Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Don't get me wrong...

I'm committed to simplifying my life -
and getting rid of things -
and forms of things -
that no longer make sense to keep.

I just hadn't counted on how hard it is 
to shred pictures you've been hanging on to 
for 40+years!

The anxiety I have while scanning
and then shredding photos
is similar to how I felt cleaning out my mothers house 
when she went into a nursing home 
due to her dementia.

She hadn't thought or asked about her collections of
Toby mugs or
LPs etc 
for decades.
(yes, 'collecting' is in my DNA!)

But getting rid of them permanently, 
instead of merely storing them indefinitely at my house,
 felt like acknowledging that she never would ...
the dementia would never lift
and restore her to the woman
she had once been.

A "hard copy' of photos is the only reality 
many of us have known and trusted 
since we got our first Brownie cameras!

Digitalizing images- and accepting that 
SHOULD someone in my family care to look at them, 
they can be retrieved from the hard drive
is a tough pill to swallow.
(Not that my sons have wanted to look at them for years -
but hope springs eternal!)

On my stroll down memory lane,
I must say I'm glad I held on to
some of these handwritten gems...
anyone else remember when kids wrote thank you notes,
Valentines and
and apologies?

 do they even teach cursive anymore?

Hard to see -
but the crying man on the apology note
has a prisoner number on his chest -

I LOVED having a second grader who knew Jean Valjeans number -
(from Les Mis)
and used it appropriately...
totally mitigated whatever the infraction was -
although I don't think I told him that at the time!

So far I haven't had the heart to shred these...
that might be a bridge too far.

headed Up North for a long weekend
to celebrate more graduations -
and talk about the Camino until their eyes glaze over...
be back soon !

Monday, June 23, 2014

This could take awhile...

I'm not the only one that has them;
of this I'm sure.
 shelf after shelf
of photo albums.
Even if it feels like I'm the only one that has them for MY family!

Besides my own volumes, I inherited my mothers -
and a few of my grandmothers.

A pictorial history of my 'tribe';
all the ancestors who have gone before,
as well as the accumulated records of those we love 
and are blessed to have in our lives now.

I don't take the responsibility lightly -
but neither do I want the very limited closet shelf space I have 
to be consumed by their mass, 
loaded down by their weight.

Retirement seemed to offer a chance to address this issue;
to bring the 'archives' up into the 21st century
and rid me of some of the physical detritus that gets passed down 
to each successive generation.
(BTW Art Boy and GI Joe, you're welcome.)

I am determined to scan them and save them on an external hard drive.

I started this morning...
and with each passing hour,
memories and ghosts filled the room ...

 (yes, I rocked an afro back in the day!)

Four hours = 1/2 of 1 album downloaded...
Good Lord, this might take the rest of my life!

At least there'll be a stunning digital slideshow to play at my wake!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Things I loved this weekend...

actions that lock me into re-doing the kitchen,
 my yellow Fire King fruit bowl - empty
 and filled,
the perennial garden in my front yard,

 ideas for shutters,

lunch with friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant,
complete with frozen margaritas!
 the almond milk Frosties that start my day,
 and my fun new summer plates!
They're not paper - they're Melmac!

Don't know about you but I had a set of Melamine dishes in my 'hope chest' - 
these are nothing like them!
It's been a great weekend - 
and its not over yet -

headed to a garden party...
with some of my favorite women!
Have I mentioned recently how much I love being retired?
Except for the whole no money thing...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bead it, just bead it...

I love Lakota beadwork -
(an infants baptismal cap)

(children's clothes and beaded backboard - on far left)

the traditional Native American handiwork 
which adorns both items of clothing and household goods.

For me, just seeing these items
conjures up images of women sitting around a fire,
the finest needle in hand,
stringing tiny bead after bead,
creating exquisite objects for her families use
and personal adornment.

I had the chance to gain a first hand understanding
of exactly how hard this skill is
during my recent trip to South Dakota.

While traditionally a women's artform,
apparently there have always been men who were drawn to beading as well -
and this is true even today.

We had a male beader,
an ancestor of Chief Spotted Tail (Sinte Gleska)
shown here with two of his wives
come to the dorm one evening 
to teach us how to make a simple six stranded bracelet.
I was shocked -
at how difficult it was;
even more shocked at exactly how terrific our men were
in learning and embracing
this new skill!

For the rest of our trip,
it was the men who were frequently downstairs -
after working hard at construction all day -
concentrating at their looms.

This took two evenings!
I can't even imagine the HOURS it takes to create some of the beaded work
shown above on the clothing -
both antique and contemporary.

I disappointed myself with not having more patience -
or better eyesight -
and my attempt was of extremely short duration.

I guess some of us are just called to appreciate - and buy - other peoples works!

It made me love the pieces I've acquired over the years
even more!

 The woman in the picture frame is my great grandmother;
a Native American who was removed from her reservation,
sent to the Carlisle Indian school in PA,
subsequently 'adopted' by a Dutch family and raised in Allentown -
never to return to her family or her tribe.
I absolutely adored her -
and I was blessed to have her for the first 10 years of my life,
knowing, beyond all doubt,
that the feeling was mutual.
 This doll was found, wrapped in brown paper,
 at the bottom of a drawer when she died.
I was actually hoping retirement
would give me time to do more genealogy work
and find out what reservation she'd been from -
and what her tribal name was,
not her school given Christian name.

There's not a day I don't think of her
and the impact she had on my life...

time at the County library genealogy computers,
with their resource people,
 is rapidly moving to the top of my short priority 'to-do' list!

Wish me luck!