Today, I’m going for pithy

Yesterday, things got a bit out of hand in the land of Stream of Consciousness. It left Beverly- well, practically speechless. The good news is it all started when I met a new friend for coffee. We were going to meet around the corner at TeaGschwendner where they have over 300 varieties of tea and no coffee but they weren’t open yet so we settled on Starbucks. My tolerance for substances that alter my brain chemistry is practically zip, so sadly or not, I’m never been able to be a hard rockin’ space cadet or a hyped-up over achieving Type A. Tea, mostly lower caffeine varietals, a nice cocktail or glass of wine- that’s my Midwestern limit.

So! I met this lovely woman, an architectural photographer and mother of two, to talk about joining her book group. And, although I felt all anxious and ‘what to wear’, it was a delightful hour of conversation. She has two children, much younger but with the same distant spacing as mine. Her friends sound like the sort of women I would like to get to know- a landscape architect, a woman who works professionally on arts councils for Chicago, a teacher, a brave 50 year old who has adopted a baby. They have had a long standing book group and she invited me to the next meeting. It’s on the 51st floor of someone’s high-rise; very different from the water level meetings convened at Wit’s End but I am pushing myself forward here, to the best of my ability. Oh, how I miss BCMA.

They are reading The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy and I have a sneaky feeling that’s not out on video, so, darn, I guess I have to read it. It’s entirely possible I owned this book but it didn’t make the moving cut and now I have to go to Borders and that means relinquishing my parking spot. That’s a fate worse than the dentist, believe me. Michelle may have been trying to be helpful when she sent me a link for a guy selling 3,000 individual books on ebay but I’m just left stunned thinking about someone who has time to type out this listing.This is  someone whose life I don’t envy- a guy surrounded by 3000 too many books and access to ebay.

Life is definitely perking up over here. After I got all jacked up on coffee the window covering people came to deliver the new shades for kitchen and bedroom. In my past life I used neither keys nor window coverings- the place was safe and I was surrounded by nothing but garden and trees. The first day here I shrieked, "Yakkkk!" and tore down the medieval brocade drapes in the bedroom and tossed them in the alley. At 3 am the next morning I looked like one of those stunned cartoon characters with eyeballs hanging out on springs because the neighbor’s security light-WHICH NEVER GOES OFF- was blinding me. The next afternoon I had the shade guy come and measure and then, because Rich was already out of town on business and I was cranky and didn’t care how much they charged his card, I went ahead and ordered the silk dupioni roman shades with room darkening liner.

When Rich got home last night he said, "Wow! Those are the best ever! They’re beautiful! You are just making this place feel so good!" Wait ’til he sees his bank statement.

Yesterday I met a friend, joined a book group, got new shades, and then I went to open knitting night at the Knitting Workshop around the corner. All the women there were fun and informative and mostly better knitters. I’m frustrated with following these lace patterns so I’m going to temporarily retreat to an easier project.

Then I went out to a late dinner with my sweet husband and slept like a baby. When I woke up, he was gone off on business again- this time for a full week- and I’m sitting here thinking there must be something around here that needs improving or replacing.
acer macrophyllum!
Bonnie and Michele hit the nail on the head: Big Leaf Maple, also known as Pacific Maple. This Maple is less hard than it’s eastern growing cousin (cleverly named the Eastern Hard Maple). The thing about acer macrophyllum is, because it is slightly less dense, the fibers and spaces between the fibers can be more easily "pushed around" by natural forces as the tree grows, resulting in an uneven grain. Depending on the growing conditions, about one out of four trees show significant patterning in the grain of the wood when cut. The patterning can range from "bird’s eye" to "flaming" to "quilting." Quilted Maple is usually considered to be the most figural or decorative. Most figured woods are used as veneers- thin sheets of wood adhered to the underlying wood- in furniture. These highly decorative maple woods are also used in the construction of string instruments.Cellobig

I wish I knew more about how, precisely, the fibers get compressed in such a way that these patterns are formed. I would also like to know whether they run all the way through the trunk of the tree. I’ve read some discussion about the best way to mill these boards to maximize the grain and there’s debate about whether it’s best quarter sawn or straight planed. Maybe Hoss, son of a lumberjack, might know more or someone like FC, Wayne or Pablo.

Anyway, I showed you my mantle here at the Escher house. It’s a stunning piece of acer macrophyllum. It’s a curved arch, about 8 inches thick and 6 feet long. It’s solid, no veneers. And that makes me wonder what that mantle looked like back when it was a living breathing tree. Some tree.Fireplace

It’s Ark Day but the cats are laying low as it’s cool and overcast and Sophie spent the night rummaging through Rich’s suitcase so she’s tuckered out. More good news is that birds have found the feeders and now my courtyard is full of happy sparrows. In the relative scheme of feeding that’s a big step down from goldfinches and downy woodpeckers and hummers but at least they’re not pigeons. Yet. (Remember that Tom Lehrer song, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"?) But it’s early, so maybe some other species will find their way over my brick wall.

So, Bonnie. What was the Ark made out of? Gopher wood? What is that?

21 responses to “Today, I’m going for pithy

  1. It sounds like you’ve had a great day! I can’t remember if I read “Return of the Native” or if I just bought the book and never read it. I found a synopsis, and it sounds vaguely familiar. Makes me wish I would have kept a log of all the books I’ve read!

  2. Mmmmmmm, doesn’t look like the big leaf maple is the mystery tree growing by my house.

    I think I got some of your stream of consciousness in your comment yesterday on my blog. But I appreciated your comments very much. Yes, GO TIGERS! I’m going to a game next week.

    And, like you, I’m worried about that Spartan woman. As unlikely as a Michigan State victory over us would be, I’m not sure I could handle giving Ms. B. bragging rights for the next year. Her partisan sniping, though witty at times, often grinds my patience. Let’s plot just in case.

  3. I’m in a list mood today:
    1. “Poisoning Pidgeons in the Park”, my brother sang that for one of those benefit performances that Broadway companies do two or three times a year. He likes to do a classical opera piece and then one that is fun and something he can ham up. It was between this and “Dead Puppies Aren’t Much Fun”.

    2. Don’t want to lose parking space? You have to jump right in with the subway and busses.
    This will let you put in your address, the place you want to go and give you how to get there by subway and bus. We did it in New York and it is actually fun.

    3. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy. I did my fifty page senior paper on Thomas Hardy and ended up reading most of his books, Tess of D’Urbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge, etc. Actually, he is quite engaging and his female characters are wonderful and sad and I could tell he cared a great deal for them, more so than the caddy men.

    4. TeaGschwendner – this is obviously German. I wonder if they have ever heard of tea especially blended for the Bayreuth Wagner Opera Festival. Diane brought me a set of four loose teas, each called by the name of one of Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas. I particularly like Reingold, that seems to be a blend of green tea. Of course the ingredients are in German and my foreign language in college did not take.

    The Russian Tea Cafe there blends their own loose tea. I don’t know what is in it but I think there is a touch of currant flavor…. heavenly.

    5. It sounds like Rich is REALLY trying to encourage you here. What a good guy you’ve got. I imagine he is dealing with a lot of guilt about taking you away from your familiar surroundings about now.

    6. I have discovered that there are too many photos to put in one long saga about my pumpkins. Do you think I should break it up into several installments? I’ve been trying to come up with a title like Pumpkinmeister or The Pumpkin Vine That Ate Virginia Beach.

    7. Thanks for indulging my list making fetish for the day.

  4. Nope, not Hoss. I know 2×4, 2×6, 4×4, 2×12 and out the door. Until I was about 15 I didn’t even know a 2×4 was a 1 5/8 x 3 1/2. There are liars everywhere.

  5. if I come down that way (which will happen soon enough)…I would love to try this tea place you speak of with you. I miss you and your conversation 🙂

  6. I am loving your new daily-updating schedule – you write the best posts!

    I find all the new things you are doing facinating, and I would be very jealous if I didn’t think that I’d get to all these fun things you are getting up to someday, too – I’m just at a different stage in my life, right now, but reading about yours is wonderful! I hope you never stop writing.

    Will you be providing pictures of the knitting projects? I’m quite curious to see what exactly you’re working on. I knit, but only once every 5 years or so. I know, I know, I’m very bad.

    Also, I think you should put up pictures of the new blinds 😉

  7. Miz S agrees with Mrs.S that the daily updating is a treat.

    As I read this post, I smiled a little and thought, “Yay. Vicki is okay now.”

  8. Kenju agrees with the Mizzes S! It sounds as if you are digging in and getting involved. I like that.

    I DO think we deserve photos of the new dupioni silk shades, since you described them so well.

  9. The Hebrew alphabet letters, g and k, look like backward c’s. Perhaps a scribe made a mistake and gopher should have been kopher. Kopher is the Hebrew word for the waterproof covering known as pitch.

    Pitched, perhaps? Cypress, certainly?

    Ahhh, such a beautiful cello! Its color resembles the oranginess of my Roman Teller. And, thanks for leaving out the vulgar cellist jokes. I can feel your love through cyberspace!

  10. I was looking at a heavily stressed, ancient sweetgum the other day and wondering what its grain would look like. Stress makes for wonderful grain, and this one, straddled over a washed-out gully, had incredible muscular roots that I can only imagine must look amazing.

    It still sits there though 🙂

  11. Much grinning ensued. You do sound well. Adjustments for a new life are being made. This is good. Smooches.

  12. I’m assuming that we’ll get to see photos of the window coverings. 10 years ago doing blinds just about gave me a nervous breakdown. It was so hard!!(even with lots of help)

  13. If I move, it will be my choice, and I hope that I would be able to become as involved as you appear to be. I’m sitting here in the motel room, watching Michigan State romp over Notre Dame…in the first quarter. Wow! I’m sorry Penn State didn’t have the stuff to beat Notre Dame.

    I look forward to your posts, and I will treat you to a shrimp dinner at the Crab Trap when you come to St. Pete.

  14. I made it! I have had the hardest time getting your site to load … usually I just have to give up. Whew!
    So I used my time wisely and scrolled through your recent posts. That mantle is gorgeous. I wish I could help you on the how it was cut question.
    Enjoy St. Pete!

  15. Maple! My other half and I are in the midst of putting down Maple flooring in our living room and foyer. It’s a hodge podge of tones and textures. I find myself studying the various patterns of the wood as well…

    From your photos last week, I never would have guessed you had neighbors close enough to notice!

  16. If you put out finch food, the goldfinches will come. My brother has a back yard full of them out in Naperville!

  17. You question on wood;
    You prod and you poke.

    Big Dave just gloats on;
    He claims Spartans choke.

    I drown tears in Bach,
    Let’s gopher baroque!

    I’m rereading this post and some of your past posts as a way of unbreaking my poor SPARTAN heart. ‘Tis good therapy, indeed.

  18. Good job on the window coverings. In my old place we never needed them either but now, blinds.

    That sure is a lot of typing of ebay titles. Odd way to sell it.

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