Aging, Change, Cool Stuff, God, Memories

Keepsakes

Marnie and I went to an estate sale today and found all sorts of goodies.  I even missed some of the items for sale because there were so many things to look at!  All the items for sale had been moved to the barns on the property and some items were very dirty.  In fact, one of my items was marked $3 but the lady only charged me $1 because it was really filthy. Dirt for the win! Right now I’m going through some of the things I bought, hoping to find things I can sell in my Etsy store.  I got a whole box of sewing notions – vintage patterns, thread, buttons, and zippers; a bag of game pieces; some Christmas decorations; a bowl made of English walnut that is worth far more than I paid for it; a concrete bear statue for the side yard; two wind chimes; some other things, and most interestingly a box of cards and letters originally owned by a Mennonite girl named Irene.  I think this is her senior picture:

Right now I’m going through the box and wiping off all the dirt and spider webs from the cards and letters.  They are mostly just letters from her friends with a few newspaper clippings, such as this one about some giant waves at the coast.   I do wish there were more newspaper clippings, as I enjoy reading the ads and other little articles.

Irene was very detailed in noting on each envelope that she had answered the letter.  I assume she would have gotten many more letters than this in her life and I’m not sure why these are the only ones left, but I imagine that her family had looked at these and didn’t feel they were important.  There are no photos in the box except the senior photo.  Plus, they are all dirty and webby and there was an actual spider in the box.  

Of course, you don’t learn much about a person from reading the letters sent to them. I don’t know if the estate was hers or how she was related to the person who left the estate, but I found her obituary online and she indeed passed away in the last few months.  It sounds like she was a wonderful and generous woman who loved to help people.  But she had no children of her own, and some letters from her teenage years would have meant little to her nephews and niece, I think. 

Anyway, I always find it very interesting to read old letters and postcards.  I was hoping to find some postcards in the box, but only one has turned up so far.  It is a photo of Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, from 1961. 

Aging, Baffled, Health, Life, Memories, Miscellaneous, Observations, Poetry

The Rime of the Ancient 40-Year Old Person

Based on Part 1 of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The mirror – it startles me. (I wrote this poem 12 years ago today.  To say the mirror startles me now is an understatement.)

Skull or Lady in Mirror

It is an ancient, common tale,
And we do not like to think
That our lustrous hair and lovely eye
May someday be extinct.

Our big bright eyes were open wide,
And we were cute and thin;
We did not fret, the mirror showed
Pink cheeks and glowy skin.

It held us there in happiness
“Yes, I approve,” it said.
And thoughts of aging gracefully
Were put into our heads.

It holds me now in disbelief,
I gasp when I stand still,
And catch a glimpse of how it shows
Its lack of kind goodwill.

My heart is sinking like a stone,
I cannot choose but hear,
And thus cackles that shiny fiend
“You’re not the same, my dear!”

Then I was cheered, my face had cleared,
Of spots and pimply beasts,
Below though, they were lurking,
To get me while I sleep.

The sun is up now in the east,
Out of my bed I crawl,
And see a face reflected that
Just isn’t me at all!

Higher and higher every day,
My expectations loomed.
I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours
In the exercising room.

Frustrated, I pace back and forth,
Red in the face, I sigh.
The scale, who is not my friend,
Shows me an all-time high!

“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know
What gives, for heaven’s sake?”
And thus goes on the ancient rhyme
From night until I wake.

Now a storm-blast, not a smile,
Assails me when I think,
That I’m NOT aging gracefully,
The opposite, I think!

I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow,
I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy.
These thoughts just make me want to eat
Some pie, or something fudgy.

I should turn back, loud roars the snack,
(I ate it, now it’s quiet!)

And now there is a misty fog,
My vision’s getting blur’y.
The eye doctor said “It’s just age,”
And told me not to worry.

It really seems just yesterday
That I was seventeen.
No shape of what I used to be
The mirror is all between.

The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there,
The mirrors are all around:
They mock and laugh, and roar and howl,
My self-respect is down!

At length did sneak the wrinkles,
Through the years they came;
As they had been a horrid smell,
I curse them, but in vain.

I ate chocolate to comfort me,
Chubby and plump I grew.
My jeans did split with a thunder-fit;
But I would not buy new!

And a good dose of denial came by,
“You’ll be fit again!” did follow,
But every day, I was still plump
In sadness I still wallow.

In mist or cloud, in sun or gray,
Age perched to stare at me;
While overnight, I’d think each morn,
It multiplied times three.

“God save thee, ancient lady,
From your loss of self-esteem! –
Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo!
I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”

~Noelle Marier  ©2010

Cool Stuff, Family, Fun, Memories

Up, Up and Away

As my last post anticipated, a week or so ago my son and his grandpa went for a hot air balloon ride.  On Friday they were instructed to meet at 7:00 a.m. at site “W”, a church in West Salem.  (The church has a sign that says “Drive-In Church”.  I’m still trying to figure out how that works…)  The balloon van arrived and the crew started unpacking.  The whole process of unpacking and blowing up the balloon took about a half hour – I’m always impressed when people accomplish such big things in so little time!

 

The whole balloon is in this bag!

 

Cold air is blown into the balloon with a fan:

 

 

The burner is fired up and hot air is blown in:

Balloon is up and they’re ready to go!

 

Up…

 

Up…

 

and Awaa…

 

…yyyyyyy!

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I had planned to spend the morning checking out some estate sales, or rushing home to take photos if the balloon was going to come our way.  But, the winds were “light and variable” and the balloon floated off toward downtown.  I was snapping away when one of the crew asked if I wanted to come with them in the chase van. Yes!

When they call it a “chase” vehicle, they aren’t exaggerating.   There’s a sign on the back of the van that says “Warning: Frequent Stops and Indecisions!”  While we zoomed and stopped and looked and went around the block and zoomed the other way, Dad and Ben were floating over the river looking down at the Oregon State Capitol building with the Gold Pioneer on top, and all of downtown Salem; and listening to the balloon pilot, Jim Desch, guide them through their aerial tour.  Jim, who owns Balloon Flying Service of Oregon, has been flying since 1989 and knows every possible landing spot in the area.  They estimated that this spot would work so Cecil pulled the van in here and stopped:

But…oops!  The winds changed direction and we had to jump in the van and take off to the east, where there was a nice big field next to the city shops.

Coming in:

 

It cleared the wires effortlessly (although from the ground it looked like they were coming in right on top of them!)

 

 

A perfect landing!

 

Time to pack up…

 

 

At the top of the balloon – it’s 200°F on this end!

 

They wrap straps around the balloon and then pack it into the bag…

 

 

They have to squish it so it will fit in the van!

 

When everything was packed up we all rode in the van back to the launch site, and took our cars to Wallace Marine Park in West Salem for the traditional champagne or sparkling cider breakfast.  Jim graciously invited me to join in, (but only those who flew in the balloon were allowed to have champagne)!

Setting up for breakfast.

 

Ben wanted to go throw a rock in the river (ka-bloop!)…

 

Before breakfast, Jim introduced the champagne toast with a history of ballooning…

 

…and presented Dad and Ben with framed Certificates of Ascension! (They also got to keep the champagne cups with the little balloons on them!)

 

Breakfast included croissants with strawberry cream cheese or chive cream cheese, crackers and a cheese spread, chocolates, and brownies. For beverages we could choose hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles or coffee. Everything was delicious, and I was enjoying the meal and the conversation (mostly about Jim’s former career – monument making) so much I completely forgot to take any photos of the food!

I JUST realized that the whole time Ben and Dad were on their balloon ride and I was in the chase van, I didn’t once think of the song “Up, Up and Away” until just now when I was trying to invent a title for this post. Can you believe it?

(Sorry about the weird fonts in this post.  I can’t figure out what happened, and it won’t let me edit the font sizes!)

 

Cool Stuff, Fun, History, Memories, Success!

They Found the Kite Man!!

Two and a half years ago I wrote a post about a local Pacific Power public service television commercial I remember seeing as a child (read the post “Kite Man” here for reference). Today, I am incredibly pleased to announce that the video, after being lost for years, is finally on the internet!  Thanks, Jason Rouse, and thanks to Rob for letting us know where to find it!  Here it is:

The Kite Man

Over the last couple of years I’ve realized that I’m not the only one who wanted to see this again and show it to the next generation.  It is one of the most read posts on my blog, and there are numerous Facebook pages about the subject, including this one: Search For the Kite Man

How many of you hear the word “frogs” and still automatically respond “I like frogs.”? Open-mouthed smile

Cool Stuff, Fashion, History, Life, Memories

Monday Memories

I thought I’d start a “Monday Memories” series to put down some sort of random memories that pop up in my brain here and there.  I’d love to hear some of yours, too!

I heard the name “Heidi” yesterday and it reminded me of a girl who took care of my sister and me during the summer one year when our mom had gone back to work to sell real estate.  (This was around 1980 or 1981, when the real estate market had unfortunately bottomed out.)

Heidi was 17 years old and she was a wonderful babysitter.   She was very pretty and had an old pickup to drive us places, which we thought was extremely cool.

The clearest memory I have of Heidi is that she had a purse that looked like a rolled up magazine.  It was a plastic clutch style to hold under your arm, and you couldn’t tell it was a purse.  I had never seen one before and she had gotten it on a trip somewhere, so I couldn’t get one.  But, I just found some beautiful models and more info about them online at StyleWithAnna!   This site just gave one away, but I missed it. :’-(   You can buy them at Clutch For Cures, and I also found a vintage model on eBay.  I’ll have to start saving immediately to get one!