Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Brief and Much Needed Respite

Lord Wellbourne has announced that beginning today and continuing through to Monday morning, he will be enjoying a mental holiday from the Blogosphere. For those prone to withdrawal symptoms, he recommends perusing the archives of The Maine Thing for literary gems that they may not as yet have had an opportunity to enjoy. He further recommends visiting Aging Gratefully and The Good Life for similar insightful reading pleasures.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


FAQ's and SVR's--Epilogue

Greetings once again, all you faithful fans of the phenomenal Lord Wellbourne! We experienced some technical difficulty with our broadcast transmission yesterday as some of you may have noticed. But with the astute application of duct tape, super glue, chewing gum, and an odd bobby pin or two, I believe the tweaking of the ISP has been successful.

SVR--You neglected to mention the Play-Dough.

FAQ--Indeed. Thank you for remembering.

SVR--Your welcome. My pleasure.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, I had a few follow-up questions I hoped you would be good enough to answer.

SVR--Certainly. Go for it.

FAQ--Thank you. Going back to your acting career, was it an easy or difficult pursuit for you?

SVR--Easy insofar as it was something I loved doing. Difficult because I really had to put more effort into it than many of my fellow actors.

FAQ--How so?

SVR--I was not blessed genetically with either height or classic good looks. If you are tall and handsome you don't have to go to too much trouble to be noticed on stage. If, like me, you are under 6 feet tall and are never confused for Brad Pitt, you have to emote and project in a way that gets you noticed and heard. But not too much or else you're accused of up-staging. It's a delicate balance and it takes a great deal of concentration to maintain.

FAQ--After our last interview several of your Gentle Readers asked after your health.

SVR--That is very kind of them.

FAQ--In particular they referred to your comment about the congenital heart defect. What is the status of that condition now?

SVR--Non-existent. It worked itself out while I was in my twenties. Other than a few trifling inconveniences my health is quite good. Especially since I've returned to the fresh, clean air of Maine.

FAQ--You stay very trim despite a rather sedentary lifestyle. What's your secret?

SVR--I eat whole foods and maintain a balanced diet. Keeping house to my mother's satisfaction is a work-out regimen that even Body By Jake never dreamed of.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, this being February, the month for lovers, do you have any advice for the romantically inclined?

SVR--Pray that January never ends.

FAQ--No, but seriously.

SVR--I hardly think I could be considered having any authority on THAT subject.

FAQ--Any thoughts at all?

SVR--Well, I did hear someone say once that relationships are a fifty/fifty proposition. I contend that that is either bad arithmetic or the recipe for a doomed romance.

FAQ--Really? Sounds right and proper to me.

SVR--Are you currently in a happy, successful relationship then?, actually, I'm not.

SVR--I rest my case.

FAQ--What would your 'closing argument' be in that 'case'?

SVR--Only this: if each person in the relationship is contributing 50% then each is only investing half of their time and effort into it. Pardon the phrase but it's a half-assed approach to attaining a much desired goal in which you hope to reap maximum returns. At that rate you can only expect to be happy 50% of the time and something completely different the other half of the time. Personally, I'd prefer a better percentage. I recommend that each party consider investing at least 70% of themselves to the objective. Certainly no more than 80%. Everyone should hold back just a little in order to have reserves to call upon in time of greater need. Besides, a little mystery is healthy in any relationship.

FAQ--Is there an easy way to know if a person is right for you?

SVR--That depends on what you want out of the relationship. There is a seemingly harmless way to get an insightful clue. Play a game of Monopoly with your hearts' desire. In the course of the game you will observe how they handle money--haphazardly or prudently. You will see how generous or greedy they are when you land on one of their hotels and you're financially embarrassed. Ultimately you will learn by the game's conclusion if they're a good sport or a bad loser/winner. Do they rub your nose in their victory? Do they pout or do they laugh off their defeat? It's a very enlightening experience.

FAQ--That's an amazing idea!

SVR--Well, don't act so surprised, for heaven's sake. Life, the board game, is too predictable. Monopoly isn't. The financial aspect opens windows into traits that are otherwise kept behind closed doors.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, what's next for you? Where do you go from here?

SVR--Specifically--to dinner, to my studio, and then to bed. Generally--I haven't a notion. I'll send you a postcard when I get there.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, it has been an immense honour for me to bring your story to the world!

SVR--And it's been great fun for me as well. I hope the world will feel the same.

That, Gentle Readers, concludes this awe-inspiring historical encounter with the incomparable, devastatingly debonair, Lord Wellbourne. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we've enjoyed bringing it to you. Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with such personalities as Pope Benedict XVI, George Clooney, and Madonna. We can only hope that those interviews will be as fascinating as this was. Until then, this is Iam Nosy signing off.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


FAQ's and SVR's--Part Three

Greetings again, Gentle Readers of The Maine Thing! We have reached the third and final installment of an exhilarating three-part interview with the legendary Lord Wellbourne. This interview is being conducted within the princely environs of his magnificent studio.

FAQ--Good evening, Lord Wellbourne!

SVR--Good evening.

FAQ--Before we begin, I must say you're very interestingly dressed.

SVR--Oh? Do you think so?

FAQ--Yes, indeed. What is all that?

SVR--A quilted and embroidered jewel-tone Tibetan jacket over a hand-woven Mongolian tunic.

FAQ--And the trousers?

SVR--Black-on-black embroidered silk harem pants.

FAQ--And your topper?

SVR--A heavily embroidered and beaded silk velvet fez--without tassel.

FAQ--Why not a tassel?

SVR--Too fussy.

FAQ--Do you often dress like this?


FAQ--Only at home? Or--

SVR--At home, out to the mailbox, grocery shopping etc...Causes quite a sensation at WalMart I've noticed.

FAQ--No doubt.

SVR--Now, if you've done with my accoutrements, I believe you have some questions for me?

FAQ--Oh, yes, to be sure.

SVR--Excellent. Carry on.

FAQ--When we concluded yesterday I had asked how you came to hand-crafting as a career choice.

SVR--Ah, yes, I remember. I thought it an odd question.

FAQ--How so?

SVR--My dear fellow, almost everything we do as individuals is an exercise in hand-crafting. Preparing a meal, composing a letter, playing an instrument, building a house, gardening etc... We use tools to be sure but our hands, in partnership with our ideas, do the crafting.

FAQ--Where did it start with you, personally?



SVR--I imagine very shortly after I was cognizant of having 'hands'.


SVR--Oh! I see what you were asking! Right. Well, I had just turned five when I came down with measles. A week later I came down with chicken pox. Very nasty combination. At one point I began experiencing chest pain. I was taken to the military hospital and X-rays revealed I had a congenital heart defect. A slightly twisted aorta. Scared the bejesus out of my parents.

FAQ--To be sure!

SVR--Well, after I was stabilized and back at home, a long and arduous regimen of medication and bed-rest began. It was sheer misery--for everyone. I had it the easiest. All I had to do was lay there. Boredom was my nemesis. My mother is a superior needle woman. Knitting, crochet, embroidery, needle point etc...She was in her petit point phase at that time and she would come into my room every afternoon with her frame and canvas and spend hours sitting on the foot of my bed to keep me company. The rhythmic movement of her needle was very soothing to me. The developing picture intrigued me. And the fact she could do such precision work while engaging in the give and take of conversation inspired me. At one point I asked if I might try to do what she was doing. She brought me a piece of canvas and a frame and she drew out some lines for me to work on. She sat there beside me and talked me through it so patiently and gently. By the time my convalescence was over, I was nearly as proficient as she was.

FAQ--And how long was that?

SVR--A little over seven months.

FAQ--Good heavens! You did petit point in bed for seven months?

SVR--I did all kinds of needle work. My mother also utilized the time to teach me how to read and write. She brought me water colours and art paper. My days were filled with needle work, literature, and art. It was a difficult time for everyone but it was also a happy constructive time. I was an excellent patient.

FAQ--So what could have been a catastrophe was actually a blessing of sorts.

SVR--Exactly, well put. Today, as I work with my needle, I have the same soothing calmness wash over me. Whenever I stop to look at the embeadered design developing I think of my petit point days and relive the wonder.


FAQ--Yes. That's what I call what I do. I embroider with beads. Embeader. I like the colour and light play as well as the texture the beads give the fabric.

FAQ--I see. Your work is amazing, beautiful.

SVR--Thank you. I admit after I've completed a somewhat involved piece I am in awe. Not of my handiwork but that I actually pulled it off. I tend to underestimate my abilities.

FAQ--And you do this on....

SVR--Table and bed linens, clothing and accessories. Lately though I've been going back to straight hand-sewing.

FAQ--Such as.....

SVR--Returning to Maine triggered my 'back-to-basics' gene. I decided to do more practical applications. So, I've been making domestic items--hot pads, pot-holders, coasters, etc... out of salvaged brocade and tapestry remnants.

FAQ--All sewn by hand?

SVR--Yes. I don't particularly care for machines. I am not technologically inclined. I prefer the tactile experience of holding the needle and controlling the tension of the thread myself.

FAQ--Admirable. You are still 'embeadering' though.

SVR--Oh yes--I am nearing completion on a commission for a devotee of the Texas Renaissance Festival. A Tudor Court dress. Very heavy--especially now that I'm adding hundreds of pearls, glass beads, and vintage rhinestones. Twelve yards of fabric and a very complex pattern keeps me quite busy. The straight sewing is my 'unwind' therapy. Keeps me from burning out.

FAQ--Who are your inspirations?

SVR--I'm so glad you asked me that! Well, besides every embellisher in history, there is, of course, my mother to be sure. I must also mention one or two outstanding individuals. Firstly, my good friend, Lady Hawthorne of Canterbury Cottage. Phenomenal crafts woman. An impresario in all manner of needlework and very adept in many other mediums. Then of course there is my dear Red--a graphic designer and conceptual artist of stellar talent. She also makes an incomparable gumbo. And I rather think that Von at The Good Life is an inspiration--what with her painting ability, textile savvy, and gusto for all things Green.

FAQ--Anyone else?

SVR--I would be unforgivably remiss if I didn't include June at Aging Gratefully. I have become inexplicably attached to her. Her ability to paint vibrantly moving canvases with words enthralls me. She has a semantic savoir-faire and textual finesse that is sadly lacking today.

FAQ--Are you still involved with your other artistic interests?

SVR--Oh, yes, quite. I still write, paint, and create jewelry as you can see by looking about you.

FAQ--These are magical rooms.

SVR--Life and art are magical pursuits. They each require a sacred space.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, it has been an enormous privilege to speak with you! I still have a number of things I'd like to ask. Would you consider allowing me another day to wrap this up with an epilogue? I'm sure your fans would greatly appreciate it!

SVR--Well, I hate to disappoint people. Very well. Come again tomorrow. But not too early!!

FAQ--You are too kind, sir. Thank you!

There you are, Gentle Readers, Lord Wellbourne has graciously given of himself yet again so as not to disappoint his loyal following. His generosity and selflessness continue to astound all who come into his presence. Until tomorrow, this is a very humbled Iam Nosy signing off.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

FAQ's And SVR's-- Part Two

Greetings, Gentle Readers of The Maine Thing! Iam Nosy here and today we continue with the second installment of our three-part interview with the enigmatic and devastatingly charming Lord Wellbourne.

FAQ--Good morning, Lord Wellbourne!


FAQ--When we left off yesterday, you were about to tell us about your illustrious career in the performing arts.

SVR--Was I indeed? Can't recall--but then I've slept since then.

FAQ--I trust you slept well.

SVR--Trust is a beautiful thing.

FAQ--You were a critically acclaimed stage actor for several years. Tell us about that.

SVR--I performed in over 70 plays. Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw, Wilde, Moliere, and Maxwell Anderson were my favourite playwrights. It was great fun.

FAQ--Why did you give it up?

SVR--I came to discover that 'real life' provided more than adequate drama and challenges with fewer lighting cues and costume changes.

FAQ--What do you miss the most about your acting career?

SVR--Sleeping in.

FAQ--What do you consider your greatest role?


FAQ--As well as being a consummate actor, you were also a cabaret performer. What did you do?

SVR--I sang standards of the 1930's and 40's as well as re-enacting classic vaudeville routines.

FAQ--Fascinating! But that career ended rather abruptly. What happened?

SVR--My accompanist, the immensely talented Clay Howell, was offered the opportunity to tour with Bette Midler. After 4.7 seconds of soul-searching deliberation, he dumped me.

FAQ--Were you bitter?

SVR--No, relieved. I was really sick of singing 'Melancholy Baby'.

FAQ--Lord Wellbourne, are you--

SVR--Yes, I am.

FAQ--I hadn't finished the question.

SVR--Hadn't you? Sorry. Carry on.

FAQ--It's not important.

SVR--I thought not.

FAQ--You are also an award-winning published author. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

SVR--Find something to write on and pick up a pen.

FAQ--Is that all?

SVR--What more do they need?

FAQ--What about imagination?

SVR--My dear Mr. Nosy, people who lack imagination or skill and think they want to 'write' can only aspire to criticism. My advice to THAT lot cannot be published.

FAQ--When people refer to you as a 'dilettante' how do you respond?

SVR--I refer them to this wall of sheep skins that says otherwise.

FAQ--You have now embarked on a totally new and unrelated career path. When and how did you become interested in hand-crafting?

SVR--Let's leave that for another time, shall we?

Well, there you have it, Gentle Readers! The second installment of a three-part interview with the matchless and captivating Lord Wellbourne. Please tune in tomorrow when we will discover the roots to his creative prowess and ask him to name names! Until then, this is Iam Nosy signing off.

Friday, February 19, 2010


FAQ's and SVR's--Part One

NEWS FLASH!! Lord Wellbourne, International Man Of Mystery and Bon Vivant, has graciously consented to a three-part interview! After nine months of self-imposed exile behind the back woods of Maine, Lord Wellbourne has condescended to give SVR's (somewhat vague responses) to FAQ's (frequently asked questions). Don't miss a single riveting installment!

FAQ--Where does the name 'Lord Wellbourne' come from?

SVR--It refers to an ancestral title that was never granted. An earldom was promised to the members of the Douglas clan of Scotland by Prince Charles Edward better known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' in exchange for their support of his claim to the throne of England. Had His Highness been successful this interview would be taking place in Edinburgh.

FAQ--After many years of residing in--and traveling throughout--many parts of the world, how do you find living, so far removed from it all, in Maine?

SVR--At present, rather cold, pleasantly quiet, and refreshingly clean.

FAQ--What brought you back to where it all began?

SVR--Retractable umbilical cord.

FAQ--You spent your early years being brought up and educated in France and England. Do you think this has given you any special advantages?

SVR--Certainly. I am always everyone's first pick for teammate when a Trivial Pursuit game appears. I am also popular whenever a romance novel author incorporates French into her dialogue.

FAQ--When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?



SVR--Yes, colourful. As a child all the people I found captivating were often referred to, somewhat disparagingly, as 'colourful'. I wanted to be one of them.

FAQ--According to popular opinion you've achieved that.

SVR--That's very gratifying to hear.

FAQ--Now, about your artistic and theatrical endeavours.............

SVR--Let's leave that for later, shall we? It's time for my mean, tea.

There you have it, Gentle Readers. The first installment of a historic three-part interview with the illusive Lord Wellbourne. In tomorrows' segment we will pursue that intriguing line of questioning. Until tomorrow, this is Iam Nosy signing off.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Complete Portrait

Below is the full portrait of George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron of whom it was said "He's mad, bad, and dangerous to know". One of my heroes and, now, my Blogging Icon. I bear no resemblance to him whatsoever, of course. No, the only similarity is an appreciation for history, literature, art, and beauty. Oh, yes, and an independence of spirit. Not a bad connection that.

Recession Reflections

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me advise my Gentle Readers that there will be disclaimers somewhere towards the conclusion of this ramble. They may not quench the torches of the angry Blog Villagers gathering across the moat surrounding my ivory tower, but they'll cover my butt as far as I'm concerned.

I am enjoying the recession. Yes, I said 'enjoying the recession'. And, furthermore, I'm glad it's happened. It gives me warm fuzzies to hear parents half my age tell their kids to be careful and to take care of their bodies, clothing, and playthings because Mommy and Daddy cannot afford to fix or replace said item. I smile broader when driving anywhere and see less fast-food litter on the sides of roads because people are stretching their food budgets in the supermarkets rather than the drive-thru. I cheer when I see people shopping at thrift shops for everyday necessities rather than feed the corporate big-box-store beast. I'm tickled pink when someone tells me--not about the latest CGI blockbuster they've seen--but about a new board game their family has discovered--one that I've been playing for 40 plus years.

Money is tight. Cash flow is restricted. Everyday folks are re-evaluating what's important. What matters. What things are worth. For the first time in a long time people are aware of the cost AND the value of 'stuff' both tangible and intangible. I think it's a good thing and it's about time.

I am an enthusiastic proponent of the barter and trade system. If the butcher, baker, candle stick maker, as well as the mechanic and tailor all conducted business on that system the quality of products and services would improve significantly. Currency is an impersonal means of revenue. When you invest your time and ability into producing goods in exchange for goods the value of your time and talent skyrocket. You feel better about yourself and validated by what your effort has acquired.

Last summer I traded some of my hand-crafted jewelry and beaded/embroidered table linens for help in yard work--brush clearing, stump removal and the like. I exchanged mending-darning-tailoring abilities for a summer's worth of fresh vegetables and eggs. I traded a cornucopia of custom pillows for carpentry. At the last craft fair I participated in I bartered wares for real maple syrup and honey. In essence I exchanged my hours of labor for someone else's hours of labor. It didn't matter how much time or labor we individually put into the product or service. What mattered was obtaining what we needed/wanted. I'd like to think we each felt we'd gotten the better deal. This year I will plant my own veggie garden and trade the extra harvest for things I need or want, as well as donating some to the local food pantry. What comes around truly goes around.

I completely understand that this system won't work with grocery and department stores, physicians, utility companies, etc... What I'm saying is--people are too focused on the money and not on what it purchases. Just give this a thought in a free moment: if the world suddenly stopped using cash what would you do to get what you needed? What do you have of value and what can you offer in exchange for keeping your household afloat? Sad to realize that there are many people in that very quandary as I write this.

Disclaimer time. I am NOT happy nor do I take any pleasure in anyone's loss of employment, health care, or habitation. I do NOT delight in seeing the homeless and hungry. I do NOT hope the recession lasts for very much longer. It breaks my heart that college students are grappling with dropping out of school and senior citizens are choosing between medication and food. Animal shelters filled to capacity because people cannot afford to feed and care for pets. For many people this has been a very unpleasant wake-up call and I hope the awakening reaps long-term real-life lessons that will benefit us all for generations to come.

There's nothing embarrassing about being frugal and practical. For that matter, there's really nothing wrong with money, either. As long as you remember it's supposed to work for you and not the other way around. Money is an ambivalent, parsimonious, taskmaster.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Portrait of a Lady

It is now a little after 11 pm and all of the hoopla has finally subsided. Today is my mother's 92nd Birthday. It has been a very good day. In actuality, it's been a very good week. It all began this past Sunday with the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl--my mother's favourite football team (this week). It's a Catholic thing. In my mother's mind the Saints, Angels, Cardinals, Padres, and Notre Dame all answer to the Pope and therefore must be cheered on to victory or face doing penance.

I had to organize the festivities in shifts so as not to overload the Birthday Girl. Last night was a flurry of cards, gifts, and flowers. The centerpiece was a concert where the guests got to show off their musical inclinations. Who knew there were at least 23 variations of 'Happy Birthday'? In almost as many keys? Electronic keyboards, guitars, harmonicas--almost the entire gamut of wind and percussion instruments got dusted off and brought to the gala. The cats are still very tentative about moving around the house.

Today there were two separate gatherings--morning and afternoon shifts. More cards, gifts and bouquets. Kisses, hugs, and cakes--that's plural. The kitchen is now Diabetic Coma Central. Jennie Craig would have an apoplectic seizure if she could see the amount of sugar taking up residence in every nook and cranny. I'd pay to see that, actually.

The theme of this two day extravaganza was Mardis Gras. Beads, doubloons, and yes, even a king's cake. It will be months before I get up all the glitter and confetti as well as frosting that found its way into the most interesting places.

The best part, of course, was the Birthday Girl herself. I purposely left her out of the loop. She is not a show girl and I knew it would just embarrass her to have this much attention paid to her. She has no idea how much she is loved and appreciated by so many people. She was radiant--the epitome of charm and graciousness. That woman knows how to work a room! Poo-pooing the attention and eating it all up with a trowel at the same time. I stayed in the background doing all the stuff a behind-the-scenes stage manager does. It was HER day and she had earned it the hard way.

She had breakfast on Royal Albert 'Old Country Roses' in bed this morning. She had a candlelight dinner on Royal Crown Derby 'Primavera' this evening. I knew what her day would entail and I made sure to counter balance the caloric orgy. This is the first birthday I've spent with her since she turned 80 and by heaven, it was going to be memorable. My brother, his wife, and their two boys called from Illinois after dinner and thus the day came to its denouement.

It was a very good day for a very great lady.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tan Gents---The Beginning

It has taken me a week to recuperate from my last post. What with the wool-gathering, rewrites, and condensing (yes, it was actually condensed), I was exhausted. Dreams, apparently, are difficult to transcribe. Makes me wonder how John the Evangelist and Nostradamus ever pulled it off.

So, with a nod to June, who initially nodded to Friko, I am going to attempt brevity with my contribution to the cult of Miss Ella Knee but will call it Tan Gents instead. I wrote in a comment that brevity was the very soul of sincerity and I do know the importance of being earnest. Hope you enjoy the cogs within wheels of my addle-pated world.

In the 15th century a law was enacted in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'.

I contend that had the law said he could beat his wife with a stick no larger than the dimensions of his penis, domestic violence for the most part would have been greatly diminished--if not eliminated--600 years ago.

I enjoy the sound of the chickadees singing matins during my morning coffee on the porch. Lets me know I'm not alone.

I like it when a leaf wafts and wavers on the breeze before it settles on me. It has never been caressed by anything but Mother Nature and has made its way on nothing less than the breath of Creation. I consider it a gentle reminder that I am "a child of the universe; no less than the trees and stars". This also holds true for snow flakes. I have been reminded a lot lately.

And lastly, I get a huge sense of joy watching my fabulous furry flock of felines lose all dignity and decorum when the squirrels are doing their 'Flying Wallendas' routine in the trees outside. No matter how refined and evolved they purport to be, their baser instincts kick in and the noises that issue forth are a caterwauling cantata. Always makes me feel a little less inferior to listen.