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.

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Colorful Monotones

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?

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week’s Places People Live

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?

 

More on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Dragon Con Cosplay, Time Travel to 2012, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

The Face in the Crowd challenge asks how we can mask our subjects yet still let their uniqueness show through. The idea is making use of shadows, angles, or silhouettes, but I’m taking “mask” to heart and going for cosplay.

My hoarder instincts were challenged yesterday when I thought I’d lost a photo library I’d migrated from an old laptop before its hard drive failed. Panic — I am downsizing stuff, not photo files! Now in celebration of lost-is-found, I’m choosing photos from the virtual hoard today. Set your DeLorean DMC-12s for 2012 — and here we are in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, at Dragon Con:

Dragon Con Cosplay 2012

An expression perhaps too intent to be covering a giggle — maybe gobbling up a raw (or living) snack?

My Little Ponies - Dragon Con Parade 2012.

On the bright side – My Little Ponies prance (happily, always: ponies are happy!) in the parade.

Dragon Con Parade 2012 - Bender from Futurama

Bender: Our favorite “lovable rascal” from Futurama

Steampunk witch Dragon Con 2012

Steampunk was just gathering, um, steam, back in 2012, when they’d recently got their own track and their own exhibition space. I was impressed by this witch, her goggles, and her mechanical broom. I have not yet been able to convince my vacuum to fly.

Periodic Table of the Elements - Radon - Dragon Con Parade 2012

The Science Track marches as the Periodic Table of the Elements — here we have RN, radon. Not in our houses, we hope.

Polonium Polo - Periodic Table of the Elements Dragon Con Parade 2012

Polonium Polo – Periodic Table of the Elements

Francium - Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con Parade 2012

Francium – Periodic Table of the Elements. Striped shirt: check. Beret: check. Cigarette: check. Dog? Clearly I should have zoomed out…

Copper -Periodic Table of the Elements - Dragon Con 2012

And just in case someone gets out of line, we have CU: Copper

 

I love the absurdity and creativity of Cosplay. It’s always fun to see what new things people come up with.  I could see myself as Faceless Old Woman (from ‘Welcome to Night Vale’). What would you choose?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd

More on Dragon Con

Home, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

“Home”- where is it?  The question has been on my mind since selling the house where I lived for a couple of decades, the house I worked so hard to downsize.  Two trips to the Midwest over the holidays, and a recent post by blogger Mabel Kwong made me think even more about the concept of home.

little bitty Kansas City

I call this “little bitty Kansas City”

When I fly into Kansas City I like to get a seat on the right side of the plane, so I can see downtown. It doesn’t look like much from this altitude, but Kansas City was my home for a couple of decades too. I loved it, and only moved because I had to, to keep my job. Here are some variations on the road home to Kansas City.

Missouri river at Kansas City

Bridges over the Missouri River, a gloomy day just before Thanksgiving.

Here’s the “Big Muddy” — the Missouri River. Yes, Kansas City is in the state of Missouri. If you’re one of the people who asks me if I’m going to Kansas for the holidays, I forgive you.

Missouri River north of Kansas City

I love looking for patterns in the fields.

The river is not always so well behaved. The year we moved was a flood year. In one of those boxes I’ll find in my storage bin (someday, maybe) I have a trove of aerial photos of the river swollen in flood.

Snow after Christmas- Kansas City 2017

By Christmas, there were patterns in the snow.

Flying into Kansas City

Here’s a photo from back in October when it was still green…the first week of October is my favorite time to be in the country. The leaves are just starting to turn, the light is slanting, and the air is never clearer than on an October day.

I’m one of the few people left on the planet who’s still enthusiastic about looking down from an airplane, no matter where I’m going. The Midwest may still be one of the places that seems like home to me, but from the air, the whole Earth is home.

Where is home for you?

More on the Big Muddy

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

 

Skylines, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

I’m from the midwest, so getting to see the Atlanta skyline every day now is a real treat for me. Why? Because now I can see the horizon, something I’ve missed in the years since moving here and living in a house beneath the tree canopy. But now the city is full of construction growth, and it looks like my chances for a horizon view could soon be gone. There’s still some space to the left of this view, but more new towers may be going up.

Atlanta forest of construction

If Atlanta is “a city in a forest”, right now it’s a forest of construction cranes, a big change from my now ex-house in the ‘burbs. This was a windy day, as you can see by the trees.

 Meanwhile, I’m having fun with the artifacts of growth…

Moon and red crane

The red crane is my favorite, so I keep trying to catch the moon in it

Then there’s waking up on a fogged-in white-out morning, with otherwise normal construction noises taking on an eerie quality, clacking and booming out of the nothing.

Atlanta white-out fog

‘The truth is out there’ and so are the people who are working.

The sunsets can be amazing…Sunset and Atlanta Biltmore

as can the street views. They’d stopped traffic for this next operation, and yes, I felt like I might not be parked in quite the most comfortable place.

Atlanta construction - street view

Next door to the new Whole Foods that’s going up on Spring Street.

Still, we’re small potatoes compared to “real” cities like New York. We don’t have that ultimate skyline view, our own iconic bridges, or the equivalent of the Chrysler Building.

Flying to New York March 2014

Flying in, March 2014. I always think of crystals growing upward.

Atlanta won’t be this dense anytime soon, so I may hold onto a little bit of skyline for a while yet.

What’s in your favorite view?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth