Who Is Anastasia?

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New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear, regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a visual folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown and/or painted by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how overgrown and wild it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ...


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Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
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June 8, 2009

Seeking Sanctuary in the Garage

I have two neighbors who take full advantage of their garages during warm weather months - perhaps all year, for all I know. But, I have been fascinated for their similar uses for these spaces traditionally used to store vehicles, lawn/household equipment, tools, workshops, etc.

One is a lady living across the street from us. For the past 10 years, I've noticed that from the first breeze of springtime, she throws up her garage door, and takes sanctuary on a big old, ratty sofa, covered with quilts, throws, and tons of pillows. Next to this is a small table with tea, snacks and a mile-high stack of books, which she reads until autumn frost. To the rear of the garage are the usual things hanging on hooks, rakes, tools, furniture, stored winter clothing, and her washer and dryer, sometimes scenting the air with fruity fabric softeners. Like a perennial, she faithfully camps out on this sofa during the day and into the evening, lounging, dozing, but mostly reading her summer books, as if she were at a luxury five-star spa for the summer. I've always admired this lady for her discipline to make herself tune out in "her space."

A gentleman lives down the street, and has a true 'man cave.' I've watched the progression of his private space for about three years, fascinated at how he makes this work for himself. I say "himself" because there's no room in there for anyone else. He has my kind of garage; filled to the brim with "stuff" -- man stuff, family stuff, woman stuff, more man stuff ... I have no idea what the heck is in there, but I have noticed over the past few years that his space is shrinking. What he does is sit in there, among all of his 'things,' and watches television on summer evenings. From the street, I watched with further admiration, and he would relax, with his feet up on boxes, enjoying his favorite shows into the night. I understand, he had not been well, and this was his form of de-stressing. Sometimes, he enjoys a sandwich while he watches his TV. One evening last week, as I walked my dog through the neighborhood, I spotted him with his lawn chair, forced out in the driveway (because of his "stuff") - watching his shows from a distance.

I envy both of these people for taking this forlorn, neglected spaces, and making them their own. We have a family friend that has a large 2.5 car detached garage that they have used for entertaining for years. They have huge cook-outs, steak fries and outdoor parties, and traditionally have used their garage (loaded with two or more refrigerators) for setting up long buffet tables; extra seating and card playing. Heated in the winter, cooled in the summer, it's become a familiar neighborhood icon.

Growing up, my grandfather used to like to sit in the garage, where he would smoke his pipe, and looking down our long driveway, have a keen eye of the street without being seen. That was his sanctuary, and often mine. Even now, 50 years later, I have very vivid dreams of that garage, that was huge, with rafters and lofts, and scary cats that sneaked in a broken window to the back. Over the front was a magnificent awning covered with Concord Grapes in late summer. We had this wonderful, very heavy leather chaise lounge that everyone fought over because it was so comfortable. And, when it rained, we pushed it back into the garage and napped for hours, feeling safe, peaceful and at rest ...

I have a garage now. But, like my neighbor's, I can't get into it; it's so full ... how does this happen? Ah, my project for next summer ...

1 comment:

  1. I have seen several people in our neighbourhood who sit in their garages in the evening. My husband keeps ours neat as a pin, but I have never considered it a place to put my feet up. Nice post.


I would love to hear from you regarding this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. All the best, Anastasia a/k/a Stacey

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips