Behold my tarnished teapot, and then scroll down for the rest of the story.


Those of you who follow my Facebook know that I woke up grumpy on Tuesday, but decided I would have an amazing day, and then was practically given this tea set:


I asked the guy if the 6.99 cup and the 6.99 saucer meant the 2 pieces together were 6.99 and he said yes. I told him I wanted one and he walked over to the “precious” cabinet to get it for me. He looked at the shelf and he looked at me. And he said, “This is a whole set. I can’t break it. It’s 49.99.” “For all of it?” I squeaked. “Yes.” “I’ll take it.” And then I might have jumped up and down a few times. It’s Johnson Brothers Strawberry Fair, and the server alone was marked 49.99. The charger 24.99, and each little piece 6.99. All told, that’s about 250 bucks worth of Salvation Army-priced merchandise. I’ll let you go to eBay like I did to determine the real market value. P.S. No, I am not going to pay 400+ dollars for the matching tea pot.

Oh, and I had looked at this set when I went with all the kids last Thursday, but did a rapid calculation and didn’t even ask about it. Clearly, this set was meant to be mine. Amazing, no?

Then, we went on the Goodwill as planned. We found a lovely china teapot and checked out. As I was paying, I looked across the store and saw some breakable things on a set of shelves hidden behind a rack of clothes. I told Jasmine to finish up and walked over to look. One of the things on that shelf was the set you see to the left in the picture above. No maker’s mark, just Made in Japan, but it’s fine enough that if you look through the cup from the inside, you can see the painting on the outside. Twelve cups, twelve saucers, marked 12 bucks for the lot.

So then, I have been thinking that I need a pot that vaguely matches these two tea sets. But then, I was thinking “but I haven’t paid full price for anything so far, why start now?” And then I decided to get off the internet and clean the living room. And as I was clearing the candy wrappers off the end table where Mother’s Silver Tea Service was sitting, I said, “Oh.” And then I took it into the kitchen to wash it up. This set belonged to my once-Mother-in-Law. When she and Dad downsized to an apartment, I was asked if there was anything I wanted from her house. I asked for a ceramic kewpie doll, and this tea service. I’ve had it for….many years. More than 15, maybe as long as 20.

And you know, I know it has a patina. It had one when it was given to me, and it is beautiful to me just like it is. I could polish it up and it would be shiny. But that verdigris has character. That oxidation has taken this teapot from something I have to take care of to something I can use to bring me, my children, and my guests joy. And it is worthy to be used with my best tea things.

Now, I need a china cabinet. They had those at Goodwill, too, and really cheap, but I currently lack the man-power to get one up the stairs. Currently.

24. One of Fifteen

I told you people I was going to scrapbook.  Fifteen pages today.


343/362/2015 Ghosts of Christmases Past


220/364/2015 With Fond Memories


204/364/2015 Past Time

that I got around to gluing some of this stuff down and writing about it! Filled nine pages today…. from 2014.


172/364/2015 Thinking Feet


So, I’ve been at this walking challenge for 12 days. Usually, I just walk. Sometimes I combine errands with the walk. And then, apparently, there are days like today when I spend my steps thinking. Solidifying concepts within myself.

Yesterday, I did some sharing with a companion. I won’t share again the story I told, primarily to protect the guilty, but after the tale was told I ended with “and this is why I won’t get married again until I don’t have kids at home.” I mean, I can look back now and trace the reasons for why people acted the way they did, and I can be objective and say things like “they did the best they could with the things they carried.” And I can and do believe that. But. There is something about seeing horror on a person’s face and pity in their eyes that will make me realize, yet again, that sometimes a person’s best still fucking sucks. Really hard. These stories I keep in my heart, they may be my normal, but they are not normal at all. For most people.

So today as I walked, that was what I was thinking about. And then my mind went on to considering one of my dearest friends. One who has let me down fairly frequently and whom I still call on, even though the success rate is 50/50 there. And that’s not a good track record. But. There are decades of longevity in that relationship. And I know the hidden stories in that heart. So I know that this person is a hero twice a day, minimum. Every morning that didn’t result in overnight suicide and every night that didn’t result in a cash-in that day is a success.

And the up-shot of all that, at around five thousand steps was this: There are times when just living to tell the tale counts as success. I am successful.

You know, I went into psychology to confront my own head. When I realized I was scoring great on the exams, but not really making headway with my own issues, I switched to social work. Man, have I done some serious demon confrontation in the past few years. Which is not to say I’m done. In fact, I woke up Saturday morning gasping for breath and on the verge of tears from a dream I had. My family, alive and dead, was talking about my dad. He wasn’t there. Because: dead. The conversation was pointed at my mother. And there was no resolution there. Which I guess is accurate, because there is never going to be any resolution there. It is a thing that just is. And while last year I was able to be loving and generous toward the fathers in my life on Father’s Day, that couldn’t happen for me this year. And that’s okay. That’s okay, because I am still successful: I’ve lived to tell the tale tales.

141/364/2015 Mandala

Four of us drew this without any words on Monday.