Chief Front-Yard

New coat of war paint.

If you’re nice to people sometimes they give you things. Which would explain why I’ve had to buy practically everything I own.

On my last two trips to Palm Springs I’ve been casually admiring things in Robert’s  collection. When I do he usually says “just take it.”

Like me, he loves his objets but is not that tied to them. It always surprises my friends how nonchalant I can be about letting things go that I seemed to once covet.

Also like me, Robert is a lottery winner for senior housing. His prize is an apartment overlooking the park in San Diego. Getting old is so fun and easy.

In preparation for his move he’s having a huge blowout yard sale next week to lighten his load. I helped out by taking the terracotta warrior and the circus wagon bird cage on my last visit.

Robert picked up the Aztec in the early 70s when he was in the Yucatan. Cancun barely had a landing strip at the time, the Girls Gone Wild crowd was a decade or two away. He said he never bothered to retouch the paint on the chieftain. He liked to watch it age.

But after 30 years of desert grime I gave him a bath. It resulted in washing out most of the color. So I did a makeover remaining as true to the original scheme as possible. With the addition of a little metallic.

He now stands proudly in the 9′ x 7′ Vermeer window. At four feet tall he’s the perfect fit. And the fresh coat of bling gives him street cred with the peeps out on Laguna.

A Colombian friend came by and saw the statue. He was unimpressed. He thought it was crass and said it was like flamingoes.

I didn’t understand so he clarified. “In Central America there’s one in everybody’s front-yard, like the flamingoes in Florida.”

He wasn’t talking live ones. But at least he inspired a name.

Atta Babe

When the double wide meets Avenue Foch.

With Opening Day upon us, everyone’s thoughts turn towards The Babe. For me that would be Mrs. William S. Paley.

Babe Paley was one of Truman Capote’s Swans, elegant chatelaines known for their jet set originality. In Babe’s case it was the seemingly effortless soigné she brought to her personal sense of fashion and decor.

My favorite quote of hers (which happens to be the only quote I know of hers) is that you have be able to mix the dime store stuff with the good stuff. Although her collection was more Jansen where mine is more Woolworth’s, I couldn’t agree with her more. It’s not so much what things are but how they are perceived.

Sans souci chic

I’ve always been too impressionable for my own good. And now I’ve become obsessed with Amazon. I want to buy everything, they make it so easy.

Lately its been those tacky plastic coverings that are used to make windows look frosted. Although I am savvy enough to see through the ad copy B.S., I am completely seduced by the photos. I really want to believe what I’m seeing is true.

The pictures make the windows so dazzling, they sparkle like fine case crystal. When the box arrives and is opened, however, the coverings look and smell like something out of a raunchy motel in the Smokies.

Undaunted, I was determined to use them in some manner. So I layered them on top of the Evans & Brown wall paper to cover the bedroom door.

The results were inconclusive. The side with the stylized cross pattern shows promise. It has an MCM feel to it (that would be mid-century modern to the unwashed) but shows glue spots in some of the frosted areas. Fortunately this is on the backside. And, unfortunately, very few visitors get the closed door experience these days anyway.

The front was a complete disaster, two days of effort and $9.98 wasted. I’d ordered the 35″ width but received two rolls of 17.5″. Trying to create an invisible center seam then match the dizzying 3D pattern into a straight, horizontal line was Sisyphean. Fine print must have been missed somewhere (calling the aforementioned ad savvy into question). Though one would be mistaken to think I’ve given up.

I doubt that Mrs. Paley would have used this technique in any of her homes. I do think she would have appreciated the spirit behind it.

Pussy Rout: the Cat’s Eye pattern produced Cat’s Liter results.