Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five things: living room

Inspired by some of Allison's recent blog entries, here are five things I like in my living room:


1. Coffee table. I don't know much about its history, only that it belonged to my grandma and then my mom, it spent a lot of time in the basement, and I stole it when I bought my condo. It once had a glass top to protect the wood, but that broke a long time ago. The surface has seen better days, but I love the scalloped edges and the bird and flower inlay.


2. Curtains. I bought them at a store that was going out of business - I no longer remember what store - but they were something like 80% off.


3. Statue. He's about seven inches tall, and stands in the alcove above the fireplace. When I was in Senegal last year, our hostess was packing up to move at the same time our trip was drawing to a close. She could only pack as much as could ride with her in a crowded sept-place, so she asked if I'd like the statue. An local friend had given it to her as a token of friendship, and she wanted to pass that on.

Record cabinet

4. Record cabinet. In a rare burst of productive creativity a few years ago, I fashioned this myself out of an old crate down my parents' basement. I pried off a bottom cross-board so records would fit, removed old wheels, painted it black, and included a little 45-adapter detail. The picture was taken soon after I brought it home. Now there are more records inside, and - more importantly - an actual turntable on top!


5. Clock. When I went to Russia in 2001, my companions and I stopped at the home of a wood carver in a tiny village called Zarechye near Lake Baikal. He proudly brought out many items for our perusal, and I fell in love with this clock. I found a place for it in someone else's huge suitcase on the way home, and it's been keeping time for me ever since.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The lovely way the sunshine bends

I could live on a tropical island. No problem. During a visit to Hawaii last week - my second time in Oahu - I came to that realization. Maybe not in Honolulu, and maybe not full-time, but if anybody on a beautiful island needs a house sitter? Go ahead and enlist my services.

After craving the ocean this year, I got my fill in Hawaii - including a dream view from the 36th floor of the Hilton Waikiki courtesy of a complimentary upgrade:

Beach view

Ahhhh. Our time was filled with beaches, sunshine, shave ice, shrimp trucks, delicious seven-course meals (well, only one, which is probably a good thing), shopping, and oh yes, music. Last time work brought me to Honolulu; this time the impetus was a concert. Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone played at the Hawaii Theatre on our second night in town. My favorite part of the show was seeing the two of them together on a handful of songs during the encore. It's not a configuration I'm likely to see again (though not too far off from the Wilco 3 who performed in Madison a couple of weeks before I went to Hawaii in 2008.) Hearing new songs like "Open Mind" and "Born Alone" in this configuration was exciting, and fueled my anticipation for the new album. It was fun to see all the leis brought up on stage to welcome Jeff to Hawaii at the beginning of the show. If Wisconsin had a tradition like that, I wonder what we'd bring up? Cheese curds or custard, probably. Maybe snow balls.

Hawaii Theatre marquee

It was a blast traveling with some of my favorite people, as always. There was an impromptu ramen dinner on our first night in town. U and I made an afternoon escape to the movies. Mike and I had tropical drinks with a view of Diamond Head. I enjoyed a slightly sketchy late-night meal at Zippy's with Paul. We ran away from North Shore waves. I wish I'd had time to stay longer, but there's always next time.

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head from the Moana Surfrider

Giovanni's scampi shrimp plate

North shore