Archive for August, 2015


Might include a handy thing or two to know…



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I know some people have these bronzed, which, even at the time when I’d been in the stores that offered the service, seemed strange…


Maybe it was the little white “first shoes” that got bronzed more often.  Still an odd keepsake.  Maybe it made more sense in days when polio or other childhood illnesses meant that some children didn’t make it to any larger shoes, or walking was a bittersweet milestone to look back on after that became impossible.

Or maybe it was “the thing you did” because the nice people at the store offered a service, and everyone else in the neighborhood had these things on their shelves, so….?

I remember buckling these on and off, running to the edge of the beach in them [and needing to shake out sand], going to school…little white cotton socks…discussions of why toes should be “piggies” and why on earth they would want roast beef…

But for the last few years, now that these shoes live with me, rather than my parents, I have been trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL to do with them.

The current [literally] solution is to use them to hold charging cables up off the floor and out of the immediate visual field of the current baby in the household, that kitten I keep photographing.

What things have you got that have found odd new purposes?

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Guardian typewriter


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Courtesy of the Social Qs column in the NY Times:

A Fine Kettle of Fish

I arranged to bring shrimp hors d’oeuvres and poached salmon to a family picnic. A cousin who doesn’t like to be upstaged suggested that I bring just the shrimp, and that she bring the salmon. (She usually brings chicken.) Should I agree, or tell her that I have already ordered the salmon and want to bring it?


It can be fun to mess with controlling people when the stakes are stunningly low, as here. Dig in your heels on the salmon: “I’m having a wild one flown in from Alaska.” Then watch your cousin turn gastronomic cartwheels. Veal Orloff with béchamel, anyone?

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Some kids just like sticks.  Sticks to carry around, sticks to walk with, imaginary javelins, machetes, any number of THINGS that a child might need to be able to wield…

Sticks-CloseupMy walk to school was along paved streets and through reasonably-well-manicured patches of gardens, but still, I could find a stick when I wanted one to carry as I walked to school.  Sometimes I’d store favorite walking sticks in the scraggly boxwood shrub just at the edge of the local dentist’s office property. That as as close as you could get to school property; the bush grew right against the concrete berm which held the posts of the school’s chain-link fence.

At home, sticks were even more functional — my father used his real machete to trim branches from trees down into stakes for tomato plants, zucchini, eggplants, loofa squash [that never set fruit, but it was fun to keep trying]…. sugar snap peas, morning glories…. These sticks were much taller, and had sharpened points to enable them to be set deeply enough to hold the vines and trellises.  Local spiders were fond of these structures as well, and the neighbors knew that flashlights shining in our yard on a summer’s evening meant not that there were burglars, but that we were out watching webs being built and moths being caught.

Now the tables turn a bit — I have crabapple, oak, chokecherry, river birch, and maple trees that need pruning, and my parents didn’t take the stakes with them when they moved — so what you see above is a sampling of the stakes I brought them.  Granted, I may also need to bring them some decent dirt, too, but the gardening continues…

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