Saturday, January 21, 2006

Xta’s Scrap Book

Before I got pregnant, I frequented smoky bars, punk rock clubs, speakeasies, blue-black alleyways. I was hung over nine out of twelve weekends. Today, my daughter turns 11 months old, and I admit that sleep trumps drunk.

Becoming a mother necessitates a dramatic shift in behavior. For example, recently I’ve been ducking into stores with names like “Scrapbooking with Grammy,” looking for a 6x6, linen-covered, elegant number produced by a company called 4 TIMES. Someone gave me this scrapbook as a shower gift, and although I didn’t know what to do with it then, I am a different person now. A scrapbooking addiction has replaced the party girl in me. And like any addict, I will go to great lengths to feed my need.

In order to document the wonder that is my daughter Clara as well as the ineffable love I feel for her, I found myself maneuvering a bright blue shopping cart through the aisles of Hobby Lobby last week. The 4 TIMES scrapbook proved particularly elusive. Not only did I fail to locate this particular brand, but also the whole scrapbooking aisle looked like desolation row. I wondered: Is scrapbooking becoming obsolete? Are craftfolk in high places phasing out this past time just as I am getting into it?

On to Michael’s: another strip-mall acre of dust-collecting crap for sale. I rolled my shopping cart past teetering displays of ceramic deer heads, picture frames, scented candles, Styrofoam orbs, widgets and whopdoodles. I kept asking myself, “Who buys this shit?” If the amount of ceramic deer heads for sale is any indication, people not only buy this shit but they buy of loads of it.

In short: I did not find the 4 TIMES scrapbook at Michael’s either, but I found another brand that would do. As I waited in the checkout line with my books, glue dots, and pack of 300 multi-colored, pre-cut 6x6 papers, the customer in line before me ran to the front of the store, grabbed something, and ran back to the register. She held up a 4 foot Santa Claus fashioned from wooden pickets. “Do you think someone would like this?” she asked me.

“Hmmmm,” I said, “depends on the someone.” I wanted to say “Lady, who in their right mind would like that?” But I knew better.

When I told a friend of mine about the current dearth of scrapbooks in stores, she reminded me that Christmas was coming; apparently, scrapbooks are popular gift items. “Easy does it, honey,” my friend warned. ‘Some people go overboard with this scrapbooking. I know one woman who turned a room in her house into scrapbooking central.”

Already I’m fantasizing how someday I’ll have whole room, a scrapbooking den, if you will. I’ll be a scrapbooking denizen. I imagine I’ll paint the walls of my room a cool, dusty blue….


Ann_Bogle said...

Christa, you're just one more person who would like my sister more than you like me. My sister, Beth Ellen, paints walls in Italian paint and knows where to get scrapbooks and craft supplies just as lovely as the ones you're hoping to find in Houston. Next to Stenna, Tony Sanders wants to marry me, my sister, and my mother, but especially my mother, or, if not my mother, then my sister because she helped Tim, who had cancer. The place you're looking for in Minneapolis is called Lunalux. It is the store Tim Gartman owned before he died 3 years ago. They have world's most gorgeous stationery, guaranteed.

Congratulations on being a new mother!

Deirdre Helmen, my redhaired German-background, politically progressive friend, shares a birthday with Clara, February 28. Dede and I saw Julia together; she wanted to be Julia; I wanted to be Lillian. Then we switched. I want to name a Calico after her after the loss of Lucy in '01 and Francis last year. We picked up a Russian Blue mix yesterday named Walter.

My former neighbor, Ruby, turned 93 on Nov. 18. She is living in a retirement home in Houston. She would welcome a visit from you and Clara, I'm sure: 303 Lantern Bend, #227, 77090.

Ann_Bogle said...

C., that's all the news I have accumulated for you in six years. You may wish to depost my msg. as it is long. Terrific blog, truly. It goes to show that writers hold their life experiences in reserve for future use in their writings.

Ann_Bogle said...

One more thing: I thought I saw you and Clara on the cover of the May 9, 2005 New Yorker. Lucy made the cover on Oct. 4, 1999, riding Leo Kottke's lap (with an unnamed single mother, I think) on a swing that carried them past bookshelves night skyward, ceilingward in a triple embrace. Yeah, Lucy!