Polish Clothespin Dolls

I  have four Polish clothespin dolls that I acquired last year. These are mine, not August's. I find them so cute and appealing. They were bought with transformation in mind. After a year I have grown very fond of their well worn looks, crazy hair and that lovable look of surprise. Last year August and I played with them, making up stories for them and I took pictures. This comes close to the story we had going.

Hans, Peggy, Nancy and Peter left their little nook in the cupboard where they lived above the spices and behind the tea tins. It was a pretty day, the sunlight beamed in through the cracks in their cupboard door. Peggy and Hans set out cautiously after Nancy and Peter who were already enjoying a  view outside. Peggy was the most frightened on of all.

Once the friends came together under the big shade tree on such a beautiful day, Peggy started to lose her fears. She became completely unafraid and found that she enjoyed climbing trees to get a better view of the birds and squirrels. She wanted to climb higher and higher but Peter told her there was not enough time to explore the entire tree and they had to return to the cupboard before supper.

They hopped on and off rocks, smelled flowers and watched the clouds change shapes. Peggy was so happy to feel so brave, and she was enjoying the outing so much she started to sing for joy. She sang louder and louder and louder. Nancy, Hans and Peter laughed and tried to get Peggy to quiet down. She was disturbing their new friends.

It was hard to get Peggy to return home. She started to play tag, she became difficult and whined about how stuffy and dark the cupboard was. She said they had to catch her to take her home.

Nancy told her it was now spring and they didn't have to stay in the cupboard all the time. They could have outings every day now.

So the friends returned to their homes with plenty to fill their dreams.

Corner View: Imagination

{taken... years ago}

Imagination... right away I think of the song as sung by Harry Connick Jr. because I had that cassette playing throughout the spring of 1991. It was not my favorite rendition but is now the one most associated with being in Austin for the first time and going to school, being on my own. So much was going on at the time, so much felt and so much to see. I had no idea what was coming. How very long ago. I'd walk parts of this city imagining that I was back in Mexico, inspired by a scent coming to me in the breeze. I was reading a lot of Nin at the time and would imagine I was in Paris, inspired by the architecture of an old building. Rimbaud, Kerouac and Sarte filled my book bag.

I wouldn't recognize myself. I straightened my hair every morning, something I'd never do now. I think it's so abusive. I wore it down, another rarity these days, never just down. It was so long, down to the small of my back. It was never that long again. I walked around in short denim cut-offs and brown leather Mary Janes every where without a care in the world. Getting dressed was easy. Paired with the shorts were scooped necked tees, in every color to choose from. There were less than ten vintage dresses, a pair of clogs and a new pair of Doc Martin combat boots in my closet. I didn't own much of anything. The most expensive things I owned were my art supplies, camel hair brushes, a large leather portfolio and pricey paper. So it was quite an expense to belong to the Harry Connick Jr. Fan Club. I was an official and registered member who would mail in my dues to somewhere in Massachusetts... for  a year.

So concerned with my own life, dreams, goals, interests and friends, I never could of imagined then, that within ten years I'd have a computer and a cell phone and that I'd be living a daily life so completely different because of them. And in 2001, I never imagined the guy at my favorite coffee shop, the one who stared and stared at me but never really said a word, would become the love of my life in the spring of 2011. Re-connecting through blogs of all things and if not for that invention... The things we imagine and the things we can't.

Imagination: The Quotations {August's fave rendition}

Our Spring Break

August and I had a wonderful day spent visiting friends and going to the museum. She had not been to an art museum and the day was so beautiful, the campus area cleared because of spring break and it happened to be the day the museum was open to the public for free. The idea came to me early enough in the day so we went with it. When we got there she appreciated the wide open space that was the lobby, then the many stairs leading to the permanent collection.

She pulled me from room to room, she was so excited. We ended up back in the room with the Modern and Contemporary Art in front of Alfred Gottlieb's Cadmium Red Above Black several times. August kept saying it was so beautiful. She said so many of the pieces there were "...so beautiful, Mommy". She sat in front of Peter Dean's Dallas Chaos II for quite awhile. Of all paintings for a toddler to pick to sit in front of. It had a "piggy" in it and "clowns". I think the bright and bold colors are what drew her in. I have often thought the painting felt like a hostile circus or parade and liked it for that reason.

I had to visit my favorites: Jerry Bywaters' Oilfield Girls, William Glackens' Lena and Imp and Yasou Kuniyoshi's Waitresses from the Sparhawk. Mr Gage studied under Kuniyoshi in Woodstock. I have always recognized his influence on Mr Gage's work. There was a framed black and white photo of Kuniyoshi that hung over Mr Gage's bedroom door. I thought of how talented Mr Gage was and how his artwork reflected the era that surrounded me in that museum room. I so miss Mr Gage, the older man in my life. He'd laugh at that when we'd joke about such things. I can say that I am genuinely left with a void in my life now that he is gone. Never again a conversation about old British actors, no talk about Mistinguett, no one will ever sing me Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France or How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm.

After, we headed for the cafe and lunched on cheesecake. August loves cheesecake but not when it is served at home. She didn't even really notice it was cheesecake the one time I gave her a slice at home. But when we are out, cheesecake a special treat. On the way to the truck we stopped in what looked like a little spring haven with blooming trees and yellow flowers. We picked flowers and for awhile I did forget we were actually near a parking lot.

Next on the list was grocery shopping, something we both love to do but August said she wanted to go shopping with her Papi. Once at the grocery store I could see she was indeed exhausted so we left and returned home. She changed out of her clothes and put herself in bed for nap...all on her own. It was a special day. The grocery shopping didn't get done. Dinner was okay at best. I put together a meal with what I had on hand from a near empty fridge and pantry. Sausage and green beans with almonds. As we ate we spoke of the day and I asked her what she liked. Seeing her Madrina and paintings and cheesecake were the list. I looked at the two paintings I had of Mr Gage's and sent him a few thoughts.

Not everyone is in agreement with priorities but when it comes between filling the fridge and pantry or taking advantage of a beautiful day... It isn't often that I am spontaneous. What I had planned was a trip to the grocery store then back for household chores and dinner. But when we woke up that morning, it was such a beautiful day, the kind that would take me to visit my old friend. Instead I introduced August to The Blanton. The decision to forgo all responsibilities was irresistible. August is on the brink of her third year on earth and so in love with paintings. Just the other night, before bed, she dragged out the watercolors and wanted to paint. She loves the paintings that hang in our home. It was an amazing afternoon for me. No regrets. A messy house and bare cupboards just aren't as urgent as sharing art with my little girl on a pretty day. This is how it should be.

Mr Gage

Corner View: Something Difficult

The switch to Daylight's Saving Time is always a difficult one for me. I feel behind and sluggish until May or so. There have been a few years where I just don't feel the change and the transition is seamless. But when the days have been wet and gray, and the chill lingers on, more than usual for this time of year in Texas, the change in time is too early.  

This week has been profound so far. There has been much good and bad that has filled the short time between Monday and Wednesday. It's a growth spurt for me. Those can be difficult as well.

Corner View: Cuddly

I miss Artie, he was my bunny. He would give kisses when he was happy and thump his foot when he was unhappy. I really got to know a lot about bunnies with Artie. I prefer them to dogs or cats now. Every morning, before work, I would put his breakfast together: banana, some papaya, his pellets, his vitamin and changed his water. For dinner I made him a little salad, gave him the other half of his pellets and changed his water. When I got home from work, we'd sit outside together and watch "the girls",  my  chickens. He was the best company, so calm and made me calm and present. Buying him a treat or giving him some cardboard to play with was always fun. I loved how he'd rearrange his cage and then keep it that way for a few weeks, become bored with it and rearrange it again.  Artie was so dignified and especially cuddly.

My memorable minutiae

I have just a few memories that go as far back as 18 months old. I have many more starting at two years old. I wonder what will stay with August.  There have been times when I have told her," I hope this becomes a memory for you".

I remember waking from a nap or  walking out of my room in the morning and hearing my mother exclaim with a gasp,"You grew!" At the time I had no idea that would ever come to an end.

My baby brother lying in the back seat of the car on a blanket, no car seat, no carrier. Those Ford Galaxy's were a smooth ride but.. It was either a drive to my grandmother's house or out of the town and on the highway. I was in the front seat on my mother's lap and looked back. The sun was shining on his crocheted layette.

All those car rides on my mother's lap or my grandmother's lap and their arms tightly around me.

Pretending to be baby at a birthday party. It was a serious regression at two years old that annoyed my mother.

Playing at my toy kitchen and serving my mother tea and telling her my husband was at work. When she asked what he did I pictured a policeman directing traffic and holding a stop sign. I told her he was police man. It was dark outside.

I remember being sick and crying unable to get comfortable and the lighting in the living room changing. My mother tells me I was around 18 months old and had watched The Yellow Submarine. It disturbed me she said and she thinks that is what caused a sleepless night for everyone.

The look on my father's face when he realized my finger was about to be hurt when he closed the door and how it felt when it did. I remember seeing my finger disappear and the hinges of that door. The ride to the doctor's office and getting it bandaged up but I don't remember the pain.

Dreaming that a grackle flew into the house and I chased it through the rooms. I asked my mother what happened to the bird and she didn't know what I was speaking of and said I must have dreamed it. Not my first dream I am sure, only the one that made me aware of them. I was two or so.

I had a genuine fear of being eaten by a dinosaur a bear or bigfoot and thought if I stepped out of bed at night a skunk or raccoon would bite me...

I had no concept of when my birthday was or what it was until around age 4. It was making more sense by then. At that point I still couldn't remember the date...I kept thinking it was April 1st for the longest time. I remember standing behind  school mate and saying it was birthday and she said,"Today on April Fool's Day?" I said yes and wondered why no one at home had said anything.

I also remember it was before I started kindergarten and more than likely when I was four that I placed my hand on the wall near my bed and looked at it well and said out loud"One day my hand will be big." Then thought of how everything would be different. That realization of change and growing up. I remember the wall, my bed, that it was dark outside and the room was lit with the light from the hallway.

For some reason I thought when my mom was a little girl dinosaurs roamed the world more frequently and I'd always ask her if she saw one or saw big giant birds. I think Land of the Lost was behind all this. I didn't quite grasp the time line at age 3 and 4 and grouped cowboys and Indians, dinosaurs, old black and white films and my mom as a little girl in one age and thought they were all on earth at the same time.

I hated cow meat, unless it was tongue, liver, tripe in menudo or sausage and would be the last one at the table. The food would get colder and harder to look at. My mother would become frustrated with me and finally leave the table. When she wasn't looking I'd plop the pieces of cow meat into my milk, or place it on a napkin and go to the restroom to flush it down the toilet. Nothing was ever said so I figured I was getting away with it. I loved pork chops. I haven't had a pork chop in years and years.

I didn't think anyone could see me when I decided I was invisible.

I had an imaginary friend that I swore I could see and I can still remember what she looked like.

Everything had a personality and feelings, all inanimate objects. Everything and anything would talk in their own way, all inanimate objects. That idea still has a grip on me.

Everything was so exciting. Going to the little local bakery in my hometown, Seeger's Bakery, was especially joyous. It was always a treat and right across the street from the toy store. To be able to visit both, one after the other was a happy day. The cream puffs and donuts were so delicious. The toy store closed down when I was still a kid but the bakery lasted awhile. I thought all cream puffs and donuts tasted just like they did at that bakery. I have yet to find a cream puff or donut that catapults me back to those days.

My memories are so random. I have always treasured these tidbits. Now that I have August they serve to remind me of what childhood was like when in the middle of it. How it felt to be a toddler and the ideas that come into the head of an almost three year old. I understand completely when August says she wants to go back home when we are still out and about after sunset and it starts getting darker. I remember how that felt.