This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Elephant In The Blogroom

             Sometimes mysterious things just seem to appear in our house out of nowhere.  Nobody will lay claim to having brought them and we don't know how they got there.  Some of these things have been in my house for many years, and some of them even have been carried from previous abodes to the home where we have  resided for the past thirteen years.  Where do these weird things come from?

               I started thinking about this the other day when Alex J Cavanaugh requested that we post an elephant picture for Dezmond of Hollywood Spy.    I immediately thought of a strange elephant figurine that sits on my office bookshelf.  This homely elephant has been around for at least five years I guess.  I've rescued it from the garage a few times when I think my wife was trying to get rid of it.  Now it resides safely in my office.

         I don't really collect any figurines--not intentionally at least.  I have acquired a few over the years as gifts or as found objects like my elephant.  If I were a collector of any kind of animal figurines, I would probably collect elephants.  Since I was a child I have always liked elephants.  I used to like to draw them.  The first elephants I ever saw were at the circus.  I can recall once when my parents' car became stuck in the muddy circus lot, someone brought one of the elephants to pull us out.  That must have impressed me.  The old tent circuses commonly used the strength of the elephants to do heavy chores and to help raise the big top.

           The particular elephant figurine that I have in my office looks like a very amateurish attempt at some sort of craft project.  Someone has taken a very cheap plastic elephant figure and glued a multitude of tiny colored beads and mirror squares, many of which have fallen off and continue to fall off.  I try to avoid handling the figure lest any more beads and mirror squares fall off.  

           There used to be another plastic elephant that had the appearance of being made out of jade.  It was a classier looking elephant even though you could tell it was cheap plastic when you picked it up.  On the shelf it looked like jade.  That elephant is gone now.  I think my daughter Angelina may have taken it home with her.  It was probably hers to begin with.  In fact, both elephants were probably something she picked up at a yard sale or in a thrift shop.  When she was still living at home with us she used to pick up weird things to decorate her room with.  Probably several of the strange things around our home originated with one or another of our daughters.

           I don't think I can blame any of my daughters for this zebra creamer.  I'm pretty sure this one was a white elephant gift I received at a church party nearly twenty years ago.  So even though it's a zebra, it's also a "white elephant" and it is appropriate to include this photo today.  This creamer is also on my bookshelf--no way I would use it for holding cream and it just looks weird enough to keep the ugly elephant company.

           Dezmond, I hope you enjoyed my elephant pictures and stories.   Maybe you'll start collecting elephant figurines and can show them off on your blog one day.  Hopefully, they'll be nicer than the ones I have.  On the other hand, mine have histories to go with them and mysteries to ponder, which makes them kind of special.

            How about the rest of you?  Do you have any special things that you collect to keep on display around your home?  Do you have any sentimental "atrocities" like my elephant and zebra?  What are some strange things that have appeared in your home that you have no idea where they came from?   If you can, post an elephant for Dezmond.


  1. I love that elephant! I think my favourite "thinglings" (which is the word I for the purpose of this post will use to describe figurines and other not-really-useful items that we for some reason or other hold on to) are the ones that aren't too elaborate or fancy, but that have a story that makes us cherish them. Like this one reminds you of your daughter.

    Most of my thinglings are giraffes (of course). Some of them I've bought myself, most of them were gifts. They all have a story.

    PS - I think I've seen creamers like that, only shaped like a cow. Yours is cuter, though :)

  2. I had an elephant appear in the downstairs hallway some months ago, none of the other apartments claimed it but it disappeared quite quickly,
    Most entertaining Lee about the elephants at the circus. enjoyed the read.


  3. Well Arlee, I will say that is the oddest looking elephant that I have ever seen! I think that makes him worth holding onto!
    I have so many collections that I couldn't list them all here. I have even wondered how these collections came about as some are intentional but most of them aren't. I have considered blogging photos of them.
    Maybe I'll do that soon.
    The Giraffe/elephant was very unique! Love Di ♥

  4. I love elephants! I actually collect small figurines of them as well as tapestries with images of elephants on them.

    Your elephant is much cooler than any I have though Arlee, thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. I'm sure, almost certain, that elephant was the runt of it's litter and it was most kind of you to save it. He kind of grows on you.

    I collect for whatever reason, plastic comic figurines. We will just leave it at.

  6. Cute; My Mom collects them and actually has a Jade one. My husband bought it for her in Bahrain. I am off to see what I daughter has a stuffed one with a rose on the end of it's trunk...

  7. For a while, when I had a real office in town, I collected giraffes. I really don't know why or when it started but people began to give me giraffes and I displayed them in the office.

    My home office is so small now and overrum with books, bookshelves, computer equipment, desk, file cabinets, fax, printers,etc little room.

    I was talking talking with my wife about where that giraffe collection was. I can't remember where we put it since we moved out of the town office.

    To answer you question about odd things showing up, Irene likes to pick up some strange things. I am always on guard against her wanting something free on the curb or from a yard sale. I can't thinkn of an example at the moment since I am only on my third cup of coffee, but something may come to me.

    I know have a gorgeous picture of an African elephant hanging on my office wall, so if I were going to collect something again it would be elephants to keep that pic company.

  8. Good stuff, Lee! Dezz will like it. Or, maybe not!

  9. I love your elephant. And your white elephant zebra. But more, I love that you cherish them.

    At one time I had quite a few elephants (inspired by my love for Ganesh), including a beautiful silk painting from India. Sadly, most everything was dispersed to new families before I left SoCal. I do hope they are treasured by their new owners.

    I have one left, an elephant clown that my sister gave me years ago. He sits on a shelve overlooking my living room. He's staring at me right now.

    Thank you so much for connecting me with the elephant in the room.

    ~that rebel, Olivia

  10. First I must say I'm still not sure why did Alex organize all this elephantmania around Blogger :)))

    Looking at these pictures, Arlee, I must admit I'm not surprised that your wife was trying to get rid of it :)) but I do like the zebra creamer, it's charming in its own way.

    Your stories were enjoyable as always, even though I don't support using animals in circuses, but those animals you'd seen there probably did develop your love for these magnificent creatures and that's a great thing.

    I myself don't have anything ugly at display in my cassa, but my parents like to commit interior and exterior design atrocities :) Sometimes, I think we need a police for such crimes.

  11. CC-- I think for most of us the "thinglings" tend to come from others. Sometimes these things just start and soon we have a "collection".

    Yvonne -- I guess some people just don't appreciate those elephants. If you see it again maybe you'll need to grab it.

    Diana -- maybe you can organize a "blogfest" where every one posts their collections. I like to see some of your menagerie.

    Matt --I'll bet you have some pretty cool elephants as well. Post some for Dezmond and the rest of us to see.

    Jules -- It's odd how we can sometimes become attached to peculiar things. Post some of your comic figures--it might be fun.

    Ellie -- I wouldn't mind having a jade elephant. The plastic faux-jade elephant wasn't too bad though.

    Gregg-- Giraffes are pretty cool as well, but elephants have a powerful symbolism. Yard sales and such are dangerous for some people.

    Alex -- Well, you can see what Dez had to say!

    Olivia -- If I really were going to collect anything it would be clowns. I have a few already. My mother has a very large clown collection--I'll post about it someday. An elephant clown would be a good transitional piece for me. I wonder if any of the elephants you had to disperse to new homes seeded new collections?

    Dezmond -- Well, I was wondering where Alex came up with that story as well. I hadn't remembered seeing anything about that until Alex brought it. It gave me something to post about though.

  12. LEE ~
    I enjoyed this Blog Bit! You know I likes it best when things turn a shade "goofy".

    And, by the way, the zebra creamer is pretty cool. I would have no use for a creamer (alls this bachelor needs is a microwave oven!), but I can understand why you keep it around.

    >> The old tent circuses commonly used the strength of the elephants to do heavy chores and to help raise the big top.

    I knew that from having seen Disney's "Dumbo" - one of the classics of the Classics in animation, and a movie I just happen to have recommended to a dear friend only last week.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  13. the post title on someone's sidebar was enough to intrigue me... so over I came...

    and I must say - that is one homely elephant.

    I think I have a fluffy stuffed elephant puppet... cute, but really, real elephants aren't cute... even if they are nice enough to drag you out of the mud pit.

  14. Every one should have a "mascot"!! You elephant is wonderful. Are those BEADS that I see on him?? Uh-oh...beware of those beads.

    I have more teddy bears and gnomes than you could shake a stick at. I think they need their own dwelling as I am over-run by them!

    No, that is not a BAD thing!! ;)


  15. That elephant is so cool. My daughter collects elephants and would love it.
    And yes, my house is full of all sorts of "elephants".

  16. StMc -- Glad you liked this post. The surrealistic hallucinations scene in Dumbo is right up my alley.

    "T" -- Glad you stopped by and hope you will again in the future. And I guess beauty--or cuteness--is in the eye of the beholder.

    Sig -- Yeah, beads--I guess that is part of the attraction. And the little mirror squares.

    Debbie -- Your daughter could buy the materials at a craft store and probably make one that is even better.

  17. I like the elephant! The zebra creamer is super weird. I'm not sure if I have anything that I keep that is strange in any way. My mom likes to collect teapots, and I have a fondness for coffee mugs, but that's about it.

  18. Love your elephant! :)

    Most of my oddities tend to be stuffed animal objects. Some of them are very, very odd - but they're fun!

  19. Marjorie -- Yeah, the zebra is kind of spooky actually.

    Jemi -- Do you get a lot of your stuffed animals from your students? My wife gets a lot of strange presents from her students.

    Emilee-- You'll be seeing the elephant and the zebra soon!

  20. I have scads of tchotchkes all around the house that have been gifted to our family over the years. They are dust catchers, but I love them all as each represents something given from the heart. By the way Arlee, my mother collected elephants - she preferred those that had a "trunk up" as she thought that meant good luck. :)

  21. I am so in the habit of deleting spam from older comments that I just deleted the following real comment:

    Laura Marcella has left a new comment on your post "The Elephant In The Blogroom":

    I have A LOT of zebra stuff, but I don't have a zebra creamer! I have zebra salt and pepper shakers that remind me of your creamer though. Very cool!

    Sorry Laura!



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