Vintage Flamingo Figurines, My Goofy Collections Part 4, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

Pink plastic flamingos have been popping up on people’s yards for decades (say that fast 3 times). I’ve only got the china kind. At some point in my Art-Deco-to-Midcentury-loving past I must have acquired a flamingo figurine and tended it lovingly enough to inspire friends to give me flamingos. We hoarder-types are always appreciative, so thank you friends, but now I need to downsize. My fabulous flamingos must fly to new homes.

Flamingo figurines - collection

Conflagration of flamingos…

A few flew away earlier – there were souvenir flamingos on my desk at work through a few moves, finally given to an especially nice office-cleaning lady who admired them. My sister in law gave me a feathered one who brightened up flower pots but eventually succumbed to the damp, and an early-inspiration plastic lawn ornament.

As for flamingo lawn ornaments, they were born in Massachusetts in 1957 and achieved their ironic celebrity with the opening credits of John Waters’ film Pink Flamingos (1972).

“The real plastic flamingo is in a sense extinct, Waters says: ‘You can’t have anything that innocent anymore.’”  — Smithsonian

I’m glad I switched from plastic to china. With a little googling, I’m alarmed to see that pink flamingos and garden gnomes are the most popular lawn ornaments. You can get your own “garden gnome eating pink flamingos” and of course,  zombie flamingos and garden gnomes… and so on. I see I’d better be careful about where I let my china flock go. But wherever it is, those pink question-mark necks will always be graceful.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: I don’t have any garden gnomes — do you?

 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Graceful

More on pink-flamingo lawn ornaments from Smithsonian

Warm Winter, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Nothing contributes to a little outdoor ambience like a 70-degree weekend. Out for a walk last Sunday, I finally stopped to appreciate the design of this raised walkway in Piedmont Park…Raised walkway in Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA

Looking  back, and back again ….

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And here’s a little Atlanta Beltline ambience from Saturday…

Sign painting, restaurant on the Beltline, Atlanta GA

Touching up, sign painting on the Atlanta Beltline: New Year, New Food

And on the home front: outdoor ambience from yesterday. This squirrel found something tasty on the rim of a flower pot in my back yard. This pot-licking went on for several minutes.

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Or maybe it was some kind of new squirrel-yoga?

squirrel-dsc00046Of course warm days in January can affect our feelings in less positive ways too — waking thoughts of climate change. There’s always a niggling fear beneath the delight with warmer temperatures. But this is the South, so there’s some chance it’s not that unusual. I’m hoping it’s just what we Mid-westerners used to call the “January Thaw”.

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience and the January Thaw

P.S. – what should I be feeding that squirrel?

How Much Coffee is Enough? and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient

I figured out a long time ago that if I want to be resilient, there will have to be coffee. Organizing shelves and unpacking boxes of stored stuff showed me I must be really resilient by now — I have way too many coffee makers.Cafe Press, Chemex, and Drip Cup

My once-beloved Pyrex stove-top percolator is long gone but not forgotten. The Chemex on the left was a lucky find of the same era. At the time, Chemex was the epitome of cool and way out of my price range. Then one day I walked into the local Salvation Army store and was astonished to find one for $2.00… Sold! The French-press pots are recent, and make me feel ever so continental — not to mention green, for being filter-free — but they’re a pain to wash.

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Cappuccino makers basking in a ray of morning sun…

Two of these cappuccino makers were packed away in Bob’s boxes, so before donating, I’ll have to see if they still work. (It’s hard to believe now that in pre-Starbucks days we went all the way to Italy to discover cappuccino) I won’t include a photo of my standard coffee pot – it’s been misbehaving anyway.

Lately it’s all just too much trouble and this has been my coffee-maker —

Instant Coffee

We discovered it as hotel-coffee when traveling – it’s actually pretty good

Here on earth our relationship with a morning cup of coffee is complex. And now we hear that climate change is threatening coffee crops. (Do you hear that, politicians? How can anyone resist fighting climate change when coffee is at stake?)

But wait — when I savor that morning cup, I may feel slightly virtuous if I throw my coffee grounds into the compost, but I haven’t even been considering climate change, or excess waste and pollution from processing plants that pollute waterways, or deforestation resulting when farmers replace traditional shade-growing methods with sun cultivation.  I just get up in the morning and stumble into the kitchen to make my cup of instant-gratification. I haven’t noticed any shade-grown instant, but when I switched to instant I wasn’t thinking, wasn’t looking.

I need to get back to shopping and consuming more responsibly. Guess I’ll start by dusting off one of the coffee-makers (and we’ll see if I have the resilience to give up my instant gratification). Surely I can at least manage the over-the-cup drip coffee (first photo) —  I even found the cute little filters that go with it. I’m hoping that’ll help me work my way back to filter-free with the French-press pot.

How do you like your coffee? And do you have enough coffee-makers?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient

How to Green Your Cup of Coffee

A Way Forward, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

I’m not sure if this is a path or a dry creek bed (is that symbolic or what?).  Whichever it is, I see that the way forward is somewhat obscured and, like my own way forward, could use some decluttering.

Path or Dry Creek?

Path or Dry Creek? It’s tough going forward when you’re not even sure of the path.

Here’s the path over the path – a covered footbridge from yesterday’s walk. In this view, the library is behind me. I hope that’s not symbolic…

In this view, the library is behind me, I hope that's not symbolic

Here’s a quote I got through the Unclutterer, referring to a post on Declutter 101 about establishing “Clutter Preserves” — I love it!

“Accept reality by establishing dedicated clutter preserves. Like wildlife preserves, these are limited areas where clutter may live freely, so long as it stays within boundaries. In a bedroom, one chair becomes the clutter preserve. Clothing may be thrown with abandon, so long as it’s thrown on the chair.”            … from Declutter 101

And yes, my clutter preserves definitely need to shrink. But now I have a name for them. It’s surprising how much that helps. Once recognized, I can more easily establish boundaries, and with current clutter contained I can spend more energy on unpacking boxes and dispersing the archived clutter that’s been roaming freely throughout the basement for years now.

One problem with letting clutter roam free is that it’s then able to go forth and multiply. Here’s to birth control for clutter. Mine definitely needs it, does yours?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

Views, Tree-cutting Guilt, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

I miss having a view of the horizon. I’ve loved the trees here in Georgia, but they do obscure the view. Here’s my one sliver of horizon-view — can you see a little pink over the retaining wall? That’s the sunrise.  I didn’t have this view until a couple of months ago.

New retaining wall and sunrise When we moved here, there was already an oak tree towering over the driveway. At first, I parked my truck beside the wall, but surprise! —  the acorns fell from such a height that I got “hail” damage on it when they fell.

The tree was only a couple of feet from the wall, and not far from the foundation of my neighbor’s house on the other side. I did worry about it every time we had a storm, but worried more seriously when I saw that, with the old wall down, there wasn’t a tree root in sight. What was holding the tree up? By that time it was even taller, leaning slightly toward my house, and with most of its branches on this side. I still feel bad about this, but I had the tree taken down. That’s what gave me the sliver of horizon.

Behind the retaining wall

Here it is with the wall down — no roots!

Tree down in the driveway

Here’s the tree-top, down now, in my driveway. I didn’t have the heart to go outside.

Now here’s a horizon view from Sam’s condo in Midtown —

Western horizon view from Midtown AtlantaAt least it was the horizon view — now there are new business and apartment towers being built, and this horizon view will soon be slivers too.

Views can be scenes, perspective, convictions, and beliefs. I want to expand my horizons in all those ways. I’d like to find a place in the city after I get my house downsized — but I’ll have to remember that all views can change. Meanwhile here’s one more photo from the same location, a bit more panoramic, still “before” new towers.

Midtown Atlanta evening view

Here’s to 2017 — may all your new horizons be panoramic.  I’m looking forward to finding new views as well as new opportunities — how about you? 

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

Cabin Fever, Cabinet Fever, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

My fortune cookie said “Now is the time for peace in your life” but I can’t relax while I still have so many messy spots in the house. There’s still a long way to go from here to Hoarder Came Clean, but staying in on rainy days has been a big help. I’ll take every little victory I can.

My kitchen pantry cabinet went from piled up to somewhat organized… (in what universe do I need 3 boxes of cornstarch when I can’t remember the last time I used any?)

Kitchen Pantry Cabinet

Edited somewhat by the time I took this photo… and edited a bit more afterward.

Some pretty old stuff had migrated to the back — and why it was in the food cupboard is anyone’s guess. Here, for example, are the contents of a chocolate tin full of matches. My favorites here are like a story of my life.

Vintage matchbooks

Vintage matchbooks and boxes, and yeah, I’m pretty sure a matchbox won’t hold all my clothes.

Every place used to have matches to give away and apparently I liked to have them as souvenirs. Now I remember my onetime favorite Kansas City restaurants, long closed — The Souper, The Prospect of Westport; and restaurants from the UK, Athens, Amsterdam, New York City.  There’s Asti (NYC), where the waiters were opera singers and everyone waved white handkerchiefs and sang “arrivederchi Roma” when leaving. It might even still be there… ah, sadly, no, I just looked. It closed in 2000.

There are even matches from the Milgram’s grocery store chain, stores long since acquired. All this reminds me that I probably have a bigger collection of matchbooks somewhere. I presume they’ll show up in their own good time. As for now, I found a “lazy susan” in the basement and organized the cabinet so I can get to everything. I’m not sure what to do with all the matches. (Bonfire of the vanities?)

Here are my reorganized cabinets, upper and lower … oops, now I see I neglected to clear out the drawer between them. It’ll keep me entertained on the next rainy day.

Upper kitchen pantry-cabinet "after"They’re still too full. I’ll have to remember to cook from the pantry first, not from the grocery store. It’s past time to whittle down supplies. Meanwhile, I can relax a little, with one more corner at least semi-organized.

Lower pantry kitchen cabinet - "after"

Do you have any cabinets left to clean out? And can you relax until you do?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax

And for opera lovers, more on Asti

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Black Friday, Black Cats, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic

It’s Black Friday, the big sale day after Thanksgiving here in the US — the day for dedicated downsizers to remember NOT to shop.

That said, I still like to go antiquing. It’s more like time travel than shopping. I get to see things like my parents and grandparents had when I was growing up. There’s an almost-magical aura of presence about vintage objects, or maybe it’s a patina, spiritual as well as physical.

And, bonus — whenever I find an antique store with a resident animal, I’m instantly in love. Here’s a little black-cat-magic from a recent stop at Through the Years, in Bedford Iowa.

Black Cat Jack at Through the Years Antiques in Bedford Iowa

Black Cat ‘Jack’ at Through the Years Antiques in Bedford Iowa — The only thing better than a store with a cat? — a store with two cats (and a bird!) There must be magic involved, because the cats wander everywhere and the glassware survives.

Some stores have dogs…

Soulful Wiener Dog at Board of Trade Consignments

Could you resist this face? — (not for sale though) — Board of Trade Consignments in Roswell Georgia

And sleeping dogs still lie, at the Rescued Too shop, in Marietta Georgia.

Sleeping Dogs still lie, at the 'Rescued Too' shop in Marietta Georgia

So, maybe I will go shopping on Black Friday. Not for things — sorry Economy, I won’t be helping you out today… but my companions might — I’ll shop for some magical antique interest, and if I’m lucky, a little bonus cat-and-dog sighting.

What are you shopping for today?

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic