Walkabout Down Memory Lane

I may have mentioned I started walking to work this spring…

 

Ok…so I’m kinda obsessed, and ya’ll get to share.

This morning, I was passed by a commuter on roller skates.  She was a middle-aged lady, wore a fairly standard backpack, and sported a bright pink helmet with matching knee and elbow pads.  The wheels on her skates may have matched the bright pink of the rest of her ensemble, but had been darkened slightly from use.

She was also on the street – which is a hell of a lot smoother than the sidewalk I was currently pounding.

I had to giggle just a bit – but not loud enough to put her off her stride.  I’d hate to cause an accident with my rather hard-to-explain mirth.

See – I did the roller skate thing a long time ago.

Remember wavy

Look out!!!! It’s the ‘memory shimmer!’

I officially became a teenager in the tender year of 1980.

but I’m still 29 thanks to ‘female’ maths

In this year of big, permed hair, screen-printed satin jackets, and eye-blistering neon-colors – one of the biggest social gathering places for those newly minted teens was the skating rink.  There, you could blithely roll your heart out on a stretch of perfectly level, perfectly straight, and perfectly clean poured concrete, while the punk music blasted out of the speakers and stage lights flared, spun and flickered across the painted expanse.

All your classmates were there, too…doing what teens do worst – attempting to flirt with the opposite sex.

Well, except for me.  I was more interested in actually skating.

At this age, I didn’t yet understand the biological Human directive to form pair bonds…

I had a pair of rink skates.  Not the little metal numbers you had to screw onto your shoes (although I owned a pair or two of those, too…) – but a real pair of above-the-ankle leather boots with the wheel assembly permanently bolted onto the hard sole.  I dressed ’em up with hot pink wheels, neon-purple, sparkly laces, and pink/purple puffballs strapped to the toes.  I even had a bright blue satin jacket with the rink’s name screen-printed across the back.

The rink was within walking distance of home, and I went there every chance I could.  Not that there were a lot of chances in 1980.  The parent’s divorce was final, and Mom had moved back to the ‘ancestral’ part of Wisconsin with my and my little brother in tow to work a 2nd shift job in a nursing home.  Guess who got the responsibility of making sure I and my little 10 year old brother had food at night?

I can still wield a can opener with the best Olympiads!

So 1980 was memorable, if only for the year I got my first ‘real’ skates, learned how to heat up cans of food, and realized I had little awareness of or interest in the whole boy/girl attraction thing.

I loved my skates though…they represented freedom & frivolity!

Now…I’m just gonna fast-forward through the remains of the 80’s.  The fashion trends are starting to make a comeback, anyway, so why remember when I can just look out a window and see the same stuff on the street?

Yea!!!  I’m 20.  Out on my own for the first time eveah!  Just me and my wits against the rest of society!

Damn…this sucks.  

A broken-down car, some mother-fu*k3#! stealing my bicycle, less than $50 in the bank, a tiny efficiency apartment with a lecherous landlord, a job waiting tables in an extremely depressed segment of the US…

Yea…I had to walk to work.  But, unlike now…back then I resented having to do it.  I’d rather have had wheels.

Can you see where I’m going with this?  I HAD wheels – my old trusty freedom-loving skates.  And, unlike the bicycle that went off on its own, the skates I could bring inside the restaurant for protection against the tender mercies of the more ‘unsavory’ elements in town.

So I skated to work once…

 

 

10796452

ONCE!

It didn’t go so well.  First…I was out of practice.  Second, the sidewalks had cracks and pits and ankle-breaking perils (sticks, small stones, various debris) randomly scattered about.  Third – curbs.  Do you know how difficult it is to step off a curb with wheels strapped to your feet???

Lastly – there was traffic.  Both other pedestrians and actual cars.

There were no cars in the Skate-Rink…and everyone rolled the same direction.

Welcome to real life!

 

I did survive that trip in to work…sweaty and shaking but intact and unbroken.  At the end of that shift serving grouchy people burgers & fries…mopping up various spills and cleaning tables that the public left incredibly messy – I didn’t even bother lacing the skates back on.  I just looped ’em over my shoulders and walked back to my little shelter.

I don’t think I ever wore my skates again.

 

e0cada17921831a6ab853ed1c29d533f-pompoms-skating-rink

Somebody Order an Ark?

We had a weather-event in Wisconsin last week Tuesday.  It got wet.

Really wet.

Really, REALLY wet.

Dinosaur weather

I remember 2 ladies at work not able to make it in, as they were flooded in.  I remember one lady who managed to get TO work getting a news push, citing the dam that was 2 blocks from her house had failed.

(for the record…everyone ended up safe, as sane as before, and semi-dry…)

I remember having to drive to work, as I don’t own a wetsuit or flippers.

I also remember walking to work the day after the stormage pounded through…because I had to detour.  Bethesda park’s walking path was flooded.  Now…I could get ON the footbridge spanning the Fox River…but I couldn’t get off it.

Here’s a couple of shots

 

This one, taken earlier in the spring, the Fox River is firmly in it’s banks, you can see the walking path winding all the way across the park.20170508_165502

Here’s the shot from the same vantage point.  You can see where the water has totally covered most the path.

Flood July 2017 Bethesda Park

This morning when I once again donned my walking shoes and set off…I thought I’d at least see where the water now was in the park, and see if I could now get through.

Almost success!

I can now get onto the park grounds from the footbridge, but I have to go straight up the hill instead of the walking path down by the river.  I call it ‘Taking the High Road.’

I’ll take it whatever way I can get it 😀

noahs-ark

No (ah) Ark Required!

Art Abandonment Project – 4th drop

Art Abandonment logo

It’s been a while since I did a bit of artwork dropping.  To be perfectly honest, I was not very satisfied with the tags I had (pulled from the Art Abandonment files, printed on plain white paper, and cut to size) and this restricted my ‘will’ to package things up.

But…my workbench is overflowing with whirlys, stars, and some sizable strips of European 4 in 1 left over from one of the dragon wing design attempts.  It was time to clear some of the chaos.

I did find some new tags.  On Vista Print (it’s on online print shop, they have a lot of different stock designs for business stationary) I found a business card background I was extremely pleased with…and I could add in whatever text I wanted.  You can see the results in the drop pictures below.

Once I got these in my hot little hands…I could barely wait to package stuff up.  YEA – clearing clutter AND getting back into freely distributing a little bit o beauty into the world.

 

Life is good.

All 4 of these were abandoned on July 16, 2017, in the Downtown Waukesha area – after 7pm, as I did a bit of walkabout.

The whirly bird was abandoned by my most favorite fountain.  This is the water feature I was first drawn to when I moved to Waukesha…it had a wonderful energy as it was situated right on top of the small dam.  And, although it still has a fantastic energy…it no longer pours that energy out to me.  I’ve moved further downstream.

The 8 pointed Byzantine Star was abandoned at this point on the Fox River Walkway.  I found some old, rusty staples in this wood beam…one came out easily, was re-inserted equally easy, and allowed me to hang my little package for max visibility.

The 6 pointed Byzantine star found it’s temporary abandonment resting place smack dab in the middle of our very artsy downtown area.  This is some kind of electrical or grid-service box.  The gallery which shares the sidewalk with this has painted it with a downtown scene to jazz it up.  This is one of the biggest reasons I love the downtown area.  After I did and photographed this drop, I waited for the crosswalk light to change, then passed a pair of uniformed officers heading the opposite way.  I can only hope this star was picked up by one of ’em.  I can’t think of anything more fitting than a star for a cop 😀

And, finally, the European 4 in 1 key-chain.  I’ve been sitting on this (and a 2nd, which I haven’t converted yet) patch of chainmaille for a bit.  It was one of the failed wing attempts for the dragon project.  It consists of around 400 rings.  Up until this point, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the patches…I just knew I didn’t want to unweave ’em.  So I stitched up one end and added a short length of chain to attach to a key ring.  And…because all this walking and abandoning is hard work…I stopped at the little sweets place downtown for some sugar free chocolate gelato.

 

Hope my little twiddles brought a smile to the face of the lucky finders!

The Completion of the Dragon Project

I’ve done it.

Really done it.

No more experimentation.  No more half-realized wing patterns.  No more going to bed at night dreaming of chainmaille weaves and rings and toes.

I have a fully upright, free-standing chainmaille dragon that screams D.R.A.G.O.N.

Just look at him:

Chainmaille Dragon Front side

I’m absurdly pleased with my little creation…and although he doesn’t actually fly or growl or toast mine enemies to a golden brown, I’m claiming the title of ‘Mother of Dragons.’

Daenerys – eat your heart out.  Mine isN’T CGI.

Ok…I’ll admit to being a Game of Thrones fan.  The new season starts on SUNDAY!

Get on my Lawn!

For quite some time, now, I have a segment of my walk where I abandon the solid concrete and put feet on the ground itself.  I feel by doing so, I connect just that much better with our Earth.  Connecting with nature (even the tiny bits you find in your standard city) is something that speaks beyond words.

There is this long swatch of grass bordering the railroad tracks and the river.  Because it’s this close to the tracks, it’s considered the domain of the city (you can’t build that close to the tracks because…well…when rail accidents happen, they tend to spread their destruction), and thus, is fair game for any walkers who wish to wander.

So…I leave the pavement at the beginning of this swatch, and tromp across a narrow band of green with the river on one side, the street on the other, and the tracks once the river bends north to swing around Bethesda Park.

Right here…the little red line…is part of my walk home.

Untitled

The trees along this stretch fan out and over the grass, giving me a bit of shade.  The breeze comes up from the river, giving me a bit of relief from the (usually) hot sun.  It’s here that I offer a bit of blessing, and a bit of homage, to the Fox River.

I honor the Fox River with a bow and a few soft words of admiration when I come up to this point on my homeward journey, because water is life, for which I am grateful.

The Natural has taken it upon itself to give a little something back to me.

Raspberry bush

I have been graced with a tangle of wild raspberry bushes under the canopy of trees bordering the river.

I take one or 2 berries a day…just a bit of sweetness for my walk.  I leave the rest.  So far, the bushes haven’t been stripped by any foragers…either of the 4 legged or 2 legged kind.  I feel it’s a bit of a secret understanding between the Natural and I – and a tangible display of our mutual acceptance of each other.

 

This Old Tiny House…Mobile Edition

I’ve been watching the Tiny Homes Movement with more than just a little envy.  There’s a part of me which adores the idea of minimalist living.  Dumping all the dreck and flotsam collected during the average life, learning to live with just enough, thumbing the nose at our mass-consumption culture which demands we by more, More, MORE, MOAR!!!! on a daily basis.

It’s also tied heavily into the survivalist mentality – those who eschew living on the grid and are determined to comfortably survive -on their own terms- in the event of a zombie apocalypse or dictatorial regime.

A series of pictures from the tiny home category, coupled with the recent US Holiday celebrating our treason against the crown of Mother England,  have me wandering down the fuzzy memory pathways.

That’s so 70’s.  To me, anyway.

Here comes the fuzzy memory bit…

Back in my formative growing up years, my family was 6+ – 2 parents, 4 kids & a full-grown Samoyed dog.  Each summer, we had camping obligations, starting with a week long outing over Memorial Day, anther week long thing over the 4th, an extended weekend for the yearly family reunion, random, stealth-outs through the rest of summer, usually culminating in a final, extra-long weekend for Labor day.

Each obligation entailed packing the entire family up, relocating to a distant point on the compass in the middle of nowhere, and huddling around a burning fire while trying to keep the bugs from consuming ourselves in entirety.

And fishing…there was always a lake nearby.  I still hate seafood.

With 4 kids, 2 adults, and a big dog…that’s a lot of stuff to pack.  Fun stuff, food stuff, clothing stuff, fishing stuff, bug stuff, shelter stuff, hygiene stuff, emergency medical stuff…

Carlin…Stuff…nostalgia moment…

Now, I’m just assuming here, but back in the 70’s – you didn’t buy a full-blown mobile home on a cop’s salary, especially if said cop had to also pay for a house, 4 kids, wife & dog.  And though we did have an old VW Van for shorter hops involving the entire family, all those bodies didn’t leave a whole lotta room in the van for all the aforementioned stuff.

So enter…the old school bus.

Not sure how my Dad managed to procure an old school bus…but with a little planning, the right tools, and a LOT of sweat-equity, he managed to turn that old bus into a veritable palace that not only slept the 6 of us and the dog, but had enough cubbies and cubicles for all our stuff AND a reasonable facsimile of the perfectly good house we’d just abandoned.

An almost-full service kitchen (‘fridge, stove, oven, limited countertops, space for dishes & cooking stuff, and a sink), a table which sat the six of us, a radio, and a TOILET.

Granted, you had to ‘flush’ it with a ladle of water…but it was still a little room you went to and did…business.

Us kids slept in the way back of the bus on bunk beds.  The parents converted the dining table into their bed at night.  We even had a small closet to store any clothing that required hanging up to remain presentable.

I only wish I had pictures.