

The next page assures us it could also be “Total Eclipse of the Sun on a Stick,” ” Family of Worms Stuck in a Caramel apple,” or “Frightened Mop.”

Droodles - Fat Man Smoking

I think this one looks more like a turtle. Of course, that may be because I spent a good part of the morning watching and photographing turtles in the lake at Piedmont Park.

Droodles - Man in a Tuxedo

… or a turbolift, if you happen to be a Star Trek fan.

Now it’s time to start answering the call of the Universe and sort out some “stuff”. I’ve been trying to get organized for years now, so wish me luck on that?

P.S. Now, what’s stored in your car?

 

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Buttons, My Goofy Collections Part 5, and Catching up with the Weekly Photo Challenge: “Ooh – Shiny!”

I must have been desperate for distraction…  Sorting out my closet a while back, something caught my eye — a little pile of buttons. Ooh — shiny! Tucked underneath were even more, all in little envelopes, the kind that come attached to shirts and blouses with replacement buttons inside. Over time (20 years at least), I’d tossed them in to keep them handy in case I needed to replace lost ones.

A jar full of extra buttons

Buttons – all together now

Here they are on the day of distraction – and see, I’d even kept the little cards of extra yarn that came with sweaters.

Sorting extra buttons

Sorting extra buttons…

I don’t think I ever used any of the buttons OR the yarn. Later, sorting yet another drawer, I found Bob’s cache of extra shirt buttons.  Apparently still desperate to procrastinate, I took out all the buttons and put the paper envelopes in the recycle bin. All but one or two sweaters were long gone so there was nothing I could do with the yarn.

It’s been a while since I added to the button stash, so I’d almost forgotten I had them (must have something to do with living in T-shirts now that I’m retired).

What to do with the buttons? This afternoon I took them to the lady at the Alterations shop to see if she could use them, along with a bag full of assorted spools of thread, seam binding, and other sewing supplies I sorted out. She seemed happy to get them, and, she’s fixing one of my old favorite shirts that was missing a few buttons.

Are you a fellow button-hoarder?

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The Best Way to Find Lost Things, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

The best way to find something lost is to lose something else.  It’s a complicated dance. It’s as if, in order to find the lost thing, something else must go missing to leave room for it to waltz back into my life.

A few weeks ago I needed my old TWA employee number and guess what, I’d just shredded a file cabinet full of paperwork.   Still, I knew I’d seen an old access badge somewhere. Could  the number be on it? I looked everywhere I could think of, but it remained stubbornly  lost.

Then I needed a pre-phone address book but couldn’t find it.  That must have triggered a call for the badge to come back. I took innocent hold of a dresser drawer handle and the entire drawer jumped out and emptied itself at my feet.

Dresser Drawer Collapse

No, “Up Your Kilt” is not what I was looking for.

And guess what was in the drawer — my badge. I found the number, but my old address book is still lost.

I’d forgotten this dresser drawer and it yielded some crazy stuff.  Among the old employee-anniversary pins, notebooks, and archived glasses were these three kinds of cards.

Computer punched cards

Punched cards! This dis-assember deck would have been Bob’s

Punched cards are nice to for turning over and writing lists on the back.  (In case you’re a compulsive list maker)Grannie Smiles card

This tiny playing card must be leftover from a long-ago and now forgotten deck. That bird looks a little predatory to me, but Grannie seems happy enough and has a cat to keep her feet warm. TWA Term Pass From my TWA Term Pass – I thought I’d hit the jackpot with this card BUT it doesn’t have my employee number on it.

I wanted to photograph the badge I found when the drawer leapt out at me, but now it’s disappeared again. I guess that means it’s time for the lost address book to come back.  But never mind, I’m satisfied, I found the number I needed  — or it found me — and have already sent away for my retiree standby card.

How do you find lost things?

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Keeping Keys, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

This challenge calls for a collection “found in the wild or assembled ourselves.” You could almost say I found this group of keys in the wild, since I found them when clearing out my house and it got a little wild around here, disorganization-wise. Every time I unpacked something and found a key, I added it to the box.

Most of these keys were Bob’s but a few were his father’s. I see Bob’s Celica key, and I’ll bet those Volkswagon keys were for all the beloved Karman Ghias that came before. I like the tiny key in the yellow box. It would be perfect for a charm bracelet.

Bob's keys

Bob’s keys — a multi-year collection. 

I have my own father’s key ring too. He used to hang it on a pocket of his over-alls. Growing up, I saw it on the corner of my parents’ dresser every night.

My father's Key ring

My father’s key ring

They’re old keys now, and some quite beautiful. There’s something so personal about keys, and just a sight of the key ring of a beloved parent or partner somehow slices away the years and brings the person closer.

I keep my own keys too — do you keep yours?

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Remodeling, Painting Paneling, and the Weekly photo Challenge: Delta

One of the biggest changes I made to this house started back in February, documented in this earlier post on remodeling (and chaos).  Here’s a “before” shot of the room behind the mysterious plastic drape in that post —

Dark Judges paneling - I called it the 'Morris Room'

Dark Judges paneling – I called it the ‘Morris Room’ and yes, I knew it was too cluttered, but never got around to styling the shelves before it was time to pack up.

Of course it’s nothing like a real (William) Morris Room, say the cafe at the V&A in London, but I can dream, can’t I?

The Real Morris Room Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (from the V&A Museum website)

The Real Thing — Morris room, 1866 – 8. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (photo from the V&A Museum website)

When we first moved in, Bob liked the dark paneling, and I didn’t mind it. Though I eventually came around to the idea of painting it to lighten the room, without help, I doubt I would have trusted anyone to do a good job on the painting. Now I’m indebted to my organizer/designer/Renaissance woman helper, Leigh, able to leap small buildings and boss around unruly contractors. Here’s the room on the way to getting emptied out.

Starting to pack up my "Morris Room"...

Starting to pack up my “Morris Room”…

The other side, with cut-out for the bar area

The other side, with the old cut-out for the bar area

Transition continues with painting, and the bar area gets enclosed —

Changes to the "Morris Room"

Changes to the “Morris Room” (I’m not a fan of the enclosure, but it’s done now).

Painting the "Morris Room"

Painting the “Morris Room” – almost ready for the floor.

Starting over in the Morris Room

Starting over …

Painted paneling - new Morris Room

Painted paneling, and restyling by Leigh – I suppose we shouldn’t keep calling it the “Morris Room”

Lighter, brighter, and with new cabinet hardware and an updated ceiling fixture…I’m hoping it’s enough to freshen up my vintage furniture.

There is one funny thing about all these changes. As each project gets completed, I feel a little thrill of recognition — as if somehow I knew all along this is what I would end up doing, and how it would turn out, even if I couldn’t have articulated it before. I’m hoping that means I’m on the right path.

How’d we do? Let me know what you think — about the room, that is, not about how I’m a day late on the Delta photo challenge.

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A Perfect Vacuum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient

It’s hard to be a nomad when you have to clean house every day. Why so clean? Here’s why —Home for SaleI’ve been downsizing for a long time now, but the last several weeks have put frantic full-time-focus on getting ready to sell. Finally getting a chance to get back to the blogging world is a good sign. I’m hoping my state of transience comes soon.

Staging is the rage for real estate marketing. Now, every morning I get up and set about obliterating all traces of my habitation. I polish the tub, shower, and sinks, sweep the hardwood floors, tidy up my workstation and put away all papers I had out the night before. Did I drink some coffee? Wash that cup! (or hide it in the dishwasher) Then, the very last thing — I vacuum the upstairs carpet. It’s new carpet, just installed June 5.

Here’s the thing — it tracks. I was so focused on getting a good neutral color that I didn’t even think about tracking. Now I see everywhere I’ve been. At first I cursed myself for not spending a bit more time to come up with a firmer weave carpet that wouldn’t show tracks. Then I realized, this could be an advantage.  When someone looks at the house, I can see where they’ve been!  Were they interested enough to look in the closets? Did they check the view out the window? Now I’m vacuum-obsessed.

Footprints in the carpeting

Bigfoot was here…(that’s me)

My staging-advisor asked what I was reading. “Get out an interesting book or two, put them on your nightstand,” she said, “make it look more home-like.” Mind you, this is after we’d de-cluttered like mad and (under duress) I’d sold, donated, or stored away most of the books. But, I’d hidden a secret stash in my car, so I took a quick look and came up with this —

Bedside Table: Vignette with Stanislaw Lem

Can you see the title on the bottom book?

Here it is in close-up —

How’s this for inspiration as I do my morning vacuum and step-erasure?

Wish me luck?

P.S. The top book is Chasing the Nightbird, by friend Krista Russell

 

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Remodeling, Donations, Chaos, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

The painters are here – this one’s just a shadow shrouded behind a drape of plastic to keep out the dust. Things can get a little spooky looking when the light is just right…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenHere we are in daylight…

Painter in the shadows, behind a plastic screenAs you can see (off to the left) everything is piled up everywhere.

Here’s the kitchen last week when it was enshrouded too.  It’s pretty much cleaned up now, and a new fridge delivered too.

Kitchen under wraps - shrouded in plastic The old fridge, now donated, is currently for sale at the Fur Kids Thrift Store. It was working just fine, but updated for cosmetic purposes (hmm, now that I think of it, I could use a little updating for cosmetic purposes myself). Here it is taking its leave.

Old fridge loaded to Fur Kids truck

Out of the shadowy house and into the light — the old fridge gets loaded to the Fur Kids truck.  It’s too bad we can see one foot of the guy doing the loading — otherwise, it almost looks like it’s rolling itself out, leaning forward into a new life.

I’m delighted to have found the Fur Kids thrift store nearby. That makes two stores in this area that benefit animal rescue, Fur Kids and Rescued Too. They’re my new favorite places to take donations.

Fur Kids truck

I love the waving-kitty logo…

What’s your favorite place for donations?

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