Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hello, Helpful! ...

Yesterday, I wrenched my back while I was getting into my car.

My car was in the garage and the door of my car wasn't open all of the way given that I'd backed in slightly off center and I was carrying a bag that contained a pan of brownies on a cookie sheet, so I was trying maneuver myself, contortionist-like, into the car while bringing the tray up and over my car door and in front of me so I could set it onto the seat.


And then I sat on a stool at a client's office, at a large table proofreading a large document printed out on large pieces of paper, and turns out, stool sitting isn't ideal for a wonky back.

So this morning, with it no better, I tried a couple of Advil.


So I tried sitting, with a pillow folded in half to support the small of my back.


So I tried making my bed, figuring that movement would be good, what with blood flow and all that.


So I tried chicken noodle soup, figuring that if it's good for a cold, why not grumpy muscles?


So I tried turning on a Springsteen disc and cranking the volume and standing in front of a speaker. Surely sound waves of Springsteen would have healing powers.


But the tune I'd turned on – "We Take Care of Our Own" – is instantly dance-y, so I tried moving a bit to loosen up.


So now I've settled on a nip of scotch.

It can't hurt.

At one point, I actually asked my back "What do you want?"

It didn't answer.

But I'm guessing the answer is scotch.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Breaking Through The Bunk ...

Well, today has been rather fascinating. And it's only 3 p.m.

A confluence of seemingly disparate media moments – both social and traditional – however, led me to a salient thought:

I have been operating under a misapprehension, as Colin Firth as Mark Darcy in "Bridget Jones's Diary" once said.

And that misapprehension is this:

I thought it was supposed to be easy, this creative life.

All these years, I've heard so many seemingly content people rhapsodizing about doing what they loved and being in flow and I've seen so many perfect pictures that conjured so many expectations about what holidays and life should be that every time I experienced doubt or imperfection or friction or block, I stopped.

It must not be the right thing, I figured. Where was the flow? I'd ask, "What the hell is this dam doing here?" No one ever mentioned a dam.

And off on a detour I'd go.

And that's how I've arrived at this place in my life: by following a series of detours.

Some years ago, I saw Glen Hansard perform at The Chicago Theater. I'd previously seen him perform at The Vic. If you've never been to either venue, The Vic is like the minor leagues. The Chicago Theater is the majors. The Vic is a smallish venue on the north side that's easy to miss if you don't know where you're headed. The Chicago Theater is iconic and has an oft-photographed marquee on the very storied State Street. The Vic is rather dark and unremarkable inside. The Chicago Theater is stunning.

My point is, that night, Glen Hansard looked at the venue from the stage and looked at his much-larger audience and seemed a little awed. Now, it may have been for show, as he was already plenty popular in Ireland, but stateside, he'd caught fire in a more meaningful way. And he told a little story about a brick wall. And how sometimes, a brick wall may seem too high to scale. But if you turn around and walk in the other direction, you'll eventually end up on the other side of the brick wall. You might just have to walk around the whole earth to do it.

Now that's dedication.

I haven't walked around the whole earth in pursuit of anything because I've never had one thing of which I've been in pursuit.

So, as I was saying: detours.

I'll be a doctor. No ...

I'll be a writer. No ...

I'll be a baker. No ...

I'll be a singer. No ...

I'll be a ... person who doesn't know what she'll be, even while she is an number of things, including underemployed.

But today, on Facebook, I saw this in my friend Mike's feed:

Yup, I thought. That sums it up.

And then, in my friend Marce's feed, in a conversation about education, I wrote about my sad experience with algebra in junior high. I just didn't get it. But as I wrote, I remembered parabolas. That's what my brain remembered most about junior-high algebra: parabolas. Nope, haven't spent a lot of time in need of parabolas in my adult life.

And later, with a bowl of popcorn in my lap, I watched Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday" because she was talking with Anne Lamott and I love Anne Lamott, even if I don't share her love of God.

And it was while I was taking my popcorn bowl back to the kitchen (having paused my DVR) that I started talking to myself about creativity and that's when the tweet and the notion of parabolas came together.

And I realized that Marcus's creative-process tweet could be charted as a parabola – I'll be damned, they have a use after all – and that the problem with so many creative pursuits is that so many of us spend so much time at the nadir – "I am shit" – that we never complete the journey. Because the remainder of the journey is uphill. And uphill is often hard, what with gravity and all that. (I added the seventh entry, out of necessity.)

But for me – and, I suspect, for many – the challenge is not the roadblock on the creative path. I am not opposed to hard work. The roadblock appears out of the belief that the process is not supposed to be a challenge, that if I'm doing the right thing, it will flow easily and there will be no strife. And so, if challenge appears, it must mean I'm on the wrong path, and along the next detour I go.

Well, that's stupid.

I spent a good portion of last night singing. I was in my office – my office has surprisingly good acoustics – scrolling through iTunes, singing along with track after track and noticing that my voice has gotten stronger even though I'm sure I sing less than I used to. But I was very mindful that I was happy. I love to sing. I am surely not the best singer in the world, but I am also not the worst. And regardless, I really admire people who sing purely for the joy of singing, talent be damned. They never move off of No. 1 in the creative process. They do things because they are awesome. Or maybe they move swiftly along to No. 6. Either way, they act from a place of joy.

I love that.

I want to be like that.

I will be like that.

And from that place, everything else will take care of itself.

Here's to more moments of No. 7.

Which reminds me: I need to pick up another bottle of scotch.

House Hunting ...

I have a lot of stuff.

"A lot" is relative, of course, and there are surely people in the world with far more stuff than me. But by my own estimation, I have a lot of stuff. More than one person needs, stashed in more space that I feel I can justify most of the time.

So while I still acquire things from time to time – hello, lovely little brass table, I'm very glad you're here – I'm most often set to "sorting" mode with eventual plans to have a garage sale and/or donate items to a local charity. (Goodwill is no longer on my good side.)

And so yesterday, just about the time I had decided that I should read a book, my brain reminded me that I might have a glass vase in the cabinet above my fridge, so I decided to look. Which, of course, meant removing the items from the top of my fridge (there aren't many) and peering behind the doors that I almost never open.

I found a couple of Grey Poupon jars that I've used as outdoor votive holders in the past, in metal luminarias that I sometimes set outside around the holidays. (Handy tip: The cheap votive candles from Walgreens that are often on sale last all night and sometimes into the morning. They're kind of amazing that way. And I have several boxes of them in my front-hall closet as I haven't used them in recent years. So this year, I'm gonna light those suckers up!) I also found a small Ziploc bag containing some small stones. I must have bought a bag of decorative little rocks at the dollar store to use as the base for something and these were leftovers. I found the vase I had remembered plus another I'd forgotten. And the bowls that match the dishes that I put away a few years ago. And three votive holders. And a flower frog. All righty, then.

The glass vase I'd remembered came down and got a bit of a cleaning and looks quite at home on the new little brass table. On top of a glass and metal trivet-like thing that I bought years ago because I liked it but was never quite sure what his purpose would be. And they're joined by a ceramic-porcelain-I'm-not-sure-what-it-is votive holder that used to be part of a pair before I broke the other one and who now lends a nice bit of not-shiny-or-metallic grounding to the group.

The Grey Poupon jars went into the recycle bin. I have plenty of little glass jars and glasses that I can use as votive holders outside.

The bowls are still in the cabinet. Ditto the second vase. The votive holders came down and got washed and will either be offered to my mom (who has some, too; she may like a fuller set) or will go into the garage-sale closet (aka the closet in the guest room). The little stones were sorted to remove the ones that were misshapen, as they reminded me too much of teeth.

The flower frog is still in there, too. I've never used a flower frog before. It belonged to one of my great aunts. It seemed like a thing I should keep when I was going through her effects. I guess it's not really necessary, given that I haven't found occasion to use it in 16 years.

I vacuumed the inside of the cabinet, as long as I had it open, and then closed the doors and rearranged the few things on the top of the fridge.

But my hunt for the right votive holder for the little brass table had taken me into my office closet where I keep a stash of candles and accoutrement, and while stooped over a bit peering beyond the items right in front, I spied a pillar candle I'd bought years ago. I liked the smell, which is weird because it has "clove" in the name and I hate cloves, but it doesn't smell clove-y. And it's a lovely tawny color, the candle, so I pulled it out and put it with my little fall vignette in the dining area on the sideboard. Of course, he needed a coaster of some kind, so I nabbed a little metal dish I'd used in a recent cookie photo shoot. And I decided that the little sorted stones would make a nice addition, so into the dish they went.

And I returned to my closet to see what else was lurking in the back of that shelf that I'd forgotten. Oh, yes, that's right, my pinecone candleholders, a gift from a few years back.

Those are fall-y enough. Into the vignette they went.

And I have candles that I bought at a Tag outlet a million years ago. I'm not sure why I convinced myself that I needed so many lavender candles at the time. So I have a lot of lavender candles. I also have red. I also have an interesting green. So I nabbed the green ones and they fit into the pinecones perfectly.

But I didn't like that they were the same height. So I snapped the bottom off of one candle – a la a spear of asparagus – and cut through the wick and voila! The looks much more appropriate in the vignette now.

And while I was in the dining area, I decided that I was tired of the "for now" art I'd hung above my little bar cart and that the piece I had nearby that has been waiting for a home for a couple of years now would be just the thing, so I got out the toolbox and the tape measure and marked the center point on that stretch of wall and hammered in a hanger and yup, sure enough, he's fetching right there.

Of course, that left me with the "for now" pieces that need to find a home, and they will. Or they'll go into the garage-sale closet.

But last night, walking into my kitchen, I had a nice sensation of completeness for that elevation. It looks homey and "done" for the moment, with the exception of flowers for the vase on the little brass table. But those will come. And then go. And then come again.

It was nice to shop my home and create something new out of things I'd forgotten I had. Because I have too much stuff.

But I'm paring down. I'm far from just the essentials. I still have far more than I really need. But I have a cozy home to show for it all.

And perhaps I'll get around to that garage sale before the snow flies.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Change ...

Well, here's something you don't run across every day:

I labeled the first image NickelFront, and then chuckled when I realized that that meant I was about to label the second image NickelBack.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Moment Of Costco ...

So there I was, wheeling the ginormous cart past the nice man who watches to make sure you flash your Costco card, past the nice man hawking American Express cards and flu shots, past the flat-screen TVs, past the Keurigs, past the artifical Christmas trees with lights that flash white lights then colored (and wondering why anyone would want a tree like that), past the outdoor Christmas decorations, past the plush stuffed animal things that always make me wonder "Child chair or dog bed? Either, I guess," and then I stopped, in the middle of the main aisle, even though people who stop in the middle of the main aisle drive me nuts.

But I had no choice. My brain made me stop. My brain made me stop because it spied this:

Excuse my language, but my brain wanted to know: "What in fuck's name is that?!"

"That is some morbid shit," my brain announced. "Have we bred a culture of little girls who like to lie in coffins?"

And then I spied the stack of boxes behind it.

Ohhhh. It's a dollhouse.

Yeah, I don't think that makes me feel any better.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Just The Thing ...

I am fully on board with the notion that our homes are never "done." We live in them. Our tastes change. Things wear out. Things break. Things bore us. Things get replaced.

Angelo is forever changing rooms around. I adore that about him. I see a picture of his living room in one configuration, and days later – it may be more than "days" but then again, it really may be merely "days" – I see another picture and nothing is where it was.

I used to reconfigure my bedroom when I was a kid. There was one "logical" place for my bed to be, but on a Saturday when I was feeling ambitious (translation: not too many Saturdays), I would drag furniture around my room – I'm sure that was just swell for the carpet – and form my space into something new.

I loved going to bed on those nights. I loved the feeling of change, the fresh perspective.

As an adult, I am all too guilty of leaving things in place. I move a few things around. My house doesn't look exactly like it did when I moved in. But most of the change has come from addition, not reposition.

I moved into a house from a one-bedroom apartment. I had a lot of space to fill. I had a lot of things to buy. Some of them – many of them – are still on the list.

It is inordinately difficult for me to find certain things. One some fronts, I've simply given up. Perhaps the day will arrive when I will be out in the world and run across the perfect rug for my bedroom and should that day arrive, I will buy that rug. But I've long since stopped looking for a rug for my bedroom because when I was actively looking, I hated everything I'd see.

Sigh. Maybe I need to weave one myself. Anybody have a loom?

And so it goes. I add items slowly, as I find things I love. But often, finding one thing I love necessitates that I find other things I love to accompany it. And the whole process starts all over again.

And so it was with Angelo's chairs, which I bought thinking I'd use them in the living room, because I had grown very tired of my big, comfy chair (which is where I'm sitting, writing this, now). But then my thoughts changed and I put his chairs in my dining room, thinking I might use them around my dining room table. Except that I'd need three more. But they were sold in pairs. And then, when I finally went back to the site to buy them, they were sold out.

So my dining chairs remained my dining chairs and his chairs began to seem more and more at home where I'd put them, against the wall, under the huge piece of art that needed something below it but I was never sure quite what.

Until Angelo's chairs came along. Turned out, they were exactly what that spot needed. I just never knew it until they arrived.

But then I needed a table to go between them. I would have needed a table to go between them if I'd used them in the living room, too, of course. But the table I would have needed for the living room may well have not been the table I decided that I needed in the dining room and now do you understand why I rarely end up buying anything new?!

I had a sense of what I wanted, though. Round, for sure. And not much taller than the height of the seats. I nabbed a small, round table from my bedroom and put it in place for a sense of scale. I decided that I really should have a collection of cardboard pizza rounds handy for those moments when I needed to get a visual sense of what diameter would work best in a space. But I used a tape measure instead and got a sense of how big was just right and jotted the dimensions down on an index card and I clipped that index card in my wallet. And then I found this:

I was in West Elm. I wasn't there looking for a table. But I saw him and I liked him and when I got home, I bookmarked him as part of my buy-this-someday plan. I have several buy-them-someday items in mind.

But I didn't buy him. In my mind, I really wanted a pedestal table. I didn't want the columnar feeling of a table with multiple legs.

But I liked his worn finishes. I am not a shiny person. I like patina and age. I like interest. I like history. I like warmth.

And then, one day, I went to visit him online and learned that he was no longer available.


But experience quickly spoke up and said, "Beth? You weren't supposed to have this table."

Yeah, yeah, but it was the closest thing I'd found.

Until yesterday.

I was in my friend Lenore's store, poking around, making several laps because it is impossible to see everything in one pass, when I found a table that was the right height and the right width but I didn't love the finish – too shiny – and I didn't like that it had multiple legs. So I kept walking and looking.

And then I saw him. It. The table. I was 99 percent sure.

I asked Lenore for a tape measure. Height? Perfect. Width? Right in range.

Did she let people take items home on approval? Yes? OK.

I brought him home. I put him in place. And, just the littlest bit, I gasped.

I took a picture and sent it to her, subject line: "I think I love him."

And now he's mine.

Of course, now I need to find pieces to style him. Something glass, maybe, for a bit of shine. (I can't be entirely dull.) But mostly, he is there to provide a perch for wine glasses and plates of snacks when I have friends over for dinner and they sit in Angelo's chairs. (They're very comfortable, by the way. Firmly supportive but a nice sit.)

I had him weigh in, too, of course. I figured he should have a vote on the table that would accent his accent chairs. His reply was short and sweet:

"I like it!"

As do I. I more than like it. I love it. It took a while to find him. But it was worth it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I Want To Go To There. And There ...

I am a sucker for a beautiful hotel.

I am not an extravagant person, but I like to travel well. I don't fly first class because I can't afford it – and I don't fly often enough anymore to have any miles racked up to use for upgrades – but when I arrive at a destination, I like to stay in an interesting space.

And so while I've been to New York and I've been to London, when I return to either place, I shall like to stay at The Highline Hotel and the St. Pancras Renaissance London respectively.

I stayed in a Renaissance property on my first trip to London and it was a delight. It also, apparently, is no longer a Renaissance property, as a link I've used for it in the past no longer works. (Nope, it's no longer a Renaissance property. I just Googled further.) (By the by, on my second trip to London, I stayed in a Hilton property and the bed was so abysmal, I called the then-Renaissance to check room availability because I was that keen to move.)

That Renaissance hotel was beautiful, in a converted, historic property. I'm a big fan of converted, historic properties. And so I'm pleased that the new Renaissance hotel, too, is in a converted, historic property. Namely, this:

Can you stand it?! Ohmygosh, so beautiful. Stunning.

And here it is, modern day, in color, at night:

Yes, please.

Would you like to see the lobby?

Oh, what hardship it would be to arrive in that space.

Would you like to see a room? Admittedly, this is a one-bedroom suite, but hey, nice digs:

And if ever there were a bar in which I needed to spend some time with someone and some Scotch, this is that bar:

Meanwhile, closer to home, I will always adore my beloved Bowery Hotel but one of these days, Bowery, my love, I am telling you right now, I am going to step out on you and spend the night with:

What's that, you ask? How could I be so fickle?

Tell me, could you resist the William Morris wallpaper treatment and substantial crown molding and period light fixture and antique furniture ...

and charming fireplace, whether working or not?

Of course not, and who could blame you?

But I'll still come by for a drink, Bowery ...

... because your lobby is stunning, too.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Really, Jayson? Really? Part Whatever ...

I thought I had Jayson out of my system. But I didn't have it out of my email. So when the lastest Flea post popped up, I couldn't help but click my way through to the absurdity. Oh, Jayson, you never disappoint.

Let's begin with this vintage metal cabinet. It is, of course, like so many Jayson offerings, French. This particular item is "mid 20th century," which, as we all know, is a very rare period in history. Hardly anything survives from the 1950s, let alone a metal cabinet that was no doubt uncovered in an archaelogical dig in what the French call a "garage." English translation: garage. Don't dawdle. At $3,295, this one won't last. And you will never find another one like it. Never.

Vintage Metal Cabinet – $3,295

Next up, this "vintage" milk glass vase. It is $30. Which is a bit odd, as the same exact item can be found in any antique store, garage sale, or Goodwill donation box for about a buck. But tack "vintage" on the front of the name of it and – ta da! – it'll cost you $29 more. The word "vintage," apparently, is magic. One day, I may try selling a "vintage" bag of lint. And I'll know just who to contact to be my purveyor.

Vintage Milk Glass Vase – $30

Are you feeling too current? Have you reverted to wearing qiana shirts and bell-bottom jeans because they were just so groovy? Is your belt buckle consipicuously large? Well, good. Then you're just the person to buy this mirror. It's just the thing to hang over your foil wallpaper.

Vintage Mod Mirror – $695

And speaking of the '70s, if you find yourself at a Tom Jones concert, you'll need a key to throw at him. Why not attach it to one of these nifty vintage hotel key fobs, yours for only $24? We're sure HWR doesn't stand for "highway robbery."

Vintage Hotel Key Chain – $24

And lastly, have you put off having children yet find yourself yearning for some poorly painted, schlumpy "art"? Do you have an excess of dust in your home and need something to collect it? Jayson's got you covered. These stone mushrooms have come all the way from England, desperate for someone to love them. Or like then. Or not be repulsed by them. Is that person you? Do you have $395 that you literally cannot think to spend on anything else? Well, then, today's your lucky day.

Vintage Stone Mushrooms – $395

Monday, October 14, 2013

Good Times, October Edition ...

The October cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Double Pumpkin Alfajores. Because fall is the best time of year. And because October means "pumpkin." And because dulce de leche? Oh. My. God.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

*THUD* in my mailbox, totally unexpected early birthday treat! Hi, baby! You're so pretty!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Moment Of Geek: Newspaper Edition ...

I left the Chicago Tribune in 1997, which seems almost impossible to me now. Sixteen years? My departure doesn't feel like it was yesterday, but it sure doesn't feel like it was 16 years ago.

I stopped reading the Chicago Tribune in 2004, when it endorsed George W. Bush for a second term. I literally threw the A-section across the room.

I picked up an issue the Chicago Tribune in 2008, when it was redesigned, because a student at Columbia College needed to interview someone about the paper for a project, so I figured I should be looking at the product while we talked.

I click through to the occasional story in the Trib when someone posts a link to it on Facebook, and I read Mary Tyler Mom's columnn on Chicago Now because she's a friend, but I hadn't seen the Trib on newsprint in quite some time.

Until yesterday.

My friend Dave clipped a story and popped it in the mail to me. I find it charming that folks still send newspaper clippings. Doreen does the same from time to time. It's nice to receive mail that isn't junk or a bill.

The story was from the food section. It was also, I noticed, picked up from The Washington Post. I wondered, for a moment, how much of the Trib's food section is wire copy now.

But I didn't wonder that for long.

I read the piece. It was about tomatoes. The science behind growing tomatoes, really. This season has, in a word, sucked for growing tomatoes. But, apparently, tomatoes themselves just ain't what they used to be. So my less-than-memorable tomato-eating experiences of late have not been a function of poor tomato selection on my part, it seems. No, the tomatoes themselves are lacking in their tomato-y essences. Except for grape tomatoes. Grape tomatoes still have a chance in hell, according to the piece.

And I was very pleased to learn that there is a grape tomato variety called Jolly Elf. That's the kind of detail that makes a story worth reading.

But what I really noticed as I read was this:

These days, it is very annoying to read a Chicago Tribune story in print.

The paper has shrunk over the years. It is now printed on a 44-inch web, which means that each broadsheet page is 11 inches wide.

Eleven inches. (I just measured it. Yup, 11 inches.)

A smaller paper means bigger savings on newsprint. I understand why newspapers are shrinking the size of the product.

But here's what I don't understand:

Who decided to keep the six-column layout?

Six columns across 11 inches makes for an annoying read, because so few words fit on a line and the whole piece ends up riddled with widows and orphans.

(Widows are single words that end up on their own lines. Orphans are parts of a single word that end up on their own lines. Widows are bad. Orphans are worse.)

Note: When I took this image, I intended to illustrate how few words appear on each line of text. It wasn't until I mentioned orphans and widows that I noticed that the shot I snapped happened to contain four examples. But there they are. My other point still stands, though: It's irksome to read such short lines. It doesn't feel natural.

Here's the full layout. It annoys me less in this image than it does when I hold the piece of paper in my hands.

I know that the Trib doesn't care what I think, but it would make more sense to me to switch to a five-column layout on a broadsheet so narrow.

Because "broadsheet" doesn't really apply anymore, does't it?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Seasonal ...

When I was a kid, we would decorate the big picture window in the living room with cardboard Halloween decorations. I remember an articulated skeleton. And a pumpkin. And a black cat. There must have been others. But those are the ones I can see in my mind. When Halloween was over, they'd get tucked into a brown paper grocery bag and then put on a shelf in the basement until the next Halloween rolled around.

Mom didn't get into decorating for holidays in a big way, other than Christmas. I can't remember any Easter decorations. Not that I needed any. So long as I woke up to an Easter basket filled with loot I was happy. Jelly beans make up for a lot.

As an adult, I don't get into decorating for holidays either. I might be more inclined if I had kids. But I don't. Even Christmas doesn't get too fancy in these parts. (Unless you count the year I put up three trees. That has not been – and will not be – repeated.) I'm not a fan of tchotchkes. I put up a tree in my living room. I put out a few meaningful pieces. And that's the extent of Christmas until I start wrapping gifts and stashing them under the tree.

I don't decorate for Easter since I don't observe Easter.

And when it comes to Halloween, I have exactly one decoration, a cute little witch I spied at Target (?) years ago.

That's it.

But I have a thing for pumpkins because I have a thing for fall, so I own a few of those, each made from a different material.

This year, I nabbed them out of the closet and put them together and they looked a bit forlorn, mismatched, ununified.

So I set about looking for other things to pair with them.

I don't use the little green pitcher for anything anymore. (At some point, I convinced myself it's probably covered in lead paint and glaze.) The wooden pear (with leather stem) was painted by my Aunt Daisy years ago. I'm not prone to owning wooden fruit, but that piece is special. And the little copper pot was given to me by a friend who knew I liked to cook. It came with a bright red ribbon tied to one handle, with the intention that it be used as an ornament. Until recently, it was holding wee binder clips in my office.

It's my little still-life homage to fall, a season which should last much longer than it does.

I had forgotten about my silver compote-y friend. It makes a perfect pumpkin pedestal!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Morning Walk / Leaf Hunt ...

Fall has not yet arrived on the thermometer. (Note to Fall: Please fix that.) But leaves are starting to change and leaves are starting to fall, so as I walk, I look for pretty leaf friends.

Some are fine examples of autumnal color. But some I chose because I saw more in them. The oak leaf, for example, reminds me of leather. And the little red guy reminds me of a shield-back chair.