Thursday, December 31, 2009

the next-big-thing

Twirl, January 2006

Is it odd that during this festive shopping season, when so many search for or hope to receive the perfect new item, I find myself struggling to part with the old?  Isn't it the stereotypical husband who insists on keeping his favorite old sweatshirt and the stereotypical wife who twirls in front of the mirror in her new party dress?  What kind of wife am I anyway?  Sheesh.

I do like to buy or receive something bright and shiny every once in a while.  But more prominent in my life are the few things I already own and hold close to my heart--the things I cannot let go.  Don't get me wrong, I'm quite selective with what I decide is worth keeping.  The space we call home is petite, so what stays must be truly dear.  I'm not a pack rat. I don't have an attic filled with my entire past and although these would serve as completely acceptable items to treasure, I'm not talking about my great grandmother's exquisite wedding dress or the collection of fine china that has traveled continents and been passed down through generations.

No, I refer more to things that figure in to my day-to-day life.  Items such as an extraordinarily comfortable and well-worn (bordering on over-worn) pair of jeans, a cozy sweater that is slowly disintegrating, but still feels warm and beautiful, and my frazzled scarf that I know should be retired. When I wear these things I return to wonderful places in my life.

I bought the jeans right before we got married and wore them with a sexy black halter to meet family and friends for drinks at our favorite neighborhood bar a few days before our wedding.  The sweater?  It was folded up on a table in one of my favorite shops when I saw it, the yarn was a creamy white color.  The cuffs, fabric flanking the zipper, and the interior of the hood, were made of satin and were the same beautiful winter white -- completely impractical.  I tried it on anyway and then had to have it.  My best choices are rarely practical.  As it turns out, it wasn't that impractical.  It's now years later and I'm still wearing it, today as a matter of fact.  I'm not sure what others think when they see me wearing this sweater, but it feels so good against my skin and it's so easy for me to forget it's current state and slip back to feeling as if I just unfolded it and I'm in the shop seeing myself in the mirror, wearing it for the very first time.  The scarf?  Chris gave it to me, just a fun purchase from a chain store.  It is not cashmere.  It is not handmade by anyone near and dear.  It is very special to me.  It did keep me warm through the winter while walking to and from the worst job I ever had and it stayed with me through the cold and frustrating days and nights in my studio as I worked my way through graduate school.

I love these things. Fortunately, I do not to need to save them. I have replaced each and every piece.  Still, I just can't seem to part with them.

Perhaps this connects to a theory of my father's.  He believes there are vast differences between his meeting an individual for the first time as an adult and revisiting a relationship with someone he knew when they were both young.  He feels a certain comfort level and an ability to let his guard down in the revisiting scenario.  He doesn't have the same questions and concerns that he has when meeting someone new because he already has a solid platform from which to begin.  He doesn't need to know everything about the friend he is revisiting.  He believes yes, this person might have accumulated some baggage during their journey, but somehow it is all forgiven because he understands the true essence of this person. He feels he "gets" who they are because he knows who they were before any of these mishaps occurred.

I think I'm a bit more skeptical, or maybe just too curious.  I need to fill in more blanks than Dad deems necessary.  My jeans, sweater, and scarf have been with me all along.  They never ventured off and lived in other closets before coming back to me.  We've been together through thick and thin and we've held close together the entire time.  This might also explain the extent to which I value my marriage.  Chris, I hope you know you are a smidge more valuable than my favorite sweater.  We've built this life together, and a wonderful life it is.  That being said, Dad's theory remains a very interesting concept and I like that it works for him.  It's sort of romantic, isn't it? 

So what am I trying to say here?  As this year winds down and we look back at what is most important in our lives my guess is that the majority of those things, if not all of them, are NOT newly acquired.  Hold on tight to the good stuff.  Appreciate it.  Often the next-big-thing is something we already possess.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

She could be herself, by herself.

Painting by Vanessa Bell of her sister, Virginia Woolf.

For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of--to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless.
                                                                                     excerpt from Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last Shipment

Just a quick shopkeeping note:  I'll be taking a short break.  The last shipment (just for a little while) for my Etsy shop orders (payment received) will be made this Saturday morning.  Any orders placed (payment received) between 9:00 am PST on December 12 and December 28 will be shipped on December 29.  If something in the Chez Danisse Shop is on your wish list and you'd like it shipped before December 29, scoot over there quickly.  Thank you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My salute to the satsuma.

The glorious satsuma.
I love it here, I love it there, I really love it everywhere.

I like them seen way down below.

I like one resting in a bowl.

Or with some pals in a Nijiya Market still life.
They are so sweet,
they are so nice.

Sometimes safely tucked inside a nook.

Or resting quietly, with a book.

The peel drops from the flesh,
and there's never a seed.

Eat one today and happy you'll be.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

in want of.

Sunday Morning - December 6, 2009

a space.
without a gate.
for protection.
a place,
to fill.
or just to keep open,
silent, and still.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I sleep all day and fish all night

Photograph by Indulis Ozers (Dad), 2009

As we drove away from the lake the words kept running through my mind, and it is there they remain.

I sleep all day and fish all night

Wisdom on the lake. Proof that it can be found in the most unlikely places. The key is being open to it. The art of observation.

The sun broke through the morning chill and warmed my skin. The air, still. The water, like glass. I was kayaking with my father when we saw him. A man standing alone at the end of a long pier. As we moved closer we noticed he was holding a fishing pole.

Any luck? my father asked casually.

The man answered so eagerly with his fully formed fish stories, I almost believed he'd been anticipating our arrival. He told tales of giant catfish and bass that he'd struggled to reel in, admired, and then returned to the lake. He stood tall as he told us I threw 'em back. They were too big to eat.

He was not a frivolous man. This was serious business. He respected his sport, the lake, the fish, and himself. He told us he was retired. They don't let ya camp overnight here, so I sleep all day and fish all night.

His best catch, a catfish he estimated at 20 lbs, was caught by moonlight at about 2:00 am.

Amazing...I thought. Amazing.

His life was fully functional and uniquely his own. He seemed a gentle, proud, and happy man.

There's more than one path to the Promised Land (or Lake)...

I admired his simple life, his focused goals, and his humble demeanor.

He made me think about my lifestyle, my goals, my demeanor. Were they uniquely my own? Did I need to refine things a bit, clear some clutter, polish up my list of priorities so I could see them--clean and clear? Most importantly, could I be completely open as I walk through this world?

Who knows how many options I've never even considered? I guess I'll never know the answer to that question, but I do know my opportunities are endless.

I sleep all day and and fish all night

Thursday, December 3, 2009

While you are in the neighborhood...

pinch pot, 2009 (1 of 3 (update, now 1 of 2) currently available in my etsy shop)

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the wide variety of items available on Etsy? It happens. There is a lot of good stuff going on over there.

Fear not. The wise folks at Etsy have created a solution.

I'm fairly new to Etsy, but thanks to Tracy over at New Dominion Blues Studios I
just learned that Etsy creates gift guides. gets better. Tracy and I were both featured in Etsy's Gift Guide for the Home Chef.
They chose one of my little pinch pots. It's a lovely selection and I'm honored to have been included.
update--good news and bad news: 
It seems when my featured bowl sold I was replaced in the guide by another Etsy seller.  I'm glad the bowl sold so quickly, but it would have been fun to stay in the guide a little longer.

It is that gift giving time of year... Forget the malls, they haven't been fun since Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Pop on over and take a look at all of the wonderful handmade and vintage items available on Etsy. Wander through the array of Etsy Gift Guides and stop by and visit my shop while you are in the neighborhood. I've just added 3 new "ruffle bowls".

Have fun!