Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lion in Wait

My Mom and her husband, Lorne, both retired, sold their house in Reno, and hit the road in an RV oh about 6 or 7 years ago. As Mom scaled way back the plan was to furnish the RV with what was necessary, sell or donate what they didn't want to keep, and pack up what they wanted to keep and store it at Grandma's house in Troy, MT.

When Mom asked me if there was anything I wanted I said "The lion picture". I've long coveted that lion picture but I have also been satisfied with seeing it over the years when I would visit Mom in Reno. I've never really asked about it. I think I've just assumed it was a yard sale or thrift store find. But there it always hung over a table with a lamp and a short stack of books, and I found my eyes always being drawn to it. So, the lion picture got packed up and shipped to Grandma's in Troy, MT , which is some 1,343 miles away, awaiting the day it would be mine.

During our road trip in 2007, Will and I were at Grandam's house in stunning Troy, MT, for the 4th of July. A small town along the Kootenai River, and a stones throw from Glacier National Park, it's also where my Uncle Jim and the lovely Elva live. Since we were driving the plan was to take the lion picture back home with me, but it was not to be found and I reluctantly left without it, not knowing when I would have the opportunity to get it again.

Grandma finally traded in the hard winters of Troy, MT for the more gardening friendly climate of our native Redding, where I grew up. Now Redding is about 543 miles away and when Mom and I flew up there to visit, the picture was presented to me before leaving and I wrapped my arms around it and wrapped it up in some paper, stuck it in a plastic garbage bag, fashioned a handle using duct tape and carried the lion picture with me on the plane and home. Not knowing where I would hang it, the lion picture was propped up on my dresser, not being shown to its best advantage, but where it has stayed for over a year.

It was then again put in a box with some other frames and taken down to the basement where it lived through the renovation this year. This morning, as I sat here waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered some time between 12:00 and 4:00 I did some furniture arranging in the conservatory, pulled my old trunk out and dusted it off, stacked a trunk that Will found curbside on top of it, and on top of that an old thrift store suitcase that still holds my TSOL and Social Distortion records in the silk pockets inside. Next to the trunks is a rattan end table used as a phone stand on one side, and an old iron chair on the other, and on top of the suitcase the hat I wore to Africa in 2001.

Then staring at the big blank wall I went looking around the house for some artwork to hang. The space above the trunks was telling me it was a good spot for that lion picture. Down to the basement I went and pulled the lion picture from the box along with another old frame that had previously hung on that wall. In the old frame I inserted the mat, cut a piece of wrapping paper to attach a photo from our trip to Africa in 2005 of a male lion sitting in profile, mane blowing in the wind. Now I have the lion picture I've longed for and a lion photo together. With some help from Ranger it now looks like so.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Snails

After an early morning jaunt to a construction site to pick up some long coveted wood with my sweetie pie, we then drove through McD's for a couple of Egg McMuffins to take with us up to the top of the world for a panoramic Los Angeles breakfast. There are three ways to get to the overlook; 1) drive up to the visitor center's parking lot and it's a short trail to the overlook; 2) park at the bottom and take the meandering and gradually inclined 1 mile switchback trail; or 3) face the bazillion steps and march straight up the dang thing.After finding the gate leading up to the visitor center's parking lot locked up until 8:00 am (40 minutes nigh) we parked on the road at the bottom and headed straight on up those steps. And these are no 7 x 11s, they are 18" plus, which is a big step.

Once we got to the top (yeah, we made it to the top) we chatted with another early bird. One woman who scaled the hilltop ahead of us, in breathable cotton knit active wear, and a colorful print scarf around her head topped by a straw hat, carrying hand weights, headed back down after looping the hilltop trail, and did it all over again. I don't know how many laps she did but she made the climb several times while we were there. And she was no spring chicken.

What does all this have to do with happy snail? Well, we saw a lot of them perched everywhere along the trail on stalks of fennel and other flora, and well, they seemed happy to me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The 4th of July

What a gorgeous summer day in the city. No really. I mean it. See.
We've got steaks for the grill, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, watermelon, cherries and peaches. All set. Oh yeah and beverages; a box o' Chillable Red, Coronas, and Lemonade.

I have a couple of photos of what we did to soffit the duct in the dining room nook. The nook was a catch-all space with a few inadequate shelves and no trim. So unsightly that I just put up a tension rod and draped it. So I decided to wrap it in bead board. Well not me, as in I built it, Jesus built it, but it was my idea...In progress.
And add molding and trim like the existing built in next to it. Oooh. How nice it turned out. Now a place for my cook books, and silver pieces, crockery from Germany, and linens from France.