our modern lifestyle

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here on this somewhat snowy day to while away the while by describing Our Modern Lifestyle, which I hope you may find at least moderately entertaining. You may remember me from such highly (not moderately) entertaining posts as “The Sun Was Out”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.

This is my bed, if you didn’t know. I share it with the guy I live with. He says that sometimes I’m a bed hog, which I think is slightly rude. But I do like a bit of room.

The upstairs bedroom is pretty small, and, I think, extremely cozy. A mattress and foundation were put up there a long time ago, and eventually the guy I live with started sleeping up there with Flurry, the first purebred border collie who lived here, while his wife slept downstairs with Pooka, the second purebred border collie who lived here. When he got old and irritable, Flurry would get upset by firecrackers or thunder and attack Pooka, sometimes in the middle of the night. So this arrangement was made, and everybody slept much better.

Sometimes, during the day, Flurry would get so terribly frightened and agitated by thunder he would have to spend time in the bathtub, where he felt safe. If things got really bad he would try to scratch his way through the bathroom door, or even turn the handle with his teeth.

Flurry was kind of a nut. The guy I live with said he should be taken to a Border Psycolliegist, but that never happened. And the bathroom stuff has been left as it is, because the guy I live with said this was a house full of ghosts. Friendly ones, I’m happy to say.

In fact, there are several things containing ashes in the upstairs bedroom, which the guy I live with thinks it’s inappropriate to show, but they impart an even cozier feeling up there. Maybe it’s hard to explain.

There are certainly a lot of books in the bookshelf that the guy I live with’s wife built. You can see the shelf, behind me, in the first picture.

This is what he sees when he wakes up in the morning. A print of a painting by Rosa Bonheur, an ancient mah jongg set, a sort of gamelan, and a display of rubber stamps the guy I live with’s wife made from an old typesetting box. 

Most of the books were hers. He says H. Allen Smith was a really funny writer. 

There’s a peculiar chair by the window.

Next to an ancient dresser, which is mostly full of greeting cards. The mirror is a zillion years old, I think.And a thing, I guess you would call it, on the wall, with dried flowers. When the guy I live with took this picture, he burst into tears. He can be like that.

This is the view out of the bedroom window. The window frames are this gross aluminum stuff, but there has never seemed to be any need to replace them.There’s a book on the nightstand, on the lower shelf, which the guy I live with sometimes reads from.

At the entrance to this bedroom, there’s this odd thing hanging on the wall.

On the other wall, kitty corner from it, is an old hand-colored print of a goatsucker. A page from an old book. The guy I live with bought that after his wife died, and had it framed. That was one way he made it through the first few years without her. Painting the house, and buying engravings, having them framed, and hanging them on the walls. Things like this are surprisingly inexpensive. (I think this was sixty dollars. Cheaper than some snowdrops.)

He likes the self-satisfied expression of the goatsucker.

Mozart had been dead for less than a year when this was engraved.

Next door is what was built as the master bedroom but has never been that. Where the snowdrops and cyclamen, and other plants, live.

There’s an engraving of William Blake on the wall, done when he was still alive. The guy I live with said, though, that this was like a “second state”, and not the original first issue. But still, he likes it.

The view from the window in this room.

There are some framed pages from a cactus book by Karl Schumann made in 1900 on the stairs. 


Farther down the stairs are watercolors his grandfather did. He got these from his mom’s house after she died, and likes the paintings there, instead of bare walls. I think this is a fire station, maybe in Newport, Rhode Island, which is where he was from.The house on Prairie Avenue in Newport, which was built by the guy I live with’s great uncle Jim, who was a master carpenter. The guy I live with’s mom said the house was built entirely out of oak. It’s still there. On the other wall, pages from old botanical books.

I know most of the downstairs, especially the studio, has been shown before, but I think not this funny little frog mirror. The guy I live with’s wife got it from her mom.Back upstairs, the rest of the books by Graham Stuart Thomas, and some by Christopher Lloyd, on the partition between the living room and kitchen.

The view from the kitchen window, today.When they moved into the house, the partition was made of this “hideous orange plastic textured thing”, which the guy I live with’s wife removed almost the first week, and made these shelves. That’s her picture there.The Buddha, or Hotei, is real ivory, from the old days. The guy I live with’s mom accidentally broke a couple of the fingers. “Condition issues”, like they would say on The Roadshow. I know the grasshopper has been shown before, but I think it can’t hurt to show it again.

Well, that’s it. I hoped you enjoyed some different pictures showing our modern lifestyle, and especially, maybe, what my life is like in the house, here, on a snowy day with nothing else to do. 

Until next time, then.


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31 Responses to our modern lifestyle

  1. Linda says:

    Love your bookcases loaded with books.

  2. Nell says:

    It’s clear that Lambchops are an essential component of your modern lifestyle, as well, though you didn’t mention them.

    Love the shelf of GST & Christopher Lloyd! I have just the Shrubs, Perennials, and Roses references that I read and re-read back when I was starting out here — and Cuttings from My Notebook via a library sale in the last year or two. Will keep a sharp eye out for some of the others.

    Also love the picture of the goatsucker, whose expression strongly reminds me of your predecessor Chess the pure-blooded border collie having a laugh about some disgraceful weeds. (In the blog archives.)
    If there are any disgraceful weeds out there today, no one would know. Small comfort considering that blooming snowdrops are also blanketed, I realize. Thanks for the tour of your cozy surroundings!

    • paridevita says:

      Lamb Chops are very important in my modern lifestyle. The guy I live with has read GST’s Three Gardens dozens of times. And Trees in the Landscape is a very wonderful book. Not about gardening, really. I hear that Chess was quite a character.

      • Nell says:

        Thank the guy you live with for those recommendations — with so many of GST’s books still unread, I was wondering where to begin.

      • paridevita says:

        You’re welcome; the guy I live with says the rose books are great. Colour in the Winter Garden is a favorite. Or was, when we had reasonable winters. Lows of ten or fifteen below (F) then two weeks of 65-70F in January with nights above freezing, were much more acceptable to him than the same expletive weather day after day after day. (There has been one night above freezing in almost three months.) Oh, anyway, look for Thoughts from a Garden Seat. Ridiculously cheap online.

  3. Deborah says:

    So many wonderful things to see here. I am quite captivated by the peculiar chair. And I am wondering about the potential bad luck that might be associated with breaking Buddha’s fingers (sounds like a good book title). The dog I live with (Stella) tends to eat the stuffing from toys, so now she has unstuffed toys — a flamingo and some sort of furry thing. Like you, Stella likes the snow. She eats it. One thing I like about snow is I can see that the friendly neighborhood fox visits us almost daily (or nightly).

    • paridevita says:

      I have an mostly-unstuffed Lamb Chop and a regular one. It’s fun to remove the stuffing. The snow was okay today but it was also, very unusually for here, a bit windy. Naturally the guy I live with had something to say about almost the one time it was windy, and it had to be cold, too.

  4. I also love that chair. And I think the odd thing hanging on the wall is a wall vase, but I have to agree: very odd. Perhaps it is alluding to some work of literature or mythology?

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, it’s a vase for holding flowers, but an odd one. The guy I live with says that probably his wife’s mom found it somewhere. It looks Russian to him. He broke off one of the wings, accidentally. The chair may have been made by his wife’s grandfather. The guy I live with, who is obviously not very coordinated, broke off a piece of that, too. So no Roadshow. There’s always some glue handy, in the garage, just in case.

  5. Peter Herpst says:

    Dear Mani, Thank you so much for the tour. You live in a house full of wonderful memories and objects. Such a pleasure to tour your place.

    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome. I do like my house quite a bit. I also guard it fiercely, as the mail carrier observed just the other day. Slipper and Chess were also very fierce when someone came to the door.

  6. Barb K says:

    This was all so fascinating I hardly know where to begin. You have the kind of house where a person could roam for hours, examining books and little other things here and there. I see there are some great children’s books which are a wonderful escape for any right-thinking adult and could be easily read to a dog. I recommend “Miss Jaster’s Garden” if purchases of the type are still being made. I have ashes here too and have melted some with glass. I am just finishing a mosaic of the garden in honor of the departed. Do you ever grin like a jolly bird, Mani? I can’t recall seeing your grin. May we have a grin picture someday?

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I guess I might have to practice some grinning. We purebred border collies are often very serious. The guy I live with was surprised that in the picture looking into the kitchen you can see the laptop (where the blog comes from). Kind of strange. The picture of his wife is one she took herself. Anyway, the guy I live with bought “Boot and Shoe”, which is a nice story about two dogs, a couple of years ago, or maybe last year, but almost everything else you can see, like in the first picture and the others, were books bought by his wife. Oh, we might like “Miss Jaster’s Garden”, thanks. I’ll have him look for it. Ashes. There are Slipper’s and Chess’s, which I find very comforting indeed. The guy I live with is not sure where Flurry’s and Chess’s are. Downstairs somewhere. I’m not sure that I need to say that there is also an urn, which the guy I live with ordered from Sonoma Urns, very nice. I could talk about that, too, some day.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    That odd thing hanging on the wall at the entrance of the bedroom really is . . . . odd. I mean, it is VERY odd.

  8. I have several garden books by GST & Christopher Lloyd as well. Although not everything by Christo is worth getting (“Other People’s Gardens” is best avoided). Did you know the two of them didn’t get on at all despite both being excellent gardeners

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that maybe article from Horticulture were turned into that book. Lloyd wrote there something like “the majority of American gardens are too heavily treed”, which would infuriate a lot of tree-loving people in this country. Though Henry Mitchell said about the same thing. Not surprising that they didn’t get along, considering the scant mention of each other in their books. Two mentions of Lloyd come to mind in GST’s books, one that he was a keen garden and “clematis expert”, and then Lloyd’s “excellent maxim” about the advancing leaves of hostas concealing the dying foliage of daffodils. Well, you know, that’s not all that unusual at all. Stories could be told, but they won’t be.

  9. Meow meow Mani what a lovelee virtuall tour of yore (an PawPaw’ss) house!! So many books an paintinss an knickynackss that are treasured. Mee an LadyMew cuud feel LOVE as wee toured yore house an wee feel frendlee spiritss fore sure!
    An yore Mumma was furry purrty….
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma
    P Ess: Wee have over a foot of snow now an it iss tryin to rain an freeze!! Guud thing wee stayin inn….weerd weather….

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we’re glad you liked it. It would never, ever, ever rain on top of snow here. The guy I live with was on Long Island once when that happened and he thought he had entered an alternate universe.

      • Meow meow Mani an yore Mistur wee gotted another rfoot of snow today! LadyMew went out to shovel an it iss at leest liter than it was a few dayss ago!! Iss quiet now butt more snow iss on THE way…guud thing wee have a nice warm place to live….
        An mee getss not all peepull have wether like wee do!

      • paridevita says:

        There’s snow on the ground here, but it’s sunny and pretty nice outside. Bright, too.

  10. Excellent day for a tour, Mani, of a house which exhibits a modern lifestyle. Most striking to me is how closely our abodes resemble each other. Our gardens, not. Houses about mid-century, filled with art and plants and books. We certainly have our share of Lloyd and a collection of GST, children’s books too although not precisely the ones on your shelves. Ask the guy if he’s ever heard of Betty MacDonald’s Miss Piggle Wiggle or Elizabeth Enright’s The Saturdays. We also have an about-the-same-size glass version of your ivory buddha, and even the round hanger. Yours carries roses which made your guy cry. Ours holds incense which makes me cough. You have a far superior plant room, of course. One fact is certain, I would guess: we’re about equally happy in our spots.Oh, I like the guy’s grandfather’s art very much. Most folks back then were doing by-the-numbers, so the grandfather showed talent and vision. That’s your legacy, Mani, kinda.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with called his sister to see if she knew about these books. No. he has two adorable grandnieces who might enjoy such things. The Saturdays maybe when they get older. The guy I live with’s grandfather did a lot of watercolors, and oil paintings too. After the guy I live with’s mom died, his sister and her husband found zillions of things no one had ever seen, including a journal of the time his grandfather spent in New Guinea, in command of the 54th Evacuation Hospital (also, later, in Manila). Best not to try to imagine the things he witnessed. But anyway in the journal were also drawings. Possible Roadshow material. (Entry, “January 6, 1945, we land at Lingayen Gulf”.) His nephew has that journal. The guy I live with has been talking about moving. Yes, I know. Talk about traumatic.

  11. ceci says:

    What a lovely and stimulating environment. The Thornton W. Burguss books were read to me as a child and I still love the illustrations. And the watercolors…..

    Thank you for sharing. Its pouring here so indoor inspiration is most helpful.


    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome, and thanks. It snowed here. Way too much according to the guy I live with. He had to go get some tattoos today, and went early, but there was hardly any snow in Denver itself.

  12. Lisa says:

    HA! I was expecting a print of a chupacabra when I read “goatsucker,” not a bird! I didn’t know there was a bird called goatsucker. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed. But, that is one weird bird print.
    Lovely white… stoat (?), on the partition. Why does everyone’s shelves always look so dust-free when mine aren’t fit to share?
    I just love all the bookcases and books. When I moved to the smaller house I’m in now I had to part with so many of mine. Bookcases and books, that is.
    Yes, you pure-bred Border collies take life awfully seriously. My not-pure-bred Border collie is serious at times, but point a camera or phone at him and he smiles and laughs every time.

    • paridevita says:

      It’s a nightjar, really. Related to whip-poor-wills. People used to think they drank goat’s milk, which is unusual, to say the least. I guess it’s a mink or ermine or something; Lomonosov porcelain. There are a few of them here. Well, the guy I live with dusts stuff. There’s also a bunch of I think Depression Glass, which his wife collected, and he very, oh so very, washes them every year right before Christmas so that they glitter when we sit in the living room together. Hard to explain, maybe. When he was seeing a therapist she said it was now his house, but he strongly feels that it’s his wife’s house. She didn’t work and spent twenty-four years making this house the way it is now. It’s not like a shrine, but, just, you know, her house, if that makes sense. Which is why it’s hard when he thinks about moving.

  13. This post is perfect in every way.

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