Author Archives: deemallon

The hokey pokey

The school next door’s camp festivities today involved very loud music and an electronic bullhorn (to talk to about 40 kids, mind). Some kind of line dance. There were the usual irritations, too — leaf blowers (against the law in the summer here), garbage trucks, and not one but two near neighbors with hired hands running power tools all day.

LA pine

I’ve just pulled out the wireless earbuds and feel wrung out, relieved.

Same pine at night

The good news is that the heat broke. Now that it’s quiet, I can open all the upstairs windows again.

Digital collage
PCC prompt from last year
The overlay leaf patterns: also a PCC prompt

I’m just scrolling around looking for tree photos.

Angel Oak, Sc
PCC solitary tree plus photos and quilts of mine
Around the corner from here

Pause without intending

It’s been hot. Very hot. I’ve been walking Finn early and late to avoid the worst of it. I’m even watering the trees at this point.

My writing workshop resumes next week and so I am collecting prompts, cleaning my work area, and thinking about the writers who will hopefully be showing up. I ordered a few books in anticipation as well.

Not shown: Peter Elbow’s WRITING WITH POWER
Paris Collage Collective visual prompt plus quilt with writing and more. Used dianaphoto app

I hope I get back in the blogging grove soon, but it doesn’t seem to be today. (I meant to say “groove,” but I like the idea of a blogging grove!)

The above collage was produced digitally, then printed out, and marked with white and regular pencils. I am excited about this. Maybe I’m excited about this all out of proportion to the technique, but it feels like a new direction, one that might yield unexpected and interesting results.

Curb to curb

“Orbatarium” — one of my favorite garbage picks of all time

I used to be on the lookout for treasures on the curb. It was fun and full of surprises. One neighbor was an antique dealer with limited storage space, so we were often lucky. We’ve picked up stools, porcelain ewers, frames still in their wrapping, loaf pans and Bundt pans, wicker tables, tins of all kinds, and so much more.

These days, however, I’m much more motivated by putting things on the curb.

I’ve reached the age where getting rid of shit affords a nearly religious pleasure.

It’s not quite what the Swedes call “death cleaning,” though it’s hard to avoid the thought that our efforts will at some point make life simpler for the boys. It’s not quite Kondo-izing either since the house is pleasing and functional already and I don’t feel the kind of virtue that I associate with “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

There are other factors as well. My town switched up the garbage rules such that fewer and fewer items can be scouted in all their random and free glory. The antique dealer moved away. Also, I HAVE ENOUGH GOD-DAMNED FRAMES!

I cleaned out half of a cupboard this weekend. Now my two cuisnarts have room to breathe (Yes, I have one big one and one nut-chopper-sized one and I use both all the time).

Some items went straight to the curb. I’m happy to say, someone snagged the Zoodler (a counter-top device that turns zucchini into “noodles.”) Someone took the wooden bowl, even though it was cracked. A sizable collection of paper bags went first. Whoopee! With each disappearance, I feel a kick of joy.

Other items from the recently cleaned-out cupboard will get listed on Facebook — some on the Everything Free board, others on a sale board.

Note to self: remember the turkey frier.

First let me say, the frier was a garbage pick itself and hence part of the flow we label, curb to curb. If there’s a slight hesitation about giving something up, it can help to shrug and say those words out loud, “Curb to curb.” Clearly, price was not a big factor. I asked $15.

To my surprise, the thing generated a lot of interest. I fielded and juggled messages for days. After one no show, I was careful not to mark the frier sold prematurely. Some people saw that gap as opportunity. They got weirdly ruthless (“I CAN COME OVER THIS SECOND!”)

As badly as I wanted the process to be over, a sense of fairness came into play. I felt I needed to wait and see if the sale closed before offering it to someone else. This went on for days.

In short, it was a lot of work for fifteen bucks.

Maybe free is better?

One stand from Noreen, one from the curb

Dusty west and dry east

On other trips to Los Angeles, it seemed I could not take a bad picture. On this recent trip, however, the landscapes look dusty, uninspired, and ill-composed. I think it was me.

Here on the east coast, it continues to be dry and hot. We missed the scorching heat while visiting my brother, but our plants did not. Through the use of timers and soaker hoses, we were able to preserve a lot, but some astilbe dried to a crisp and several newer shrubs gave up the ghost. I just dug up two of them. I don’t plan to replace them.

I cooked for us all at my brother’s and that was nice but the real contribution of the week was to blow up the solar-powered beach-ball lights that had been sitting in their boxes since Christmas.

It was strange while away to check the daily temps at home and find the Boston area hotter, by five, six, seven degrees sometimes.

It took longer than usual to “arrive” home but here we are. The AC blowing. The dog sighing. Greenery bouncing in a light, hot wind.

Before I sign off, look what Nancy sent me. How nice it was to come home to!

Check out the button! I feel so seen.

Thank you, Ms. Erisman!

A long-winded memory share

K and I went to Charleston five years ago to celebrate my 60th birthday (Did you say FIVE YEARS AGO?)

One of the places we toured was Boone Hall Plantation.

I was reminded of the tour this morning because as I was driving to pick up my new glasses I listened to most of an NPR interview with Nikole-Hannah Jones talking about her enormously influential 1619 Project.

I still have the 2019 NYTimes Magazine

In the interview, Hannah-Jones talks about the anodyne history offered in public schools. How much is missing. How Black history is American history is Black history. And how certain words either romanticized slavery or further demeaned the enslaved.

One of those words was “plantation.” It’s a word that calls to mind Tara of Gone with the Wind. It makes us think of long, beautiful live-oak-lined allees (which Boone Hall has), instead of snake-infested rice fields and all kinds of human misery. The better term, she suggests, is “labor camp.”

When K and I arrived at Boone Hall, they were setting up chairs for an outdoor wedding. I was appalled and said so on Facebook. There I was schooled by a local docent / historian who said that without the income produced by such affairs, many significant historic sites would’ve been turned into condos and golf courses. Okay, but still.

A Boone Hall employee sitting on a chair outside the first of many slave dwellings proudly announced that Boone Hall was “the second most romantic setting for a wedding in America.”

Without thinking, I said, “What’s number one — Auschwitz?”

If I’d been thinking, of course, I would have named an American setting. Perhaps Riker’s Island?

That’s it. That’s the memory.

Small add on — the first time I ever saw an eagle was at Boone Hall.

This popped up on my Instagram feed moments after I posted.