Friday, October 23, 2009

Geisha in Training

It's hard to imagine being a Geisha in training for almost fifty years. Fifty training, learning how to serve and be gracious to others. While she was never called by any other name than "Geisha Girl In Training", she has been part of my life for just that long, and served to train me, and shape me mysteriously as well.

When I was out in San Diego I visited her again...the Geisha in training doll that my father's sister, my Aunt Marcia dressed while her husband was stationed in Japan with the United States Air Force back in the early 1960's.

My Aunt had three children at that point, two sons and a daughter, who was a few years older than me. Aunt Marcia had a chance (and apparently the time and talent...) to take a class on Japanese doll making. She learned how to make the costume for the doll, and carefully dressed her as a geisha in training.

The "in-training" part was signaled by the fact that the tradition back fabric bundle was left undone as in this picture; (and I just learned why rubber flip flop sandals are also called zoris!)

ou can see both full fledged geisha and in training costume in this picture (I should have taken a picture of my doll's backside too while I was in San Diego this time) that is, two panels of richly woven brocade fabric trailed stiffly down from the dolls waist to her heels. I would routinely fold the fabric up, imagining how she would look as a full fledged geisha. The black band around her waist was the fabric I would fold, but the soft fine silk of the orange and white check fabric actually held my tactile interest more. That fabric was somehow embossed so each little dot was slightly raised.

My Aunt carried the doll home from Japan in a traditional display case formed of glass and shiny black lacquered wood. The door had a small key embellished with a minuscule tassel. By "carried" the doll home, I was told by my Aunt that the case and the doll had sat on her lap the entire flight from Japan to San Diego. When I think about that fact, I cringe. I can't imagine why she did that for me. As far as I know, she had only met me once or twice before she left for Japan.

Much later, when I visited with her as an adult she shared one detail about her flight over to Japan. She told me she had boarded the plane with her family, heading out to a country she had never known, dressed appropriately for that time, in a suit, heels, hat, nylons and gloves.

She had just begun her period that day; and the sanitary products were inadequate to the task at hand. Upon boarding she retired to the lavatory, where she undressed and washed out all the layers of her clothing-pantie, girdle, slip, skirt, and then re-dressed in the wet garments for the long flight with three young school age children. Naturally that trauma stuck in her mind for many years, and I wonder if she recalled that indignity as she layered the doll with garment after garment, then tied the costume all together with a sash.

Laura now owns the doll, and sadly the carefully carried display case was destroyed by water damage while it was stored when I was in my thirties. Her lovely sheer red silk parasol is also gone now; I only just this moment remembered that she had one, and it was always fully open, riding on her shoulder, exhibiting finely painted cherry blossoms in white, creating a back drop for her sweet white face.

Except those details, a slight shattering of the fine silk, and a tiny bit of fading and dust, the doll looks exactly the same as it did when I received it.

I wonder what inspired my aunt to give the doll to me; she had an identical twin sister who had two daughters that were older, and arguably more suited for caring for such a treasure, as well as a daughter of her own. I was amazed that I was chosen to receive the doll when they returned to America a few years later, staying at our house before trekking to their next military assignment, which I think was in Arlington Texas. Our family visited her there once a few years later. I was stunned at how hot and humid Texas was, and made a mental note to never, ever visit the state ever again. Oh how curious life is...I never imagined I would live deep in the heart of Texas myself later on.

More surprisingly, it turned out that my completely San Diego rooted daughter would be uprooted as well in order to enter nursing school at the college not far from where my Aunt and her family lived, none other than the University of Texas at Arlington.

I also wonder if the doll lit a life long passions within me: a love of the color orange, the fascination with beautiful fabrics and costumes, and the decision that of my three aunts, I liked my Aunt Marcia the best. Later she and her family moved to Oregon; I took a train up to visit her when I was a teen and shortly afterward decided I wanted very much to live in Oregon too. I later fulfilled that decision for at least two years of my life when I moved to Oregon to attend college. Funny how my Aunt seemed to have blazed a trail for future college location decisions!

Geishas are mysterious beings; their white mask like make up, shy demeanor, and wrapped in layer upon layer of bright color fabric that conceal their form, yet announcing to all who would see exactly who they are in their unique world. My doll is still signaling mysteries to me, and reminding me that she and I are in many ways still "in training" to learn how to serve be of service after all these years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doing a Seasonal Good Deed

When outside the kitchen window there is a view like this....

and this...

and this...

Yet the china on that table next to the window is pink flowered with mint green edges like this:

Jill is not pleased.
Bernie even admits it just doesn't feel quite right.
Bernie has also "encouraged" not collecting additional china sets, seeing as how I own not only my pink floral set (twelve place settings)...
but also a Christmas set, with eight place settings (above)
and a set of Lenox with a fuchsia rose in the center (for a dozen people!)
There is only so much space one can give over to china sets!
Enter a bright idea, and a fifteen minute break at work.
A quick trip to the thrift shop, and six dollars later....

I now own six "new" plates appropriate for the fall season!

Three plates are this design above, which Bernie likes best.

I also got three of this pattern.

Because mix and matched dishes are more fun anyway.
I already had the painted wood napkin rings..they were wedding presents from almost 33 years ago!

But wait! There is more!

My Christmas dishes included a stripped edge charger size plates and bowls.

Look how perfectly they mix with the "new" plates.

The charger works great with the other pattern as well.

But if I really want to go swanky, I can use my gold chargers to give the table more glitz. I have a gold toned flat wear set as well that will work nicely at Thanksgiving dinner.

I was only planning on getting two for each of us...but then I remembered my son and his wife *might* sometime come for dinner.

And that perhaps sometime her parents *might* come out for Thanksgiving as well. In any case, for a total of six bucks, I decided I could afford to be prepared.

Storing six plates won't be any big deal either. I just won't plan on serving coffee with the meal; it is always the cups and saucers that take up all the space when storing dish sets.

Love that pattern!

There are no chips, no scratches and both patterns are dishwasher and microwave safe. The plates are brand new. I wonder why they were given away.

In the future I plan to aquire special day dishes more often, but generally I'll be getting just two plates at a time; one for me and one for Bernie.

How fun it will be to be able to set a new table on a whim for only two bucks!

Red white and blue dishes will be gathered for American holidays, and then I'll donated then right back rather than store them at home.

I love the idea of having an endless ever changing china closet right around the corner from work.

Isn't that the cheapest thrill ever?

And just think...the money I spend will be going f0r a good cause too!

Changing out my dishes will actually be a way of performing a good deed!

When You Can't Say No But Should

Cessa is only eleven weeks old...but she is already caught up in television
(Click the green link above to see the movie, and be sure to have your sound turned on. I can't get the embed movie feature to work...drat!)

"Yes...this show is interesting. "

"What's a headache?"

"Oh...lipstick kisses! I get those on my head all the time from my Grandmama!"

"Scrubs! We LOVE watching Scrubs!"

"What do you mean that is enough television watching for one day?"

"Have you forgotten that I am a PRINCESSA?"

"Princessas get to do what ever they want. I was a 50 money dollar kitten. Hensley was only a ten money dollar kitten. He doesn't get to do whatever he wants like I do."

"You are being mean!"

"I don't think watching TV up close hurts my vision. What are you talking about? I can see just fine!""

"I'm going to eat my mermaid if you don't let me watch television!"

"I'll start with her had better turn that television back on or it is going to be bye bye mermaid!"

"How can you say no to me? I'm so cute!"

"I've been very good all day long...."

"OK, well all right then. Tickle my tummy and go get me some jingle balls and swishy sticks to play with instead."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My twin grands!

Just a quick post: I just got back yesterday from a quick weekend trip to San Diego to see my daughter Laura and her two new "babies."

Aren't they just the sweetest?

Cessa (short for Princessa) is a rag doll Siamese, and her brother Hensley (from a different litter) is a good and faithful orange cat just like his uncle Tiggie. They are about eight weeks old, and growing like weeds!

Of course I came with presents for my little sweethearts.

Laura LOVES mermaids, and so naturally her kittens needed mermaid toys to play with.

(Mostly they like jingly balls the very best. Grandmama brought a half dozen of those too.)

I also brought Laura a sweet gift as well: Candy blood! What self respecting nurse wouldn't love to get something like this as a gift?

I got to have my grands nap on me....Hensley is such a good napper.

The kittens have their own blog, or more accurately, Cessa has her own blog:

Its Good to Be Cessa. Isn't she a smart little girl? You bet she is! Now I have three boy grand kitties, and one girl grandkitty.

Love it!

I'll post more about my trip last weekend to San Diego later...whew...there has been SO much to do since I got back!