May 25, 2015

William Arthur Smith Benson

This lamp makes me want to talk dirty:

Currently up for auction at Michaan's.

What *I* Saw

On my way to the mamoo's house this weekend there was the usual congestion at the tollbooth, which let me rest my eyes on the array of band stickers that people slap on the guardrails that line the approach.

Snuggler? I read snuggler:

It was, of course, smuggler. They're trying to be all hard, and I read it as soft and squishy.

Which reminded me of the time last week, also while visiting the mama, when I read this:

as lamé, not lame. I kind of love what this says about my subconscious self.

Clearly part of an ongoing series, here, as I continue to get older and more free in my thinking :)

May 17, 2015

Famous Insurees For $100

Pop sold insurance. During the 1960s, his agency was underneath / next to / in the vicinity of the Fillmore West. Occasionally he'd come to work on a Monday to find a broken window, so he wasn't so happy about his location.

He didn't hate hippies so much that he wouldn't take their money, though. Apparently he was a go-to insurance guy for musicians traveling from abroad to play at the Fillmore, and my sister says that he also insured Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone. Very cool.

Pop had notions about how to make a mint, and how to identify growth markets. He invested in geothermal energy in the 70s. And he specialized in insuring people who had lost their insurance or were under-25. He advertised his insurance agency during the bullfights on television. He opened an office 200 miles away in an agricultural area (although the mamoo says that was just to have a place to escape to). And he liked to collect interesting names and stories about his clients.

Among them: Empress Lovely, Orange Greene, Hiawatha Crawford (who named his son Haiwatha Crawford Jr.), Lucky Brush, Chesterfield Jones and Edsel Ford Fung. Edsel was the only one of them who was well-known -- the meanest waiter in town, notable for his yelling at the devoted customers of Sam Wo restaurant. Another client was nicknamed "Cy" because his job at San Quentin involved dropping the cyanide pellets into the acid bath that created the gas for the gas chamber. Wow. He came to my pop to insure what he claimed was the world's largest pearl.

My favorite name of all was Abraham Lincoln Canary. That just rolls off the tongue. I love that name so much that during one point in my life all of my friends knew about it. Once, when I needed to page a friend at the airport, I called the White Courtesy Telephone operator using Mr. Canary's name. 

My friend responded to the page pronto.

May 11, 2015

Sentimental Gardening

When I was younger, I never really understood sentimental gardening. Now it's one of my favorite things about gardening.

I love knowing the history of my plants. My Canna Tropicanna was a present from my singing teacher, Red, about 12 years ago. She thought it was lost when her cranky landlord got on his tractor and plowed her garden under. After my singing lesson one day a few months later I spied Tropicanna coming up in the field. We dug it up and split the rhizome so we could each have some. Recently, years after Red's passing, I split some Tropicanna off and gave it to my current singing teacher, who was also a student of Red's. Red's plant, like her teaching, lives on in our gardens.

You can see, then, how I kinda view one's plants as an extension of self, and how passing up a wizened Christmas cactus at an estate sale might be an impossibility for me. I like 'em near-dead and try to bring them back to life. I purchased my neighbors Max and Berniece's Christmas cactus at their estate sale last year. It was droopy and sad, but after my tender ministrations gave me pretty pale pink blooms this year. Grandpa, who I saw at an estate sale I passed on the way to a funeral, has perked up phenomenally and gave me many blooms in February.

I keep hoping to collect *different* types of Christmas cactus, that bloom in different colors, but in the state I find them in there's no way to tell what you're getting. And some day I will get what I really want, which is one that blooms red. But I don't believe in going down to Home Depot to do so. That would be wrong...

Anyhoo, I thought I had totally scored when I bought another cactus last year. If it lived. It was so dry that its legs (or whatever you call them) were crispy like potato chips. There was some new growth, and it looked like it was rosy red. I hoped that maybe my red-blooming cactus desires had been fulfilled. Instead I have a new friend with a different flower form, who blooms his little head off in May. Love him.

Here he is before I trimmed off the dead parts (it's worth clicking to see a bigger photo and appreciate how bad off he was:

and after cleanup:

and here he is three months later after a little shade and water:

and here he is this week:

It makes me so happy to see him come to life.

UPDATE: Turns out that he is actually an EASTER cactus. I love him even better, now!


May 5, 2015

Child in Straw Hat

We're mixing it up this week, with me taking care of the mammoo alongside a caregiver. The caregiver is amazing. She's helped her do her exercises, given her a sponge bath, done the laundry, and I think she's doing the dishes right now. Did I mention that she cleaned the bathroom?

This lets me do things like make meals and check my work email on occasion. And bathe. So weird to use my ancestral bathtub, the one from when I was a baby. It's a bizarre color of orange, and the mammoo hasn't used it in years because she takes showers.

In today's tub adventure, there was a silverfish that had to be encouraged to leave. Then I turned on the tap and a lot of rusty water came out. Eew. Eventually I got my bath in. But I still had to look at this glum gal, "Child in Straw Hat" by Mary Cassat. There's another sad child print over the bathtub. 

No wonder this bathroom is mildly depressing!

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