Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Royal (Wedding) Ruminations

In Humor, r, Royal Wedding on May 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Princess Diana had to have a virginity test before she could marry Prince Charles in 1981. All the while, Charles was carrying on an affair with the married Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle lived with their fiancés before marriage. How things have changed in a not-very-long time. But that’s how progress works. One day you’re riding in a horse and carriage and a few years later you’re in a horseless carriage, and then an airplane … and then a horse and carriage again, but only if you’re the bride and groom leaving the church after your royal wedding in 2018.

The largest stride in progress has to do with Meghan’s being biracial. Now, every young girl, no matter what her racial composition is, can dream of becoming a princess, or whatever she wants to be. It was a long time coming. Even longer than it took Mattel to recognize that girls come in colors other than white. And for Crayola to acknowledge that “flesh tone” isn’t peach for half the world. And for cosmetic companies to make foundation that was darker than beige.

I am glad that Queen Elizabeth relaxed her standards. It couldn’t have been easy. She was raised in a much different time, when royal rules were strict … and when you broke them, you were discreet. Rumors abound about royal bed hopping and wedding vows that were ignored once the wedding dust settled. But misbehaving was done on the down low. Your friends and family knew, but they weren’t talking.

So, it’s probably better that everything is out in the open. Allowing Kate and William and Meghan and Harry to live together prior to marriage protected them all from learning later that their spouse had someone on the side. I don’t know how Diana didn’t know about Camilla. She probably did, but expected Charles to give Camilla up once they were married. She didn’t fully comprehend how the palace operated. But she was young.

Kate and Meghan were much older than Diana when they married (Kate was 29 and Meghan was 36, while Diana was 20). They knew more about the world than she did; plus, the world had changed enormously since 1981 when Diana and Charles tied the knot.

What intrigued me the most about the wedding of Meghan and Harry was Meghan’s wedding dress. It was beautiful, of course, albeit excessively plain and severely tailored. But that wasn’t what shocked me. What made me look twice was that it was pure white.

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 8.18.21 PMWhen I got married in 1991, the old notion that white dresses were for virgins had been discarded. But white dresses were still for first marriages. Not anymore. Meghan is in her second marriage, which is another giant leap for progress in the royal-thinking department. But, really, how could Queen Elizabeth say that Harry couldn’t marry a divorced woman when her own son, the next in line to the throne, is married to a divorced woman? She couldn’t.

The irony here is that Queen Elizabeth became queen much earlier than she should have, if at all, because her uncle, King Edward VIII, wasn’t allowed to be king and be married to a divorced woman who had a living ex-husband. Since King Edward was determined to marry twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, who had two living ex-husbands, he abdicated the throne to Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI.

Now, Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Charles, who is married to a divorced woman with a living ex-husband, will presumably be king. Prince Charles is really lucky that the rules changed since 1936.

Prince Charles is in a tight spot, though. He probably loves his mother and doesn’t want her to die, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he wished she would step aside and let him become king before he gets much older. He’s going to be 70 on November 14, 2018.

Queen Elizabeth is probably going to live forever and never step aside, though, in order to thwart Camilla. I wouldn’t blame her.

Camilla looks like a royal pain.

buckingham palace

Buckingham Palace

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The Dress 2.0

In Humor, Yanny/Laurel on May 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

Most people remember “the dress.” In 2015, it was an Internet sensation because

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Picture from Wikipedia

some people, when they looked at a photo of the striped dress, saw the colors as gold and white, while others saw them as blue and black. No matter which side you were on, you couldn’t imagine how anyone could see the colors differently from you. In fact, the dress and how people saw it are still being discussed in scientific circles.

Now, in 2018, everyone is discussing the “Yanny/Laurel” recording. A computerized voice says a word and people hear either Yanny or Laurel. Again, it’s inconceivable to listeners that others could hear an entirely different word than they do.

These phenomena got me wondering. Is half the world seeing and hearing different things than the other half?

What about taste? Do some people dislike a food and others like it because they’re experiencing different tastes when eating the same food? Could kale taste delicious to some people because it tastes like chocolate ice cream to them?

How about smell and touch? Does tomato sauce simmering on a stovetop smell like gasoline to some people? Does velvet feel soft to some people and like gravel to others?

I suspect that the dress and Yanny/Laurel are just the tip of the iceberg, which, by the way, is probably so cold that it could be experienced as being hot.

What intrigues me is that many people got annoyed at the dress controversy and insisted that everyone stop talking about it. The same will occur with the Yanny/Laurel discussion.

Why do people want to ignore puzzling discoveries? I understand that hearing the same debate over and over can get tiresome, but the dress and Yanny/Laurel raise some questions about perception and how it differs between people, and don’t those questions deserve some consideration?

For instance, color-blind people are a known entity. We all know that they see some colors differently than most of the world sees them. But there could be other aberrant entities that we’re unaware of … because we’re part of them and we accept what we sense as being the truth. Suppose we’re all seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing different things when we use our senses?

This raises so many questions and, yet, it also clears some things up for me. For example, when I ask my family to do something, it’s not uncommon for them to not do it, and then act confused when I complain. Maybe, when I say, “Please empty the dishwasher,” they hear “Enjoy the baseball game.”

I could have been misheard all along. Now, I’ll have to investigate before I nag my family. I’ll need to ask them what they heard me say before I criticize them. And even then, when they tell me what they heard, I might hear them say something different entirely.

This is probably why people got fed up with the dress conversation and will soon get equally tired of the Yanny/Laurel discussion. It’s not that they don’t want to contemplate the possibility of an alternate reality. They just don’t see the point because there’s no absolute answer.

For the record, I saw a black/blue dress and heard “Yanny.” Social commentators have said that younger people hear “Laurel,” but maybe they really said that younger people hear “Yanny.” I guess we’ll never know.

 

A Slow Workday

In dogs, Humor on May 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Yesterday, I wrote about a horrible stench outside my family’s house, which was especially noticeable in our yard. I had a few theories about the smell: maybe a neighbor had used pungent fertilizer in her garden; or perhaps the dog we buried in our yard last summer was decomposing. It turns out that neither scenario was correct. The truth was far worse.

Today was a light workday for me. I ran out of things to do mid-afternoon. Since I was working from home, I didn’t have to pretend to be working, so I went outside. It was a beautiful day today: the sun was shining, the temperature was in the 80s, and there was a cool breeze. Except for today and one day last week, the weather has been miserable, so today was a perfect day to be outdoors.

I decided to start the spring clean-up in my yard. Last fall, we raked up all of the leaves in the front of our house and moved them into our fenced backyard. Where they stayed. I rationalized my laziness by saying that they would decompose and add much-needed nutrients to the soil. I have no idea if that’s true. But fast-forwarding to today, I was faced with a backyard and side yards filled with leaves.

I chose to de-leaf our deck first. As I swept, I noticed that the horrible odor was especially bad over on one side of our house. I left the deck and went over to the side yard to see if I could get to the root of the problem. I looked around and saw nothing … except for the neglected side yard, filled with leaves and three lid-less trash cans. We use those trash cans for the sticks and branches that we pick up in our yard. I noticed that the cans smelled funny. I looked a little closer and saw that they were filled with branches and rainwater. Lots of rainwater.

I turned the trash cans onto their sides to drain them. The bad smell increased as the water poured out onto the ground. I suspected that the water had become putrid, which would explain the awful aroma. That is, until I saw a lump of gray fur tumble out of one of the cans onto a pile of dead leaves. It was followed by another gray lump, and another, and another, and another.

I looked closer and saw five long, bloated, pink-bellied squirrel corpses lying on the ground. Oh my God. Not only were they horrible to look at, they stunk like a sewer.

I should have dug five little graves, but instead, I shoveled them up, one by one, and bagged them. Then I bagged the bag. And put them into the trash. Thank God that tomorrow is trash day. I should probably give the sanitation workers masks to wear. And a large tip.

I’m still curious as to how five squirrels drowned in our trash can. All I can figure is that the squirrels, who sit on the top of the lattice surrounding our deck, fell into the trash can that was filled with water and drowned. I don’t know how this happened five times. Maybe they all jumped in to rescue each other.

While I was bagging the squirrels, our dog, Duke, decided to roll around in the mud where the squirrels had lain, and where the carrion flies were still buzzing around. I shooed him off and continued working. After taking out the trash, I poured a gallon of bleach onto the ground and into the trash can where the squirrels had decomposed, and then hosed everything down.

During the decontamination process, Duke noticed that I hadn’t shut the fence’s gate all the way, so he nudged it open and took off. For the next hour, I walked up and down side streets and main streets, covered in mud, leaves, sweat, and squirrel dander, calling, “Duke! Duke!”

Eventually he turned up. A neighbor had found him and followed the sound of my voice until she reunited us. After I thanked her and she left, I told Duke that he was in big trouble. He grinned and wagged his tail. I suspect that English isn’t his first language.

I took Duke home and put him in his crate for the rest of his life. Then I started worrying that he was getting squirrel cooties all over everything, so I sent him to the dog-washing place with my son, who had just gotten home and probably wished he had stayed away longer.

Once they had left, I knew I had to disinfect his crate, so on my way to get cleaning agents, I went out back to grab a Coke from a 12-pack carton that had spent the winter on the deck. I opened a can and it exploded in my face.

What a day. After I cleaned Duke’s crate, bathed, and burned my clothes, I realized that I should have pretended to work after all.

trash can

 

The Tell-Tale Smell

In Humor on May 2, 2018 at 2:36 am

Oo-oo that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Oo-oo that smell
The smell of death surrounds you.
Lynyrd Skynyrd

There’s a deathly smell in our backyard. It fills my nostrils with its stench and my heart with dread.

Our neighbors on both sides have recently begun landscaping their yards. I’m hoping that the foul odor is emanating from the fertilizer that one of them used. I know better, of course. And the truth is making my heart race and my stomach twist with anxiety.

The fear I’m experiencing is akin to the terror felt by the protagonist in Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Tell-Tale Heart. He killed an old man, dismembered him, and buried him under the floorboards. Even though he knew the old man was dead, he was driven mad by the sound of thumping, which he believed was the beating of the dead man’s heart.

My heart thumps wildly every time I step outside and am assaulted by the pungent aroma of decay, which sends me running back inside.

I know that smell. I’ve smelled that smell. A once-living being is rotting in my family’s yard. It’s only a matter of time until the jig is up.

Many years ago, my husband and I took the subway from Manhattan up to the Bronx to visit his mother. We had to walk several blocks from the subway to her house. As we walked down a short block, we were overcome by a vile aroma. We hurried down the block and soon forgot all about it. Then, the next day, we saw on the news that we had walked past a car that had a dead body in its trunk. The body had been in there for weeks.

Decades later, I still recall the foul air surrounding that car. And now it’s back. In our yard.

My fear is that it’s coming from the grave we dug for our dog, Rudy, last August. He died rapidly and unexpectedly on a Sunday evening as the sun was setting. The grave we dug was about three feet deep. We didn’t have time to dig any deeper. It was getting dark and flies were landing on him. We wrapped him in his vinyl wading pool and buried him before any nocturnal animals or vultures could become curious and pay us a visit.

The next day, the top layer of soil had sunk a bit, so we spent the next few days adding dirt to the top of the grave. No animals disturbed it. No rank aroma arose from the grave for the rest of the summer and fall. Then winter froze the ground and we felt confident that we were out of the woods, and Rudy was part of the earth.

But now, I wonder. Maybe the pool delayed his decomposition. Maybe he thawed out this spring and is just starting to decay. Maybe the vultures are on their way. Maybe the police are on the vultures’ heels.

There’s only one thing to do: buy especially offensive fertilizer and spread it all over the yard. We’ll have to do it every week, until the original stench dissipates. It’s going to be hard to differentiate between the two stinks. I guess we’ll have to fertilize forever.

At least we’ll have a legitimate explanation for the rancid cloud enveloping our home.

manure

 

 

 

Birthday Wisdom

In Humor on April 22, 2018 at 3:36 pm

via Daily Prompt: Partake

My father used to tell me, “When you have to make a decision, make it, and then do the exact opposite thing. Then, you will have made the right decision.”

I was annoyed when he said this, but looking back, I see there was wisdom in his words. I tend to being impulsive, so my immediate reactions and decisions should be put on a back burner for a few hours and allowed to simmer and reduce to a rational response. I don’t know why I used a cooking metaphor. I certainly don’t reduce sauces or do anything fancy in the kitchen. I have been watching “Worst Cooks in America” on the Food Network, so I suppose that’s where that came from. (Maybe I should simmer that metaphor.)

But back to me (my favorite topic). I made an executive decision this weekend. I was given the job to buy a joint gift for a coworker who is leaving the company I work for. I was told what to get, and I got something else.

I thought I’d be applauded for my hard work in finding the perfect present. Instead, I groucho-marx-309396_1280.pngwas told to return it and get the original gift. I could have saved an entire day of running all over Norwalk and Stamford, CT, (buying and returning and buying again until I found what I wanted) if I had followed directions. Now I have to return a piece of jewelry that I had haggled down to a great price. I’m going to have to wear a disguise when I return to the store.

 

meteor-3127290_1280While this was going on, a lot of money was temporarily withdrawn from my husband’s and my joint account in order to facilitate all of this buying. My husband later asked me why I was spending money like a meteor was about to strike Earth. I assured him that he’d see it again. I didn’t mention that I hoped that was true. High finance confuses me.

Following directions is also confusing to me. But I’ve learned my lesson.

Speaking of lessons learned, today is my birthday, a perfect day for taking inventory of things I’ve learned over my life. Feel free to partake of my wisdom.

  1. Do not offer to buy a gift from a lot of people unless you’re going to follow directions.
  2. Don’t take other people’s advice out of hand. They often change their minds after a few years … long after you’ve sold all of your gold jewelry to a shyster they recommended.
  3. Don’t smoke pot while taking a bath. You’ll find yourself staring at the wall for a long time while figuring out how to get out of the tub. (I learned this lesson second-hand.)
  4. If you clean your house after a long period of not cleaning it, invite everyone you know over. Your house is clean, so it makes sense to do all of your entertaining at once. Then spend the season getting paid back with invitations from people you entertained. Or not. But at least you cleaned your house. Unfortunately, you now have to do it again.
  5. If you take a staycation, have your house cleaned, your lawn mowed, and your laundry done before you start. Then you can enjoy it … or rent out your house and go somewhere fun.
  6. When you start to lose your memory, write things down. And then put the list somewhere safe. You’ll never see it again.
  7. Nobody can be unhappy while eating pizza. Before or after, yes. But not during.
  8. Tights aren’t pants.pizza

 

 

 

 

Duke’s Dog Fight

In dogs, Humor on April 12, 2018 at 1:28 am

Our dog, Duke, escaped from our yard the other day, got into a dog fight, and was Dukereturned to us by our neighbor. He looked fine when he got home, but it turned out that he wasn’t. In the evening, he brushed against the back door and howled like a stabbed wolf … which was pretty much what he was.

It turned out that he had been bitten. The bite was deep and painful. I don’t think he noticed it until he rubbed against the door, but once he did, he wouldn’t leave the bite alone. In minutes, he was standing in the kitchen in a puddle of blood. When I tried to clean the wound, he tried to bite off my hand.

We got Duke two months ago from the local shelter. Since the day he joined our family, he has been sweet and playful. So it worried us when he snarled, bared his teeth, and tried to bite us when we went anywhere near his injury.

The bite was discovered on Saturday night so we didn’t get him to a vet until Monday, since our vet was closed. Two visits and more than $900 later, we had a bag of pills and a sedated dog. That’s all $900 gets you these days at our vet. But I will save that rant for another day.

Getting the pills into Duke was an adventure. I’d stuff them in cheese or sausage hunks and he’d eat them. Hours later, I’d find the pills all over the house. He ate the meat or cheese, secreted the pills in his cheek, and spit them out when nobody was looking. So, I’d try again, with more meat or cheese, and stand over him until I was sure the pills had been swallowed.

As I said, trying to clean the wound was out of the question, unless we wanted to lose fingers or a limb. So we ignored the blood that had dripped down his side and dried on his fur. He was obsessed with the cut, however, so he opened it up every time a scab formed, either by licking it or scratching it with his leg. He was in a lot of pain for several days, until the antibiotics started working, so we had to be very careful when we tried to make him stop opening the scab.

Our first strategy was to put one of those lampshade collars on his head. That kept him from licking the wound, but he could still reach it with his leg. It also made him think that since he couldn’t move his head, he couldn’t move anything. So he would stand stock still like a statue. This was very inconvenient for us because he’s a wide dog and he always managed to be blocking the doorway we wanted to go through.

Since his imagined paralysis became a hindrance to us, we took off the lampshade and put a T-shirt on him, knotting it on the top so he couldn’t lick the bite. Of course, he could still scratch it with his leg, and he did, which left us with a dog walking around in a bloody T-shirt. I don’t know how we initially got the shirt on him, but there was no chance he was going to let us take it off and put on a clean one. The snarling and the snapping of his giant teeth terrified us.

We began to wonder if we had adopted the Devil’s dog. I hoped not, because I wouldn’t have the guts to return him to the shelter. People who work at shelters have a gift for making you feel like bottom feeders if you return your adopted pet, even if the pet is possessed by demons. Fortunately, he went back to being a sweet dog once he felt better.

But, before then, when he was in agonizing pain, he decided he was dying. From reading about the phenomenon and witnessing it first-hand with our last dog, we knew that when dogs are dying, they separate themselves from their family, find a private place to lie down, and wait to die.

Ever since we had gotten him, we would let Duke into our fenced yard and whistle for him to come in. He always responded immediately and raced to the door. That was until he got bitten. After that, he would go out, find a dark corner of the yard, lie down, and wait. No amount of whistling could get him to come in. Of course this always occurred after dark, usually after midnight, so we couldn’t see him, and we couldn’t yell his name for fear of waking the neighbors. Usually it was up to me to walk around the yard with my iPhone flashlight, looking for him. When I finally found him, I’d hiss at him, “You’re not dying. Get the hell inside.” Then I’d grab his collar and drag him into the house.

Things have calmed down now that the pills are working. He’s still bleeding all over the floor and spitting pills in corners, but he’s playful and happy.

You can’t have everything.

What a Boob

In Humor on March 17, 2018 at 3:32 am

The other day, a friend of mine asked me to write a funny post about boobs. I thought I had written it, but my sister told me that I had only transcribed the conversation I had had with my friend about writing the story, so it didn’t count. In fact, she said that my readers were “gypped.” I have an uneasy feeling that “gypped” has something negative to do with gypsies. If any gypsies complain, I intend to print out directions to my sister’s house for the caravan to follow.

My sister went on to say that I still owed her and my ten readers a post about boobs, but she doesn’t use the word “boobs,” so she said “bosoms.” I told her I’d be happy to write about “bosoms,” if she could supply me with a time machine that would transport me to the 1920s, or whenever the heck it was that people said “bosoms.”

I don’t particularly like the word, “boobs,” either, but that might be because of Sister Marian Arlene, the nun I had in first grade. I remember her pulling my long hair and calling me a boob because I didn’t erase my part of the blackboard to her satisfaction. Back in the 1960s, “boob” meant idiot. I was very hurt and offended. But maybe she was prescient.

For example, I fell on my head today. Hard. It happened in my company’s office. Everyone had left for the day and I was alone.

We are moving next week, so some of our things are packed up and some are not. The clock that I depend on has been packed. I feel its absence every time I arrive and every time I leave. I no longer know if I’m late for work when I get there, or whether I’ve allowed enough time to catch my train home.

Since I was the last one to leave today, I had to check that all of the 22 windows were shut, and perform other closing-up chores. When I got to the lounge, I discovered that there was a clock hanging on the wall. Nobody will be using the lounge because the couch was moved out today, so I reached up and removed it from where it was hanging.

Then I took the clock out to the main office to hang it where the missing clock used to be. I couldn’t reach the nail on the wall in this room, however, so I grabbed the nearest chair and climbed up on it while holding the clock. I leaned up, and over the printer, to attach the clock to the nail on the wall. Just as I almost reached the nail, my chair shot out behind me and I fell forward. I tried to break my fall by reaching for the printer but, instead, I crashed into the floor. I’m not sure what hit first, but I have a large bump on the right side of my head and a bruise on my left hip. After I fell, I couldn’t move for a while. I just sat on the floor holding my head and listening to the plastic clock spinning like a top. I kept thinking that I couldn’t function until that clock stopped spinning.

When the clock finally fell over, I lifted my head and saw that I was surrounded by white fragments of something. A lot of white fragments. The printer and the clock were both black and the shards were white, so what did I break, besides myself? With great relief, I discovered that I had knocked over the trash can that contained shredded paper. After cleaning up the paper and righting the trash can, I picked the clock up and put it on top of the printer. Then I dusted my footprints off the black cloth seat of the chair that I had stood on. The chair with wheels.

I finished closing the office and left for Grand Central to catch my train. It didn’t occur to me until I got home that I might have internal bleeding in my head. I feel fine, but you never know.

Many years ago, when we were young, my mother told my siblings and me a story about her maternal great-uncle. I think his name was Otto. Otto was a little boy and one Christmas Day, he went outside and some roughneck kid hit him on the head with a bag of walnuts. Otto returned to his house and told his mother that he was tired. He lay down under the Christmas tree and never woke up. This story made us very sad.

I hope I wake up tomorrow, because nobody is going to be sad if they hear that I stood on a chair that had wheels and fell on my head. They might call me a boob, though. And they’d be justified, unlike Sister Marian Arlene.

clock-439592_960_720

You Want Me to Write About What?

In Humor on March 14, 2018 at 3:01 am

“Write a funny post about boobs,” suggested a friend recently. “It would really cheer me up,” she said.

“I can’t even say the word,” I told her. “How am I going to use it in a post?”

“Oh, please write about boobs,” she said. “I’ve been through a really hard time with mine, and I need to laugh about my boobs, rather than cry over them.”

I paused for a moment, overwhelmed by the excessive use of the word “boobs.”

“Maybe I could call them something else,” I said. “‘Boob’ just isn’t a word I grew up saying. My mother always said ‘bosom.’ I don’t think I was even comfortable saying ‘breast’ until recently.”

“I get it,” my friend said. “My father could never say ‘breast.’ Whenever we had chicken, he always asked for the ‘white meat.’ But everyone says ‘boobs’ now. It’s an accepted word.”

“But what would I say about them?” I asked.

She started to sing, “Do my boobs hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow?”

I couldn’t help but join in, “Can you throw them over your shoulder like a Continental soldier? Do your boobs hang low?” We both laughed like bad kids.

“Maybe your story angle could be about how language has changed and how words that used to be offensive aren’t anymore.”

“I don’t know,” I stalled. “To write that post, I’d have to use words that some people still consider to be crass, and I might lose one or two of my ten loyal readers.”

“Well, then, just stick to boobs. You can write about mine. They’re perfect. I have Venus de Milo boobs.”

I didn’t know what to say. So I said, “Excuse me?”

“I do!” she said. “They’re small and perky!”

I wasn’t aware of this. I’ll have to take a closer look the next time we see each other. I’ll need to be discreet, however, or she might whip off her shirt.

“Did you know that the champagne glass was modeled after Marie Antoinette’s boob?” she asked.

I pictured Marie Antoinette squashing her breast into a champagne flute. Then I figured

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 2.50.52 AM.png

coupe glass

out that the champagne glass in question was a coupe glass, with a wide, shallow, drinking bowl.

“And did you know that the Grand Teton mountain in Wyoming translates to ‘the big tit?'” she asked. “It’s the largest of three Tetons and together they were called ‘The Three Breasts.'”

“That’s very interesting,” I said, wondering where else this conversation could lead. “I’ll think about writing about … ahem … boobs, but not … uh … tits.”

“Oh, please do,” she urged. “Your blog always makes me laugh, and a post about boobs is just what I need right now.”

After hearing about the Grand Teton, writing about boobs didn’t seem so bad.

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Venus de Milo photo from Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Quilt for Old Jeans

In Humor on March 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Five or ten years ago, my friend decided to learn quilting. She is now an expert quilter. Some people are like that: they make a plan, stick to it, and excel at what they’ve learned to do. I admire those people. I will never be one of those people, but I admire them.

My friend is now a member of a traveling quilting group. The members meet weekly at rotating houses. The houses belong to the members. They don’t just show up at random houses, hauling armfuls of material and quilting paraphernalia.

The other day, I decided to thin out my family’s closets. By the end of my culling exercise, I had a pile of clothes to donate to local charities, and a pile of clothes that would be too embarrassing to donate. In fact, the clothes in the latter pile would probably be thrown out by the charities, due to their tattered states.

However, I don’t like to throw out clothes. Except for old socks. I know that I should learn darning eggto darn socks, but I don’t have a darning egg and don’t want one. And everyone who has ever sewn holes in socks with a needle and thread knows how uncomfortable lumpy socks are to wear. So, I draw the line at holey socks and just toss them. Then my dog digs through the trash, hauls them out, and litters the house with them. But that’s another blog post for another day.

Anyway, I had a pile of clothes that I couldn’t donate and couldn’t bring myself to put in the trash. I was at a fork in the road, so I went straight to bed. While I napped, my subconscious sorted out my clothing conundrum and made me realize that old clothes could make great quilts.

I immediately contacted my quilting friend. I started small, however. I didn’t offer her stained, ripped shirts and sheets. I offered her only my very best junk. I told her that I had a collection of jeans in a variety of colors that couldn’t be worn any longer because they were torn in unfashionable places. I asked if she or her quilting group would be interested in cutting the jeans up into squares, or any shapes they liked, for use in their quilts.

It turns out that my knowledge of quilting is antiquated and romanticized. My friend told me that she doesn’t know anyone “who makes quilts out of old jeans.” She said that people use T-shirts or other shirts for memory quilts, but old jeans have no place in quilts.

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 1.43.15 PM

I bought this patchwork quilt on eBay.

Huh. I had a vision in my head of patchwork quilts being made from any and all scraps of material by women sitting around a large, round, scarred wooden table next to a giant fireplace. I thought that my donation of many different pairs of jeans would be met with glee, especially since, as I told my friend, there would be a lot of material to work with due to my long inseam.

But, my offer was rebuffed. Nowadays, people make pretty quilts, not utilitarian quilts like they did in the olden days.

I personally love patchwork quilts made from scraps. I appreciate their rustic beauty. I don’t like “crazy quilts,” though. I prefer quilts made with at least a little sanity.

So, I still have a pile of ripped jeans that I can’t donate and can’t use. I suppose I could sew vintage patches over the gaping holes and wait for 1970s’ fashion to come back into style. Or, I could look for a quilter who would find a use for my old jeans, and maybe even my holey socks.

There has to be at least one person in the world who has lower standards than my friend has.

Make LovePeace signsflower power

Images from Google Search

A Not-So-Special Present

In Humor on February 19, 2018 at 2:03 am

Yesterday, I wrote about a beautiful vintage quilt that I had found on eBay, which I had bought and sent to my cousin for her birthday. I said that I knew she’d appreciate its uniqueness. I bragged about my ability to spot handmade objects and appreciate the fine workmanship and skills that went into creating them.

Well, it turns out that the quilt isn’t quite one-of-a-kind after all. First, I got a message from a friend that she has the same quilt and she loves it. What?

Then, I went back to eBay and discovered that the same quilt is on sale again by the same seller. It’s a little bigger than the one I bought, but that is the only difference. The seller even used the exact same wording and photographs to describe this quilt as she did for the one I purchased. And, she is still tugging on heartstrings by saying that she is selling off her quilts to buy hay for her beautiful Arabian horses.

I felt like one of her horses had kicked me in the gut. I emailed her about my cousin’s quilt and she said that she “suspected” that the quilt was machine-made, and, regarding the almost-identical quilt that she is currently auctioning, she just happened to find it at a “trade days” in Canton, Texas. What a lucky coincidence! Hmmmm.

I went back and read her original description of the quilt I had bought. My imagination must have supplied the words, “unique,” “handmade,” and “hand-quilted,” because they didn’t appear in the text of her ad. Only “vintage” appeared, and in eBay vernacular, that means “used,” which is not special at all.

In my defense, I had typed in “vintage handmade quilts” in the eBay search bar, so I expected to only see quilts that matched my key words. I had also looked at hundreds of quilts before choosing this one, so my brain was probably patchwork at the time I placed my quilt order.

But the worst part of this is that I was fooled … by myself, no less. I had let myself believe that I could spot quality workmanship. I had given credit, in my head, to some anonymous woman who had labored for years on this quilt, working on it through good times and bad, through laughter and tears. I had imbued this quilt with a history that it never had. The only truth about this quilt was that it was laundered by the seller and hung in the east Texas sunshine to dry.

Please let that, at least, be true.

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 7.39.35 PM

Photo credit: Melissa M. Stearn 2/18/2018

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