Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Library Way, New York City

I take joy in many small things.  I think it is a blessing, because life is truly made up of the little things, not the great ones.

There's a friend of mine, well, he and I have a complex relationship.  Yet hardly anyone makes me laugh as hard as he does.  He has a unique world view, a different way of expressing himself in words, and an innate sense of what makes me tick.

One night, he gave me a beautiful gift.  He teaches in the City.  Which one, you ask?  For those of us from NY there is only one.  I like to hear the song of the city through his cell phone, the sound of "Fordham Station, Fordham Station is next," and the clickety clack of the Metro North trains on the tracks.  The sirens, the rush of noise and activity, the ducking in a diner for a cup of cawwwwfee, as New Yorkers say.  All of it is beautiful and sentimental to me because it means "home."

One night he was walking along here and describing it to me.  For all the hundred, no probably thousands now, of miles I have walked in NY, I'd never even heard of this place:

The street sign evokes memories of quiet rooms in towns in NY and CT, cool and dim with radiators that would suddenly clang, making me jump.  There was that indefiniable musty smell of old books and paste, that hushed air that is nearly like church, but not exactly.  The promise of a new (to me) author, the thrill of finding a new treasure from the pen of an old friend. My love affair with words and books began in the library.

I loved the old card catelogs, the purple ink pad, the metal stamp with the date, month, and year that always meted out the time in biweekly intervals, the thump and click of the date marked into the borrowed book, and the snap when the librarian closed the volume shut.

He started reading the words of famous writers which are marked into the sidewalk that New Yorkers walk over, most of them hurrying, also on cell phones but oblivious to the treasure trod underfoot.  I was entranced.  He read all the way back to the train station.  That was last year.  The other night, he read this one to me
Isak Dinesen was the pen name of Baroness Karen Blixen, a member of the Danish aristocracy.  I think I write, like she did, to secure the past; to secure it, so I don't forget it.  Maybe this is what all bloggers do. We secure the past or perhaps it is that we secure the present, we fix it, mark it down to be able to look back at it as it passes and never lose it.

Karen Blixen was portrayed in film by Meryl Streep, in Out of Africa, one of my favorite movies.

Sometimes I have a childish way of wanting to jump ship when I get frustrated in a conversation.  I say, "Peace Out" when I mean anything but.  I get teased about it.  I deserve it, I should be more grown up.  I was getting teased about it just today so I designed my own Library Way in front of 256:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Going Beyond Pics of my Latest Clever Creation

I don’t know if anyone is even reading this anymore, but I’ve struggled with why I haven’t posted.  Some of it is because there have been some troubles in my life that perhaps I didn’t feel would be edifying to others. 

The silliest perspective I had was, “Gee, what kind of pics do you take to illustrate that you feel totally frozen and have no idea what to do next?”  A big ice cube?  The inside of my freezer, illustrating that for several months I kept buying whole wheat tortillas for no apparent reason?  Cinco de Mayo?  A need to use up cilantro?  An attempt to prove my multicultural perspective? Who knows?  Maybe a picture of a dog, well, dog paddling…not sinking, but not going anywhere, either.  I have no idea.

I’m not as adorable in print as Frugal Girl.  I’m not as spiritual as Debra from As I See It Now.  I definitely cannot change my disposition by increasing my hot chocolate intake like she does.  I would need an IV morphine drip or an aerial spray of Prozac from a crop duster flying over my house for that.   Yeah, that might just work.

I’m not as whimsical as Judy at Anybody Home, but then who is? I don’t take pics as well as Brenda at Cozy Little House. Nobody is as talented as Daisy Cottage Kim and that’s the truth fo’ real fo’ real, as the kids I mentor used to say.  I wish she still wrote that blog, but I think something broke her heart.  Now she takes exquisite pics of sad swans.  I miss her cheerful red mirrors, grandma furniture, and back porch wash day posts.

I’m not cozy with a full pantry like Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me.  I can’t abide mixing prints like Kasmira at What I Wore Today.  I’m not willowy like the writer at Not Dead Yet Style.  I am not as cool as Alex at Living the Small Life who can turn leftovers into some truly amazing fare. Should I even bother to continue blogging about anything?

All this finally brought me back to a book, now out of print, by Karen Burton Mains.  The book is a number of essays published as one volume.  I can hear the shouts of glee from all of you now, “Please, we’ve missed Thoreau and Emerson.  Give us MORE ESSAYS!”  

This is the kind of book that it is worth ordering from Amazon used.  It is called, “Karen, Karen…One Woman’s Response to the Whispers of God.”  Karen’s big deal book is “Open Heart, Open Home,” but I think the out of print book is her masterpiece.  I better order one and beat you to the punch because mine is now in three pieces.

Karen loved decorating her home with flea market and vintage finds just as I do.  And one day, as she was seeking out God and doing her housewife thing, she felt Him move in her heart saying, “Karen, do you want the most cleverly eclectic house in the whole church or do you want to know Me?”

And that’s what I’ve been hearing from God lately myself.  He’s not so interested in my latest coffee filter wreath. We are downsizing.  I feel God right straight out telling me that I only need to go to Goodwill to drop stuff off.  My house makes my husband feel comfortable in it and it speaks about who we are to others.  That’s huge.  I’m all for that, but I don’t think that God particularly wants me to try to emulate another blogger, or have pics as lovely as hers, or to try to have the most cleverly eclectic house on Constitution Avenue.  He wants me to know Him.