a buffalo, a book, and a brilliant thought

"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."

Thomas Edison

From a cool blog about blogging.  
And here's another good blogging source.  
Sort of goes on forever, this blogging universe.

I supposed this was a buffalo...what do you think?  It came from eBay, a few years ago, with a neato Native American doll.  About the same time the vintage Native American clay pot (to the right of supposed buffalo) arrived.

Transparency and the White Room

To have a window where you don't expect one: I love this.

When I was about seven, I remember looking at a magazine and seeing an incredible room, perfectly white--spartan, really, except for the lovely, textural addition of a warm white throw with long, woolly skeins (was it a sheepskin? probably...) on a simple bed.  And just to the right of, and above, the bed: a window...and the room was a room within a room, and the repetition and simple beauty of this--unthinkably exquisite, to my mind, it was. And still is.

I remember them being cubes, the rooms; the bed a rectangle; the throw, softly falling, almost triangular; the window a lovely, large square.  And all in the softest tones of clear, bright white and cream and bisque.

Made quite an impression on me.  Obviously.  It was a few years ago. Still want that room, I suppose, but having it tucked safely in my memory has been almost as nice (probably nicer, in fact, since I don't skew toward minimal in real life).  Very nice.


Fishing in an Ancient Tenement in Manhattan?

This is from a blog that had only 5 entries.  Wonder where Giles Anthony went?  Would love to hear more.

Loving BLDGBLOG these days.

Short version of long post below, courtesy of Einstein.

A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.


A moment, here, to say a bit about what we teach our children....a topic relevant, particularly, to our past few weeks, with three graduations in the family--Drew & Viv, from UCDavis, and Erik, from St. Christopher--and a wonderful upcoming adventure for Alex, who heads off for a month in Europe this August.

One of the things about motherhood, something I've thought of often in the past decade, is that when the children are little, and you are busting your rear to do a good job and keep them well fed and happy and in clean diapers and out of the electrical sockets, it is pretty easy to think you'd probably get an A, maybe even an A+, in "being a mom" (if you were still in school, and being graded, and I was only 2 years out of college when I became a mom, so I can assure you that I thought about this a lot).  

Then, somewhere in the middle of their sophomore year in high school (which our family has been through three times in the past 10 years), you wonder if, actually, you would even get a D. (D+, on a good day.) "Being a mom." Right. It gets crazy, and overwhelming, and sort of completely exhausting, motherhood. You wish they had been born with definitive instructions tattooed on their cute little backs, or something, anything, any directions...Please.  You wonder why you ever thought you were up to the job. 

Well, that is what happened to me, at least once or twice. Or more. 

But there are many brief shining moments, and longer sweet hours, and finally a couple of decades, and you look at it all and know that there isn't another job that pays this well, if you stick with it and put your heart into it.  

Jackie O. was right: the one thing you really, absolutely do not want to screw up is raising your kids. (Paraphrased, obviously.)  

No book I write, no article I publish, no logo I create, no job at the top of the corporate ladder, no nothing would be worth more than this, to me.  (Please remind me that I wrote this when the next carpool starts up, in the fall.)  We brought these people into the world, and--on the clear moments, of which there are many, I know this--it is the greatest thing one can do.  And worth a life's work. My life's work, anyway. 

Bottom line: I think I've taught them a few good things. There's always more one can do, but I've tried pretty hard, and my heart is always in it. I think they know that. They also know that their father loves them just as much as I do, and that--as Martha says--is a good thing. 

I hope they know that they mean more to us than anything. I hope they know that their grandparents taught us to love our family like this, that our siblings have continued the process with their children. I hope they know that we will be honored and deeply gratified if our children do the same.

Real bottom line: You simply can't put too much love into the world.

If I could teach them a few more things, things I would like, truly, to be better at myself, it would be to live every possible moment with generousity of spirit.  Be gracious and kind to others. Be gracious and kind to yourself. 

Listen. Hear. Your heart knows the truth. You will feel it.

Breathe, and breathe well, and be aware that what we have is now, what we want is right here, what we can do about it is to love.  

Take your time.  Feel the sun on your face...the sanctity of each breath...the genuine miracle that exists each minute that we are alive. It's just right here. Right now. 

And remember to put away the dishes. Like I said, things I wish I was better at myself.

Fabulous customer service from att. Yep. The phone company.

Thank you, Nicole Victor-Agani, of at&t, for making me think that having 5 cell phones is not only NOT dumbdumbdumb, but brilliant and affordable. We like it that our kids can get in touch with us whenever they need to; therefore, it seems like a helpful thing to assist with their phone bills. At times, that has not seemed like a great notion. But today, when I called about an unwieldy $ number that plopped into my mailbox this morning, Nicole not only straightened out the problem (which someone else at at&t had promised to straighten out on the 21st of May, but--benefit of the doubt here--they must've forgotten the right keystroke)....Nicole also recalibrated our unwieldy family plan, spent the better part of an hour fixing things that I have, heretofore, been unable to get anyone to fix (let's talk about the MEdia works package that hasn't existed for years that at&t was still billing us for...I got off a call to at&t in utter frustration several months ago because the rep I was trying to work this out with didn't seem to understand that things that don't exist shouldn't cost money). Nicole was patient, kind, considerate, and told me the best story I have heard in months...about at&t refunding a large and unexpected bill to a soldier recently returned from Iraq...thank you for helping that soldier, Nicole, and thank you for helping us. And happy birthday. I hope your upcoming year is a fabulous as you are.  

You're a saint.