Monday, January 30, 2012

My School, My Toilet

When my mother was a kid, she used to proudly announce whenever her parents drove past her elementary school: "That's my school, my toilet."  This statement makes more sense if you remember that she went to a small school in then rural Zanesville, OH, with an outhouse.  Perpetuated as family stories are through telling and re-telling, when I was growing up we never referred to my school with out mentioning the toilet, even though mine came with indoor plumbing and individual stalls. 

I tried it a couple of times with my kids and they gave me those narrow-eyed stares that meant the story was just not working for them and toilet talk from Mom wasn't as nostalgically amusing as I thought it to be.

Life moves on.  My old elementary school, its worn marble staircase and toilets with wooden doors, is now a parking lot for the high school.  Today, when I think of my home school (my toilet), I think of Westerly Elementary in Bay Village, OH.  That's where my oldest daughter Katie started kindergarten (before it became an intermediate school), where Kelly attended and it is the home of a whole stack of poems, from my long ago encounter with Mrs. Woodburn that lead to The Dog Ate My Homework, to the list poem about a school in my book Zombies!   

So, a visit to Westerly is always like going home.  Thanks to the efforts of Martha Fisher, we had a spectacular visit the first week in January.  I was even able to give Mrs. Woodburn a hug.  Even though smart boards have replaced green boards, nothing has managed to replace the students love of poetry.  Hooray!

And yes, the toilets work just fine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Antiques Made to Order

In a world where 65 year olds have no wrinkles, where Photoshop magically gives adult women the 18 inch waist Scarlett O’Hara dreamed of, and spell check makes us all appear more clever than we really are, you would think I would be used to the idea that nothing is as it appears.

Still it’s a bit of a shock to see signs in store windows here in Bali announcing, ANTIQUES MADE TO ORDER.

Reminder, trust nothing unless you buy directly from the craftsperson (or in the case of antiques, someone who attended the McKinley inauguration. 

So I bought this bag in Beijing from a woman dressed in traditional Tibetan garb, the hat, the draping, the skin darkened by years without sunscreen.  The only one of its kind in her booth.  A ratty looking booth in an open-air market.  Price, about $20 USD after a respectable negotiation, good for her, good for me.  Not a designer bag, but designed by someone and good looking.  Hand stitched.  Deep enough to carry my tech stuff.  Not exactly directly from the craftsperson, but not too many people in the food chain making money off of the crafts people.  Good deal.

I get to Bali and my friends Larry and Rai Collins take a look at the bag and say, nice bag, we bought some for friends in Thailand last year.

Not Tibet?  I ask?

No.  Thailand.  $6.

Okay.  $6 - $20, not too bad of a mark up.  Who knows how much the ladies got for all that hand stitching.  More people in the food chain than I would have liked.

So, yesterday we are in a juice bar having seriously healthy carrot/apple/ginger juice and what do we see hanging for sale?  One of kind?  Hand stitching and all?

Same bag.

$150 USD.

True story. 

Or is it?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New You, 2012

Michael took this picture (okay, I begged and whined a little asking for this angle and that) in the botanical gardens in Singapore.  I was limping along and this sculpture embodied who I wanted to be.

So, this is my screen saver and pictorial inspiration for 2012. 

2012.  Riding into the second decade of this new century.