Monthly Archives: January 2009

In which Helen pays a visit & Indigo Bunting is referenced

So, last night the only dream I recall involved Helen and Indigo Bunting.  I was in an unfamiliar place — it was dimly-lit, but warm and comfortable. There were other people in the room, but they were all shadows. Helen sat on a sofa next to me and we were discussing our carbon footprints. I was telling Helen that I thought her carbon footprint was much smaller than mine — that Indigo Bunting said so. Something about kids being environmentally unsound.

As I sit in my living room this morning and look at the mess my teen aged daughter has made of the room — papers strewn over every horizontal surface, tubes of paint littering the coffee table, broken Christmas ornaments she promised to donate to the art room, dirty socks and hair ribbons scattered around — from studying for exams half the night, I think IB had a point.

Oh, Helen — your hair was georgous in the dream.

Number 6

I’m not sure when I first saw The Prisoner, but I know it was on WTTW (Channel 11) out of Chicago. I suspect I was in my teens, but I feel as if I was younger and that I watched it with my parents. However, that doesn’t seem right — The Prisoner is not something my parents would have liked.

The RoverRegardless of when I first saw The Prisoner, it left its mark on me in a few ways. For one, I had an irrational fear of big white balloons. Honestly. Of course, I didn’t see them very often, but weather balloons come to mind. Now, where on earth would I have seen a weather balloon? Beats me. Maybe I just dreamed about it.

Bicycle with large front wheelI also had a fear of those old fashioned bicycles — the ones with the huge front wheel — especially when being ridden by someone that seemed more comfortable in a painting by Renoir or a Charles Dickens novel than in real life.

And skinny men with long faces in striped shirts and tight pants? That scared me too.

Putting aside the few things that scared me on the program, it was probably my first taste of quirky science-fiction, and possibly my first taste of surrealism. It was unlike anything I’d seen, except for maybe The Avengers. It also, along with all other media in my life, helped shape the person I was to become. So, when I heard that Patrick McGoohan died this week, I paused and smiled and remembered Number 6.

When we first joined Netflix I rented several episodes from The Prisoner. We watched it as a family — my kids were very young, but liked the program. I think that they appreciated the episodes of The Simpsons where the big white balloon made an appearance more after seeing the “Rover” on The Prisoner.

We didn’t watch the entire series because we grew tired of Number 6 thinking he was going to escape each episode, only be thwarted in the end. I’ve not seen the ending of the program, but I suspect he is still in The Village. Maybe I’ll rent them again though — just for me.

Anyway, here’s to you Number 6. You are, indeed now, a free man.

Gnomes I’ve Known

I don’t know the carrying capacity of gnomes in the average suburban house, but I think we’ve reached or exceeded it in ours. I’d always liked gnomes — at least since college, but never had one (that I remembered) until a few years ago when Clare and I went to the beach with a friend and her daughter. There we bought a plaster garden gnome. I think I’d recently seen Amélie and thought a garden gnome would be perfect in our garden. He’s since disappeared. I suspect foul play.

After that gnome, I wanted a “real” one. I wanted a ceramic one made in a foreign land. I requested one for Christmas and my wish was granted. Although this gnome was made in the USA, his design is Old World according to the website from which he was purchased. The bottom of his foot says his name is Sedgewick.

Close-up of SedgewickSedgewick (the Flickr page has his name wrong) loves to watch over plants and looks very smug when he is doing his job. I’ve noticed he looks a little unhappy when he has no plant to guard, but I’ve been told that is just plain crazy.  Here is a close-up of his face as he stands on the fireplace mantle in the dead of winter nowhere near a plant.  I think he is sneering. What do you think?

DSC_0003 A few years ago I found a box of items I’d had since my Jeremy days and one of the items was a gnome he’d made from resin. When he gave it to me, back in the 1970’s, I’m not sure I even knew what it was — and didn’t necessarily like it a lot. Now I do and have it sitting on a window frame in my office.

Gnome in front of his house Gnome abroad The next two gnomes were bought because I have little self-control when standing in long lines at Barnes and Noble. These guys were in tiny boxes on a swivel shelf near the check-out. They each came with background photos you could change at your whim to make it seem as if they were either in front of a cottage or in an exotic location.   I sent one of these to my mom’s friend, Larry, when he was in the hospital. He liked it and was a good sport about being told he resembled one.

DSC_0034 While shopping at Plow and Hearth last year, I found a sitting gnome and, of course, picked him up because I didn’t have a sitting gnome. He sat next to the antique clock on the fireplace mantle until the clock broke and was taken to the repair shop. Now he sits on a high shelf next to the Whistle Wizard and another sitting gnome that my neighbor and friend, Bob, gave me for Christmas this year. Bob didn’t know I liked gnomes, but did know I liked birds — and the gnome is holding a cardinal.

DSC_0035 The last gnome is one that my daughter made me in art class when she was in middle school. It is my only female gnome and the only other one besides the Plow and Heart one that resembles the gnomes from the Gnomes book by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet. I have a copy of Gnomes, but never really liked that style of gnome for some reason. (But yhst-29404623262862_2036_4696079Clare, I love yours!)

Actually we do have one more gnome in the house. Clare bought it for Andrew for Christmas. I didn’t take a photo of it, because it doesn’t belong to me, but here’s a picture from another blog. Can you tell what team he follows?

I don’t know for sure what started me collecting gnomes in the first place — probably the Gnomes book, but there’s sure been a population explosion in recent years. I think I need to stop. I won’t throw any away, but I won’t acquire any more.

At least I say that now…

J. D.

Our wrestling team won first place at a tournament last night — our second first place of the season. We’ve got a great group of boys — they’re all polite to adults, kind to each other and, of course, hard workers.

I’ve posted about J. D. before — after our last tournament win. He’s the guy who just began wrestling this year as our heavyweight. I wrote about how he learned the sport quickly and easily and placed first in his weight class at the first tournament. Well, he did it again last night. He pinned his formidable opponent in a tough match.

But the thing about J. D. — for me anyway — is not his wrestling ability. It is his kindness. It is his huge heart that can be seen in so many little ways — from his hugs when he wins (or when his teammates win) to his words of encouragement to his teammates as well as wrestlers from other teams he’s defeated in previous matches. (I heard him heard shout, “Use your strength!” to a wrestler he’d beaten in a close match earlier in the day who was wrestling for 3rd place on a mat in front of him.)

When a teammate hurt his shoulder, J. D. was happy to hold the bag of ice on the injured shoulder so the teammate could use both hands to eat. When my son won a difficult match, J. D. wrapped his arm around him, and gave him a brotherly hug. He is always giving.  Always.

What I didn’t mention in the last post was the fact that J. D.’s had a tough go of things. He’s being raised by a single mother and now lives in a shelter with her. When I first learned about his housing situation I wondered if they’d be staying in the area or moving soon, as so many of the shelter kids do. I hoped he’d be sticking around, at least through the end of the school year. I hoped that perhaps a college wrestling scout would see him and perhaps offer him a scholarship somewhere. I don’t really know his circumstances, but a scholarship couldn’t hurt, right?

Last night, though, I found out that J. D. is what is called a “5th year senior”. I guess because he’d moved around a lot, he needed more credits to graduate. He was supposed to be able to stay at the school through May and graduate, but now, for some reason, he is being made to graduate in January. That means that after next week he’ll be gone. Gone from the school. Gone from the team. Gone from our lives.

I am angry about this. Not because he was a winner. Not because his leaving might make us more vulnerable to better heavyweights on other teams, but because I will miss him. His personality. His kindness. His caring about everyone — teammates, parents of the teammates, his opponents, his coaches. The world. How could it hurt to let him stay at the school for 5  more months? His leaving will hurt J. D. and everyone whose life he’s touched this year.

G1 — Dona’s first impressions

I played with a G1 today a the T-Mobile store at White Flint Mall. I have to say — it felt flimsy. The keyboard seemed harder to use than my Sidekick 2 and the whole device just felt too light. I expected it to feel more solid — but perhaps that’s because my Sidekick 2 is very solid — brick-like in fact.

So, I was disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be shelling out the $180 for the G1 anytime soon. Maybe I’ll just get the Sidekick LX or else wait until a Sidekick with a touchscreen shows up. My Sidekick 2 is still working just fine.

(Does that sound as much like sour grapes to read as it did to type?)