Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Library - The Dream of Dreams

We have a big, useless, extra living room in the front of our house which, along with couches, holds our formal dining room (in five years, used maybe twice), and an old pirate-toothed broken-keyed piano that has been in the family for sixty years. The room always depressed me. I wished it was part of a bigger garage rather than a mish-mash homage to my poor decorating skills.

Two weeks ago, I ran into a cousin I hadn't seen since we were young children. Our local library has two computers in the kids section and two cute little boys were waiting patiently for their turn, as their pretty mother sat across from me. I was ninety percent sure it was her, so I just took a gamble and said, "I think I know you..."

After a lovely chat and some understatements on how our family is not that close (although in distance, many of us live in a twenty mile radius), she invites me and my boys to her home for a swim date, and also invited her equally lovely sister who has two young children as well.

What does this have to do with my extra-appendage living room? Well, it has more to do with what my cousin did with her home. She took a 1970's previously-yucky ranch home and turned it into the pages of Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware; and she did it all with reclaimed items from craig's List that she refinished herself. Even with two boys under five, she has a white couch that is still white. And the kids do actually sit on it!

It struck me that most of my decorating woes have come from the fact that I hate to spend money on decorator items because the costs add up so fast, and honestly, I really have no idea what I'm doing. Of my naturally occurring skills, decorating and gardening know-how fall pretty far down on the list, I am sorry to say. But when I came home from the visit, I became feverishly inspired by her can-do, do-it-yourself, reasonably priced attitude and decided to take on my house.

The big useless living room was getting a makeover.

My decorating guardian angel must have heard me, thrilled by my actual interest in determination at last. Not long afterwards, I was with my neighbor at a neat, upscale resale shop in town (Treasure Traders) when I was shown the rug. Rolled up in the back was a 9X9 foot round, hand tufted, wool rug - gorgeous and new, valued at 1500$ - for only 200$. My neighbor was nice enough to let me bring it home in her truck (the thing weighs a ton and still hung over the tailgate a few feet) and my husband was nice enough not to freakout with the surprise purchase that I didn't even consult him on.

All the junk I didn't like in the living room got pulled off the walls and removed from the nick-nack tables. We unfurled the gorgeous rug in the middle of the room as my kids ran circles around its perimeter. Then I began to understand. This lame living room, my rug told me, isn't a living room at all - it's your library.

 All my life I have dreamed of having miles of bookshelves, filled to the brim, and a place to sit in comfortable peace and read until my eyes blur. Now I have an actual vision.

And I am ready to 'Make it so'.

Star Trek TNG fans will get it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Memory Lane - You Know you are Old School San Marcos When...

We had an airport in SM?

Over the past week, viral nostalgia has taken over my Facebook page. One of my old high school classmates signed me up for a group called You Know You are Old School San Marcos When...(fill in the blank). So without knowing it, I started to get at least one hundred emails a day from fellow "Old School" San Marcians (?) trying to one-up each other with their memories of days gone by in the town where I grew up and still live today.

At first it was addictive - lot's of "Oh yeah, I remember that!" as memories long past rose to the top again. Then it became redundant as people posted things someone else already remembered (yeah, we already covered that the dairy used to have cows...). And then it became almost annoying with memory tid-bits of stuff like this: You remember Joe Schmoe driving his blablabla down the street. Really?

Well, I took myself off the auto emails, but now and again, pop onto that page for a look. The feeling of community, of a group that I really do belong to since I am a life long San Marcian (going with it) feels pretty warm and fuzzy. I never knew I liked this place so much or had so many invisible kindred town spirits.

Lots of other groups like this have sprouted up on FB, so if you are interested, look up your old hometown and see if a group exists and enjoy the ride to the past.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Writing and Road Trips...

Writing is a fickle friend...and not really someone you wan't to take with you on a family road trip.
On the Road...literally. This is a freeway onramp in Utah. Not too busy, obviously. 

Recently I went on a great road trip with my parents, kids and younger brother (sweet husband had to work), and of course I brought my handy-dandy notebook (is that a trademarked line? probably) with the thought of lots of possible writing time in the more than forty hours planned riding in the car throughout the trip.

So this should be no shock, but I wrote nothing. Squat. Nada. Thinking that I may have down time to let the words flow, the opposite happened and I ended up in a battle of Pocket Frogs on the IPhone with my fifteen year old bro. We bred some rad frogs, but somehow I feel like that time could've been used a little more wisely in the writing department.

Awww, yeah!

With the wide expansive desert around and the endless freeways ahead, the words inside just turned up their noses at me and said in their best Garbo impression, "Vee are on vacation too! Leave us ALONE" and threw up their graceful right hand to shoo me away. Maybe the proximity of the other six people in the car, maybe my two year old complaining about his loose earphones every three to five minutes, maybe the allure of gambling fake coins on breeding awesome fake frogs on an iPhone just wasn't a fertile mix for writing.

A Huck Finn moment in the river
Solitude, of course, is the environment for me in a perfect writing world...why did I think a family road trip would be anything like that? Well, truth be told, I kinda figured things would work out this way - I didn't really expect any brill writing to come out of me during those ten days, but hope springs eternal. I'll keep dragging along my notebooks just in case!

In fully experiencing the time on the road, at our destinations and with my family, I think those moments will flavor my writing in the future.

And look at that, I've already found writing inspiration from our trip for this blog ;).