Monday, December 17, 2012

delivery route

One of the pleasures of having an Etsy site is mailing off orders.  I love post offices, and the one in Orange is especially nice.  And now that I live in town, I get to bike there regularly, with the parcels in my handy bike baskets....
 past the neighborhood cats....
 wrong way up (haven't gotten in trouble yet) the ramp in front of the library and behind the courthouse...
 over the crackly pavement...
 under the tree....
 that grows beside the church where my aunt & uncle got married...
and into the post office!  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it smells wonderful... the sweet smell of ink and newspapers!
A man I met in line told me there is an identical post office to this in the small town he grew up in in Pennsylvania.  I should've written down the name of the town, but I didn't, and I've forgotten it.
Maybe one day I'll rent one of these boxes.  My grandma has one here, and when I was little, I used to come collect the mail here often with my Grandpa.  I've never had my own post office box key before.  There are tall wooden tables for finishing up addressing, packing and form-filling, and even a very old scale for weighing.
How many palms do you think have been on this doorknob over the years?  I have also forgotten to ask when this post office was built.  Sorry.  I will try to remember to ask next time I go.
And the upper far wall is decorated with a mural painted in 1937 by Arnold Friedman.  He titled it "Upland Pastures" and was paid by the Treasury Department under FDR's New Deal.  Not only is the ambiance of the post office lovely, but the ladies that work behind the counter are always kind and helpful.  One of them has two daughters that I used to baby-sit for... and she is so thoughtful that she even surprised me with occasional letters when I was in graduate school in Ireland.  She got the address from a card my grandma was sending to me.  These are the joys that come from small-town life!  I also really like spying on the set up behind the post office windows... canvas carts, wooden cubby shelves... I'm sure I wouldn't appreciate it as much if I worked there full time, but as an outsider it looks inspiring and inviting, and I would love to have my own workshop someday with similar tools and atmosphere.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'tis the season

I love the deep of winter, and think of Christmas as being its gateway.  A season of reflection... to re-calibrate your mind on principles of love, faith, generosity and positive energy.  The trees show their bare architecture, the frill of grass and bushes and ground cover die back to reveal the raw contours of  the land, and  the cold and dark allow you the space to get right to the essence of your heart and mind.  It's an ideal setting for savoring your thoughts and feelings, and shaping and nurturing plans based on them.  And then of course one of the most beautiful and simple pleasures of the winter is citrus.  I'm still enchanted by winter oranges, and think that a box of Florida oranges and grapefruits are one of the best Christmas presents you could ever get. 
And clementines are especially magical.  You can carry them in your pocket, they are quick and un-messy to eat, their smell is exquisitely uplifting, and when you get a good one, they are powerfully flavorful and juicy.  Plus, I'm definitely in the camp of people who believe that vitamin C can have miraculous effects on the human body.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meet Louis!

It all started when I was in sixth grade and got obsessed with the idea of having my own pet dog.  I researched and researched and set my heart on a cocker spaniel.  I was especially inspired by stories about Snappy, the black cocker spaniel that my dad and uncle Nectar had when they were little... and who alerted my grandpa when my uncle fell through the floor of the house next door that was still under construction.   Anyway, about twenty years ago, I did get my own cocker spaniel named Winnie.  I had so much fun with her, roaming around the fields, lounging around talking to her, teaching her tricks.   Over the years we've had a constant succession of cocker spaniels... Eleanor, and Roly, and lastly Benny.  But we've been dog-less for over a year now, and my mom has been wanting a new puppy.  She had a birthday this past week, and we REALLY surprised her. My brother found the puppy on-line and I rode with my dad to Dillwyn to pick him up.  He rode on my lap all the way back to Orange.  He is perfect - velvety fur on his nose, sweet little eyelashes, skunky puppy breath, and he's very smart and affectionate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome Christmas!

 I won't have a Christmas tree this year - not in my apartment - because construction on the ceiling is still pending.  I'm disappointed that the ceiling hasn't been fixed yet, but I'm not disappointed about the tree.  Trees are for sharing with people, and I don't think I would want one here by myself even if there weren't the trouble with the ceiling.  Like every year, I will help trim a wonderful tree in my mom & dad's living room.     No, their tree isn't up yet - it has to be done in my mom's time, which is usually at the last minute.  In the meantime, at my apartment, I spent a happy evening haphazardly stringing lights around my kitchen windows.  I have a little rosemary plant with a gold paper star pinned on top and little gold beads tied on... I have starry looking dried grass seeds, and I have porcelain NOEL letters that I found at the Goodwill a couple years ago.  Somebody lovingly glued the "E" back together after it'd been shattered, and I think it's just perfect.  So now I look forward to dusk falling in the evenings so I can plug in the Christmas lights... it's such a good feeling to walk into the glowing kitchen to put the kettle on for tea.