Obsessive Note Taking

Obsessive Note Taking #throwbacktocollege #notes #notebooks

I’ve been going through some old college notebooks, looking for stuff to use for collage backgrounds. This one is crammed with teeny tiny supplemental notes. I’m trying to imagine being that focused on ANYTHING, now, and failing miserably. Who the hell was that person who took all these notes?!


Throwback Thursday

Grandma Jeanne

My grandpa took that photo. I absolutely love it.

Grandma Jeanne was a great letter writer. If you wanted something fun in to show up in the mailbox, you wrote her a letter and she’d write back. And she’d put fun stuff in the letter, too. Or maybe send a small care package. Those always had a little can of Three Diamonds almonds in them. Usually smoked flavored.

I’m supposed to be working on getting my HDL cholesterol level up. Almonds are one of the things that can (hopefully) help with that, so I’m eating a lot of them lately, and every time I do, I think of my Grandma Jeanne.

Grandma Jeanne with her Cocker Spaniel


Townhouse and Livery Stable

Townhouse and Livery Stable
The Townhouse (left) and the old livery stable (right)

When I was a kid, we moved to Metamora. It’s a tiny, little tourist town in southeastern Indiana full of real and uber faux old timey crap. Some of the buildings are truly historical. Some of them were moved there from other locations, to lend themselves to the pioneer ambiance. Some of them are new but meant to look old. Most every building had some sort of shop in it, selling everything from cheap plastic Made-in-Taiwan junk to beautiful art pieces to seriously old antiques. My parents had a custom cabinet and furniture restoration shop in the rear of the old livery stable.

Some folks, like us, lived in town. It wasn’t at all uncommon for tourists to walk in the front door of your house, thinking it was a shop. Even worse was when they walked in, then walked into the bathroom, which was right off the front hallway of the house we lived in (the Townhouse). Also not at all uncommon was for tourists to stop us in the road, exclaiming that they didn’t realize real people lived there, and could they please take our picture? Like we were zoo exhibits.

I have a few friends who lived there, who I’ve kept in contact with (or through the magic of Facebook, gotten back in touch with). Growing up in Metamora was a surreal experience that is hard to explain to people who didn’t live there, and we’re all aware that we share something strange and kind of special.


Notes from the Past

Old poems, to be burned, because they are simply awful.

Wake Up

I went through a large stack of poems I’d written, spanning from 2nd grade through high school. They are terrible. Like, really, really, really awful. Some of them were written on class notes, which also contained doodles and strange, random bits of what I’m sure seemed at the time to be wisdom.


Physics class was especially boring, apparently. And alsoplustoo, I have never, ever been able to draw. Are those skaters wearing mohawks or rabbit ears?


Also from physics class. Could be an angel.  Or maybe not.


About Elvis

I was never much of an Elvis fan, but I will always remember the day he died because my best friend at the time, Vicky Poff, was heartbroken. She spent the night at my house that night and brought all her Elvis records and magazines with her, and we stayed up all night, having our own little wake for him.

Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley


Old Books


The first real book I ever read, from cover to cover, all by myself, was a Hardy Boys mystery. It was my mom’s, and it was one of the old, original tweed volumes. I was hooked. On reading, and on mysteries, and on the Hardy Boys. I read them all. A few I bought new, in the 70s, and others I picked up at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. When I could get my hands on an old version, it made me happy, because I realized early on that the newer editions had been heavily edited. Some, in fact, had morphed into entirely different stories.

I lost all those books when I was in high school, in one of our many moves. They were put into storage and never retrieved. I figured I’d outgrown them anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal to me until years later, when I started to miss my old childhood books. I’ve picked up a bunch of them at yard sales and thrift stores over time, and even a few of the old Hardy Boys books. I recently got serious about hunting them down and have been ordering a couple at a time online.

And, of course, I’ve been reading them. Some of the stories I only recall from the mangled 1970s re-issues, so meeting them in their original form has been a revelation. Frank and Joe are only 15 and 16 years old, not 17 and 18. Just babies! And they carry guns! Aunt Gertrude is a vile old woman, not the cranky curmudgeon that everyone secretly adores (or at least that’s my recollection from the re-issues). The police are thoroughly incompetent and unlikeable. The racism is shocking in its overtness, and it’s easy to tell the bad guys because they’re unkempt or have shifty eyes. There’s a lot to criticize, but there are also a lot of happy memories connected with reading them when I was little.

I’ve got about 1/3 of the original 58 books and will be adding to the stack. When I’m finished, I’ll move on to Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Ginny Gordon.


Candle Wax


I spent the afternoon going through old CDs, looking for stuff I wanted to transfer to my iPod. This one has green candle wax all over it. I don’t know why I never cleaned it off or put the CD in a new case, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because it reminded me of Nica.

Years ago, when she was living with us, she borrowed some of my CDs and spilled candle wax all over them. I was a little irritated about it at the time. She hadn’t asked permission to take them, and she returned them in less than stellar condition. It’s certainly not a big deal in the great scheme of things, though, and I’d completely forgotten about it until just now. I’ll be putting this one away with the wax still on the case, so that the next time I take it out I’ll think of her again.


The Cardinal’s Portrait

The Cardinal's Portrait
The Cardinal’s Portrait (1896), by Toby Rosenthal

I grew up with this print. I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t in my family. My mom gave it to me a few years back, but I’ve never really had a good place to hang it, so it’s been sitting in the back of my studio closet. I finally decided I didn’t care if it went with anything else in my apartment. I dug it out of the closet and hung it in the living room. Now I just need to polish the frame, because it’s in pretty sad shape.

As I was looking online for any additional info on the original (there isn’t much), I kept running into message board posts from people who said they had the original. They’d been given it, inherited it, or had found it at a yard sale. I’m pretty sure there’s just one version of the painting and that what those folks have are prints. Logic, people! When I worked at the art museum, there was a steady stream of folks who had found some “treasure” and wanted to know if it was a long-lost original SOMETHING.