Surprise Lilies, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

Here’s a favorite flower that I just can’t seem to grow in Georgia. In the midwest we called them “surprise lilies” aka hardy amarylis.  Here’s a close-up —

Surprise Lilies/Hardy Amarylis

Surprise lilies, photo taken last week on a trip home to Northwest Missouri

And what’s so narrow about surprise lilies? You judge —

Surprise Lilies/ Hardy Amarylis

This clump is just beginning to bloom. And, they are fast growers. When we walked by the following day most of the new stems had shot up to the height of the old blooms.

Look Ma, no leaves. The foliage comes up in early spring and dies down shortly after, all about the time spring bulbs bloom. Then, surprise, in July or August the narrow flower stems pop up.

One reason I can’t grow them is that I can hardly ever find them for sale. But even when I think I have, I plant them and they never come up (and that’s no surprise any more, since I’ve tried several times). To me they’re an heirloom plant, a childhood memory and symbol of home.

I can’t complain too much, since right now I have a backyard full of phlox and four o’clocks and black-eyed susans, but a few surprise lilies in the mix would be comforting. Like the peonies and lilacs I got from my mother and grandmother, they don’t grow well here, and they’re now a potent memory of the yard I had in Kansas City. And, speaking of hoarding (which I hadn’t got around to mentioning yet), that yard was full of plants I hoarded, er, collected, all my life. I need to remember that even though I had to move on, the plants-of-my-life are still going/growing strong in yards all over the midwest, and I can still drop by and enjoy them.

Are you missing some favorite plants?

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Sustainability, “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at the High Museum, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Curve

Here’s to sustainability in sneakerdom: the undulating wave-like curves on this ocean-inspired sneaker are threads made from reclaimed, recycled plastic ocean waste. The Ocean Plastic Program’s goal is to end plastic pollution of the oceans.

Adidas/Parley for the Ocean sneaker - High Museum 'Rise of Sneaker Culture'

Prototype sneaker: Adidas, in partnership with Parley for the Oceans, and industrial designer Alexander Taylor ( Retail availability 2016)

There’s a lot more to see in “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Though it’s a mostly boy-centric show,  I still found things of interest — like these silver moon-boots…

Moon Boot inspired sneaker - The Rise of Sneaker Culture at the High Museum, Atlanta

Sneaker moon boots! (well, sorta)

2014:   100 pairs were created in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, and released on July 20 at 4:18 pm, the exact time of the landing of the lunar module in 1969. This sneaker sold for $196.90 to honor the date.
GE, Android Homme, and JackThreads collaborated on the design, using GE materials, including GE’s silicone rubber (as in original moon-walk boots) .

Puma and Undefeated, Clyde Gametime Gold "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" - High Museum, Atlanta

Still shiny — Christian Louboutain Roller-Boat.

2012. Gold pony-skin uppers with studs, for men who “treat shoes very much as objects, as collectors’ items.”

And while we’re still on in the realm of gold, let’s segue to sports…

Clyde Gametime Gold - "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" - High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Puma and Undefeated, Clyde Gametime Gold, 2012

Puma archive – these are an homage to the gold medal winners of the US Olympic basketball team.

Next, here’s an early pair of lady-shoes (yes I know I’ve already complained that there’s not much here for women).

Dominion Rubber Company Fleetfoot, 1925 - "The Rise of Sneaker Culture" High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA

For the ladies: Dominion Rubber Company Fleetfoot, c. 1925

The apology here is that, “there were still concerns that women’s participation in athletics would detract from their femininity.” Hence the high heel. *sigh*   Still, it’s a unique show and well worth a visit if you live in the Atlanta area — on view through August 14, 2016.

Now for more thoughts on shoes and sustainability. If I google “average number of shoes a person owns”  the consensus from scads of articles seems to be “about 19 or 20,” at least for women. In view of that pair above I’m guessing the reason we have so many is that we’re still looking for some that are comfortable.

I’ve been reading The Boomer Burden, Dealing with your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff, by Julie Hall. This morning, among sad facts like “Americans use 14 billion plastic shopping bags annually” (could that be true?) I read, “The average American buys 6.7 pairs of shoes a year.” Hmm, I am not innocent. I bought a new pair of sandals on sale last fall, and I’ve been staring hard at the soles of my walking shoes and wishing to replace them.

Now I’m off to count my shoes. I must have some I can donate.

How many pairs of shoes are in your closet?

 

More on The Rise of Sneaker Culture – at the High Museum, Atlanta until August 14 2016

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Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2016, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure

What’s the best description of “modern” style? — how about spare, simple and …pure?  Here’s an update from this year’s Modern Atlanta (MA!)/Design is Human Contemporary Architecture and Design Tour.

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - living space

Is it the simplicity, or is it all that gray and white that makes it seem pure? Here’s a patio with a touch of color…

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - Patio seating area

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour, patio seating area — still “modern”

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - Entryway fountain

And an entryway fountain –  color courtesy of nature,  spare and pure (and maybe even Zen?)

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - Living room behind glass

Living room behind glass – on the tour, some homes are completed and lived in, some are in progress, some are in-between. This room is from the same home as the fireplace photo, and like it, this room was staged by Ligne Roset.

One thing about all these modern spaces — there can be no cozy piles of papers like what tends to accumulate in the corners of, well, some of our homes. That would definitely ruin those clean spare lines.  I guess there’s no choice but to downsize before going “modern.”

I should know all about downsizing by now, but there’s always something to learn. I’ve been reading Downsizing the Family Home, by Marni Jameson — here’s a sampling…

Everything we own has power … Letting go of anything we have seen or used or experienced as a child is hard because the memory embedded in the object has such power. We fear if we let go of the object, we’ll lose the memory.       — Organizing guru Peter Walsh, quoted in Downsizing the Family Home, by Marni Jameson

Simply and starkly put, sorting through a household makes us face our own mortality: the passage of time, life and death, where we’ve been, where we haven’t been, where we are in life, successes and regrets.    — Downsizing the Family Home, by Marni Jameson

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - Modern warmed with wood and stone

Modern can be a little cool — here’s a space that’s warmed with wood and stone

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour - stair with modern light

I love all the angles in this sleek modern stairway.

Modern Atlanta Homes Tour 2016 - Stairway in remodeled house

My favorites on the tour are often the remodeled houses. The wood in this stairway links cool modern and warm vintage.

If I ever have a modern-style home of my own, it won’t be large and lavish like these homes, but I hope it can be as simple and pure. I’ll go with this definition of pure —  “containing nothing that does not properly belong.”

Still, on homes tours, I always wonder what’s behind the doors they mark “Please do not enter” — could there possibly be a little, just a little,  junky mess?

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Leftover Foreign Currency, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

Got any spare change?

Spare Change

Funny that they call it “currency” because it seems to go out of date pretty quickly.

I’ve been tidying up for quite a while now, but even though I’m heading for a spare (simple) environment, I still keep spares (extras) of useful things. What hadn’t occurred to me until I saw this photo challenge?   — Change… spare change that is. And when it comes to pre-euro European currency, I can vouch for the fact that nobody wants it.

Before our trip to England in May, I found a stash of British currency that must have been from the 1980s. I found more traveler’s checks too, and in pounds — bonus!. I was singing “We’re in the money…” but then, when we got there, we had to find someone who’d take the traveler’s checks (thank you Post Office).

Leftover currency from New Zealand

More leftovers. Bob had just a small amount left from a 1990s business trip to New Zealand.

I had enough English currency to be a welcome addition to trip expenses, but it did require side-trips to the bank to exchange it for current — ok, “up-to-date” — currency. The old stuff was no longer spendable. In the countries on Euro, only a few banks will still exchange old currency at all. Last fall I took some leftover Belgian francs to Brussels. We spent time looking for the right bank, then learned they’d take only the larger bills. Sam thought I was joking when I said that, after the transaction fee, there might be enough for coffee.  Now I’m still left with the coins and small bills that my frugal nature doesn’t allow me to just throw away.

Coins from pre-Euro Greece

Sometimes we ended up with extra cash and kept it, thinking “we’ll be back” — and sometimes we ended up with just a souvenir amount. This little packet (with a note in Bob’s writing) was all we had leftover from Greece.

Even though it’s easy to use credit cards now, there are times it’s still good to have some cash. Tipping the cleaning staff springs to mind — I always sympathize with the maids. And in the future I’ll remember that some airlines collect extras for charity, so I could donate on the way home and avoid the spare change problem.

And this post? Late again, because it seems the only thing I don’t have enough to spare is time.

What do you do with spare foreign coins?  I’m thinking I’ll declare mine art material. A travel collage might be interesting…

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

P.S. Anybody remember Scrooge McDuck? — I’m starting to feel the urge to play in piles of coins…

Another Drawer Explosion, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

I didn’t realize another drawer explosion was about to happen until I got home from vacation, couldn’t find the key to my pickup and went drawer-diving for a spare…

Another drawer "explosion"

I don’t even know WHEN it became a junk drawer, I usually just open it a couple of inches to grab scissors or extra house keys when I need them… who knew the rest of this stuff was there.

My friend Susan says drawers and purses are like Dr. Who’s Tardis, Snoopy’s doghouse, and Harry Potter’s tent — they hold many times more than their actual size would indicate. Sadly, she observes, this does not hold true for suitcases.

Here’s a partial list of loot from the drawer:

  • 6 pairs of scissors. Yes, 6.
  • 4 pocket flashlights – 1 I just bought, not knowing the other 3 were here.
  • 9 keychains – 3 with tiny squeeze-flashlights of their own.
  • 2 pocket knives – 1 standard, 1 with Betty Boop.
  • Old stuff – an extra key to Bob’s old PO Box, a coupon from 2008 (to be fair, just 1) and these —

A ticket from the Empire State Building Observatory — that would be from 1998, just before Bob’s second surgery in NYC.

A U.N. Guided Tour button — I haven’t been, so, no clue.

A U.S. wheat penny and a 5-pfennig coin, way pre-Euro.

And is that Odie? … I can’t imagine how he got here, either.

Odds and ends found in the "junk" drawer

Drawer Oddities

Moving on…

  • 3 folding rain hats. circa 1950-60. These would have belonged to Bob’s mother because: Kansas. Through what wormhole did they arrive in my kitchen drawer?
1950s folding rain hats

I unfolded the Wonder Bread one and, amazingly, recognized that dot pattern, from childhood.

  • 3 mystery objects…

Mystery objects from the "junk" drawerEventually I noticed there’s a razor blade inside the yellow one, so it’s a paper cutter. The silver one’s hard to open, so I haven’t. The black one? I finally got it open.

Is it a compass?

Apparently it’s a compass, but it’s an indecisive one, much afflicted by the wobbles. And why does it have a ruler on the side?

The drawer’s back together now, with most of its papers and many of its objects filling the recycle bin, with a few useful ones to donate.  I even stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond today and treated myself to some drawer organizers to keep me honest. The last job to do is sort through the keys. Am I happy with my clean drawer? Yes — I’m jubilant.

Do you know what’s in your kitchen drawers?

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Catching up with a past Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

I may be the last person left on earth who still likes to get on an airplane. With the crowds these days, even I have second thoughts, but our trip home from the UK last Thursday was a lucky one — the flight wasn’t full. Sam and I each had our own row, and mine included the window.

1st View of North America from the air

Coming Home – maybe it’s the deep blue sky that I find so enthralling.

I love watching for that first view of North America. Someday I’m going to figure out where this is and go there. Another bonus this flight — I know pollution isn’t always visible, but it’s comforting to see the air look clean.

1st View of North America from the air

Still on the way home… I don’t see signs of human occupation yet.

Earth: our big blue marble

Earth: our big blue marble.

It looks like marble in more ways than one, doesn’t it?

Now that I’m home, of course I’m having trouble getting my mind out of “vacation mode” and back to daily business. We all have our vacation rituals, and for me, it’s the afternoon coffee stop. No excuses now, must resist. That other earth — the yard — needs attention today. People go on vacation, weeds don’t.

Do you feel like going out for coffee today? Are you resisting?

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Airline Ticket Sleeves, Goofy Collections Part 3, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Admiration

Unpacking a box from the basement, I found one more of Bob’s collections — vintage airline ticket covers (or are they sleeves? jackets? wallets?). Whatever we call them, they’re now a flash from the past. You may not even know what I’m talking about. Here’s a sampling —

Goofy Collections - Airline Ticket Sleeves After that, I made a stab at clearing my closet. I can’t do the Marie-Kondo thing and take everything out of all closets at once, there’s too much, but I thought I could take out a bit at a time. Then when I’m down to a manageable amount, I can consider her recommendations from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I can’t complain about Bob for keeping his tickets because… in the closet, I found my collection.

Airline Ticket Sleeves and Boarding PassesWhat was I thinking?

The best I can figure out is this:  We both loved traveling. We loved the world, and the way that working for the airlines opened it up to us. I think it was a way — however misguided — to remember where we’d been, a time capsule that we’d open someday and look back on, like I just did. It seems related to the urge to save old passports for the stamps.

So in a way I did Marie-Kondo the ticket sleeves — with the synchronicity of finding both batches, I took them all out and went through them, admired them, and moved on.

Among my tickets I found something else

Forgotten Traveler's Checks

Gotta admire the helmet on that Centurion too.

It’s not the first time I’ve found unused travelers checks when closet-diving. It’s nice to have a little reward for my effort, and money always “sparks joy”, right? It also reinforces my resolve to keep looking closely when I sort things, rather than just chucking out the lot. And I’ll be sure to use the money for experiences, not stuff.

Here’s a funny thing — those ticket sleeves? People sell them on eBay. (I had to look) Will I try? Maybe I’ll give it a shot. But would Marie Kondo mess with eBay? Probably not.

Do you keep old passports, or other trip souveniers?

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