Posts Tagged ‘Friends’’

A friend is someone who sneaks around in the kitchen late on a Sunday and makes a celebration even though her housemate has been sick and in bed and disgruntled all day and is sleeping even though she knows a party was planned.   A friend does it anyway, and leaves a nice envelope near the cake so that the sickie gets up and sees it: it says: “Happy Birthday to our Beautiful HouseMate Susan.  We’re so happy you came into our life(s) !!

The card is perfect, as you can see.  Jade and I do a New Joisy accent routine that is made up to fit any occasion with thick accents and very ethnic gestures and big attitudes all the time.  This is perfectly like us, except that Jade (the shorter one) doesn’t have that shape at all, but is petite instead.  However, the hairdos are good, and the clothing looks pretty authentic.  I love the horses very much because they are blessed friends too, lucky to have each other to go through slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with.  (I’ll bet those horses are glad to have the cowgals off their backs!)

Anyway, I , the grouch, am so touched with these perfectly beautiful deeds and gifts.  We will remember this party forever– not for the grandeur or the guests (though I shall put a picture of the one guest who crashed the party), and not for the venue or the fancy getups.  We will remember this because it happened at a dark time of year with some dark things happening to folks we know and some uncomfortable times for us too.  We were happy at this party.  And so was the cat. (He liked the vanilla ice cream the best.)

old swimmer


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Its been a couple of years now since I began this business.  I went from a wonky little donated canopy that needed a stick inserted to keep it from sagging to double Swiss Gear canopies (yes two!).  There were some disappointing others in between.  These are working out fine, but I am taking a LOT of care to keep them in shape– not forcing anything when putting them up or down.

You learn every week.  You find out that people don’t like to enter a booth that doesn’t have an easy exit.  Well, they will enter if they are VERY attracted by what you are selling,  but most people will not make the venture if they are worried about getting trapped by efforts at salesmanship or by geography.

Sociological studies abound, and so do nuts and bolts wisdom.  Yes, you should always use weights on your booth (even if the sponsors don’t mandate it.)  Booths have been known to suddenly take off like Mary Poppins and wreck a lot of things..including other booths and PEOPLE!  I figured out that putting a nice fresh folded burlap blanket over my bottles of water made the booth look a little less po-dunk.  It took me until last week to figure that one out!  Why so long???

Why two booths?  I had the opportunity to show in two places at once.  My previous booth had died a sudden death (yes, I forced it and bent it, and plastic parts broke…don’t get a booth with plastic parts..)  and I had just ordered one when the opportunity came up, so I ordered a twin!  It turned out fine, since I did nearly sell out at the new venue.  Gobbled up my earnings,  but it was good because now I can either spread out at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, or send a helper out with the extra booth to another venue.

Sunny weather is great– you can move things out where people will want to touch them.  With wood product, this is particularly helpful…the wood people are often tactile people, and they come in with hands feeling as well as with eyes looking.  A fellow vendor made me a great stand for a featured item, as you can see.  I gave him a free shopping trip through my booth so he could choose something in return.  This does happen in fairs and Farmer’s Markets.  It’s an informal swap meet…or gifts between friends.

There is a community that happens in a regular market.  You find friends among your fellow vendors who are really extra wonderful… being in a venture together makes good bonds, usually.  Also you see “regulars” who come and watch you grow and change.  I get wood people coming in who want me to come drag their burls from their yards.  They want to know if I will carve them a horse.  And they come back and buy things now and then.  They bring their friends.  We have a nice chat–an extension on our last chat.  “How’s your husband?”  “When is your wedding date?”  “Did you have a good time in Coeur d’Alene?”

I take all this stuff to the market in the back of my Odyssey.  I have no idea how such a nice spread gets into a sleek mini-van.  But it does.  Like a jigsaw puzzle.  Every week it gets a little more sophisticated…the packing technique.  Not only how do you get it in there,  but how do you want it to unload next time you have to unload it?  Which items go on top?

It’s a long day, but even though it takes this old swimmer a day or so to recover from the effort, it’s very rewarding in terms of human interaction,  and the learning curve is about right for a senior citizen to stave off Alzheimer’s or other kinds of dementia.

Old Swimmer

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“…drawings of perpetual motion machines by the architect and master-builder Francisco di Georgio have survived. A very fine example is this water-driven mill with an additional pump engine. (Ms. Ashburnham 361 fol. 36r, cf. Galluzi p. 136)   SOURCE 



Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. -John Muir, Naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)

The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold. The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbor creates a war betwixt princes. -Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)


    I’m wondering how these two apparently irreconcilable quotes are related.  As a product of Quaker ancestors, and a graduate of a Friends’ School, and as a young adult of the 60’s, I come up against the facts of war and destruction with an oblique slam, with the one pole strongly pacifist in nature.  The other pole of this obliqueness is my very strong legacy of pride in the courage and selflessness military servicemen and women have given to buy the freedom we have to contemplate ideas like these. I learned this at home and at school from people I love and admire, who were as wise and good and conscientious as Thoreau, Emerson, and Mother Theresa.

    If Thoreau and Eisenhower were thrown into a think tank together, what would they have to say to one another?

    I live with a feisty person who approaches tasks with a fire in his belly.  This seems to be how he does things.  He grew up as a comparatively small but highly effective guy on the football field on a championship team.  His life has been as a dynamo among big powerful men, both in high and in very low places.  Running a bunch of fishing boats and their crews requires a certain hard-headed constitution that will go into the bars to herd his crew onto the ship to sleep it off and get to work.  There is a type of love involved in that as well, I have learned, because he has cared for these men and risked his life for them at times.  It is with epithets and passion that he watches a deadly eddy take down one of his men, sheds his clothes slowly hoping against hope that it will burp up the seaman, prays that he might not have to jump into the eddy himself and probably drown with him.  He would have done it.  The eddy burped.  This person is a person of faith, both through belief, and through experience.  He WAS afraid.  He was also called to service by his argument with the status quo.  No ocean would take his man.

    I don’t like his feistiness.  I admire his courage and intention.  I really draw back at his anger, his curses, his warlike sense of justice.  I’m a person who wants to go forward in gentleness and with purpose, and to heal with a soft hand. But there are many softnesses I have dispensed that were not enough to do the work at hand.

     Daily I walk in my festering forest.  It is beautiful and fragrant.  It is busy processing the dead things and the alive ones as well.  Plants and small animals are living and dying there in quantity.  I baffle the squirrels so the birds have enough, but I also feed the squirrels, in a small effort to prolong some of their lives before they become part of the compost that makes my forest work.  This place doesn’t make me angry or argumentative, unless the effort to keep my plants alive may be called arguing against nature. Nature, after all, is cruel in that it doesn’t spare lives.  It just uses them– consumes them, and recycles them.  And then nature is kind — nurturing, adorning, blessing with the produce.  And then it knocks down the beauty again.

All of this is really too much to grasp, if you think about it long.  I have to conclude that I will go to a higher understanding when I have become part of the great ferment that I live within.  Ferment is breaking down.  It is with the breaking down that new things grow. 

Is it scary?  It’s awesome.  Frighteningly inevitable.  How good that there is the possibility of faith that Someone knows what He is doing!  It is good to have this secret information, sent so we have hope and joy.  May we wait with confidence in the good outcome.



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