Thursday, May 5, 2011

A good spot...

Everyone needs a shrine!
Everybody needs a shrine. I have one over my kitchen sink. When I do the dishes I like to look at all the items that have the honor of being placed on top of it. The window in front of me looks right out to my backyard. Louie, my cat perches on the shrine. I have left some space so he can rightfully take his place of honor. He drinks his water on the shelf…a small dish that was used to hold dipping oil. Close to the sink so I can give him fresh water when he wants. It is also the spot where I snapped a photo of Louie watching the birds in the backyard from the window that sits behind the shelf. Painted my “Cat in the Window, Bird in the Tree” from that moment. Wonder what he thinks of as he sits there?
"Cat in the Window, Bird in the Tree" on my "a mess of things" Facebook page.
My trinkets are all lined up on the shelf. Things I’ve bought. Things I’ve found. Things with special meaning. Here is just a short list of what I have:

• Postcard painted with Frieda Kahlo on it that I acquired at my college’s annual art auction. Her hair is wild with bright gold stokes painted in between her black locks.

• Old glass bottles in a rusted tin can that used to hold yeast. Love putting flowers from the garden in the bottles. Nested with the bottles is an old graduation figure - reminds me of Matt, my youngest. Maybe it is because unlike a lot of his friends who stayed close to home, he picked up and went off to a college four hours from where we live in Wisconsin. Didn't know a soul. Survived and made friends. Now he's making it on his own once again in the city and doing fine. Brave little soul.

• A “Day of the Dead” doll that rattles on a stick. I got it at the Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. A wonderful place to go – bright and colorful and a stone’s throw away from the start of a great walking tour of outdoor murals in the Pilson neighborhood. I took the doll to school briefly and told my students that if they heard the rattle it meant I was putting a curse on them! Don’t think they believed me.

• An old glass bottle that Matt found one day at his job. He is an environmentalist and worked for the Cook County Forest Preserve. He knows I love old, dirty “finds”, so it meant a lot to me that he took the time to pick it up and bring it home with him. Just like a little boy would do. Sweet.

• Two “Louie the cat” statues. Did I tell you that I adore that cat? 
Homage to Louie
On the other side of the shelf there is a miniature replica of an outdoor fruit stand that I picked up in the Dominican Republic when we were there for my oldest son’s wedding. Near it stands a lucky Buda, and a pretty little doll with a teacup on her head – a gift from my sister-in-law.

New things find their way to the shelf. A bright, hand painted bowl from one of my favorite stores - Anthropologie. A sweet cottage with a blue roof. Gifts from a dear friend. 
The little house with the blue roof - a gift from a dear friend because it reminded her of my "little cottage".
Two plaques hang between the window casings. Love the quotes on them. One says, “When mama isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” How true. The other is my favorite quote about raising children…”Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken.” Love my kids but oh, how we all can relate to that.

Things get moved around and replaced on that shelf, but not very often. I like to surround my self with meaningful things. Gifts from the heart. Simple treasures. Things that bring back loving memories. It’s nice to come to this spot, even if it is to wash dishes. Sometimes Louie pops up and keeps me company, his tail swishing in the air and almost dipping into the water. It’s a good spot for both of us…


  1. I love your sentimentality, Francie! Makes me smile to read of your little haven. :-)

  2. I like your coffee cup doll!