Saturday, August 05, 2006

Reaction: It was there, in black and white....

My mornings are pretty predictable. Not what time I get up, that varies, any time between 5 am and 9 am, depending on lots of things.

What is predictable is that I always go out to our front lawn to retrieve the newspaper in my pajamas. I love it when it is still dark, and the moon is full. The grass always looks like diamonds have been madly strewn about during some magical party that I just missed. Somehow the street lamp and the moonlight combine to make rain drops and dew drops into an impressive spectacle.

I ALWAYS have to walk across the wet lawn to get the paper. The lawn is wet, because humidity/rain/sprinkler timers assure that this will always be the case. In addition, our news carrier refuses to toss the paper onto driveways. He claims the paper would get wet from condensation created by the paper in plastic resting on concrete.


I have no idea what makes him toss the paper dead center in the lawn. Maybe it is his way to get back at us slug-a-beds. We readers have to pay a price for our news, and will have to get our feet wet if we want to get our paper.

I don't immediately read the paper however. Instead I wake up my computer and check in on the world as told one life at a time.

It is simple splendid to read that Heidi has just felt, for the first time, the movement of her first child in her womb. That Erin is holding the fort at a Wikimania conference, which is defining how encyclopedias are managed as an real time resource. Dawn is joining with others to break negative habits via scrapbooking for 21 days. I read about others who are having visiting family, creating gardens, touring towns. Sometimes I read blogs that are political or reactive in nature, an exposition of a common man or woman.

It is very reassuring to know that lives are being lived, day by day, in peace, or even in war zones, by simple people who love life, home, and family.

From time to time I read in the paper news requests for more "Good News". Yet the urgency of war, crime, catastrophe and clamity clamors for front page attention, and thus sells the papers.

If I didn't read The Houston Chronicle, how would I know precisely how many bombs have fallen in the Middle East? Or how many people where murdered last night in my city? Or that bird flu is, or isn't, approaching. Or what the elected representatives are doing to make a difference this legislative session.

Sometimes I pray as I read. I pray for the mothers of the news makers, the mothers who must watch their children's lives be recorded in print, for the good or for the bad. How painful for those mothers to not be given a voice to share the good that they knew of this person whose failures and disgraces is now recorded, or to say yes, I gave years of my life nurturing this person, it has been recompensed well with this report.

I always read the paper. And I always finish with the comics. The Dinette Set being my favorite, with its sly jests at generations facing new technologies and mores. The comics are like coming back up for air after dunking my consciousness into troubled waters of mankind, as reported in black and white.

Around the world I go, reading of the book club meeting in Switzerland, the caning in Middle East, the rabbis and priest on cruise ships, the three and a half year old that made a dress, the way proposed to restore 401Ks for Enron victims. It is a bit like being God, in this time, this time in which the whole world is simply a finger tap away.

I am so very thankful for a means of balancing my interface with the world. I can read blogs for the micro view, and newspaper for macro view. Like focusing a camera, my world vision can move at will between macro and long range, using the natural light of blogs and the intensely flash lit record of black and white journalism.

In the end, I read the blogs and the paper to understand the reality of the times, and to stay real. I need them both. And the comics too.

(Hat pictured is a wired rimmed mushroom brimmed artificial straw braid, with original organdy hat band, and I added the prairie point leaves and another of my grandmother's buttons. The hat clamps to the sides of the head with velvet covered vee shapings extending from the wire circle underlying the short crown. The hat was acquired at a local estate sale about 4 years ago, and is most likely from the late 1940 or early 1950's. I wear it frequently) Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

Millinery: A Look for Librarians

I'm a librarian, dang it, and I'll read if I want to.
And I am. Both a Librarian, and Reading.
Right now I have out, and over due:
"The Life of David" by Robert Pinsky (finished last night, very interesting study)
"In the Stacks:Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians" by Michael Cart (one of my profs)
"Publishing a Blog with Blogger" by Elizabeth Castro (I still have questions! I want a class!)
"Cheaper than Therapy: Joy, Healing & Life Lessons in Fiber" edited by Annie Modesitt (she with the knitted millinery, great short stories from knitters)
"The Images of Librarians in Cinema, 1917-1999" by Ray Tevis and Brenda Tevis (some quotes are hilarious!)
"No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days" by Chris Batty (this could happen....)
"Military Anecdotes" edited by Max Hastings (yes, MILITARY, not MILLINERY)
The Dance of Anger" by Harriet Goldhor Lerner (why do women authors mostly have three names?)
" Dance of the Molecules: How Nanotechnology is Changing Our Lives" by Ted Sargent (a theme! Dancing and military stuff!)

I discovered in the Cinema book that librarians are always signified by glasses, bun, "shush", and big white collars. I had missed the big white collars. Gotta work on that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Millinery: It's not easy being green...and white

There is a woman in Japan who makes kits for cat millinery.


I especially like her chick hat for cats, but it might be accidently thought of as being a duck hat. Being a graduate of Oregon State University (Go Beavers!) I feel it would be pointless to show anything that might be construed as promoting the University of Oregon ducks (GO BEAVERS!)

But if you really want to see the rest of the collection, including a bunny hat, leopard, Ann of Green Gables, and that chick/duck hat (GO BEAVERS!) just click here and scroll down a bit when you get there.

Just be sure YOUR cat isn't in the room when you do wouldn't want to spoil the surprise of what Fluffy's getting for Christmas! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Millinery: Summer fun

Speaking of Lilly was said that she was once interviewed wearing a hat while in the bath tub. She was never seen without a hat.

In the 1950-1960's, going swimming was no reason to go without a fetching design on your pretty little head.

Swim caps were yet another way to express yourself, and wildly at that.

I remember wearing a yellow swim cap as I swam in the Pacific Ocean, and my friend wearing a red cap. Our mothers sat reading and chatting on shore and didn't want to lose sight of us, so they made us wear the yellow and red caps, keeping us easy to spot in the frothy white surf.

Lazy life guarding, but it worked.

Putting the cap on always hurt, and the taking it off was even worse. Lots of times the cap went askew, blasted loose by a vigorous wave break, the chin strap doing its part to keep the cap from being lost to a water grave.

I envied the rubber flower caps that were sported by the fashionable ladies. It was always tempting to pull the petals to see how far they would stretch. No one ever did much serious swimming in those hats. But they sure were cute.

ebay seems to have a steady supply of these creations. I wish I had thought to get one when I was a younger woman. But then again, when I was a younger woman ebay simple wasn't, and now that I am older, I prefer as little attention as possible when I don my swim suit and head into the water.

On the other hand, if I did wear one of those fancy swim caps, maybe I wouldn't need to try to hold my tummy in any more. What's a tummy and jiggly thighs, compared to the spectacle of a rubber flower garden blooming on my head? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Millinery: Panama Straw

These first two pictures are a close up of the Sally Victor Panama straw. The concentric circles are called "vueltas", and the more vueltas, the finer the hat.

Victor stopped making hats in the 1960's, so this hat is at least 40 years old. It is still supple and has a satiny sheen.

The style of the center knot can tell experts exactly what Ecuadorian village wove the hat.
It can take days or weeks or even months for a weaver to create a Panama straw body (unshaped hat). The third picture is another Panama straw that I trimmed. This one has a typical ridge over the crown, and is slightly less fine.

The poppies on this hat are vintage, and from Germany, by way of Ebay. There are two prairie point ribbon leaves, and the turkey feathers are from a turkey my dad shot (he's still at it...) up in Northern California. Posted by Picasa

Millinery: Ecuador, Sally, and me = Favorite Hat

I absolutely ADORE Panama straw hats. Click here to go to a page which will explain why these hats are so deserving to be cherished.
This hat frame was my first encounter with Panama straw.
I found it in an antique/junque shop, the crown battered in, and with an interior label of "Sally Victor". It had a plain straw colored ribbon hat band as its only trim. Price was set at a mere $12.

I had just begun what I call "Millinery School" (one class, community college) and had just learned that straw would re-shape if subjected to steam. I carefully checked to be sure none of the straw was broken. It was flawless.

I rushed home, snipped off the sweat band and label, and the exterior hat band. I steamed the hat up, and plopped it on my head to make it fit just right. My ribbon collection at the time was meager, and certainly did not contain the appropriate petersham or millinery belting type ribbon that will accept pressing and a swirl stretch to accommodate the curve of the hat crown.

Oh well, I just went ahead and used some woven cotton trim for the internal sweat band. Sally's label was tucked into my scraps.

We were far enough into the class that I had already scouted out ribbonry books from Houston Public Library, and I was itching to try out some of the techniques that we had learned in class. I had so much fun trimming this hat! I even used some of my grandmother's buttons.

I couldn't wait to show Kate Pernia, my revered instructor.

The next class session we covered famous milliners. Like Elsa Schiaparelli ; Lily Dache ; Mr. John ; and (***gasp***)
Sally Victor

Surely I had committed millinery murder.
Kate granted me pardon and absolution, and added assurance that Sally would be very happy to see her hat treated so well. And it is. It is treasured for the work of the Ecuadorian weaver, for Sally's original shaping, for my grandmother's buttons, and for the joy of collaboration. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some folks have got it, other folks don't

Tiggie poses. And he does it well. He always knows how to arrange himself, and deliver a look and an attitude (maybe that should be "cat-titude")

Here he is, looking like a "Cats in Libraries: READ!" poster.

I didn't do ANYTHING to make this picture happen, except I saw him, grabbed my camera, took the picture, and done.
Baby cat Hart, on the other hand, is hopeless.
Tiggie tries to coach him, but it just doesn't work.

I mean really, have some self respect. Pin up/kitty cheesecake is really kind of embarassing. Especially when you are a boy cat!
Oh well. Not everyone can make the cover of Kitty GQ.

We love you anyway Hart.

And you DO look wonderful in the Hat Room! Posted by Picasa