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Posts Tagged ‘plastic button’


I’m getting ready of a train adventure, and have lectured the cats sternly about appropriate travel behavior; keep your claws to yourself, no begging for treats from our fellow travelers, say “please” and “thank you”…and I’m tempted to add “Don’t speak unless you are spoken to.” They listen solemnly, nodding their furry little heads in mute agreement. I fasten the cat-eye shaped, navy blue vintage buttons on the collars of their puppy-tooth travel caplets, settle my feline compagnons into their wicker travel basket, and grab my hamper of travel food. I have made crackery potato bugnes, a tasty croustillante aux cerise et pistache, and a thermos of hot, gingery Moroccan spiced chickpea and lentil soup.
“Fierce-throated beauty!
Roll through my chant, with all thy lawless music! thy swinging lamps at night;
Thy piercing, madly-whistled laughter! thy echoes, rumbling like an earthquake, rousing
all!
Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding;
(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,)
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return’d,
Launch’d o’er the prairies wide—across the lakes,
To the free skies, unpent, and glad, and strong.”

(By W. Whitman)

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It is a lonely Wednesday; the sky is a dismal shade of slate with tendrils of storm, Francy and Lulu are avoiding me and are curled up together under an armchair in the furthest corner of the sitting room, I need to go grocery shopping so cannot sooth my moodiness with pastry or kale, none of my sewing projects interest me, and although I’m expecting an armful of books through interlibrary loan, nothing has arrived yet. Most of my clothing is out at the laundry, and I’ve resorted to wearing a black turtleneck, black 501s, and a teal argyle knit vest with faux leather plastic buttons. I reek of doddering hip grandparent. Unlocking my mailbox, I find an aérogramme from Pauline the Poitou donkey. This unexpected message makes me click my velvet-clad heels together like Dorothy, and I rip open the letter to read, “We all miss you and want you to return. Bring Francy and Lulu. xoxo – Pauline”
Love letters straight from your heart
Keep us so near while apart.
I’m not alone in the night
When I can have all the love you write.”

(By K. Lester)

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I am a most fortunate person; three blocks from my home is a wee café that serves exceptionally spectacular tarts and tea. The pie crust is meltingly flaky, and the fillings are just sweet enough to allow the rich flavors to glow. The café walls are decorated with blue and yellow Middle Eastern tile work, the booths are carpeted with wool Kurdish kilims and saddlebag cushions, worn coarse linen cloths cover the wooden table-tops, hanging brass lanterns cast a soft glow, and the tea is served from antique engraved samovars. I arrive at the café, unfastening the Italian four-hole buttons of my espresso brown tweed Norfolk jacket and depositing my drenched umbrella in the pottery stand next to the door. Consulting the framed blackboard, I decide upon a slice of Pear-Almond-Cherry Tart and minted black tea. Siavash Ghomayshi is crooning in the background, and the windows are steamed up, keeping the dank weather at bay.
“You’re sleeping without hearing any stories or lullabies
Sleep without any pain or sorrow
You won’t have any nightmares about winter any more
And you won’t have any regrets in your sleep”

(By S. Ghomayshi – The Last Letter or Akharin Nameh)

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Something about today’s morning light makes me think of Morocco in the 1950s. The sun feels like it has been filtered through some bohemian expatriate’s desires and literary yearnings. I swear that I smell cumin and ginger as I walk down the alley, and white flowering jasmine hangs over the sidewalk filling the air with its beautifully cloying scent and scattering petals in the 10 am breeze. A tiny petal drifts down, falling on the toe of my black monk-straps. I lean over to pick it up, and straighten up to the sounds of ‘The Garden’ drifting from an open window. It is starting to drizzle, so I fasten the Italian taupe buttons on my trench coat and mull over the voice of Paul Bowles. I turn left in search for a coffee shop; I want a giant warming mug of spicy hot chocolate with marshmallows.
We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
Paul Bowles (novelist, composer, and poet)

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It is the night of the slivery, cool moon…..a sad moon hanging low and glistening with lover’s hopes, but not mine. I am sitting on my black horsehair-covered récamier in the bay window, worn golden velvet drapes pushed to one side, and one cat posed upon each knee like the lions in front of the New York Public Library. I’ve been reading “The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them” by the illustrious Elif Batuman, and have my copy turned upside down and dog-eared beside me. The timer goes off with a long low buzz, causing both cats to spring forth with alarm. I rise, fastening the feathered looking black and silvery grey plastic buttons on my grey cable-knit old man’s v-neck cardigan sweater with brown suede panels, and amble to the kitchen to remove a luscious strawberry rhubarb crumble from the oven. Red, warm crumble with soothing, white cream in a pottery dish is perfection for even the gloomiest.
“They’re writing songs of love, but not for me,
A lucky star’s above, but not for me,
With love to lead the way,
I found more clouds of grey,
Than any Russian play could guarantee.”

(By G. Gershwin)

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We are on our way to Bucharest, with another night on the train. I have decided to slumber in the top bunk this time. I climb the stepladder carefully, and swoosh back the monogrammed bed linens. I have raised the window blind so that I can let the stars, darkened scenery and rocking of the train lull me to sleep. I’m wearing my favorite well-worn, dusky turquoise and black striped lawn pajamas with planetary buttons, and have grabbed “e.e. cummings: a selection of poems” to lull me into the sweetest dreams. As I drift off, my midnight snack of a hunk of seed cake falls to the floor.
“your little voice
Over the wires came leaping
and i felt suddenly
dizzy”

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Preparing for sleep, I wonder if the surfeit of caviar and muttering clairvoyants will lead to misshapen dreams. Lately my dreams have been strewn with mysterious floods, stilt-walking ballerinas, flying, and lost musical instruments. I fasten the olive green Italian buttons on my plain, coffee brown, worn lawn pajamas, and start a bedtime ritual that I hope will bring a night of pleasant and deep sleep. There is a thin china cup of warm sweetened milk, a stack of soft snickerdoodles, and a copy of the complete works of Dorothy Parker.
“Back of my back, they talk of me,
Gabble and honk and hiss;
Let them batten, and let them be-
Me, I can sing them this:
“Better to shiver beneath the stars,
Head on a faithless breast,
Than peer at the night through rusted bars,
And share an irksome rest.”

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