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Movie Collecting (And NO, they are not all chick flicks!)

I love movies.  I really love movies.  My husband thinks I’m weird because I can’t just stop by a Wal-mart $5 movie vat for a few minutes.  I dig and dig.  I can’t help the man never watched Star Wars and the only two movies seen as a child was Old Yeller and The Sound of Music.  W-H-A-T.  Had I known this in the courtship…  Let’s just say sometimes the man of your dreams may have a tiny little hiccup.

I look for that long lost favorite movie that either brings back some childhood solace from tough times lived (and maybe not gotten over) to just movie greats like Animal House, Airplane, Fletch and Caddyshack.  Ok, these are not Gone with the Wind or Metropolis but, hey – life is short.  I use movies like soundtracks.  I know them line by line and can do other projects around the house while they are playing on the DVD. When I’m noodling out a problem I pop in something I’ve seen a million times and sit through it.  I’m not consciously watching the movie I’m using it as a distraction like someone would go out and shoot a few hoops to “relax” the brain cells into a solution.

As much as I love movies I really hate going to the local movie theater!  There should be two types of movie theaters – one for serious movie watchers and one for everyone else.  I don’t want to hear or see cell phones at all.  I don’t want talking.  We all have that friend that is always looking at you as if to say “did you see that?!?!”  Why, yes, I did – I’m sitting right next to you!  Or the talker who can’t follow the story and keeps asking the question “why did that happen?”  You want to answer “I don’t know.  I’m not the bloody screenwriter on this project!” UGH!  I want to sit center row unobstructed and untouched by seat tappers, bathroom goers or any other type of movement period.

Sometimes a big splashy action movie that is so great it gets everyone’s attention and there is no worry that you think you will end up in jail for disorderly conduct because someone has no movie etiquette.  Obviously, their momma didn’t raise them right!!

But, a movie collection is another thing.  You watch in the privacy of your own home, not bound by a channel dictating when you can/cannot watch.  Have as many adult cocktails you want and pause for your own bathroom breaks.  Heaven.

So, the next time you find yourself on Amazon.com looking for a long lost great movie or passing by the movie vat know there’s kindred spirit out there who understands.

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Scottsdale/Phoenix Art Scene – A Nice Surprise!

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I had only driven through Phoenix on the cross-country move last summer so my take on Phoenix was a nice LaQuinta Inn hotel and take out food from a nearby food establishment.  Having our dog in tow made it difficult to eat out not knowing which outdoor patios were friendly to furry patrons.  However, I’ve had a chance to revisit this town and am amazed at the artist community that resides here.  From chefs to artisans that work in other mediums this place is a feast for the eyes, soul and tummy!  

We stayed at the Scottsdale Resort and quickly stumbled upon a parking lot art festival.  The artists there worked in metals, acrylics, glass and all the work was creative, smart and well presented.  The women who ran the show was very particular in the artists she allowed in and made sure that those artists communed well during the show and that the talent was worthy. She was amazing!  A true art curator in the open air.

Walking the old town of Scottsdale native American art was the primary showcased style.  From sidewalk singing cowboys to the quiet oldest mission Scottsdale had also a very creative vibe.  The architecture alone was great from Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence to Western mainstays the place was all about being creative but staying true to all the nature around.  

If you ever have a chance to go – GO!

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Protecting Collectibles – Are You Ready for Mother Nature?

Last Friday, Southern California was hit with a 5.1 magnitude earthquake with many after shocks that lasted well into the weekend.

When I moved to SoCal and started the nesting process in my new place a few months ago there were precautions taken to insure the collectibles with the insurance company since we had moved from another state.  All valuables were re-evaluated in worth and coverages were increased so the policy would correctly replace at the current market value, if needed.  We also took precaution in hanging our artwork with higher rated wall hangers to prevent these pieces of artwork wouldn’t fly off the wall at the first big shaking.  The Waterford crystal collection is set back from the edges of shelves or anchored by a surrounding tray or container.  The antiques have been placed low to the ground or arranged so that if they fall or tip over the landing is soft.

Now, you can only do so much if the earthquake you experience is very severe but I was saddened by the news reports of people with a mass amount of collectibles with such damage that it was going to take some time to remedy their situation (and collections).  I hope SoCal is spared the BIG ONE but I hope it will spurn more people to be better prepared personally and hope they will remember to secure their prized collections.

It may take a lifetime to build that wondrous collection but it can also be taken away at a moment’s notice.

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Collecting Wine Corks – Reminders of Joyous (& Sometimes Poignant) Moments

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I love wine!! I really do love wine!!

I think if I could have it for breakfast, I would.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not an alcoholic and I do believe in moderation but anything you love too much can own you if not careful.

Years ago I read an article in a magazine where someone would write on every wine cork the date, the occasion and whom she shared the wine with (if it fit).  I thought this was a lovely way to record time and the stream of events in my life.  So, in copying this idea there’s always a cork popped from a bottle happily consumed that is saved with relish that it will string together the telling of my life.

I collected so many corks (I did say I loved wine & I wasn’t kidding) that I was able to make a cork bulletin board for my office.  As I crafted this board into existence, it was a wonderful time reading all the dinners with loved ones and friends over the years.  There even was a poignant reminder of a dinner with a friend who had lost her cat to cancer.  This cat was her baby as she had no other children so we saluted Fluffy over a bottle remembering it’s antics and little life.  There have been bottles consumed at birthday parties, promotions and sometimes just because the sun came up that day.

These unique reminders of time can also be little pieces of art themselves from the vintner who also took time in every detail even down to the cork.  That’s my kind of person as they have poured (pun intended) so much of themselves into this wine that they cared enough to also be mindful of the simple cork.

This small instrument of keeping wine sealed in bottles is said to have come during the time of the Romans.  I have to think when Jesus made water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana he had me in mind… Yet as more wine manufacturers move to screw cap techniques in preserving the wine it saddens me that this little milestone method is and will be lost.

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Cracked Mary & St. Francis: Guardians of Flora & Fauna

I will say that the garden gnome in those travel commercials were always cute but the thought of having one in my yard always gave me pause.  Crossing a gnome in the dark would be like meeting Chucky.  At first cute and novelty but I would always wonder…did it move a little closer when my back was turned?  No offenses to those who love gnomes in their yard but those things just gives me the willies.

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However, in my early thirties I converted to Catholicism.  My friends who were raised Catholic right out of the womb smirk at me for my wholeheartedness of becoming a very traditional Catholic in that a statue of Mary (affectionately known as Cracked Mary) and St. Francis were prominently established in my previous home’s front yard and then dragged across the country to quietly abide in my new small cottage walled garden.

St. Francis greets all visitors while Cracked Mary matronly checks you out like a late night club bouncer upon entering the front door.  The saint from Assisi was a gift from an uncle who should be on that show where people buy storage units sight unseen.  St. Francis was left behind in an unpaid unit, bought by my uncle and was placed among a gaggle of lawn ornaments in his front yard.  I asked if I could have him and thus he was given to me.  Upon arrival to my home, looking for a nice spot to place this saint who wrote the Canticle of the Creatures, I sternly instructed our dog that he was not to ever ‘pee’ on this statue

Freakishly, Sammy the Wonder dog has kept his end of the agreement.

Cracked Mary

Cracked Mary was purchased in a nondescript lawn and garden store.  She is named Cracked Mary due to the fact that my husband noticed she looked a little grimy one day and proceeded to baptize her with the pressure washer.  She was not happy about that and went to pieces – literally.  Panicked husband then proceeded to pray (that his wife would not kill him) and glued her back together.  She reminds me everyday that there are moments in life when you are on the verge of cracking up and even if you do…there is hope to become you’ll be whole again.

As my collection of lawn art continues to grow I add bird feeders, potted plants and cool art from the nearest artisans to enhance the beauty of nature all the while Mary & St. Francis kept guard.

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The Passage of Time and Treasures

There’s a saying that “Every girl should use what Mother Nature gave before father time takes it away.”  When I was starting out in my first place both of my grandmothers wanted to help set me up in my new apartment.  As they passed off glorious household items, exquisite linens plus tried and true recipes to entertain with I felt blessed that I was being bestowed with a rich material lineage.

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As I look back on some of these items that are still in use some twenty plus years later I am extremely grateful for the influence of these women in my life.  Had I been cynical and not appreciated the warm gifts to use in my young life I would have missed out on the sweet memories to become mine and be able to treasure the sweet matriarchs whose blood runs through my veins.

So, I hope that in my later years that those I pass along my treasured possessions to will also appreciate the heritage, well wishes and love that came with them.  I only hope that next generation in my family will remember me fondly and enjoy knowing father time still marches on in those before them.

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Heart of Stone: Paperweights as Gifts

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I have always liked paperweights.  There is something old world and very beautiful about them.  They are functional and can be pieces of art.  I have been guilty of finding large cool looking rocks and using them on my desk at work.  Ok, that behavior might seem a little crazy – so what?  It’s my blog. 🙂

At my last place of employment on Valentine’s Day my wonderful boss gave each of his staff a blood red heart shaped alabaster paperweight made in Italy.  At first of my fellow staff members wondered if my boss was a bit eccentric but I was truly elated for the gift. It was as if the man knew my deepest desires when it came to paperweights.   This lovely token of appreciation sat proudly on my desk and was used tremendously to keep those very important tasks in sight and under control.

Even though now that job is a past memory the heart shaped paperweight still sits on my desk and is a fond reminder of him. I will cherish this gift for years to come.  Love and appreciation comes in many forms and mine that day came in the form of a beautiful alabaster heart shaped stone.

Happy Valentines Day – Ya’ll.

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2014 Winter Olympics Collector Pins

ImageAs of this writing the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics are just a few hours away. There have been reports in the news of the double toilets with no private screen between them, brown water and windows falling out of their frames onto sleeping reporters.  In the tradition of excellence and the Olympic games in Sochi, one almost feels a bit embarrassed as if the family crazy’s uncle has decided to have a most formal dinner soiree in his double-wide.  You pray everything will go off without a hitch but you feel disaster looming in the distance anyway.  Let us hope that all will go well and there are no disruptions.

However, Olympic pins are a cool way to show off your pride.  The camaraderie in acquiring and trading these tokens among others from various different parts of the world has been an on-going tradition.  It’s a lovely way for people from all countries and cultures to be able to have a peaceful and fun interaction that would otherwise be strangers.  

Best of luck to all the participants at this years Olympics.  We pray for your good health, safety and security and we hope to share in that wondrous joy when you achieve your most wondrous goals in competition!

Go USA!

 

Get your pin today at Fanatics.com or catch them on Twitter @fanatics

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Little Signposts of Where We’ve Been – Fridge Magnets

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I have always found delight in looking for a small token of the places I have traveled.  Whether in Prague, New Zealand or some little off-the-road now non-existent place used to be called Cypress Gardens in Florida, I have collected magnets.  These little signposts remind me of where I have been plus where some of my friends and loved ones have traveled to. Years ago I worked with an office group that brought back magnet mementos from vacations or business trips as a custom.  Then, as time rattled on our walls became decorated with geographical treats and stories that went along with them.  Practical traveling sometimes dictate what packs well (and light) and magnets take up very little room. These little pieces of art are fun that later serve as story reminders and travel trophies! One couple traveled to every state and built a map of the U.S. from the magnets they had collected.  That was and is an idea I still like to this day. I must say I’m a bit jealous because I haven’t been to all 50 yet!

So, the next time you find yourself a sojourner traveling this great planet remember to buy a cool magnet and start (or add) to a collection.

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Collecting Letters

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In today’s fast paced electronic mode of correspondence it is still nice to receive a nice hand-written letter from someone on paper.  The thing about written correspondence is that it spurns from the opposite ends of the spectrum.  From writing an angry letter to a company to pledging your love or admiration to another.  People lucky enough to receive love letters from a far off admirer, an intimate lover who happens to be a spouse (or not) brings the heart to quick palpitations and butterflies in the stomach.  Even a letter from upper management that can be filed away for those really bad days on the job to tooting your own horn looking for the next corporate rung to take.  For instance, recent headlines of a legally deaf Superbowl bound player to a young girl to encourage her to accomplish her goals and dreams makes everyone a bit happier to know someone took the time to write a bit of themselves and offer such goodness is heart warming.  Children of deceased parents often keep and re-read the old love letters between dear ol’ dad to mom who was stationed in some far-flung land who longed for a time to be reunited.  It was the piece of heart felt sentiment, time and experience that brought each together if just for a moment.  These letters are personal history of lives lived, loves lost and longing.  Correspondence from generals, presidents and even letters to Santa kept by a parent written many years ago give us a piece of that person, the insight of how they see themselves and the world.  This art of written correspondence is coming back in vogue as people realize that we must slow down and be able to give a small piece of ourselves to one another or we miss out on that human connectedness.