Friday, August 31, 2012

Lost Summer

Summer ends this weekend. Technically, I know that summer doesn’t end until the Autumnal Equinox (September 22nd – mark your calendars) but there are other ways of marking time.  And in the US Summer starts on Memorial Day, and ends on Labor Day. 
Of course that’s the depressing way to look at it. It's also a beginning. It’s the start of the new school year, the new theater season, and (in Houston at least) it's the start of Fall Festival Season.
In the past week, I have received invitations to:
And did I mention it’s currently Houston Restaurant Week(s)?
Not that I object, it’s just that the flood of invitations, reminders, & save the dates is a little overwhelming. Also, I feel sad that I didn’t really do anything this summer. I didn’t go anywhere. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I don’t have any stories to tell. I spent the summer going to work and making imaginary decorating plans for the house I bought.  This was very practical, adult and mature of me, but so very dull.  Thus, I’m feeling a sense of time wasted. 
I think I’ll devote an evening this weekend to the ultimate in summer recreation – lying under a tree with a big drink, pretending to read, watching the dragonflies and enjoying the day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Momento Mori

In the interest of getting out of the house occasionally, I've joined a photography group. My first event was a visit to the Nation Museum of Funeral History.

There is all sorts of information about death rituals in various cultures, an entire installment on the invention of embalming, and another (huge) display detailing all the rituals that take place when they inter the Pope.  Did you know he gets three coffins, like an Egyptian pharaoh?  And they smash his ring with a hammer?  

detail of an English hearse
It would be a great place for a car nut. There is an impressive collection of hearses from all over the world, (including sleighs and the only hearse-bus) and the coffins are incredible. There is a glass coffin, a coffin built for three (long story) and the fantasy coffins from Ghana – which are carved and painted to look like whatever you want. You want to be laid to rest in a representation of your favorite vegetable?  They can do that. They had coffins shaped like leeks, crabs, lions, and an outboard motor (it even said Yamaha on the side). The Lucite coffin is like the tackiest Vegas souvenir ever. It has money imbedded in patterns in the plastic – so you can take it with you.

I was the only one in the group to take pictures of the gift shop.  What would they have in a Funeral Museum gift shop you may ask? skulls, death themed jewelry, chocolate-covered coffin candies, Dia de los Muertos stuff, and my personal favorite – undertaker Christmas tree ornaments. They are very nice, blown glass, dressed in black with a shovel in one hand and a scroll inscribed “Death Certificate” in the other. 

I'm in a contest with myself to find the tackiest souvenir ever made. (It's an excuse to prowl gift shops, really.) No winners here, unfortunately.  The miniature outhouse inscribed "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" was tacky, but a little too pedestrian. The undertaker ornament was actually too cute. A really tacky souvenir has to make you do a double take. Like the  wedding-themed toilet plunger I found a few years ago. I am not making this up. I'm not that creative. 

Years ago I went to a combination Graduation from Mortuary School/Sex Toy party - Official theme: "This Stiff Needs a Stiffie" (I have some very uninhibited friends.)  These might be the people who would appreciate an undertaker Christmas tree ornament, particularly if I got one with extra glitter.

Monday, August 27, 2012

So what's a month?

First, I apologize for the delay. I've been having technical difficulties with my computer. I still can't post pictures, but I can at least get to the dashboard. I have a technician coming to look at things this week, -fingers crossed!

Second, I'm going to take the advice of Matt Cutts and Try Something New for 30 Days. I first talked about this in February, if you remember. But getting burgled has a way of changing your priorities. I  think I'm settled enough now to get back to it.

I'm in a "shaking off the dust" cycle in my life.  I'm trying to pick up new habits/get rid of bad ones/get out of the house.  So last week I started exercise. I don't like exercising. I don't hate exercising. I just find it boring. That's why it used to take grades and a gym coach yelling at me to get me to do it.

When I lived in California, I used to go on hikes (hiking is a requirement of living in Northern California) and the hikers fell into two categories. The 'serious' hikers who are very aware of time, wear bodybuggs, and obsess about their heart rate dropping. (Step it up! If we don't make it to Pinchpenny Pass by 10:30 we'll never make it to Flyweight Falls by noon!) and the ones who just wanted to look at the scenery and have a nice time. I was in the second group. What's the point of going out into the glorious California scenery if you can't stop to take pictures and drink it all in?  And if there's a bar at the halfway point, so much the better!

Eventually the serious hikers started putting things like "This hike is for SERIOUS hikers only." on the sign up sheets.  Insulting, but it made life easier for those of us who just wanted to look at the scenery and meet new people.

But to get back to the point,  I keep hearing about all the benefits of exercise (increases bone density, makes you look younger, avoid arthritis, sleep better...) , so for 30 days, I'm going to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. I started on Thursday (the 23rd) and have managed to do my 30 minutes every day so far. I know 4 days doesn't sound like much, but it's the most consecutive days I've been to the gym in years.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ch- ch- ch- changes

I've been away from the blog a long time. Here are the highlights of the past few months:

  • My apartment was broken into and my cameras and jewelry were stolen.
  • I bought a house
  • I moved.
  • My beloved cat of 15 years is gone (presumed dead)
As you can see, it's been crazy, and mostly depressing.  The biggest blow was losing Buddy. He was furry sunshine and not easily replaced.

If you want an exercise in frustration, try house shopping. It is not fun. It makes you reconsider moving. (It's not that bad. The oven works most of the time. I'm used to hearing the neighbors having drunken sex on weekends. They're hardly going to rob me a second time. etc.)   But I ignored all that and signed my life over to the mortgage company. (Only 29 years and 9 months to go!)

And I like the house. I do. It's really well laid out, it's comfortable. But I keep seeing things that need doing. Things that will cost money. I knew this, but it still a shock when you realize that you need to buy major appliances, pegboard the garage, buy a lawnmower and gardening equipment.

Still I've been depressed and bored and I wanted to shake up my life. I think this counts as a shake up, don't you?

I have a dining room!