Imagine having baskets like these all through the house! Eritrean artist Rigat Tesfasion made these of colored yarns, since the traditional materials are scarce because of the Eritrean/Ethopian war. These were displayed on the NY Folklore website, "Voices," last year.
The box I found today at tianguis started me pondering my favorite things, and why they call to me so consistently.
• Boxes. Sometimes I'm more attracted by the box than in the contents. Everything from Altoids boxes to clear plastic boxes, to big containers that hold my out-of-season clothes and slide under the bed. Could be that I'm just a secretive sort of person who wants to stash everything away. But I also enjoy opening boxes that were filled a long time ago and discovering things I thought I'd lost or forgot I had. My new box has a little window for a label, but it would be a shame to spoil the surprise by identifying the contents. An obvious sign of a disordered mind.
• Baskets. The Capt calls me a basket case. The fact is, he's a scatterer and I'm a hunter/gatherer. I follow him about and try to organize the stuff he has spread hither and yon into baskets which I then stack and store. When he says "Where's my..." I smugly say, "Look in the white basket in the bodega, top shelf." I have made drawers for my clothes out of baskets that handily fit the shelves in my closet, since we had to leave our dressers behind in California. I keep my canned goods in baskets since my lower cabinets are deep, dark and easy to lose things in. They're all plastic baskets, not so aesthetically pleasing as natural straw, but less likely to be chewed on by mice. They slide out easily and they're ventilated to fend off the musty moldies.
• Bags. He could just as easily refer to me as a bag lady, with my collection of tote bags, travel bags and stash bags. I'm always finding uses for them, such as keeping my digital camera and video camera with their essential cables in a pair of zippered toiletry bags. Another one holds my iPod, charger and portable sound system. The most crucial bag I need to get together is a ditch bag for the boat, with all the things we'd need if we had to abandon ship, a task I find baffling. If they're items we need, then we're most likely already using them and they're all over the boat. So if we're to have everything in one ditch bag, does this mean I must duplicate everything? And where will I find a bag big enough for all that? When I was little I used to think Santa carried the toys for all the world's kids in his sack and therefore it must be a magic bottomless bag. That's the kind I need.
At the moment I'm listening to one of my favorite Christmas songs, the Bobs' "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag." Much funnier than "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer."
• Cast iron cookware. What is it about the heft and feel of a well-seasoned cast iron pan? So much better than Teflon, and handy for keeping errant husbands in line. My friend Sue recently sent me a photo of cast iron pans she had re-seasoned with Pam and steel wool. They had been rusting in her storage room until a customer tipped her to this method, and now she's industriously rehabilitating the whole collection. Good on you, Sue!