Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sole Mates

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” – Mark Twain

“Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these d@m* shoes, but nothing happens.” Robin Hecht

“A man hasn’t got a corner on virtue just because his shoes are shined.” – Ann Petry

“I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them at least five years.” – Samuel Goldwyn

“I was sad because I had no shoes, and then I met a man who had no feet. So I said, ‘Got any shoes you’re not using?’” – Steven Wright

“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” Jack Handey

“I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.” Oprah Winfrey

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.” Lewis Carroll

“What becomes of the broken hearted? They buy shoes.” – Mimi Pond

“If the shoe fits – buy it in every color.” – popular saying

“Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.” – T-shirt Wisdom

“Two things you can never have too many of. Good friends and good shoes.” – common women’s knowledge

 “I did not have three thousand pair of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” - Imelda Marcos (Yes, but did she have that many friends?)

“All God’s children need traveling shoes.” – Maya Angelou

“Good shoes take you good places.” – Seo Min Hyun

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where you’ll go.” – Dr. Suess

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Cup of Steaming Camera

We’ve recently discovered a new feature on our Netflix account which offers internet radio. To our delight, we can select various genres of music we enjoy and voila! the music piped into our home is to our taste. As an added bonus, there are no commercials or distracting talk and the name of the artist, song and album appears on our television screen at the touch of a button, allowing us to add more music to our playlist.

No, this is not an ad for Netflix. The reason I mention it is because a new song came on and the lyrics were oddly familiar while the tune was one we’d never heard before. Something about a girl “being a drama queen and only seventeen.” Flashbacks of Abba circa 1976 “You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen.”

My how times have changed. While disco fever raged “back in the day,” songs were written about dancing queens. Now they are written about “drama queens.” There is a lot of talk about people being drama queens and kings these days, but Kimmmm recently echoed my mother and described my story-arc as a sitcom rather than a melodrama and this week was no exception.

But first, I must follow up on last week’s entry. Thank you for all your feedback. If I was running my life as a democracy, then the votes are in and the proposed trip to the South in August has been nixed. Can’t say for sure, but plans are afoot right now for spending our air miles getting to New York in the fall.

The idea is for Groom and me to meet up with King Zolo, the moniker given to our friend who mistook my handwritten date of 2010 for Z0L0. He’s originally from upstate New York and hasn’t been to Manhattan for quite some time. The idea of wandering about The City in autumn, poking around antique stores and flea markets, giving our cameras a hearty workout and attending a Broadway show tickles all of our fancies.

As a trial run, to see how the three of us handle spending long hours together, we took a road trip to Portland last Thursday and did a mini-version of our ideal day. We stopped in Aurora, a small town filled with antique stores (24 miles south of Portland on Highway 99), then meandered through the Sellwood neighborhood in Portland, ate a fantastic dinner on the waterfront and capped the evening with, guess what? A Broadway Musical, The Lion King.

Apparently the trip was successful because we received a phone call the next day from King Zolo suggesting that we “go for it!” Details forthcoming as they get clearer and nearer.

But how does this scenario tie into my sitcom story-arc, you ask? I’m getting to that. But first, what is it with beards this week? As you’ll notice from some of the photos, I’ve been surrounded by them in the last few days.

Take a look at the fellow in the red pin-striped suit. He appeared at the booth long enough for a fun photo-op and then poof! Disappeared. To get a closer look at the photos, which I know you’ll want to do, simply click on them to enlarge and then hit the back button to return to the blog. Don’t our outfits complement each other fairly well, as though it was planned? I don’t even know the guy.

Then there’s Zolo with his white beard. Depending on his chapeau du jour, he can resemble a salty sea cap’n, a mountain man or Santy Claus.

Have cameras will travel is our motto, so naturally we had our dueling shooting apparatuses ablazin. Here are some of the pictures we took while roaming about. It never ceases to amuse us that what we see is both so similar and yet different.

For example, we both took aim at mannequin heads with dark beards, were drawn to horsie heads, hands, feet, numbers and letters.

After browsing for a bit, it was coffee time. We asked the advice of a local where to get “a good cup of coffee,” and we were confidently pointed in the right direction. Peshaw! It was a weak and bitter cup, so nasty that I could not drink it. “Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble;” a handy quote from MacBeth to mumble under one’s breath instead of swearing when one is disappointed. And “one” would be me.

I left bereft. Okay, I admit, that’s overstating things a bit (not really). And so, because of the sad, sad, sad, sad coffee affair, I was primed and ready to notice the man carrying a large and sturdy cup of coffee high over his head at the next antique store. He was holding it like it was something very precious and valuable, which I understood deeply and profoundly. I almost stopped him as we passed on the steep staircase to ask where he’d found his cuppa God’s blessing, but he seemed intent on a mission.

A few moments later, we heard bursts of laughter and went to the front of the store to suss out the source of amusement. Oh my, it turns out the owners had been punked by a professional actress and a man with a hidden camera, can you guess where? Inside his “coffee” cup. I knew that dude was protecting it like it was liquid gold, but I never guessed there was a camera inside and that he was holding it up high to film the store. There’s probably images of me on the cutting room floor drooling.

The practical joke was sponsored by Dodge, a commercial in the making about “cars and freedom.” I’ve added a link here so you can watch a 60 second clip and get the gist of their Challenger campaign.

The tag line is “Here is a couple things America got right, cars and freedom.” In the clip, it’s a battle scene with the Red Coats. In comes the cavalry to save the day with George Washington at the wheel.

In the upcoming Dodge commercial, the premise is to have the professional actress (you can see her and the coffee cup filmographer caught on digital by moi in the throes of caffeine withdrawal) act like a woman who is trying to sell her family’s heirloom pictures. She claims that her relatives knew George Washington and has documentation to prove it. Of course, this intrigues the antique dealer and when she has him hooked, she pulls out beautifully rendered aged and sepia-toned photographs with supposed family members, all in period clothing, standing next to George Washington. Next to a 2010 Dodge Challenger. Yeah….right.

The appraiser instantly knows this is impossible and tries gently to inform the “old lady” that they did not have cameras or cars in the 1770’s. Oh, but this actress can act! She is insulted, swears those are her relations, etc. etc., making the job of refusing to buy her “valuable” photographs more difficult by the minute.

Meanwhile, all of this is being secretly filmed for the commercial including the moment when the shopkeeper knows he’s the happy victim of a practical joke. Hence all the laughter and ruckus. I took a photo of the souvenir the Dodge folks left on the counter. While it is a promotional shot of George and the car, it is not the one with all the ancestors in it, but you can still get the idea. This commercial is not finished yet, so shhhh, you heard about it here first.

I think this is what Kimmmm meant by my story-arc being more comical than dramatical. I’m just wandering about, minding my own business, hanging out with friends, shopping, taking photos, trying to sip coffee and we run across a delightful practical joke/commercial in the making.

A fun afternoon, a wonderful evening and hopefully, an impending trip to the Big Apple.

Oh, and speaking of ads, our jewelry and my mug is featured in this week’s Saturday Market ad for the Eugene Weekly and the Register-Guard and the upcoming Bach Festival. Here is a close-up of the rotary phone dial plate necklace I’m wearing in the ad that I designed out of the beautiful piece my father sent me. How about that? It was Father’s Day and my dad sends me a unique item to create with. Thank You!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eye'm in the Mood for Summer (and Sales)

As I sit down to write this, I hear automobile tires make rolling contact with the wet street in front of our house. The ebb and flow of traffic on this rainy Wednesday morning is like the waves of the Pacific washing on shore with a little car stereo thrown in to rattle the living room windows.

Calendar wise, this week brings us the first day of summer also known as Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year according to equi-portions of light. Body wise, I am not convinced. Clad in fleece socks, leopard print slippers and long fuzzy pants, I almost warmed my lavender scented heat pack and slipped it under the covers earlier this morning to warm my tootsies as I sipped coffee and read. In other words, brrr.

Having just returned from Spokane last week fits perfectly into a couple of things on my mind. One is Father’s Day next Sunday, June 20th. This holiday – honoring our male parental units – began in Spokane, Washington in June of 1910. How convenient! That’s exactly 100 years ago, so Happy Birthday Father’s Day! I’d like to give a shout out to my dad, a very fine man, and publicly thank him for sticking around.

I’d also like to acknowledge that occasions like these can bring pain. Many have lost their fathers, maybe never knew them at all, or wish they hadn’t. There are also men separated from their children, who have lost them from tragedy, or who are going through intense personal struggles, so we also honor your experience.

Respectfully, shifting to a lighter note and a remnant from Spokane, the good thing about selling most of our necklaces at ArtFest is, well, the financial aspect and the confidence booster. The not-so-good thing about selling most of our necklaces is that we have to start over.

“Well just get yourselves into the studio and make some more,” you might sagely and sarcastically advise. I certainly would, but we are at the beginning stages of collecting interesting and old things from which to create.

Having been introduced to a phenomenal artist in Spokane (the woman I mentioned last week from Oregon’s ArtBeat), she opened the doors of her studio to us last Friday and we had the incredible opportunity to behold her magic space. If I felt like I fell down the rabbit hole before, I was uplifted on the wings of cruel angels this time, transported to a designer’s Utopia. Purchasing a church outright in a small town in Oregon, she turned the former place of worship into a studio that caused me to sin.

I admit it openly; I turned various shades of green. Taught not to covet, I must confess a la Jimmy Carter that I experienced lust in my heart. For there, in her high-ceilinged workshop, she had every imaginable and unimaginable item at her disposal to play with, floor to ceiling shelves of organized goodies. Where I might have three vintage tins, she had cases of them arranged in alphabetical color.

As I hunt and peck for old skeleton and typewriter keys, domino and Scrabble tiles, watch parts and clock gears, she has amassed piles of these interesting pieces, stacking them in beautiful containers, boxes and bowls. Not only is her workshop outfitted with every possible contingency, but it is like the best antique shop you’ve ever seen, tableau after tableau of curiosities positioned to stimulate one’s imagination.

I asked her if I had died and gone to heaven. She snorted. For her, after 30 years of collecting, it felt like purgatory. Funny how one person’s heaven can feel like hell to another.

I also asked her advice on starting at this late date in the game, collecting pieces for myself, when online auction sites have turned trash into treasure, closing down antique places, vintage stores and junk shops all around the country.

She told me to continue hunting yard sales and through what shops remain open. Her best luck has been in Texas flea markets and areas to the south. This has spurred Groom and I to think of how we can go hunting and gathering somewhere different than Lane County. We have collected enough airline miles to go on a domestic flight, but discovered they are about to expire. So we need to plan something ASAP or lose them.

Talking to my parents, they suggested contacting those in the biz and asking where in the country is the best place to shop for “orphans,” odd bits of broken jewelry, bobs of colored optical lenses, vintage tins, bisque dolls (tiny, could even be chipped or broken as a head, an arm or a leg could be worked into a quirky piece), old metal measuring spoons, cloth measuring tapes; fun weird stuff in basements, attics or collecting dust in junk drawers.

A friend who went AWOL (that’s another story, she’s been missing since April), told us about the world’s largest yard sale spanning four states for four days. I Googled it and online information varies. Alabama says it starts there and ends in Ohio. Tennessee claims center point and that it starts in Michigan and ends in Alabama. One site refers to 450 miles of continuous sales while another boasts 650, so details are a bit blurry. It’s known as the 127 Corridor Sale or Route 127. At least they agree on that number.

The idea would be to cash in our airline miles and fly to Birmingham, rent a vehicle and drive an hour until we hit the first sale. From there it would be shop until we drop for four days. In the heat, in the humidity, in August, in the South. We’re trying to picture how this would go. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, crawling at a snail’s pace, vying for parking and the best deals. No disrespect meant, but serious thrifters are not always the friendliest.

Groom and I spent Sunday going to Estate and yard sales, happy to be outside during our lone day of sunshine. We had smiles upon our faces, just happy to be together rummaging for creative materials. But howdy let me tell you, the other shoppers were grim. No smiles, all business, just “how much is this and can I have it for less?” If I accidentally bumped into somebody or vice versa (we were all crowded into a garage), I’d say “excuse me,” but instead of a polite response, I’d be faced by a stern looking Early Bird or Bargain Man glaring me down. I even had one Hardcore ask if he could buy what I had in my hand for fifty cents. It was marked $2.50. Sheesh.

So I’m trying to imagine multiplying that experience by about a billion percent, throwing in muggy heat to boot, unfamiliar territory, gas, lodging (where on earth would we sleep?) and then figure out how to get our booty home once we’re at the airport. Still sounds kinda fun.

We’re looking for old math tools, metal protractors, wooden rulers, interesting chain, vintage clasps, watch fobs, cool beads, anything with small moving parts, rusty metal schwag, old-fashioned microscope mounts, broken musical instruments with keys, old telephone dial plates, small glass bottles, sentimental frippery, period embellishments, vintage ornamentation, elegant geegaws, classic trinkets, stylish baubles, random collectibles and nostalgic inspiration.

We create crazy fun whimsically elegant steampunky tastefully odd jewelry from old pieces, using our newly acquired metalsmithing skills to transform bits of history into present day adornment. Just yesterday I was soldering old glass fuses and mini-light bulbs, turning potential landfill into charms to play with.

Shifting gears (oh yeah, we’re on the lookout for gears, dials, compasses…), June also is a month to celebrate emancipation. It’s called Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in 1865. Happy Freedom Day to everyone!

Last, but certainly NOT least, today is a very special day in our household. Our precious kitty kat is having his Golden birthday. He is turning 16 today on the 16th! Happy Birthday, sweetheart, we love you and are so grateful you found your way into our hearts. You’re still a young thing and we pray for many happy returns.

As for the photo selections, they do not illustrate the text this time, but are random shots we strung together. For better detail viewing, simply click on the picture you’d like to enlarge and then hit the back button to return to the blog.

Thanks for tuning in and have a wonderful, celebratory week.