Archive for the ‘seasonal’ Category

Ours Is Not To Reason Wyeth

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Susan’s not very good at answering the question “Hey baby… what do you want for Christmas?” That’s not a judgment, just a fact borne of the roughly 16 Christmases we’ve been together. Sure there were times when she knew EXACTLY what she wanted, such as that year she said without pause and I kid you not: “A rototiller!” But mostly when asked she typically shrugs. Concurrently I’m not at all very good at intuitively knowing what she might want.

So on the day before this past Christmas Eve when we did an out and back through Echo Park for our regular pre-Christmas local shop/walk-around, one of the last places we popped into was a dark, dusty and rather dreary antique shop on the north side of Sunset Boulevard just west of the bend at Mohawk Street. Nothing from the jumbled piles of stuff jumped out at me, but a framed print depicting a monochromatic farm-like setting of old buildings and birds and barren trees got Susan’s eye. She picked it up and gave it a good looking over.

The proprietor offered “That’s a Wyeth. A lithograph.” Sure enough the signature in the bottom right read Andrew Wyeth. And when she asked how much, he said “$150.” At that pricepoint, she promptly set it back down and we were soon on our way.

I mentioned how I’m not very intuitive, but I’m not a blob of gelatinous goo either. So when sometime later that day, Susan commented offhandedly that she really liked that picture, I knew what I had to do.

And the next day I did. Loading myself up with enough cash to make a polite but firm and very fair counter offer I prayed the place was open on Christmas Eve, which it was. Marching straight back to the print I reminded the owner of our visit yesterday with the Wyeth and told him what I was willing to pay. He mulled it a moment, said OK and the transaction was complete.

Susan was very pleased when she unwrapped it the next morning, and it has since found a home on the dining room side table.

I wrote all that because it finally dawned on me that there might be a title to that work of art, and it only took some brief googling to find out it is called “The Mill,” most likely painted in 1958 around the time the Wyeths bought the property and subsequently restored it. I found other paintings (more famously “Night Sleeper,” featuring Wyeth’s dog) that feature the location, known as Brinton’s Mill, built in 1720, in Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Oh Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

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Ever since I first saw the Peanuts Christmas show some forty-cough years ago, I sat firmly in the camp of anti-fake trees. But this last couple holidays, Susan and I have just not really gotten into the spirit. Sure we put up our outside lights and a wreath and some other stuff, but a tree…? Nah, it just seemed more work — and money — than it was worth.

A couple weeks ago, Susan said she was going to check out the selection of pre-lighted, pretend trees at a local retailer. She came home with a box. The contents of which took literally five minutes to set up. Factor in some Balsam fir oil and a diffuser and at a glance and sniff, she looks and smells purty dang genuine. But even if she isn’t, our spirit is.

Long story short? I’m no longer a card-carrying member of the anti-artificial tree club.

Low-Key Christmas

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

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I’m not sure if Christmas as I used to anticipate/celebrate it is a thing of the past. This is the second year Susan and I collectively shrugged when the topic of a tree came up at the beginning of the month. And when it came time to mount the lights to the house, I was notably bah-humbuggy in doing so and then didn’t add the decorative reindeer and light trees to the yard.

1934191_211594125839635_3439375567731108525_nAs for gifts, there just weren’t any big ticket items on my list… though I suppose I could’ve used a new clutch for my truck. But how do you wrap that much less put it under the tree we didn’t get? The one thing I told Susan I needed was a new watch, as the date function on the cheapo one I bought at Big5 a few months earlier had crapped out, and she fulfilled that and then some with a solar-fueled Casio. She also surprised me with a cool tripod for my iPhone and a magnification stand thingamajig that’ll probably be more practical as a conversation piece than an actual tool.

Susan gave me no ideas what she might want. So I got her the new Adele album and a hardcopy of the sequel to “To Kill A Mockingbird,” plus a few other stocking stuffers that she enjoyed. I also picked out a new area rug on the fly to replace the one Bonnie the pitbull had peed on to death. Ever the romantic, I know.

10270284_210791665919881_2697434772938340703_nSpeaking of Bonnie, the news that she was adopted last weekend was probably the best gift Susan and I could’ve gotten.

It disturbs me a little, my holiday harumph. I do love the season. There’s not a decorated house I pass be it ultra-elaborate or strung up with just a single sloppy strand that I do not sigh with joy at.

In the end our Christmas, while not one charting high on the memory meter, was still one filled with cheer and good will. And egg nog.

Luna-See!

Friday, December 25th, 2015

Last night/this morning showcased the first Christmas Day full moon since the year Nineteen Hunnert and Seventy Seven so of course having gotten up early, I snapped it from our porch pre-dawn as seen below. Murry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas. Everyone.

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

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We opted not to do the tree thang this Christmas. Thought it better to keep the $80-plus and the roughly five hours total spent finding/decorating/undecorating/hauling-to-the-recycling-station.

So here’s last year’s. While it now exists only as mulch somewhere, my wishes for everyone to have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year are as fresh as ever.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

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Halloween 2013

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Halloween 2013

For the number of trick-or-treaters we get some might argue that the spooky yard we create is not worth the several initial hours of extraction from the basement and set-up and wiring for light and spooky sounds, followed by several more hours over the days leading up to Halloween night spent tinkering and fine-tuning (and in the case of this year filing a police report for a theft of one of the ornaments). Lastly there are the hours on the Big Day spent getting all the electronics ready, carving the pumpkins, and also in the case of this year, subbing in 10 pounds of dry ice for the way-pat-its-prime fog machine that finally crapped out.

The trick is: I don’t do all that for the 70 or so kids who come tromping up the front steps seeking candy. I do it for the inner child in me and my love of my favorite night of the year.

But because I’m a firm believer in Halloween being over when it’s over, come the morning of November 1, I waste little time dismantling the entire thing back into the basement and returning our yard to normalcy as if nothing had happened… leaving only the above photograph (click it for the bigger picture) as proof, and these that I uploaded to Flickr.