Pull Up a Chair: Family Heirlooms

Happy Saturday Morning, Pups

It’s finally looking like Spring for some and slowly working towards Spring for others. So I imagine many will be out in their yards tilling and planting, or dyeing eggs or baking yummies for tomorrow.

Today’s theme is family heirlooms. Those items we have received from family members, passed down from generation to generation. It could be a photo, or a piece of art, or jewelry. Or it could be a tool.

That is Spudtruckowner’s tiller. As it’s on the farm that’s been in the family, I’d say this is the real, true heirloom.

In popular usage, an heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members.

The term originated with the historical principle of an heirloom in English law, a chattel which by immemorial usage was regarded as annexed by inheritance to a family estate. Loom originally meant a tool. Such genuine heirlooms were almost unknown by the beginning of the twentieth century.

We’ve talked plenty about how technology has changed our lives. Some for the good, as we now have a virtual library at our finger tips, maybe, possibly to the detriment of life style. Many of us spend our evenings watching television or playing on the computer, but back in the day before easy entertainment, what did folks do at the end of the day, before they hit the sack? I know that my grandmother, Bernice, and her sister, great Aunt Eva must have spent many hours crocheting, because I have seen their work at my mom’s and I have a wonderful piece, a runner which lays beautifully on top of the Hammond B-3 organ in the living room.

We have the old upright piano in our bedroom, now. It’s the one that’s been replaced by the new-fangled one in the living room. I feel sympathetic towards it, like it’s been put in the timeout corner. But, I think two keyboards in the living room is my limit. So, to try to make up for the banishment, I placed an old velveteen runner with tassels on it. This runner was on my grandmother’s piano when my mother was growing up. She doesn’t remember how her mother got it, it was just always there, so before 1924.

When I looked online at ebay for antique velveteen piano runners I found these, they look different than the one I have. Go figure that a dfh would get the tie-dyed one. I just really enjoy the quirky relationships that occur in life.

Our heritage plays a large role in Who we are. The ideas, beliefs, are part of the quilt of our past and still influences our behaviors today. The lessons we have learned are the tools we use to navigate through our daily lives. In other words, Heir Looms.

What heirlooms do you have, share, and hold dear to pass on to others? The stories about such pieces are like an oral story of our families. I’d love to hear stories about things in your lives that hold memories, reminders, and which influence your life today.

So, it’s time to pull up and chair and share and chit chat.

Pull Up a Chair: A Few of My Favorite Things

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You know I just had to post this song, don’t you, you smart pups.
And, big beautiful morning to all of you.

I like to keep on the sunny side of life. I’m not always successful all of the time, but I do put an effort into having a positive outlook most of the time. I also enjoy encouraging others to smile, count their blessings, look for the silver linings. The whole one door opens when another closes idea.

How nice it is when we can see opportunities to learn even from unfortunate circumstances. For example, I grew up in a home where my parents were the Bickersons. It drove me nuts and I vowed not to repeat that. I’m now in a loving relationship where there is no bickering, no snarking, no one telling the other what to do. I’ll tell you something funny. When I first met my mother-in-law, she told me I shouldn’t tell Chris what to do, that he really didn’t like that. Ha! See? She was telling me what to do. My reply to her was that I figure most people don’t really like it.

One of my favorite things is having good friends. We know that a good friend is one who is honest and supportive. One who has your best interests at heart in your communings.

“Maybe other people are like mirrors that we see ourselves in; versions of ourselves that vary dramatically depending on the particular cut of glass.”

? Jonathan Hull, Losing Julia

Picture in your mind, me giving all my firedoglake friends a big old hug. Oh, heck, let’s just do a group hug. On three.

Another of my favorite things is stuff that smells good. Like, flowers, pumpkin pie or chocolate chip cookies baking, and scented candles. I especially like scented candles. This past December, I’m sure some of you may remember, my son had oral surgery for all four of his wisdom teeth. The surgeon was marvelous and we had visited him before. When it was time to leave, after getting instructions on home care, the doctor came into the room and gave me a candle in a jar. It was such a sweet gesture. I’d never received a gift from a doctor that I can recall. It smelled wonderful. Past tense. I burned it all up. And, I didn’t even burn it at both ends. The amazing thing about this candle is also the label. It’s Om Made, a spiritually sound soy candle. When I looked up their website, I gasped. That candle is 20 smackeroos. But, it will be well worth it to order some more and so I will. Vibes, man. Good vibes and good smell.

Have you noticed how smells are connected to memory? You open a drawer. Or, you turn a corner on the street. Or, you slice into a particularly fresh piece of fruit or vegetable. That rush of odor takes your mind back to another place and time. The first time you looked into the eyes of your child, or the eyes of a new friend or a pet. A first date. A nice vacation that you have taken. What memories do you have with particular scents?

“When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls· bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory” –Marcel Proust “The Remembrance of Things Past”

I don’t want to make this too long, since it’s Saturday morning and I’d hate for your coffee or tea to get cold before we all start yapping, or forbid, bore you. But, here are a few more of my favorite things:

  • The feel of barefeet on a newly cleaned floor.
  • The smell of fresh laundry, especially if it’s dried outside.
  • Seeing a kind word in an email from a friend.
  • When I remember to poke my head out the door in time to see the sunset.
  • Chocolate.
  • A trip to the plant nursery.
  • When my husband or son fills up my car for me as a surprise.
  • Vanilla Haagen Daaz
  • 25% off Tuesday for kittens at the thrift store.
  • Whiskers on old ladies.

See what I did? Made you smile. I’m off the hook.

When we look at our favorite things, we can’t help but feel the richness of our lives, I think. People talk about a glass being half empty or half full. I prefer to see my cup as running over. You people are pretty swell friends and I thank you all.

Pull Up a Chair: Super Bowl Edition

Good Morning, Firepups, Friends, Lurkers, and People who want to eat well tomorrow afternoon.

I thought I’d start off by sharing this wonderful youtube of Andy Griffith performing his famous comedy routine What it was, Was Football, a stand up monologue recorded in 1953. For some of you this might be nostalgic and it might be brand new to others. (Hint: If you right click on your mouse, you can listen to the radio performance in a new window and keep reading.)

I grew up watching football games with my family, mom, dad and my two sisters. And I was in the marching band in high school, but I must confess that it wasn’t until I was in my senior year and had gotten over spending the entire game flirting with the drummers that I learned what a first down was. Now I know. I do. And, when I was younger and working in a corporate atmosphere, I joined in on all of the football pools. There were the easy ones where you paid a buck a square, or more, and put your name on the squares you wanted and then someone pulled numbers out of a hat and put them across the top and side of the graph. At the end of each quarter, the person who had the square with the two scores won a portion of the money. Yes, totally illegal. Betting. Everyone does it. But I also participated in pools where I had to pick a winner in each and every game played that weekend, which meant I had to pay attention to which team players had injuries or which team was hot and which team was not. That was a lot more challenging. Thanks to Joe Montana, I won a hundred bucks one year. Yes, that’s how long ago it was.

It’s been my experience that the commercials have become a big part of the Super Bowl television viewing experience. Was there anyone who didn’t like the Budweiser Frogs?

Pull Up a Chair: Spend Time Doing Things That Make You Happy.

Happy Happy Saturday morning to all Chair People and beyond.

It’s been cold outside for a lot of Firepuppers wherever you may be. So, many of us are finding indoor activities or choosing a particular goal and going through all the steps necessary to achieve the satisfaction of completion. Challenging? Maybe, but it’s usually a fun journey.

I’ll show you the result of my latest project which was to turn a dining room into my office. The room had previously nurtured a nice Rodgers Organ, but that stopped working and I saw my window of opportunity. I gently cajoled the men into moving the organ into the garage. I moved the desk from another area of the house. That was the desk I tried and tried to give away but in the end kept.


And, then I painted the desk. I don’t mind the effort of painting because I love shopping at Lowe’s. And, in order for me to paint something, I have to shop. It’s a nice environment at Lowe’s, not like that stinky old warehouse that Home Deport is. And I love looking at the colors of paint they sell. Many of you know that I live in Southern California, in the foothills of the Angeles Crest Mountains. At the end of my street on one side is a series of arroyo,s and at the other end of the street there is the large wash that drains from the Pacoima Dam. So, I chose colors of the Southwest to bring into my home.

Cactus green for my desk.

Terracotta Brick for the floor…

Pull Up a Chair

Good Saturday Morning Chair People!

As this is the Pull Up a Chair opportunity for us to settle down together before Christmas, I thought we could have fun sharing funny and silly Christmas stuff. With a h/t to beerfartliberal, I share with you Bob Dylan’s Must Be Santa. Sorry for the ad first, but man, what a party!

And, Bruce Springsteen’s Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Always a hit around here, right? (more…)

Pull Up a Chair: Let’s Talk Turkey

Good Morning, Saturday Folk.

It’s just about half way through November and you know what that means. Well, several things, actually. It means that for the most part, the temperatures in my ‘hood have finally stopped melting my candles at 100 degrees or more. Whew! No more air conditioner or fan whirling in my house, and specifically in my bedroom. But now I miss the hum of that. Like, if I go to bed early and someone is watching tv in the living room, which shares a wall with the room I sleep in, the buzz of the unit would drown out the ambient sound. So, it’s back to the ear plugs for me. :)

See? I’m talking turkey here.

Also, in late November we celebrate Thanksgiving. We know that the original feast was held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. On my mother’s side of the family, I am related to John Howland who came here on the Mayflower. Or, maybe it was one of the other two ships. I forget, and I’d have to ask my mom but I don’t want to because we’re going over to her house later today for dinner and then again on Thursday for much eating. Either way, that fact links me to the original feast by Blood. It also links me to atrocities perpetuated against natives here, natives there, and a bunch of other horrible things like pollution, greed, and various and numerous things we humans do to each other.

More talking turkey, there.

Actually, the first Thanksgiving more likely had venison, brought by the natives, and fowl like ducks, acorns and squash. I am not an expert on any of this. I read and report. I read one article that said they might have served lobster, seals and swans. Hello? Can I hear a collective ewwwwwwwwww? Well, lobster’s okay, but did they have butter yet? Maybe yes, maybe no. So, I’ll just order the deerburger, thank you. Go native, folks.

Talking turkey is speaking frankly, getting to the meat of the subject.

Thanksgiving, like so much else, has been commercialized to the point of crazy-making. Do we celebrate what we are thankful for? Do we actually Give? Or, maybe we should call it Consumption Day.

I don’t want to get up on my Preachy Chair this morning, but we all know that there are too many citizens of this planet who are needy, hungry, hurting, hungry, scared, hungry. Is that “nuff said” for this morning? Let’s focus on the Giving part of Thanksgiving, not only next week and during all of the other holidays during the wintertime, but each month, each week, and gosh, even each day.

Pull Up a Chair: Welcome to This Morning’s Stress-Free Zone

Good Morning, FirePeeps, Friends, Lurkers (Yeah, You).

It seems that there is an increase in the crankypantiness of people lately. A raising of the anxiety bar. I’ve noticed more and more lunatic driving habits. I’ve noticed people cutting in lines at the store. I’ve noticed people pulling into themselves instead of reaching out to others. I have recently found myself not wanting to leave my home as much. It might be a pre-winter, semi-hibernating affect.

When I find myself feeling overly nervous about my future, my children’s futures, and the general health of our planet, I sometimes turn to music for comfort. With the access we have via sites like youtube, I can find videos that make me smile, tear up, and feel a bit more optimistic.

Do you remember this video produced by the Discovery Channel that made the rounds several years ago?

Here’s another oldie, but goodie video from REM and PBS:

Something has gone wrong, (what are we gonna do?)
Sighing, sighing.
Faces have turned long, ( I am so sad!)
Crying, crying.
Hear them sob and whine, (oh oh oh)
Tearful, tearful.
That’s a real good sign,
That they’re feeling glum.
Sad, sad times have come.

Furry sobbing monsters feeling sad.
Furry sobbing monsters feeling sad. (oh so it’s sad)
Furry sobbing monsters crying.

Come on monsters, you don’t have to cry, (we don’t)
we can be happy! (all righ!t) (yeah!)

And, more recently, I watched this video that Fatster posted at her Roundup: (more…)

Did Romney Bring Notes to the Debate? (Video)

Did Willard break the rules? Did Willard cheat? The candidates are not supposed to bring notes of any kind to the podiums, but if you watch this youtube video, he clearly, and surreptitiously, slides a folded piece of paper from his pocket and puts it on the podium. And, he looks right at the camera with a look like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

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Pull Up a Chair: Stirring the Pot

(photo: The Daring Librarian / flickr)

Sometime back, not too long ago, I was chatting with friends on a thread here at Firedoglake, and I was sharing some change that I was affecting in my life. I believe it was bgrothus who replied with something like, Hey, it’s good to Stir the Pot sometimes. I thought that was a charming as well as insightful comment.

I have mentioned before that I am somewhat inclined to get bored easily. And so, I’m someone who will on a whim re-do part of the yard, or re-arrange the furniture. I’ve also been know to change the style of my hair. Never had it really long, except for the time I got extensions sewn in, that was fun. Twice I went red, but usually staying in the blondish range. So, just saying I like to Stir It Up.

When I make a change in my life, I get the reward of variety (new colors, new sounds, new views) and I also get the benefit of a new purview. When I was in my twenties, I was a vegetarian for about three years. I couldn’t go near the meat counter at the store because the smell made me sick to my stomach. I think we all sometimes get stuck in a rut, and whether by choice or circumstances, a change occurs that gives us a new way of looking at the world.

Autumn brings us challenges for change. Am I right? I know that Ms. Molly and others have brought plants from patios and porches inside to protect them from the coming inclement weather. Margaret is looking at her savings from being a thrifty and thoughtful steward by keeping her electric bills as low as she could during the heat, with an eye on what might be needed for a long cold winter. Autumn has brought Ruth Calvo home to Texas from her joyous, comfortable summer in the Northeast. Oldnslow’s eyeing the work on his truck so that he won’t be flying blind and frozen on the Scooter on his way to work in the early am. Bless your hearts, all.

And, I mean All Y’all. Everyone of Youse. Draw the circle wide. Yep, you’re in it.

Have you ever made a conscious effort to make a change in your life, and how did that work out? Only say it if you’re willing to. Trust me, I’ve made changes that I wouldn’t share here, and I think I’ve been fairly open about who I am and what I share. But, if there’s something you want to share, or read, or vicariously experience…

Why, you just Pull Up And Chair, and let’s see what happens.
Take good care, and Keep The Faith.

Pull Up a Chair: Sometimes Life Is a Beach

Good Saturday morning, dear and faithful PUAC’ers.

I’m just back from a short camping trip to South Carlsbad State Beach. And, I was expecting a cool, breezy, relaxing and hiking few days off. Just the plan. It didn’t turn out exactly like that – it was almost 90 degrees, very humid and only an occasional slight breeze.

Oh, well. We had a lovely site, right next to a sort of lowish chain link fence which was appropriate at the top of an approximately 30 foot bluff, down to the beach. Even seated in camping chairs, you could watch the wide beach and you could tell by the way the waves had a long ride in that it was a low-angled slope out to the Sea. Gorgeous, really. And perfect for surfers and pelicans.

Long story short, after dinner I took the Dog for a walk and when he charged another dog, I couldn’t hold him and got pulled down on the asphalt, face first.

So, the next day I spent the entire day in a nice folding rocking lawn chair and trying to stay immobile.

Oh, mama. The situation encouraged me to slowly and thoughtfully observe and contemplate what I was looking at, what I was feeling, in context to the whole environment there. I spent 15 minutes watching a 2 inch black beetle make her way across the site. I noticed the squirrels’ front doors to their tunnels going down the bluff when they poked their headies out. The 3 inch lizards were lightning fast. Barely could notice them. Just a flit here and there and then you hold and watch and see the lightning run.

The waves were just right down there, and as waves are prone to do, whatelse?, they continued their seeming eternal rush to shore and journey back to the sea. Endless repetition, and so soothing to know that there’s something bigger and more important than me out there.

Gazing at the ocean, the vastness of it, the age of it, the power of it, the nurturing life of it, just overwhelmed me. I was happy to realize that there was something that didn’t have a care or opinion about humanity. Ocean doesn’t care if we are old, young, fat, skinny, happy, sad, mean, cruel or nice and supportive. Don’t matter to the ocean. Somehow it was comforting to me to be there. Even with the aches and pains. [cont’d.] (more…)