Thursday, December 20, 2007

Remembering the sierra's

I love the winter weather. All I want to do these days is be at home and bask in the comfort my parents have worked so hard for (yes, I still live with the folks!). I have been in homes that are cold, uninviting and have that bad vibe feeling and I truely am lucky to be where I am at in my life.

I really wonder if this is where my fascination with ranch-style homes comes from. My house is mostly decorated with warm, natural colors, with the love of wildlife. In particular my mom's corner that proudly carry her paintings of deer. The red brick fireplace that sits beside them and also the stuffed deer head, my dad hunted one year, that hangs so prominantly in the family room. The father has an appreciation for wildlife and in no way was this deer just a trophy, we proudly feasted on the venison he prepared.

About 20 years later, my dad shows me the exact spot, high on a mountain in the Sierra-Nevada's. Hartley Springs is the secret campsite we used to spend 2 weeks at a time during the summers. I really do look forward to having a family and reinstating the tradition there.

Last year, I stumbled across the first section of the bible I will hope to live by: Atomic Ranch Magazine. They had one feature awhile back on a western/cowboy themed home. Red brick fireplace, paintings of the western range, vintage western b-movie posters, warm reds, oranges, greens and browns. I look at these pictures and I want to be there, because the home looks so inviting. When I own my own home, I'd like to capture that feeling: the love of nature, not so loud or so modern, I'd be afraid to let myself go after a hard days work.

I find it hard to leave my job because it is nestled in the mountains, with beautiful scenery and few people (except during ski season). I can walk out of my office often and take in the relaxing scent of fresh pine and no smog. Every time, it makes me think of the camping trips aforementioned. Without a doubt, everytime, I get a kick out of seeing a family of deer or a family of bears. It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, it makes me smile.

And my inspiration for today:

I saw these on Etsy and purchased the pair. I fell in love with these darling bronze candle holders. They are from the deco (30's) era. I can't wait to display them!

I suppose you already knew I had a thing for deer...hence my template. ;-) Images of Bucky the Deer come from an issue of Life Magazine, Aug. 23, 1948 to be exact, and yes I am the owner of an authentic copy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When it's winter in wrightwood, it's 21 degrees

It has been a bit of a winter wonderland around here, with freezing temperatures and desires to snowboard.

Yes, that's right, I said desire. Using cold temperatures as an excuse, I'd rather go home after work and be nestled in the warmth of the fireplace than do anything else. This complicates things. I have been lazy, last week using the excuse of being sick to dodge responsibilities. Granted I was pretty gone and out of it, but now I feel guilty.

I may have mentioned my wish to open a vintage clothing store. I ultimately decided to start online. I bought clothes on my travels across the South West and also have items that fell into my hands- 2 big lots to be exact. So far the best part about this- buying the clothes. Yes, I am a typical gal who likes to shop and read Vogue. A few weeks ago I wrote myself a To-Do List; Opening the online store was in the top 5. I was motivated for a while after writing that, but then it somewhat dwindled. I am hoping expressing it here will once again motivate me. I am sure, once I get started, it'll be okay. It is just that initial feeling of starting something new that has me a little fearful. Don't know why, it is what it is.

I have also been on the path to finding a new day job. I have applied places, took exams for the county and am awaiting their responses. I have a realized I am getting nowhere now and I have to utilize my college degree I worked so hard for. The feeling of being comfortable is way too old. And it is time for change.

In less frustrating news, I am doing good. I am obsessed with the new Penelope Cruz clothing line and when I get a couple extra bucks...uh huh... you know what's going to happen...

...There's gonna be one big smile on my face. OKAY... so I am getting materialistic for my old age. I have no one to rebel against at the moment, so I'll be happy to drop some cash on a celebrity's clothing line. I blame reading the tabloids online every day. (Fergie's new handbag collection looks fun, too...)

Friday, November 9, 2007

The sixties will still haunt us.

O, grass green vinyl seat, how I love you so!
With your wooden legs pointed outward,
Seat so firm,
no one has given you any interest.
You've sat in the dark entry way to the ladies room,
for 40 years.
I wish you were mine!
The embodiment of 60's modern architecture,
I'd pair you with my thrifted phonograph console
and a dirty martini in hand.
When I leave this place,
I hope to take you with me,
but life as it is,
rules and more rules,
you'll end up in the dumpster.
I will leave with a single tear,
to remember you always.

Monday, October 15, 2007

One random act of kindness.

It's another Monday morning, waking late, as usual and rushing to be at work before 9am. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact I can't see through one eye; I accidentally maybe cut it while taking a contact out 2 nights before. I am so bothered, the sun is so bright without a cloud in the sky, it's difficult to keep my eyes open. I'm so self absorbed at this moment and seriously considering turning around and calling in sick (mainly to crawl into bed and sleep a few more hours). Sitting at the main intersection of town, Sheepcreek & Phelan, I see a man trying to push his red car uphill. His little two door had obviously stopped running and he was on the drivers side using all his might to get it out of the intersection and park at the nearest, safest, curb.

An old white, much broken-in work truck whizzes by me, quickly pulls over. The passenger, in his manual labor attire, jumps out and runs to the rear of the car to help push. An intersection full of cars, a gas station on either sides of the road filled with more cars, and me sitting there observing what is happening and nothing more.

How often is it you witness a random act of kindness like the aforementioned? Or even realize when someone is doing something out of the kindness of their heart? I definitely haven't seen anything on the news or in the papers for as long as I can remember right now. But this last August did witness an emotional moment.

A young deer was struck on Highway 2, on a two-lane highway, at a spot where the road narrows, no car can pullover. She was alive, licking her front legs as sat in the middle of the Westbound lane. 2 different vehicles had managed to park in a way where the deer could not be bothered. 2 women were diverting traffic in a way so a pile up accident would not occur.

I was driving to work as I saw this unfold. Being the concerned citizen that I am, I called animal control to let them know of this situation. They gave me a runaround and told me to call Cal trans. No answer. I called the sheriff station, and the woman who had answered was surprised to hear this. I assume no one had called this in. As nice of these 2 women to control traffic, that is not a safe situation.

A couple of days later, I check around the community website where all of the gossip goes down. And, nothing. There was no mention of the deer in the highway and the women who had cared enough to stop. Was it not post-worthy because of it's good nature? All of the headlines are full of negative connotations, don't people want to read humanitarian stories?

These events may not have changed the world and may not have changed the course of one's destiny. To those who are involved or who closely observe, I think their eyes are a little wider and will notice a new opportunity a little easier. I hope that they don't take things for granted and appreciate the life they lead a little more.

Thank you to those who don't expect anything in return. I admire you. You will be rewarded in such a way, it would be impossible to imagine in the present time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Etiquette, anyone?

I picked up Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette (1952) during my recent roadtrip through the mighty Southwest. Found at a Goodwill in Roswell, New Mexico, I was drawn to it like a kid in a candy store. I love all things, well, old, and the book, with it's mint condition like state from 1954, I couldn't pass it up for the $2.00 price tag. I have always attempted to be polite and try to act like a lady; it comes from a traditional household that is still in tact. I have learned in recent years that it feels damn good to wear a dress all of the time. And it's nice to feel like a hot little number in a black pencil skirt, red sweater, and black 3 inch heels when rolling through town on a Saturday night. I suppose this liberation comes from being a tomboy up until the age of 21. This goes back to my point, women do not take the time to look nice for everyday tasks beacuse society has most definitely changed since 1952. And because of this, I have been the center of attention a million too many times at work: I wear a simple dress and everyone assumes I am going on a date after work and then they continue with stupid comments. What happened to the expectations of manners, how you carry yourself and plain and simple, etiquette?

I thought it would be a good idea to read through this reference guide, pinpointing events that may be happening in my life and relating them to this forgotten subject. With sociology being my focus in my higher education, the outcome of reading this book at work proved way more interesting.

I did a little research on this book, and it is still being published. It's true, you can buy it through Amazon. So maybe this topic hasn't been forgotten, completely. But who would buy it? Who even knows about it? I imagine this is the type of book recommended by word of mouth. By socialites? By poor folks trying to make it in the big city? Vintage enthusiasts trying to recapture the past? If I didn't see the brown hard cover and ivory colored, thick pages, I wouldn't have though of buying a new edition. I really don't know.

I've got quite a bit of downtime at work and I thought I would sufficiently fill my time by engaging my mind. Maybe finding excerpts to share here. So I read through it, it has many pages, maybe about 600? Honestly, I don't have the book in front of me.

The first comment I received was about sex. One of my male coworkers asked if the book mentioned sex before marriage. Do you really think an etiquette book would say it was okay? So it did not mention this subject matter outright, but had statements that led to it. A woman should politely decline a gift of a robe and objects that pertained to anything beneath the dress. This makes sense, if it is accepted, than the male definitely has expectations of that woman who might just be a tease. Last week, I read an article from Pageant magazine, circa early 1950's. A famous poll had been done on the sex habits of Amercian women. 60% of women had sex before marriage, but less than 10% of those women with men other than their future husband.

The second conversation during the course of the day consisted of not much but shock. It is pretty quiet around here but this month we have scientists working here, visiting from D.C.. One stopped at my desk to chat, I put down my book and gave him my attention. He asked what I was reading and he was very surprised when I told him. Because I work the front office, some scientists will look down on me and make very silly demands. So those PhD's pretty much think they are better than me, all high and mighty. (Sidenote: most of the scientists I work with are NOT like this, but there is the occassional one or two.) I am not saying this scientist felt this way, but he abnormally took a step back, blinked and kind of shook his head. He didn't ask why I was reading it or what I have learned from it. I think he has a teen daughter at home and maybe this subject would be of no interest to her. But that was that and it was just a little odd.

The final conversation at the end of my work day included another male coworker, two years my senior. I just know this guy so I put my book aside hoping he would not see it. Nope. He picked it up and starting reading through it. Restaurant tipping by the host, being the first section he sees. He continues to ramble on about how I am stuck in the '50s and I need to catch up to the new millenium. He is always teasing me about my interests, musical choices, my seeing glasses. How can someone so young be so close minded? He tells me he doesn't mean the teasing, but I am old enough (and wise enough) to know there is always truth in these comments. Not everyone is strictly sports and church, mind you. Why not admire the bygone era for it's simplicity?
I wasn't expecting these surprising reactions, at all. If I was reading the new Stephen King novel, these previous events would have not occurred. Even if I was reading Edger Allen Poe, I wouldn't have received the same reaction. Why is that etiquette is so unheard of nowadays in this middle class life that I lead?

I definitely dance to the beat of my own drum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mini Skirts

I have a new fascination: 60's biker flicks. My eyes are always open to see new cultures, fads and things I've never dreamt about. And this is my most recent obsession. Sure, the majority of the B-movie flicks portray women as possessions, but there are a few that empower them and take their characters to new levels: Jealous, ravenous and vengeful. Yet, they still take on a feminine quality that is admirable, todays society has forgotten about. Nowadays a sweat suit is okay to wear to the grocery store or even class. These '60s women are tough chicks but still have enough time to create big hair, draw on perfect liquid eyeliner, wear skirts and tight jeans. They aren't afraid to show their emotions and be bad ass at the same time.

I have taken a liking to this clothing style- I have been searching thrift stores, auction sites and vintage clothing websites. No one seems to be selling a simple a-line mini and bright colored tops. Sure the boots are in fashion now, and I am excited about that. I found an expensive pair of '60s black ones on Ebay and pair of $10 brown ones in a little town called Grand Juction, CO (creepy town, don't break down there).

Granted, I do not own a motorcycle, BUT I do know people that do. It's a lot of fun to dress like this while riding. I feel like there is nobody in the world but me, my group of friends and a good time with rowdiness.

Even my motorcyle and hot rod friends think I am crazy. It seemed like I was the only one into watching these movies and trying to emulate the lifestyle (of course, without the rape and belittling). Until about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I didn't know anyone that liked this B-movie era. When Joel saw me, he knew right away where I was at in my life. He opened my eyes to a subculture that really does exist, so I know I am not alone in this crazy curiosity of mine.