Exceptional Taste

Today’s post is written by Occasional Caroline.

I’m not the least bit exceptional, except, possibly for being exceptionally ordinary. I’m overweight, but so are 26.1% of Minnesota adults; nothing unique about that. I’m short; common trait. I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 48 years; I guess that stat is fairly unique, but at this stage, it’s pretty mundane from the inside looking out. I have children and grandchildren who are the lights of my life, but to you, they would seem pleasant, though not exceptional. I can’t sing or play any instruments. I have no artistic talent. I am a world-class “appreciator of the talents of others,” a worthy, but not particularly notable trait. My only somewhat out-of-the-ordinary characteristic is that I have rather eclectic taste in “stuff.” Many people (including my beloved children) find my taste and predilections “interesting,” but they certainly don’t covet any of my stuff or aspire to acquire similar stuff of their own. I am extraordinarily fond of some of my possessions, in particular one that is no longer with me  —  the late, great upside-down Christmas tree, that I lamented in a reply to tim’s “what is your signature” post two weeks ago. Here are a few of my favorite things.

Do you have a quirkiest object?


40 thoughts on “Exceptional Taste”

  1. I might…
    Framed in antique gold is a beauty….the face of a unknown woman. However she was eventually given a title…my husband’s first wife.

    She was on an old pillow from a grandparents cabin…actually found in a shed. My Dad was going to sneak it into a siblings car as a joke for them to discover when they arrived home. However….I wanted it…it was too good to be a joke. I cut the lady off the pillow and put her in a gorgeous old frame found hanging In a grandparents garage.

    We had a grand party on our 11th Anniversary on the 11th=date of wedding…’tho we told no one about that. A collègue of husband and true character was visiting with my friend and fellow teacher. She asked about the woman in the frame. He told her it was my husband’s first wife. My gullible friend believed him. She was a bit dingy but we probably had lights low….’tho who would ever have a framed painting of a former spouse in a living room!?!

    Well…my husband’s first wife has graced living rooms in six of our homes as we made company moves. She now hangs in the bedroom at the cabin….not enough wall space in the living area = too many windows to the lake.

    She is still a beauty…

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I LOVE the upside down Christmas tree OC. In the words of my late, great aunts, “Lord, ain’t that different.”

    I have several Appalachian brooms in my house, obtained long ago while vacationing in the Smokey Mountains. They look like Harry Potter brooms gone rogue. The handles are made of some kind of branch, twisty and polished (willow, maybe), with uneven straw tied to them. The stores in the Smokeys had vast supplies of these brooms, which are considered to be a form of folk art.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. my honda has 286k on it and has only had oil changes and brakes until the front wheel fell off on an exit ramp a while back. the key stopped working in the door kick a year or two ago so now it goes unlocked
    the drivers doir only opens from the outside so you have to roll down the window to get in (makes it interesting on the rare occasions when i get in and shut the door with the keys left in the house because the electric window won’t roll down) the transmission needs to have a little help getting out of park ( there is a slot next to the shifter that requires a screwdriver be stuck in it while shifting out of p) the gas lever quit working one day and i couldn’t figure out how to open it so i took it to honda and they snipped the cable that keeps the gas flap locked so now it flops openly and many a person has commented to me about it . i say thanks and it irks them i don’t go close it. when they go over and try to help they discover why it’s that way. its interesting watching the cogs turn. the heater doesn’t work on the drivers side so i need to block the drivers side vent to prevent cold air from blowing on my side while heat comes out elsewhere i do this with a combination of. plugs and pins ( dish towel and bic pens in drivers dash vent)
    i have to keep an eye on the oil because it burns a quart every 3000 miles and if you don’t catch it it burns 2 or 3 more quick. if you put it in its fine until the oil change at 5.
    i switched to an old volvo wagon with only 225k on it because it has heat and a radio (honda gets 2 stations on fm) but the volvo yequired work immediately and doesn’t run nearly as well as the honda
    looking forward to motorcycle in july this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My quirkiest possession would be the portrait of my first English setter. In that painting Spook is smiling as he points some flying quail. The image is painted on the shoulder bone of a cow. Spook (so-named because I got him on Halloween) had the manners of a count and the ethics of a saint.

    In the fall of 1968 I hunted with him in extreme southern Iowa, just barely north of the Missouri border. The man whose land we hunted was a vivid character. Don used to be a bronco rider in rodeos. Since that is an erratic way to make money, Don was also an outlaw who worked several illegal scams to pick up enough cash to pay rodeo entry fees. He’s the only friend of mine (I’m pretty sure) who has served time in prison for cattle rustling.

    Don was so impressed by Spook’s manners that he painted the picture of Spook on a cow clavicle and made a surprise gift of it to me the second time we got together. Although I left behind a great many sentimental items when I moved to Oregon, the portrait of Spook made the trip.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I will have to say I envy you that bench (or whatever you call it) up top, Caroline.

    I was given a toucan shaped veggie peeler, orange and yellow, with he peeler part like the long beak:

    This may be the quirkiest possession that made it to Winona, but I’ll have a look around and get back later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OC, you described me as well as yourself, except for the collection part. I would have liked to collected bits and bobs of oddities, but when I am ready to buy, my mother takes over, in my head.
    I do have on my desky type thing, a railroad oil can, 24 inches all, which sits on a home made kerosene lamp. The lamp is a soldered box 2 ” high by 6″ by 8″ with the wick piece on one end and a handle on the other. We had a similar one before we got electricity. It is for use in a barn. Metal, not glass except for the chimney and very stable. Odd that I found one.
    Well, a truth is that my wife wants to collect things that fit into her design scheme. My unpurchased items would not fit her scheme. My oil can and lamp are unobvious. The desk type thing was her purchase for her scheme, an antique woodworking table, sort of a cross between her choices and mine.
    My current oddity is my grad daughter in FFA, a throw back to both sides of fear ancestry, but not a farm child, but working hard to earn her jacket.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I come from a family that appreciates the odd bits and quirky baubles. My mother has on her front porch the old wagon seat – mounted onto a wood frame by my grandfather in such a way that the metal strap springs still bounce – out on her front porch. I have my grandfather’s collection of wood planes – he was not a woodworker (though he did do some), he just liked old planes. My aunt has a variety of fabulous baubles and bits – and she has been the source of some of the interesting stuff that has landed at my house. One in particular is simply “The Ugly Vase.” It’s a glass vase that appears to be hand blown – it’s bulbous in odd places, is clear with an odd shade of brown/orange swirled through…it’s not beautiful. It’s mouth is too small to actually use as a vase, and I can’t imagine what single-stemmed thing I might put into it that would look right with it. She found it at a vintage/antique shop owned by a woman she knows and decided someone needed it. She wasn’t sure who. As often happens, that someone turned out to be me as she knew I would have an appreciation for its quirkiness. The shop owner had dubbed it The Ugly Vase and was delighted it was finding a home. So it sits in a corner of my living room. Sometimes looking a little forlorn. Sometimes content in its weirdness. And sometimes people actually see it and say, “what is that?” That, my friend, is The Ugly Vase. Admire its oddity.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We had a hand-blown eyesore like that. It was a decanter in the shape of a clown that we found at an estate sale. It is heavy, very incompetently fashioned, lists slightly and is breathtakingly ugly. We snatched it up and it has become the circulating white elephant/booby prize at family Christmases.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. When my erstwife (your former co-worker) and I came back from our first UK trip, we carefully carried a hand-blown glass decanter. We meant to give it to friends who were getting married. Then we discovered this thing couldn’t pour liquids without causing a lot of spilling. We kept the thing in spite of that, not knowing what to do with a decanter that couldn’t do the one thing it was designed to do. It was sort of pretty but utterly useless. Like some people.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. I love hand planes. I’ve got a few… wish I used them more and could keep them sharp enough TOO use more.
      I’ve got a wood one at the college shop that I do use a fair amount…


    1. Some wedding presents you just have to wonder about. The oddest one husband and I received was an old tarnished brass floor lamp. It didn’t have a cord or a shade, and may have been the ugliest lamp I’ve ever seen. Of course it wasn’t wrapped. The giver was a former boyfriend of mine. Wonder if there was a message there?

      A friend received as a wedding gift from an aunt of her new husband a used pizza warmer! It was an item so obviously used and one she had most likely picked up at a yard sale.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Isn’t quirky in the eye of the beholder? It seems to me that it’s up to others to decide that your stuff is quirky. Part of the charm of quirkiness, I think, is that it’s not self aware. If you think it’s quirky, it probably isn’t, really. In a community of artists, items that might pass for quirk in a more conventional milieu are commonplace. Is quirky art quirky or is it within the realm of normal for art?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. We got a wedding gift from a woman I was very fond of, although I didn’t know her well. She had no money to spare, but she went to the one store in her area that carried stuff she could afford (a Ben Franklin). The gift was a singularly ugly vegetable platter. Had it been useful, I would probably have forgotten who gave it to us. Its ugliness made me treasure it, and we kept it for decades.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I have a few fun things. My best girlfriend has twins; when they were born one of the gifts was a pair of wooden pig banks full of odd angles and many coats of shellac. She was complaining about them a bit and when she showed me, my eyes must have sparkled or my lips must have twitched because she said “do you LIKE them?” As a collector of pig banks, I always love the ones that are different and off the beaten path. I went home with one of them. The picture below is very similar but my pig is a little more rustic and not quite as “finished”:

    Liked by 4 people

  10. The stuff at my house is pretty ordinary. Plain and functional. I’ll have to make it a point to acquire something like the alligator bench so that I’ll have a conversation piece.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am not saying this is you, Linda, but I worked with a woman who was the least quirky person I’ve known. She was terribly serious, especially about anything the least bit “off color.” In her mid-30s she could blush visibly at racy jokes. But her cubicle was amazingly quirky. She had rubber chickens pinned to the cubicle walls. She had Einstein bobbleheads and nun action figures on her desk. She had pink flamingos. Her desk was like a demonstration place for the Archie McPhee catalog. I couldn’t figure it out. Ultimately it seemed that all that quirky stuff had come as gifts from her coworkers, and the gifts were ironic. What do you give the most serious person you’ve ever met? A rubber chicken, of course, or maybe a Groucho Marx glasses with a fake nose and bushy eyebrows.


  11. Morning all. If I haven’t said so before, I’m going to continue Dale’s tradition of leaving one post up for Saturday and Sunday – since we all seem to be out and about more on the weekends.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And I think it’s fine to skip a day here and there during the week, too. Sometimes by the time I figure out an answer to the Question, it’s the next day and another blog post is up. Sometimes I’m a slow thinker. (Not that the conversation withers and dies without my input…) Of course it’s up to you, VS and Renee, as the administrators, but depending on how many blog posts are pending, it would be fine, IMO, to spread them out a bit rather than have one every day for a week and then just one a week when you run out of posts. But I’m not trying to dictate what you should do – I’m sure however you do it will be Just Fine and probably a whole lot better than if I was in charge.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. John got Al for me for Valentine’s Day one year when we had been looking for a bench for the bedroom. He found it at Muska Lighting on Grand Ave. Not your first thought when looking for a bench. I’ve never seen another one like it.

      Liked by 2 people

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