Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sickly sweet

Following the rains, the flowers that have not been there all summer long have begun appearing in profusion on the hyacinth beans. The produce an over-powering scent. Four o'clocks are doing the same thing, including the white one that doesn't bloom every year, but their aura of cheap soap is much more bearable. Not that I'm complaining about dolichos lablab. The hummingbirds, as always, prefer the Turk's caps, now also bursting forth as they have not done during all these harsh months.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Modern material culture: Pendleton '49er

Maybe this entry should be entitled "traditional material culture." Someone put me on a Pendleton mailing list and that's how I recently discovered what these Pendleton jackets are called. A few designs have been reissued. Here's a recent press release that calls them "iconic." I call them practical. I owned two hand-me-downs and wore them completely out. They were as old as the style itself. I think that Ralph Lauren copied this design some time ago but either the sales weren't good or perhaps Pendleton just shut the copies down. I wonder. These are just as classic as Johnson greenies or Sweet-Orr work clothes. At least the greenies survive, and they still require the very sturdiest of suspenders to sustain their weight, now sold on line by the Johnson Mill. The mill also sells its remnants in this way, by the pound, for braided rugs that last forever. I hope that Pendleton keeps some of its great classics in production.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Summer's over; winter drawers on"

That's an old pun, best heard from a person with a strong New England accent. Summer is truly over, no matter what the official calendar says. It may say that fall is here, but that's not necessarily so. It is true, though, that we are enjoying the last of our oxblood lilies. We have seen anemone leaves coming up through the grass. It didn't require much wind to do some serious damage to a mature redbud tree. Loppers cleared a passage along the sidewalk and the walk from the street to the front porch, but, for safety reasons, we called in the fine people at Just Trees, known to us from the time that they felled a leaning pecan tree that posed a serious danger to several buildings and was very close to utility lines. And all of a sudden the last of our working locks started being balky about releasing keys and nobody wants to go off and leave a key in a lock. The Sharp's Locksmith expert told us that the heat and various types of shifting caused by this summer's dryness have caused a lot of trouble for people. We're so lucky to have a neighborhood locksmith who understands the peculiarities of older establishments.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Search terms that brought people to this blog recently have included coyote fence, Breton chocolate pound cake, Bruce's fried pies, she's been walked on and stepped on, ABCD goldfish, mean old water fool, bubble in his throat, I hate Bosco, Altoid shrines, Pershing punitive expedition, yellow butterflies + tomb of the unknown, Aunt Charlotte's Bible Stories, and Roger Cudney.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

September 1981 books read

Anthony Trollope: The Claverings
George Eliot: Daniel Deronda
Ann Beattie: Falling in Place
Paul Hirshorn and Steven Izenour: White Towers
Ford Madox Ford: The Fifth Queen
Dorothy Hartley: Lost Country Life
Antonia White: Frost in May
Antonia White: The Lost Traveller
Antonia White: The Sugar House
Antonia White: Beyond the Glass
Marge Piercy: Vida
Jim Tom Barton: Eighter from Decatur: Growing up in North Texas
Carol Bly: Letters from the Country

One copy of The Fifth Queen remains in the Austin Public Library system. Trollope and Eliot were re-reads. Antonia White had recently been reprinted in those Virago editions.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 1980 books read

Willa Cather: One of Ours
Charlotte M. Yonge: Heartsease
P. G. Woodehouse: Leave It to Psmith
Henry James: The Spoils of Poynton

Monday, September 07, 2009

September 1979 books read

Geoffrey Wolff: The Duke of Deception
E. Nesbit: The Enchanted Castle
Dilys Winn: Murder Ink
Billy Lee Brammer: The Gay Place
Charles Dikens: Dombey and Son
Roger Sale: Fairy Tales and After

Sunday, September 06, 2009

September 1978 books read

Tony Hillerman: Listening Woman
Noel Perrin: First Person Rural
Ilse Koehn: Mischling Second Degree
Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Diary
Charles Dickens: Little Dorrit
Honore de Balzac: Lost Illusions
Honore de Balzac: A Harlot High and Low

Saturday, September 05, 2009

September 1977 books read

Margaret Drabble: Jerusalem the Golden
Margaret Drabble: The Needle's Eye
Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
Thomas Hardy: A Laodicean
Thomas Hardy: The Trumpet-Major
Thomas Hardy: The Well-Beloved
Asa Briggs: Victorian People
Sarah Orne Jewett: The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories
Lillian Breslow Rubin: Worlds of Pain: Life in the Working-Class Family
Elizabeth Gaskell: Cranford
Elizabeth Gaskell: Cousin Phillis
Austin Chapter, AIA: Austin and its Architecture
Evelyn Waugh: A Little Learning
Frances Ann Kemble: Records of a Girlhood
Harold Nicolson: Some People

The Jane Austen was a re-read. Everything down to Rubin and, past that, including Mrs. Gaskell, was bought in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Austin AIA book probably came from Congress Avenue Books when the store was in the Stephen F. Austin Hotel building; it could have come from Garner & Smith or Grok, but I do believe it was Congress. Waugh, Fanny Kemble, and Harold Nicolson were all from the Austin Public Library, and I bet they've been de-accessioned. Rubin was sold to Half Price Books. I have a feeling that the place where the study was conducted was known to me at the time, but I can't now remember.

Friday, September 04, 2009

September 1976 books read

Madama D'Arblay, Diary and Letters of, volume v (7/1791-4/1802)
John Galt: The Ayrshire Legatees
Katherine Mansfield: In a German Pension
Madame D'Arblay, Diary and Letters of, volume vi (4/1802-7/1840 d. age 88)
Curtis Cate: George Sand
Joseph C. Goulden: The Benchwarmers: The Private World of the Powerful Federal Judges

Thursday, September 03, 2009

September 1975 books read

This is a continuing transcription of an old record recently found.

Virginia Woolf: The Years
Virginia Woolf: The Voyage Out
Virginia Woolf: Night and Day
Samuel Richardson: Pamela
S. N. Behrman: Duveen

The last two are re-reads.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September 1974 books read

Charles Dickens: Little Dorrit
Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh
Edmund Goss: Father and Son
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of Seven Gables
H. G. Wells: Tono-Bungay
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Marble Faun
William Dean Howells: The Rise of Silas Lapham

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September 1973 books read

Olaf Stapledon: Sirius
Joseph A. Addison & Richard S. Steele: The Spectator (3/1/1711-10/22/1711)
Olaf Stapledon: Odd John
Honore de Balzac: Short Stories (Gobseck, At the Sign of the Cat and Racket, Maitre Cornelius, Colonel Chabert, The Vicar of Tours, Juana, A Commission in Lunacy, The Secrets of the Princess Cadignan, Paz)
Henry James: Roderick Hudson
William Makepeace Thackeray: Vanity Fair
Henry James: What Maisie Knew

The Stapledons were from Dover when it was still on Varick Street; Balzac and Roderick Hudson were Penguin editions. Roderick Hudson was a re-read, and so was the Thackeray. I loved Vanity Fair right from the very first time that I read it, before I was in high school. The James is the Doubleday Anchor paperback edition with the Gorey cover and was also a re-read. The Spectator is a three-volume cloth edition from around the turn of the twentieth century, bought for a dollar at a used-book sale.