"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Ugly Things that I Love

Part of my drive and directive for this year is to purge and organize my home and my life.  I thought I would be able to do it in one month, but here we are, almost 2 months into the new year and I am still going.  I have slowed down a bit, and it maybe slipped a bit in my priorities, but I am still at it.  There is a constant donation pile in my living room, and as I run across things that need to go, I add to it religiously.

The rooms I have worked are still looking pretty good.  I know it still drives some of my friends crazy, since there is still a lot of stuff, but it is a significant improvement for me.  Gone are the piles of "things" in the corners.  Everything has a place to go, and if it doesn't have a place, than it goes.  Clean up is so much easier, and even the kids are helping (a bit) to maintain it.  I have a bit of peace of mind, and I feel as though I am accomplishing something useful with my time.  I am feeling better and lighter in my burden.  My year of living fiercely is paying off. 

The driving force in my purge, my over-riding mentality, I guess you could call it, is how I classify the objects in my home.  If it isn't beautiful, or useful, out it goes.  Beautiful things, while they may not serve a practical purpose, are inherently important to my well being.  Sometimes, I just want to see something lovely.   Something funny.  Something sweet and full of memories. 

And what I am realizing is that in my world, my beautiful things are sometimes ugly. 

I am running across things that I want to keep.  Things that if someone else viewed them, would be pitched out on the first go-round.  But for me, these are invaluable and will remain with me for as long as I am able.  They are the ugly things that I love.

I got this angel figurine from my Aunt Barb when I was very young.  I was born in April, so of course it says "April" in her little sign and has a fake diamond around her neck.  It was always in my bedroom as a kid and it has stuck with me through all my moves as an adult.  It is prominently displayed in my living room, on top of my china cabinet.  I don't know what it is about it that appeals to me.  It's orange, so it matches my living room.  But I think it is more the rampant familiarity of it.  I know her little face, I have seen it for probably 35 years.  I am unaware of her most of the time, but when it came time to purge the area, there was no question at all that she was staying.  She got cleaned up and dusted and put right back where she belongs.
This happy little ghoul is a favourite of mine.  Back in the early 80's, my mom, and every other mom on the planet, was into pottery and ceramics.  I don't think my mom actually did this one, I think it was a gift from the guy that ran the ceramics studio.  I remember it being out at home, and my brother was terrified of it.  I would torment him relentlessly with it, until I would start to freak myself out with it, and then we would both be scared and have to call our mom downstairs to turn on the light and walk us up, since we were both too afraid to move. 
My mom was doing a purge of her house a couple of years ago, and gave this too me as a potential Halloween decoration.  He is way too special and amazing to come out just once a year, so instead, he lives by my fireplace permanently.   

When my grandma Rosie died, we all got some things of hers that we wanted to keep.  There were a few little knick knacks I wanted, and I got them.  I also got her farm house dining room table, that will never go anywhere, but it is beautiful, so it doesn't belong on this list.   But the one thing I did get, and treasure to this day is her turkey platter.  Yep, giant turkey on it.  Horrible paint job that doesn't stay in the lines (check out the tail feathers). 

It is huge and awkward and doesn't fit on any shelf.  It can't be put in the dishwasher and the nooks and crannies are a bitch to clean.  But EVERY SINGLE TIME I cook a turkey, I serve it on this platter.  And I always, always will. 

Ok, this one perplexes people the most.  Yes, it is a giant walnut with a little squirrel on top.  Yes, it is horrible and ugly.  I heart it soooooo much.  Last year, when we were doing our Scholarship for Sebastian garage sale, my mother unpacked this little gem and put it out for sale.  I was a brave girl, and I let it sit all day.  I gave the rest of the world a solid chance to own it.  When no one bought it (I was shocked to the core!  Who wouldn't want this??)  I quietly and casually scooped it up and brought it into my home.  I have been mocked more about this, than any other piece.  I don't care.  I love it. 
I remember how my dad, at Christmas, would eat walnuts out of this.  There was always a silver metal nutcracker in there, and he would just sit and crack them, one after another.  Sometimes I got some too. 
It's been dropped and cracked and repaired.  The squirrel has come off and been glued back on.  It is still wonderful and beautiful to me.  He's not going anywhere.  

 I am honestly not too sure where these dishes came from.  My mom, I think, but maybe my grandma.  The pattern reminds be of a turtle's shell.  Geoff used to complain about them and how ugly they were, but I think he has just accepted that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.  When I am dead, he can donate them.  Or bury them with me.  I don't care.  I think they are gorgeous.  I will serve on them for years to come.
I have been in lots of houses that are much more beautiful than mine.  Homes that are full of beautiful things, beautiful in the classic sense.  But some of those homes leave me wanting.  I don't feel the personality of the people in that home pulsing through the items that they have chosen to surround themselves with.  They have picked things arbitrarily, or so it seems, because they were on a page in a magazine, or a pretty display in a store.  And that's fine.  It's just not me. 
I love walking into a house with hidden treasures to find.  If someone has a curio cabinet, or a display rack, I am instantly enamoured.  I will look and find the hidden treasures.  The dried rose tucked in the corner.  The silly mug that doesn't match the rest of the china.  The handmade picture frame surrounded by crystal.  All things that don't belong, and yet, are likely the most important things there.  They matter.   They are the ugly things we all love.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "not ugly to me".

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